This week we are feeling quite autumn-y. And what goes better with autumn, than wonderful baking activities on a Sunday afternoon!

So this week we are making a recipe that is something between a bread and a cake. What do we mean? It is a dough made with flour, nuts and dried fruit! It is very moist and not at all sweet. You can have it with tea, butter and honey for a filling breakfast, serve it as part of your cheese platter alongside crackers, or even enjoy as is.

For this recipe we used dried apricots and cherries. As our dried fruit have no added sugar, the result is dense and flavourful. But do not expect it to be sweet. It is more on the bitter/sour side. So if you wish, you can add a bit of honey or sugar in the recipe, or omit the balsamic vinegar. But first, try this one, it really is something special, especially served with plenty of honey.

Another idea would be to get our Autumn Baking bundle and use all of its ingredients for this recipe!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe created by Nena Ismirnoglou, whose recipes always surprise us with their simplicity and flavour.

Makes a medium-sized cake tin

200g all-purpose flour
8g dried yeast
300g dried fruit (we used a combination of apricots and cherries)
50ml balsamic cream with mandarin
120ml water
100g nuts (we used raw almonds and raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp oak honey, plus more to serve
½ tsp ground cloves, cinnamon or other warm spices

Finely chop the dried fruit. Warm up the balsamic cream with the water and pour over the fruit. Let them soak for 30minutes.

Ground the almonds and hazelnuts. Mix together your flour, ground nuts and spices.

In a large bowl whisk together the yeast with 2tbsp of warm water. Add to the bowl the flour-nuts mixture and dried fruit. Knead well until you have a slightly sticky dough. Cover with a tea-towel and let your dough rest in a warm environment for 30minutes.

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place some greaseproof paper on a cake tin and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of honey. Place your dough in the tin and push it gently. Drizzle the rest of the honey on top of the dough.

Bake for 30min. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.


This year we decided to create a very festive recipe using our newest dried fruits and nuts! We selected the word stuffing when categorising this recipe, but this will make for a wonderful side dish, or vegan dinner. It is somewhat a combination of our other Christmas stuffing recipes. It is made with rice, just like our vegan stuffing from a couple of years ago, but also leeks, like the less ordinary stuffing we made last year. But this year we decided to take it up a notch.

We went full on with our dried fruit and used colourful nectarines and cherries. The bright yellow-orange nectarines are very aromatic and sour enough to add an additional dimension to this dish. Our cherries are moist and intense, full of natural sweetness. And what better pairing than our roasted and slightly salted almonds! And of course, many fragrant spices. It is Christmas after all.

We served our stuffing in an old serving dish, as we are somehow feeling more retro and nostalgic during Christmas. Somehow using old platters or bowls to serve our Christmas food brings us closer to all those moments of food sharing of the past. You know, these dishes do carry their own histories.

But before we get carried away, let’s get to our recipe!

Serves 4 as a side
1 large leek
4tbsp olive oil
200g Carolina rice
600ml vegetable stock
50g dried nectarines
50g dried cherries
50g almonds, roasted and slightly salted
1 tsp spices (we used a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg)
salt, black pepper (to taste)
lemon zest and fresh parsley (to serve)

When it comes to the dried fruit or nuts, you can select to finely chop them, roughly chop them, or for the more adventurous out there, leave them whole.

Finely chop the leek. In a medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat gently fry the leek in the olive oil until transluscent. In the meantime, rince your rice under cold running water. Strain and set aside. Add the rice to your pot and stir until coated with olive oil. Add the dried nectarines, cherries, almonds and stir again. Season with salt and pepper. Be mindful, the almonds are slightly salted!

Pour the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat and cook your stuffing simmer half-covered until the rice is cooked and the fruits are plump and rehydrated.

Serve with lemon zest and fresh parsley or other fresh herbs.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!


The word melitzanosalata in Greek means aubergine salad. But despite its name, it is not a salad. It’s a spread, or you can call it a dip, it’s a creamy thing anyways. In Greece this is the dish to go for at any taverna by the beach. It is even better with rounds or fried aubergine. You know, fried aubergine dipped into an aubergine spread. Double your pleasure. You can even add a couple of tablespoons of melitzanosalata to last week’s salad.

Of course, summer is the season to get the best aubergines around. And make your own melitzanosalata. This is not the traditional recipe. Traditionally only olive oil, vinegar and a bit of garlic is added to the aubergine. But for this week’s blog post we have experimented a bit.

We wanted to use tahini, even though this links more to the middle eastern baba ghanoush. But we love using tahini to add depth and warmth to our recipes. And a touch of honey to sweeten it a bit.

1.5kg aubergines
1 large clove of garlic
60g tahini
20g wild flowers honey
2tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
20g raw almonds, crushed
salt
smoked paprika to serve (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 180C. Using a fork pierce your aubergines all around. Place them in a roasting tray and into the oven. Roast your aubergines for around an hour, until very tender inside. Remove from the oven and let them cool down a bit.

Using a spoon, scape all the flesh and place it in a large bowl. Some people prefer to remove the seeds. We are not those people, we love using the entire vegetable. Mash the flesh with a fork. In a separate bowl whisk together your tahini, honey, olive oil, lemon juice. Combine the two and stir in the almonds. Mix well.

Alternatively, once you have the aubergine flesh, dump everything except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil towards the end.

Season with salt and add more oil or lemon if needed. Serve with the smoked paprika (if using).

 


Spring vegetables excite us, you must know this by now. And it is always a challenge to find new things to do with all these greens that are popping up in the market.

This week we decided to use one of our favourite staples, lentils. We usually associate lentils with comforting winter soups, or nutritious salads. But how about something…lighter? This dish is filled with all sorts of green things. The way we think about food is reflected on this lentil salad.

So follow us, take a walk around the market, and put in your basket all the greens that inspire you. We got a selection of broad beans, peas, sugar snap peas, zucchini, avocado and leeks. And to make it even more exciting, we’ve added crushed nuts on top of the salad. You could also top it up a notch by adding some feta cheese or galomyzithra cheese, but we decided to keep this one vegan.

For 2 people you will need:

1 avocado
150g lentils
100g various spring vegetables (peas, broad beans, sugar snap peas)
1 zucchini
1 leek
4tbsp olive oil
25g mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds)
1-2tbsp red wine vinegar
salt

Boil the lentils in salted water for around 20min until cooked but not mushy. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Finely chop the leek. Place the leek in a frying pan, over medium low heat with the olive oil. Cook until soft but not caramelised.

In the meantime, cut the zucchini and avocado in small cubes. Rinse your spring vegetables under cold water and drain.

Add the zucchini to your frying pan with the leek and cook for 4-5min until tender. Add your spring vegetables and cook for 2 more minutes.

Place everything together with the lentils and avocado in a large bowl. Stir and season with salt. Serve with the crushed nuts and by drizzling vinegar on every plate.


There is something fascinating about preserving. As you know, here at Oliveology, we love eating what’s in season. However, there is a way to enjoy foods, even when they are not in season. Yes, by preserving them! Over the years we’ve experimented with preserving Butternut squash in sugar or dried figs in olive oil and vinegar. This time around we are making pesto. Yes, we have made pesto before, with pistachios, parsley and basil. But this one is different. It’s made with basil, almonds and sun-dried tomatoes!

It is funny if you think about it. Sun dried tomatoes are tomatoes dried in the sun. Preserved in the sun. Our pesto takes this already preserved ingredient and preserves it even more. Preserving the preserved if you may.

The wonderful thing about pesto is that you can make as much as you want and store it in the fridge. Then, whenever you get hungry all you have to do is open your jar. This pesto is delicious on its own, spread on toasted bread. It also pairs well with white cheese, like our galomizithra cheese. Of course it is ideal for a summery pasta lunch. Just mix it with warm pasta and serve with a glass of wine. Ta Da!

For one large jar you will need:

1 cup of basil (approx. 80g)
50g raw almonds with skin
100g sun-dried tomatoes
1 fat clove of garlic
120ml extra virgin olive oil
40gr Naxos graviera grated cheese

In a food processor pulse the basil, almonds, sun dried tomatoes and garlic until coarsely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil and pulse, until fully incorporated. Pesto should be grainy but with no large lumps.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese. Add some olive oil if needed and taste.

Store in a jar in the fridge.

You can source the almonds, sun dried tomatoes, graviera cheese, and of course olive oil from our shop at Borough Market.


One of the ingredients we really love at Oliveology is bulgur wheat. Not only because these small golden grains have a deep nutty flavour. Not only because they sort of remind us of Greece (remember our gemista?) Not only because we like to think they are the healthy alternative to pasta. Mostly we love bulgur because it’s an ingredient we can use throughout the year. What do I mean? You can make wonderful winter dishes with it; remember our pie ? Check our pie and wait for the first cold days of the fall and you will see what we mean). But also, you can have bulgur cold, in filling summer salads. Combinations are endless.

This week our inspiration comes from something that came into our store recently: succulent dried prunes. Dried prunes and nectarines came in a few weeks ago. We all got very excited as you can imagine. We used the nectarines to make a very Greek granola. You can put prunes there too. But we decided to make something savoury with them. That’s the beauty of these dried fruits. They pair beautifully both with sweet and savoury flavours.

This salad here isn’t really a salad. It’s a wonderful main for a dinner on a warm summer night. You can have it warm too, but cold is quite nice. You can make it in advance, keep it in the fridge and when your guests come you’re all sorted.

Just make sure not to overboil the bulgur wheat (we did in the initial recipe testing). But on our second testing, we decided that al dente tastes way better.

For 4 people you will need:

400g bulgur
1 small orange (juice and zest)
1 small lemon (juice and zest)
2 cups water
salt, pepper
1 small bunch fresh coriander (leaves only, approx. 30g)
1 small bunch fresh mint (leaves only, approx. 30g)
1 small bunch fresh parsley (leaves only, approx. 30g)
200g prunes

To serve:
a handful of raw almonds, roughly chopped
wild flowers honey (to taste)
extra virgin olive oil (to taste)

In a large pot, pour the water. Add the citrus fruits, both juice and zest. Add the bulgur and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat and cook until bulgur is tender, approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.

Let the bulgur cool down. In the meantime, finely chop your herbs. Roughly chop the prunes. Mix together the herbs, bulgur and prunes. Before you serve, drizzle your salad with olive oil and honey. Taste and add salt and pepper if you want. Sprinkle the almonds. Serve at room temperature or cold.

 


Granola is of course not Greek. Growing up in Greece plain oats were available, but to my understanding I was the only weird kid at school who occasionally had porridge for breakfast. Unlike the UK, oats were not that popular in Greece. But let’s begin by what granola is and we will get to our Greek summer version. Granola is basically a mixture of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, baked in the oven -you’ll see how right below.

So what makes this recipe a Summer Greek granola? Well, summery Greek ingredients and flavours. At the shop we just received some lovely dried nectarines. Plump and juicy, with a pink-peachy colour that makes you want to just look at them for hours. They are hand picked and air dried, with no added sugar or any bad oils. It’s just the fruit, really. The perfect ingredient to make granola, wouldn’t you say? Inspired by the Greek nectarines, we created this recipe for you this week.

I’ll give you the measurings in cups as it’s way easier to assemble your mixture that way. Also, this ain’t baking, so if you fancy adding more nuts, seeds or fruit go ahead. But this ratio is very balanced I find. Please don’t go for the blanched almonds, the ones with skin taste better. You can serve your granola with milk, kefir, yogurt and fresh fruit for a lovely summery breakfast.

For a large jar of granola you will need

2 cups of oats (200g)
½ cup chopped almonds (70g)
ÂĽ cup pumpkin seeds
a few pinches of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 cup dried nectarines (120-150g)

Start by mixing your oats, almonds and seeds in a bowl and place them on a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Then, in a separate bowl mix your olive oil, honey, cinnamon and salt (if your honey is not runny, warm it up a bit).

And now, for the fun part: Drizzle the olive oil/honey mixture on top and mix with oats (the olive oil and honey might not seem enough for that amount of oats, but it really is).

Very carefully make sure to mix everything really well using your fingers until everything is covered in olive oil/honey (you could use a spoon, but then you won’t be able to lick your fingers, you don’t want that).

Right, now for the baking: at 150C, stirring every 10min so that it evenly cooks.

Oh, and whatever you do, when you take the granola out of the oven to stir do not taste: Laugh not, it is very inviting, granola makes the house smell like honey and spice and everything nice but it will burn you (yes, I did get burnt, so be wiser).

So, after about 30-40min, when your granola is golden, remove from the oven and let it cool, mixing in your dried fruit after it’s cooled down.


Symbols of Greek hospitality, spoon sweets were created to preserve fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers, in excess. The practice of preserving fruits goes all the way to Ancient Greece. Their name comes from the habit to serving them on a small plate, in the quantity of a teaspoon along with a glass of fresh water. The raw material preserves its original shape, colour, flavours, aroma as well as its nutritional properties. This happens by using few simple ingredients: fruits or vegetables (most commonly), sugar, herbs and a touch of lemon. Try them on your toast, porridge, yoghurt, ice cream or with your afternoon coffee. They are perfect pair to cheese; teaspoon desserts can also be the secret ingredient to your baking and a brilliant way to add flavour to your cocktails.

Butternut squash teaspoon dessert with cinnamon and walnuts (1)

This is an easy introduction to teaspoon desserts through a vegetable not that commonly preserved in Greece. This recipe is inspired by the special cuisine of the vibrant community of the Greeks who have origins from (or still live) in Istanbul.

Preparation: 30’ Waiting time: a night Cooking: an hour

Ingredients (for about a kilo of finished product):

1 kilo (net weight) butternut squash cut in cubes (about 4cm each)
250g sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks (you can also add ground nutmeg, if desired)
About 50 g walnuts or almonds, roughly chopped for serving (2)
Cinnamon powder for serving

Method

Place the butternut squash cubes in a large pot, from the night before. Sprinkle the sugar, close the lid and let it sit throughout the night so it can release its juices. The next day, turn on the heat and cook it over low heat; add the cinnamon sticks and cook for approximately an hour until all juices are absorbed and the butternut squash is soft and tender (3).

Check the mix frequently and add more liquid only if there is none left. It is not advised to stir the pot with a utensil as the pieces of squash may be destroyed. If needed, shake the whole pot carefully.

Remove from the heat and let cool down. Serve with walnuts and cinnamon or pour into sterile jars. Store in the refrigerator and use within one year. Enjoy this sunshine!

(1)  Inspired by “Eleni Fili Nioti, The lady of Istanbul”, Gastronomos , December, 2014: p.100. (2)  For more flavour, lightly toast the walnuts/ almonds for a few minutes in a small frying pan until fragrant. (3)  In Greek we would probably describe this mellowed state of the squash as “honeyed”, a term widely used in Greek cooking.


Apple Day is almost here and at Oliveology we always support initiatives that celebrate seasonality. Next to our shop at Borough Market, one can find myriad apples of different sizes, colours and flavours. They are simply too tempting to resist.

And we know exactly what to do with them. Marianna’s mum makes the most delicious and moist cake. She uses extra virgin olive oil instead of butter and uses whatever she has left in the kitchen, be it apples, pumpkin, carrots- nothing goes to waste. One of our favourite things in the world is when hand written old recipes are handed down to us. Today it becomes much easier “take a pic of your mum’s apple cake recipe and send it to me”, and within minutes, you can enter the kitchen and start baking.

Kalliopi’s Olive Oil Cake

1 cup extra virgin olive oil 
3 cups grated (or cut in cubes) apples
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs, preferably organic
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs of cinnamon
1 cup almonds or walnuts

Mix together the sugar and olive oil. For this recipe, we go for our  22°C organic extra virgin olive oil, made with semi ripe olives. Its mellow, fruity aroma and silky texture are ideal for this cake. You see, olive oil is one of the main ingredients, yet it should not overpower the rest.

Whisk 2 eggs and then slowly add 2 cups of all purpose flour, the baking soda and cinnamon. Add the grated apples, and if you feel like it, 1 cup of coarsely chopped nuts – we went for almonds. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon and transfer into a baking dish. Bake at 180°C for approximately 35-45 minutes or until cake is golden brown on top and cooked through.

Now, you can serve the cake as is, or preferably with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of our limited edition apple oil.

If you’re in London visit us at Borough market to celebrate the glorious apple season with us on Sunday the 23rd of October.


We think that life is too short for one type of pesto. So why don’t you “Greek up” your pesto pasta by replacing basil with oregano and pine nuts with almonds?

Ingredients:

500g pasta –we recommend linguini or whole wheat penne

For the pesto

200g feta crumbled
1/2 teacup Kalamata olives –without their pits
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (and 1/4 cup for serving)
2 garlic cloves
25g almonds –toasted, if desired for enhanced flavour
Bunch of parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
Mizithra or graviera for serving
Freshly ground pepper
Sesame and parsley (if desired) for serving

Method:

Tip the pasta into a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Set aside 1/2 cup of pasta water.

In the meantime, place the parsley, almonds, cloves and oregano in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) fitted with a steel blade and blend to a puree. Add the olives, feta and pasta water and blend again. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube. Pulse until well combined, adding blanching water by tablespoons to thin if needed, and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides.

Transfer pasta to a bowl and toss vigorously, drizzling with oil and adding pesto, sesame, freshly ground pepper, parsley (if desired) and cheese as you continue to toss, until pasta is glossy and well coated with sauce. Serve hot or cold. Enjoy! Store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.