Spring is officially here! The weather is warmer, the sun is shining and the flowers have blossomed. Spring for us at Oliveology is often the time for new beginnings. Try something new. Start something new. Plant a seed that will soon blossom into something beautiful.

For us, it is also often about discovering new, seasonal ingredients or techniques. This week we are cooking with fresh artichokes. You have, of course, the option of using our marinated artichoke hearts. But in the spirit of trying something new, we suggest you get your hands on the fresh ones.

Remember our artichokes with anchovy vinaigrette from a few years back? Delicious! And how about some Greek classics?

Lida, our resident chef, had prepared this traditional recipe for you a few years back.

Artichoke hears with peas, carrots and potatoes. Absolutely delicious! In our Vegan Cooking Class at the end of April, she will be making this recipe again, also showing you how to prepare fresh artichokes. As above, in the spirit of trying new things, book yourself a space – we’ve got very few left!

Inspired by spring, this week we have for you a recipe of artichokes cooked in white wine with wild garlic, capers and lemon olives. A perfect dish to have as a main or as a meze sitting under the sun.

Serves two as a starter

3 tbsp olive oil
5 fresh artichoke hearts
2 cups of Gavalas Santorini Blue Assyrtiko
1 bulb of fresh garlic
½ tub kalamata olives with lemon and herbs
1 tbsp capers
smoked salt, pepper (to taste)

Place the olive oil in a pot and over high heat. Place the artichoke hearts facing down and fry, until the edges are brown and charred, about 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and season with the smoked salt and pepper. Add the fresh garlic, two cups of white wine, and one cup of water.

Cook for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered, until the artichokes are soft and the remaining liquid has formed a thick sauce. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the olives and capers.

Serve with crusty bread and some Assyrtiko wine.

 


This week, we’ve got a very luscious, spring recipe for you. We are using one of our favourite ingredients, artichoke hearts! Our marinated artichoke hearts come from the area of Kyparissia in Peloponnese. They are picked, cleaned and placed in glass jars with leeks, olive oil and sunflower oil. They are an ideal addition to your tarts, or as part of an antipasti dish.

Inspired by the much loved artichoke-spinach combination, this recipe is perfect for a cosy dinner for those days when the sun refuses to shine, and we still feel that we are more in winter than in spring. So what are we making? Oven baked wholemeal penne with spinach, artichokes, creamy Greek yogurt and galomyzithra cheese-all baked in the oven. And as always, it is really easy to make!

If you love artichokes as much as I do, then have a look at our Vegan Cooking Workshop in April, where you will learn how to prepare and cook fresh artichokes!

Serves 4

1 leek
1 jar artichoke hearts
200g galomuzithra
100g yogurt
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups fresh spinach
150g wholemeal penne
75g graviera cheese

Finely chop the leek and place in a large bowl. Drain the artichokes, reserving the oil and add to the bowl. In a non-stick frying pan, gently heat up the spinach, until just wilted. You should be left with one cup. Add to the bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the artichoke oil, galomuzithra and yogurt. Add the garlic. Mix well, adding 3/4 cup of water to dilute. You are to have a thin, creamy sauce. Worry not, the pasta will absorb it.

In an oven-proof casserole dish, place the vegetables, creamy sauce and pasta and toss everything together. Sprinkle some graviera cheese and bake at 180C for 40 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and the cheese has melted.

 


Last week we were very happy to have the wonderful Margot, from Margot’s Kitchen hosting one of our workshops. During two fully booked classes, Margot talked about the Mediterranean diet, healthy eating and offered clever tips on how to incorporate more wholesome ingredients into our daily diets.

The workshop, as with all of our workshops was vegetarian and included delicious recipes such as a Butternut Squash Kibbeh with Chickpeas & Caramelised Onions and a gluten-free Banana and Pistachio Teff Cake.

So, this week, we have one of Margot’s recipes for you, made especially with our favourite Oliveology ingredients. This Roasted Antipasti recipe is very easy to make, and will definitely impress your guests!

We’ve got more cooking classes coming up this spring and summer, so watch this space or email us to make a booking!

 

Margot’s Roasted Antipasti with Mixed Olives

Ingredients

350g mixed olives (black and green)
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 jar roasted red peppers
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
a pinch of flaked red pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan).
2. In a medium-sized tray, place the mixed olives along with the roasted peppers and artichokes.
3. Add the sliced lemon and fresh herbs.
4. Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


You know how all of us support no-waste cooking. There are many ways to incorporate leftovers in your meals. Yes, leftovers can be tricky sometimes. But not if you have a few clever ideas up your sleeve.

In the past, we have used our intense truffle butter to transform leftover mash potatoes or our aromatic walnut oil to roast various leftover veg and chickpeas.

This week we have a new idea for you! Make a tart. Tarts and pies are good that way. You see, if you make say a spinach pie, you can use whatever greens you have available, wilted or not. If you make a tart, you can use it as your basis for whatever ingredients you have laying around in your fridge.

We took the idea from Bon Appetit, which is the writer’s favourite cooking magazine. So for this tart we used puff pastry (but you can make your own if you want, and a feta cheese/yogurt base. Then you can really use whatever ingredients you have around. For example, I had a few sun dried tomatoes and marinated artichokes that we did not use at our last cooking class and wine tasting. These keep perfectly in the fridge covered in olive oil. But the time comes when one wants to clear their fridge. Enter tart idea.

 

Serves 4 as main:

1 sheet of puff pastry (approx. 300g)
100g whole milk
150g feta cheese
150g Greek yogurt
100g sun-dried tomatoes
100g marinated artichokes

Preheat your oven at 180C.

In a small pot and over medium-low heat, warm up your milk. Crumble the feta cheese in the pot and stir well until feta cheese melts and there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit. Fold in the yogurt and stir until well combined.

Roll out your puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet. You can use greaseproof paper, or make sure to oil the baking sheet so that your tart doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Using a fork, pierce the puff pastry across all of its surface. Put the puff pastry in the oven and bake for 5 min, until light golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Leave the oven on.

Spread the feta/yogurt mixture on the puff pastry, leaving a few cm on each side. Scatter the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes all around. Drizzle some of their oil if you wish.

Place back in the oven and bake for 20-25 min, until the puff pastry is golden. Now, this is what we call cooking with leftovers!

 


Spring is in its full swing!  To welcome spring here at Oliveology we brought in some very delicious new ingredients. All from Greece of course. All from small artisan producers. All of excellent quality. We will have plenty more of these in this blog in the future.

For now, we will celebrate spring introducing you to our golden marinated artichokes. Tender, meaty, fresh. Marinated in extra virgin olive oil, with a golden white colour. You can savour them as they are, or enjoy them in wonderful spring salads.

Speaking of spring salads, the amazing thing when following the seasons is that one can experience all sorts of new foodstuffs. What comes with spring? Well, we will pair our artichokes with purple sprouting broccoli. This is a very interesting vegetable, that also happens to be very beautiful. Its dark green and purple stems, leaves and florets complement perfectly our artichokes.

Serves one as main or 2 as a side dish

2 large handfuls of purple sprouting broccoli florets -you can replace with broccoli or cauliflower- (approx. 1 cup)
1 large red pepper or 1 roasted red pepper
A handful of artichoke hearts (approx. 1/2 cup)
A few springs of mint, finely chopped
Red wine vinegar (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Trim any woody broccoli stems. Slice horizontally any large florets so that all have the same size, to cook evenly. You should have both florets and stem attached together. Rinse under cold water. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes. Test and leave a few more minutes if needed. Let cool.

Roast the red pepper in the oven at 180C until tender and the skin has blackened. Once you are able to handle it, remove skin and seeds and discard. Save the juices from your baking tray. You can skip this step if you are using roaster red peppers from a jar. Slice the roasted pepper in long strips.

Mix the broccoli, artichokes and red pepper. Add the olive oil from the artichoke marinade (no waste here-it’s delicious!) and the juices from the roasting pan of the pepper, or a tablespoon of the juice from the jar. Add a few splashes of red wine vinegar, sprinkle the mint and season with salt. Enjoy!


There’s something magical about artichokes, no doubt. Visit any food market in Greece this time of the year and you’ll notice them straight away. Quite intriguing, don’t you think? Their exterior might be armour-like but their sweet, delightful hearts are irresistible. Excellent any way you approach them: steamed, grilled, roasted, sautéed; you might recall us writing love letters to them, too. This recipe is all you need to celebrate their peak season.

Ingredients for 4 persons

•12 fresh, prepared artichoke hearts (preserved in water with the juice of 2-3 lemons) or jarred/frozen
•2 carrots
•2 spring onions
•80 g red onions or shallots
•250g potatoes
•60g peas
•2 lemons
•Dill
Evoo
•Salt and pepper
•Vegetable broth (optional)

Method

Initially, chop onions and spring onions. In addition, chop carrots and potatoes in dices. In a wide pot heat the olive oil over medium heat olive oil and sauté the onions for a few minutes until soften. Alternatively, if you’re using shallots, sauté them whole in a small pan and add them in the pot towards the end.

Continue with carrots and potatoes until softened. Add vegetable broth or water. Afterwards, put in the artichoke hearts to the mix, some more broth or water. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, cover and let simmer for 30-35 mins. Towards the end, add the peas and the shallots and boil for 10 minutes approximately. Shake the pan to distribute, instead of stirring. Check the seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

This dish can be served hot or cold. As all “ladera” dishes, they are a match in heaven with feta!


Who said meals during Lent are boring? Far from strict fasting, every year we are looking for creative and delicious ways of enjoying vegetables, legumes and fish. Pair this wonderful salad with seafood: fried or baked calamari, shrimps with garlic or classic grilled octopus. Artichoke is a stunning and intriguing vegetable; the bud of a flowering plant from the thistle family. Whether raw, steamed, grilled, roasted, or sautéed it is a delightful spring treat. Great pairings include: pea, lemon, potato, mint, pork, lamb, prosciutto, shellfish and truffle.

Serves 6

Preparation: 20 mins

Ingredients:

8 fresh, prepared artichoke hearts (preserved in water with the juice of 2-3 lemons) or marinated artichokes
2 fennel bulbs, very thinly sliced
1 bunch of rocket (we only need the leaves) or 2 cups of green salad of your liking

For the vinaigrette

5-6 anchovies filleted, well strained
½ teacup of evoo –we recommend 18°C 
½ teacup of chopped dill
Juice and zest from 2 small lemons (preferably organic)
½ teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper

Method

Prepare the vinaigrette first by mixing all the ingredients together: anchovies, evoo, dill, juice, grated lemon, sugar and pepper in a blender and pulp them well. Afterwards, start the salad by cutting the artichokes in 4 pieces and every single piece in thin slices. Wash and dry the salad. Spread the fennel slices on a platter and drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Furthermore, add a layer of artichokes. Drizzle a bit of vinaigrette on them, as well. We could also prepare the salad in advance and cover it with cling film for 2-3 hours. When serving, add the rocket or salad and pour the remaining vinaigrette.

*Inspired by Nikolaou D. (2009, March), Lenten Feast, Gastronomos,  35.