Inspiration for cooking may came when you least expect it. And in the most mysterious ways. You can eat something and get inspired. Watch a film and have your mind going back to that food that couple had at that scene. Memories often come into play, nostalgia about past meals. Books and magazines, obviously. A weekly walk around the market. And then, there are leftover ingredients. What do you do with some cooked chickpeas that are left? How can you use a bit of flavoured walnut oil that was left in your cupboard after the holidays?

When it comes to cooking inspiration, this game is the one I enjoy the most. So this week’s inspiration for our recipe is exactly that: leftover ingredients. Remember our Christmas brussels sprouts recipe? How about our spiced chickpeas? From testing these recipes, I’ve had some boiled chickpeas left, which I froze. And a bit of walnut oil in the cupboard. In the spirit of no waste, and because it’s good to start the new year with cupboards and freezer nicely sorted, here’s our take on leftover ingredients!

The flavour combinations may be similar to our Brussels sprouts dish, but the nuttiness of the cauliflower and the crispy chickpeas will surprise you in this pairing!

Serves 2

1 small cauliflower
200g cooked chickpeas
6 tbsp walnut oil 
3 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven at 180C. Place your cauliflower in the middle of a baking tray. Keep the leaves and small stalks, we will cook these too in a bit! Rub 2 tablespoons of walnut oil all around it. Sprinkle half of the oregano and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the oven and roast for 15-20min. Remove from the oven and scatter around it the cauliflower leaves, garlic and chickpeas. Drizzle the rest of the walnut oil, oregano, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of walnut oil to your cauliflower. Return in the oven and bake for another 15-20min, until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is cooked but firm.

If you prefer a more raw-in-the-middle cauliflower, then you can put all ingredients together in a baking tray, in the oven at 180C for 20min.
Enjoy!


Happy New Year Everyone! All of us here at Oliveology hope that you had a wonderful time, and a good start to the New Year. Not to be cliché, but can you believe it’s 2018?

After all the days of eating and celebrating, we thought we’d prepare something comforting and luscious for you. Post-holiday food needs a feel of luxury. You know, so that you transition to the New Year with style.

What’s one of the most comforting foods? Soup of course! And what is one of the most luscious foods? Truffle oil of course! At the market we found this beautiful celeriac. Put everything together and you’ve got yourself a creamy, comforting celeriac soup that drizzled with truffle oil becomes the ideal way to start the New Year!

But of course, celeriac alone won’t do it. We have added potatoes for their creaminess and green apples for their tanginess. Oh and instead of water or vegetable stock we used milk! And finally, a little secret: One of our readers suggested we tried blending roasted nuts into the soup. Well, roasted hazelnuts were added to this one and the result was a dreamy soup, with underlying nuttiness that you couldn’t really describe, but felt throughout. The only thing we have to say is that we are really looking forward to many more of your suggestions!

This soup is blended, so even though ideally you want same size pieces of vegetables, this recipe is quite forgiving when it comes to chopping.

For a large pot you will need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek
2 celery sticks
1 green apple
1 large potato
1 large celeriac (approx. 1 kg)
1 tsp dried thyme
1lt milk
35g roasted hazelnuts
salt and white pepper
truffle oil (to serve)

Finely chop your leek and celery. Cut the green apple and potato in small cubes. We didn’t peel them for some extra fibre and taste. Peel and roughly chop your celeriac.

In a large pot and over medium-low heat, warm up your oil and gently fry the leek and celery until soft and caramelised. Add the apple and potato and stir until covered in oil. Add the celeriac, thyme, and milk. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts. Season with salt and white pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let your soup cool down. Blend, adding a bit of water or milk if needed.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

 

 


One of the things we enjoy the most during this holiday season is baking. There is something quite unique when the house fills with aromas. Especially when it comes to these spices we have associated with this time of the year. Yes, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, all these fragrant spices make us feel even more festive.

This week we have prepared cookies! Soft and moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. But as cookies go, you can of course go for the crunch throughout. Just let them bake for a few more minutes. For these cookies we have used one of our favourite ingredients, grape molasses. When I was growing up, my father would prepare for me and my sister a slice of bread, with a thin layer of butter and grape molasses on top. The memory of this intense and strangely fragrant syrup always comes to mind when I open a bottle of grape molasses and smell it. And to this day, I find it very hard to describe its unique taste.

But back to the cookies.

The recipe below is adapted from Bon Appetit. We used a mixture of our favourite spices, but as always, feel free to substitute. If you love cinnamon, just use cinnamon, if you hate cloves, just make it without.

For 20 cookies you will need:

100g dark brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
½ egg
55g grape molasses
60g whole wheat flour
75g white flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spices (we used a combination of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper)

1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp grape molasses and icing sugar (optional, to glaze)

 

Whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and whisk just to combine. Add molasses and whisk again until incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your mixture, carefully so as not to over-mix.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using your hands, form small or larger balls and place them on your tray, leaving space in between your cookies as they will expand. Bake for 7-12 minutes, or until you have reached your desired softness.

If you want to glaze them, stir the milk and grape molasses until well combined. Slowly add powdered sugar until your glaze is thick and glossy. Drizzle over cool cookies.


This time of the year, we always look around for interesting recipes for Christmas stuffing. You can’t have a festive table without it, can you? In Greece, stuffing is usually made with mince meat and rice. Here in the UK, sausage meat is preferred. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, surely you will know by know how we love creating vegan takes on traditional recipes.

Remember last year’s rice stuffing? With that in mind, this year we decided to take stuffing to a whole other level. How? Well, we kept some of the Christmassy flavours and added a few new ones (intense red cranberries and roasted chestnuts have arrived at our shop at Borough Market, need we say more?). Oh, and we’ve swapped rice for our favourite bulgur wheat!

Truth is, this dish is not just for your Christmas table. As I prepared it for this post, a bit before Christmas as you can imagine, I found myself in the middle of December, carrying with me this fragrant dish for lunch, looking forward to eating it again and again. And I have to tell you, just make more. It makes for a wonderful addition to your favourite winter lunches. This recipe serves 4 people, because sometimes all you need for Christmas is these few people you love most. But if you are feeding many, just multiply accordingly. It works very well.

For 4 people you will need:
1 small leek, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed walunts and hazelnuts (or other nuts of your choosing)
100g roasted chestnuts
½ nutmeg grated
4 cloves
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried thyme
salt
pepper
200g bulgur wheat
600ml vegetable stock
a few springs of mint (to serve)

In a medium sized and over medium heat pot place the olive oil and gently fry the leek until soft and caramelised. Add the bulgur wheat and stir until all grains are coated in oil. Add the cranberries, nuts, chestnuts and stir again. Season with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable stock and stir until well combined.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat.
Simmer for 15-20min or until bulgur is cooked and flavours have blended.

Serve with finely chopped mint and lots of Christmas love!


You know, often one cooks the same Christmas recipes, year after year. It’s beautiful to keep these food traditions. We do have many loved ones, like the melomakarona cookies that we make every year. But at the same time, every year we try something new.

This year we have a lovely brussels sprouts recipe for you! You know there are some people who just loath brussels sprouts. We are definitely not those people. We absolutely love this winter vegetable. What’s not to love anyway? And as we are getting our recipes and foods ready for Christmas, we couldn’t but create a festive brussels sprouts recipe for our table.

The recipe below uses walnuts, dried oregano and rosemary and our winter favourite: walnut oil. This special oil is made from semi ripe olives crushed with walnuts, purslane, and wild aromatic herbs giving a fresh taste that is full of flavour. The result is a very warm, nutty, comforting dish. If you want to add some zingy notes, serve with some lemon juice. But we prefer it as is.

Serves 2

350g Brussels sprouts, shredded
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried rosemary
35ml 21 walnut oil plus more for serving
50g walnuts, crushed
salt
lemon juice (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the Brussels sprouts, garlic, oregano, rosemary and walnut oil. Season with salt. Place sprouts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle walnuts on top. Bake at 200C for approximately 20 minutes, or until sprouts are tender and slightly charred.

To serve, drizzle with walnut oil and lemon (if using).

 

 


Christmas is just around the corner and here at Oliveology we are getting ready for the day. Very interesting cheeses have arrived from artisan cheesemakers from all over Greece. They are made mostly with sheep’s and goats’ milk. Soft white galomyzithra from Crete, Ash Cheese and St. Isidore from the island of Naxos, matured feta cheese from Attica, these are just some of the options. Of course you can use them in cooking, preparing delicious festive recipes. But there is no better way to enjoy such excellent cheeses than on a cheese platter.

And what better to accompany them than a home made chutney. This one is easy to make, as it doesn’t require much chopping or preparation. Gather your favourite spices and get cooking. We are using of course our succulent dried figs. Carefully hand-picked and selected for top quality, they are dried naturally under the Greek sun, with no additives or preservatives. The figs are harvested from the fertile Messinia region in the Peloponnese, which is famous for its high quality figs. Together with our aged balsamic vinegar and grape molasses, this chutney is both sweet and vibrant.

Just one bag of our figs makes a jar of chutney!

You will need:

1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1tbs ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bag (250g) coarsely chopped dried figs
160ml balsamic vinegar
70ml grape molasses
200ml water
Salt and pepper

Preparation

In a saucepan add the olive oil and in medium heat stir in the ginger and coriander, until fragrant. Add the dried figs, vinegar, grape molasses and water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let your chutney simmer. Add more water if needed until the figs are soft and the liquid is thick and glossy. Let cool and place in sterilised jars. Enjoy with your cheese platter or offer it as a delicious edible gift.


Melomakarona is one of the most popular treats throughout Greece during the festive season.Their intense homely smell makes every house smell like Christmas! This is an easy, healthy and easy recipe based on olive oil and honey.

Makes: 20-25 cookies

½ cup olive oil (175ml)
½ cup brown sugar (100g)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (120ml)
1 tbs orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda

2 tbs brandy
4 cups flour (about 450g)
1 cup (120g) chopped walnuts
(½ for the mix ½ for topping)
2 tbs cinnamon (½ for the mix ½ for topping)
½ tsp powder clove (½ for the mix ½ for topping)

For the syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup of water

This is a traditional Christmas cookie recipe. You will find it in every home in Greece at Christmas time.

Mix the flour, baking powder in to a bowl. Mix baking soda into the orange juice. Mix the oil, sugar, orange juice, brandy and orange zest and pour gradually into the flour mixture. Mix all the ingredients gently, without kneading to create a soft dough. Add cinnamon and clove in the mixture.

Make the dough into little cookie balls. Remember that these will rise so keep them small. Put the cookies into a tray covered with greaseproof paper. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the syrup. Put the honey, sugar and water into a large pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes skimming off the froth. Let it cool down a little bit. Take the cookies out of the oven and put them in a large plate. Pour the syrup immediately over them while they are still hot. When all the syrup is absorbed turn them over. Repeat the same procedure a few times until almost all of the syrup is absorbed.

For the topping mix cinnamon, clove and chopped walnuts and sprinkle over the top of the cookies. Let them cool down and store them away. They usually taste better a few days later and as they age. They can last up to 3 weeks.


I think as we are moving into winter, it’s time you got introduced to our favourite winter vegetable. For this year at least. What do we love this December? Beetroot!

With its deep purple-red colour, sweet taste and aroma, it is the perfect ingredient to brighten up our winter lives. You can of course enjoy it raw. Like last week’s cauliflower, or last year’s winter salad.

But this time around, we are making something using another of our favourite ingredients. Oregano essential oil is in store, all the way from a small farm in Nothern Greece. We met the producer a few weeks ago, during our November workshop and got even more excited about this aromatic ingredient.

So this week, we are bringing the two together, in a creamy beetroot dip, topped with oregano oil. Can you think of anything better for this time of the year?

For one large bowl you will need:

8 medium beetroot (approx. 500g cooked)
100g greek yogurt
3 tbsp sweet vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp grape molasses
salt

To serve:

2 drops oregano oil
4 tbsp olive oil
finely chopped spring onions and fresh thyme
sesame seeds or other nuts

Scrub the beetroot. Wrap each beetroot in tinfoil and bake at 180C until soft inside. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, using your fingers remove the skins. Let them cool. Place beetroot in a food processor (you can cut them in smaller pieces to make your life easier). Add the yogurt, vinegar, olive oil and grape molasses. Blend until smooth. Season with salt.

To serve, mix two drops of oregano oil with 4 tbsp of oil. Smell. Breath. And drizzle over the dip. Sprinkle over some spring onions, fresh thyme and sesame seeds.


It sounds quite philosophic, doesn’t it? It’s mostly because we love freshly baked bread and the moment it comes out of the oven, hot and crusty you can’t help but feeling pure bliss. And it is also that feeling -that you accomplished a simple but glorious task- that boosts your confidence.

How can you not love bread? Of course we Greeks have a special affair with it –you can’t really have a meal without it. That’s why we were thrilled when Michael Pollan devoted a whole episode in his brilliant series Cooked, about it. He argues that bread is the product of civilisation and the enabler of the civilisation, as well. But related to the title of the post, he explains that air is mostly what you’re eating when you eat bread.

Have you ever considered that air is one of the reasons we love bread? And as far as this very recipe is concerned, what a fine air that is, with grape molasses, mastiha, orange and cinnamon?

Petimezodakos
Ingredients
1 cup of grape molasses
3 pieces of mastiha
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 kg all-purpose flour (sieved)
30 g of fresh yeast
Olive oil for glazing
1 egg for glazing

Method
Dilute yeast in lukewarm water. As soon as it’s done, add the mix to a small portion of flour in order to create very soft dough. Cover it and let it sit in a warm place in order to double its size.

Freshly ground mastiha using mortar and pestle. When the initial dough is increased add grape molasses, orange juice, olive oil, mastiha, cinnamon and salt. Mix it well until the initial form changes and add flour gradually until a homogenous fluffy dough is created. Cover it once more and let it sit for 40-50 minutes until it’s double the size.

Knead the dough and form loaves cut in 4-5 cm pieces. You can also knead individual loaves –this amount of dough makes about 12 small loaves. Place them in baking pans, let them rise and they’re double the size. Drizzle some olive oil (or an egg and water mixture, alternatively) and let them bake in a preheated oven for approximately an hour about 180°C. Remove from the oven, let them cool and cut the pieces you have already carved –or your individual loaves.

Petimezi makes the dough quite moist, so keep checking your oven so they won’t get dry. If you still have some left from the day before, taste them and see the difference – we felt they tasted less sweet the day before. Liked our thoughts on Michael Pollan’s Cooked? We’ll get back to it, soon as we were quite inspired by this series! Have you watched it? Would love to know your thoughts on that.


The countdown for Christmas has started. In preparation for this year’s celebrations we are bringing in store many delicious ingredients. Ingredients to cook with; ingredients to offer as gifts; ingredients to indulge yourself with.

Corinth raisins and dried figs have arrived from the Peloponnese, organic walnuts from the island of Eboea. They are a great addition to your morning cereal, yogurt or porridge. They are a very healthy snack between meals. They are amazing to add to any Christmas cheese platter. You can use them as ingredients in myriad festive cakes, puddings and bread.

But most importantly, they are what turns a salad dish from everyday, to festive. The small black raisins punch above their weight in terms of their sweetness and taste. Dried naturally under the Greek sun, the figs are succulent and intense. Pure, nutty walnuts add crunch.

Walking around the market we selected delicious green leaves to create this festive salad, and our very own artisan galomyzithra cheese, a soft white cheese made in Crete from goats’ and sheep’s milk. Of course, any salad that respects itself has a good quality extra virgin olive oil (we chose our 22oC). And finally, an aged balsamic vinegar will add the much needed acidity and sweetness. Read below the list of ingredients, we have a little secret in the end.

So here goes:

Festive Salad (For two people)

1 bunch of green leaves
A small handful of raisins (approx. 20g)
3-4 large dried figs, cut in half
A small handful of walnuts (approx. 50g)
100g of galomyzithra cheese
3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper (to taste)
grape molasses (to serve)

Place your leaves in a large bowl. Add the raisins, figs, walnuts and gently toss. In a separate bowl mix the olive oil and vinegar together with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dress the salad and place in a beautiful serving platter (it is festive after all). Add the cheese and serve, drizzling some grape molasses to add sweetness.