Autumn is officially here and our first recipe for October couldn’t be anything but a comforting soup. If you’ve been following this blog, you must know by now how much we love soups. Remember our luscious celeriac soup? Or our soup with beans and many colourful vegetables? Be it with pulses or just vegetables, soups are our favourite way to get all the nutrients we need. Not to mention, the anticipation of a hot bowl of soup for dinner make us feel wonderful.

This week however we are not using pulses or vegetables for our soup. Instead, we are using trahana, a fascinating ingredient made with wheat and fermented milk. There are two varieties, sour and sweet, and you can opt for either. We selected the sour trahana, as we are serving this soup with dried spiced peppers also known in Greece as boukovo. Boukovo is a blend of various spiced peppers which is widely used in Greek cooking. Because of the variety of the peppers used, it that adds a unique warmth and depth to your dishes. Of course, you can use any other dried chili of your choice. We’ll be serving this soup at our Greek Rural Feast Dinner, this December! Book now, spaces are filling up fast.

Serves 6 as a starter

1 small onion
2 tbsp olive oil
A few pinches of boukovo or dried chilli (to taste)
160g sour trahana
1.5lt vegetable stock
Salt (to taste)
Chili oil (to serve)

Very finely chop your onion.

In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil and onion and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the boukovo and cook for another minute. Add the trahana and stir well, until the grains are coated in the olive oil.

Add the vegetable stock, season with salt and stir. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat to its lowest setting and cook, covered, for an hour, or until trahana is very, very tender, stirring every few minutes.

Serve immediately with chili oil. If you have leftovers, you can reheat your soup adding some water or vegetable stock, as tranaha tends to absorb all liquid as it cools down.


This week we’ve got a very special recipe for you. It is by Mrs Kalliopi, Marianna’s mother. We’ve shared many of her recipes in the past (have you tried her delicious flaounes?) and we absolutely love her food.

Mrs Kalliopi, along with Marianna made a traditional Greek pudding, called Moustalevria. Moustalevria, literally meaning Grape Must & Flour, is a pudding made in early autumn, as the grape must (moustos in Greek) is in abundance during that time. If you don’t have access to grape must, then you can use grape molasses (or petimezi in Greek) which is concentrated grape must. Simply dilute it with a bit of water. This recipe also uses honey instead of sugar, which adds depth and warmth!

Marianna, who comes from the Peloponnese garnishes moustalevria with crushed walnuts. In other regions, sesame is used. But regardless of your selection of nuts or seeds, plenty of cinnamon is a must.

Serves 5

125ml grape molasses (petimezi) (half a bottle of our petimezi)
500ml water
100g honey (you can add more If you want it sweeter, taste as you go along)
25g flour
25g corn flour dissolved in ¼ cup of cold water
Cinnamon (to serve)
Walnuts or sesame (to serve)

In a medium-sized pot and over medium high heat warm up the grape molasses, water and honey. Taste and add more honey if desired. Bring it to a boil and then immediately lower the heat.

Dissolve the corn flour in ¼ cup of cold water and add to the mixture, along with the flour. Stir constantly until it thickens into a creamy texture, for 5-10minutes. You can add a bit more corn flour if you prefer a thicker moustalevria, or even replace much of the flour with the corn flour.

Place your moustalevria in 5 bowls and let it cool down. Place it in the fridge for a few hours and serve cold, or at room temperature.

 


Today is tsiknopempth! It is the Thursday very close to the beginning of Lent for the Greek Orthodox Easter, where traditionally we consume meat. And if you’ve ever been to Greece you will know that one of the few things that go perfectly with meat are pies!

Traditionally, pies were peasant dishes, in which people would use literally whatever they had available. Greens from the garden (spanakopita!), cheese from their animals (like in this bulgur wheat pie), you get the idea. But of course, they are quite sophisticated dishes, as they can be elaborate in their making, this is why they are usually made in large trays. But fear not, this is a simple recipe, open to all! It will require some time, so consider this a Sunday affair. Or you know, make it any other day of the week, days seems to have blended into one now that we are in lockdown.

For this one we’ve used the last pumpkins of the season, a very appropriate goodbye to one of our favourite autumn/winter vegetables -yes we are now ready for wild garlic, bring it on, spring!

Serves 12

1.5 kg pumpkin (around 1.350gr flesh)
1 large onion
4 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper (to taste)
85g Carolina rice
250g feta cheese, grated or crumbled
1tsp dried spearmint
2 eggs
8 sheets filo pastry
150g olive oil

Using a sharp knife, cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces. Peel the outer layer. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Coarsely grate the flesh.

Peel and finely chop the onion.

In a medium-sized pot, place the olive oil and onion over medium heat. Cook until caramelised, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and stir well. Season with salt and pepper (but do not add too much salt, as you’ll be adding the salty feta cheese afterwards). Once the pumpkin starts cooking, lower the heat and slowly cook, stirring often for 15 minutes, until soft and tender. Add the rice, stir, and cook for another 20-25 minutes, stirring often.
-Yes, this is a recipe that requires care. But it’s also very relaxing as a process.

You will know that your filling is ready, once the pumpkin is soft and the rice is al dente but not fully cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven at 180C.

In the meantime, prepare your filo. Brush your baking tray with olive oil and place one sheet of the filo. Brush with olive oil again. Cross over a second sheet of filo, ensuring that the entire surface of your tray is covered. Brush with olive oil. Continue crossing over with olive oil and filo, using four sheets in total.

Return to the filling. In the cool pumpkin mixture, add the spearmint, feta cheese and eggs and mix everything together. Check for seasoning and adjust. Place the filling in your tray, careful not to break the filo.

Cover with one sheet of filo and brush it with olive oil. Repeat until the top is covered with four sheets of filo. Tuck in the edges. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil.

Score the pie and bake at 180C at the lower rack of your oven for about one hour.

Enjoy!


This week we’ve got a very Christmassy recipe for you! Think of tender butternut squash and sweet potatoes, roasted in the oven and mixed with plenty of olive oil, to create the perfect creamy mash. It is the ideal side dish for your Christmas table, and why not, a main meal on its own, with a green salad! Oh, and did we mention it’s vegan?

As you know, we love roasting vegetables. Do you remember last year’s Honey & Grape Molasses Carrots, or the Festive Brussels Sprouts with Walnut Oil from a few years ago? It is true that flavoured olive oils take roasted vegetables to a whole other level. Especially this year, we were very happy to add the unique Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil to our selection. And in this dish, it pairs perfectly with our Apple Olive Oil with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Honey!

For this mash, we’ve used not one, not two, but three olive oils! The flavours complement each other, adding depth and silkiness to the dish. Serve with all three, so that your guests can select which one they prefer. And as we are during a pandemic, when we say guests, we mean you.

Serves 6

1 kg sweet potatoes (approx. 3 large)
1.5 kg butternut squash (1 medium)
100ml olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tbsp ginger, lime and basil olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tbsp apple olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven at 200C

Peel the sweet potato and cut in bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut in bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Lay the vegetables separately in two roasting trays, making sure they are in one layer.

In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, ginger oil, apple oil, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over the two trays. Toss the vegetables, so that they are nicely coated with the flavoured oil mixture.

Cover each tray with tinfoil.

Place the two trays in the oven, roasting the vegetables for 1-1,5 hours, until very tender. Let them cool.

Mash them all together, using the liquid from the roasting trays. You should have a smooth mash. Serve with plenty of olive oil.


It’s apple season all right and this week we’re making a wonderful breakfast – dessert recipe with, what else, apples!

Have you tried our olive oil and apple cake? Or our apple porridge? How about our grape molasses tart tatin?

As you may know, when it comes to fruit, we prefer recipes that bring out the natural sweetness of fruits. We are very excited about this one, as it’s quite simple to make but the flavours are quite complex. What is it? An apple and dried cherries compote!

The secret lies in the ingredients! We’ve used our favourite dried cherries to complement the apples, fig molasses to add depth to our compote, cinnamon for warmth and our apple oil for some aromatic silkiness.

The result is a comforting apple compote, which will brighten up your mornings. It is perfect served over Greek yoghurt, porridge, or on its own as breakfast. It also makes for a delicious pie filling, or a side to pork-based dishes or a simple steamed rice.

Makes 1 jar

2 large apples (500g)
2 tbsp fig molasses
½ tsp cinnamon
75g dried cherries
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp apple olive oil
a small espresso cup of water (80g)

Remove the core and seeds from the apples. You can peel them if you want, but we prefer not to. Dice the apples. Place them in a medium-sized saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.

Turn up the heat and as soon as you see the liquid bubbling, lower the heat. Let your compote cook for around 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft and mellow.

This recipe is not on the very sweet side, as we’ve used no sugar or honey. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add some towards the end of the cooking.

Serve warm or cold.


In our last newsletter a few days ago, we shared with you our the need to reconnect with our roots, to rediscover the smells and tastes that we grew up with, in hopes that they will bring some comfort during this lockdown.

As we are slowly getting used to being more and more at home, we are making dishes that remind us of happier times. Fides is an ingredient that many of us at Oliveology have associated with our childhood. Traditionally, fides is used to make a very simple soup just with lemon and a bit of olive oil, often given to children.

These very thin strings of fides pasta boil in only a few minutes, and they are the perfect addition to soups. So this week we’ve used to is to make a hearty soup packed with green vegetables! For this one, we gathered lots of green vegetables from the market and served it with one of our favourite flavoured olive oils!

Cold-extracted at 21°C with walnuts, purslane, fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano, our 21°C  olive oil adds depth and warmth to this hearty soup.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized leek
3 medium-sized courgettes
1 small head of broccoli
1 medium-sized potato
a few celery leaves
60g fides
salt, pepper, to taste
plenty of 21°C walnut oil, to serve

Prepare your vegetables: Finely slice the leek. Cut the courgettes in small cubes. Pull apart the broccoli florets and finely cut the stems. Peel and cut the potato in small cubes. The idea is that all the vegetables should be roughly the same size, so that they cook evenly. Finely chop the celery leaves.

Prepare your soup: In a medium-large pot add the olive oil and gently fry the leek until translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables and celery leaves and stir, so that everything is coated in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 6 cups of water. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer, for 50minutes, almost fully-covered. After 50minutes, check that all your vegetables are tender. Add the fides and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately with plenty of walnut oil.


November is here and things seem to be more challenging than ever. We hope that you are all taking good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Times are tough, so remember to breathe and relax.

As we seem to be spending more and more time at home, this week’s recipe is one which we started to make on Sundays, so that we can have something tasty – and healthy- to nibble on, during those dull weekday afternoons, when many of us seem to be lost behind a laptop screen. This is a snack you can enjoy with a warm cup of tea by the window. A small sweet break in your routine, if you wish.

We’ve used what is perhaps one of the best dried fruits we’ve ever brought to you: dried pears. They are picked, sliced and dried without the addition of any sugar or other additives. They have a mellow, fragrant taste and soft texture. You can add them to your stews, salads, morning granola or baking. Or, you can use them to make these delicious, no-bake granola bars! And make sure to snack on some as you are cooking. Trust us, it makes the prep so much sweeter!

Makes 5 (one for each workday of the week)

50g raw almonds
100g dried pears 
150g cup oats
100g honey (we used Arbutus honey)
100g almond butter (see here how to make your own!)
¼ tsp each cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
pinch of salt

Roughly chop your almonds and your pears. The larger the pieces, the more visible they will be in the bars.

In a large bowl place your oats and mix in the spices and salt. Add the chopped almonds and pears.

In a small pot heat the honey until small bubbles start to form. Remove from the heat. Add the almond butter and slowly whisk until blended together.

Pour the almond-honey mixture over the oats and using a wooden spoon, stir well.

Place in a small baking tray, lined with grease-proof paper. Press down firmly until the entire surface is flat. You can use a glass or the back of a large spoon to do so. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours until firm.

Remove from the fridge and cut in 5 pieces.


Trahanas is a very unique Greek ingredient and an ideal way to take a culinary journey to Greece. It is a combination of fermented milk and wheat. You can use it to make a comforting thick soup, add it to your stews for some texture or have it instead of porridge in the morning.

We love its slightly tangy flavour and comforting smell. In autumn, we always make cook with trahanas. So this week we’ve decided to combine it with our favourite autumn vegetable: mushrooms! And of course, what is the perfect pairing when it comes to these flavours? Truffles. Yes, this week we are making a luscious trahanas soup, with mushrooms and truffles!

For this, we are using our black truffle flakes  a very unique ingredient. These aromatic flakes of dehydrated black summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) only need to be rehydrate in lukewarm water and add an exquisite depth to your dishes. And to make it even more lush, we’re serving this dish with truffle oil!

Serves 2 as main, 4 as a starter

250g large button mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 leek
3 tbsp olive oil
100g sour trahanas
4 cups vegetable stock
1/3 pack truffle flakes plus one cup of water
truffle oil (to serve)

Cut the mushrooms in half or in quarters. In a frying pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, just to coat the bottom of the pan. Place your mushrooms, all in one layer and cook over high heat, turning occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown on the outside.

As the mushrooms are cooking, finely chop the leek and onion. Add the rest of the olive oil in a pot and over medium-low heat gently fry the onion and leek, until translucent. Add the trahanas and stir to coat with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and your stock. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat and let your soup simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, until trahanas is tender.
A few minutes before serving uncover the pot and rehydrate the truffles in one cup of lukewarm water. When the soup is ready, add the truffles and flavoured water. Stir well and serve immediately, drizzling some truffle oil on top.


What we love most about autumn is the wonderful new colours at the market. Red apples, orange pumpkins, brown mushrooms and chestnuts! Fruit and veg in autumn always make us feel quite comforted and inspired. This week we got plenty of orange carrots from the market and decided to grate them. Somehow the idea of a grated carrot feels like a first step towards a very nutritious meal, wouldn’t you say? We’re making a salad, which is great for lunch, but it also makes for a wonderful side to some roasted chicken or your protein of choice. We’ve added bulgur wheat to make it more filling, raisins for some natural sweetness and a lemon-tahini dressing to add a…warm kick to it.

There is something nostalgic about this salad, as it somehow reminds us of when we first started Oliveology, 11 years ago. Back then, Greek tahini was rare to find, but such salads were gaining momentum, do you remember? Reminiscing of happier times past is comforting, and we couldn’t think of anything better than this recipe, to bring back some happy memories in the midst of this unusual autumn we are all experiencing.

Serves 4

50g bulgur, plus ¾ cups of water
4 large carrots
100g Corinth raisins
1 bunch of fresh herbs (we used dill and parsley)

Dressing
2 tbsp tahini
zest from 2 lemons
juice from 1 lemon
150ml olive oil
2 tbsp grape molasses
4 tbsp water
salt (to taste)

Place the bulgur wheat and water in a small pot and cook over medium heat until tender and all the water is absorbed, around 10-15min. Set aside to cool.

Peel and grate the carrots.

To make the dressing whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and zest. Add the grape molasses. Slowly add the olive oil and then the water, until you have a runny dressing. Season with salt.

In a large bowl toss together the bulgur wheat, carrots, raisins, dressing.
Finely chop the herbs and add just before serving.

Oh and this is great with some feta cheese!

 


The phrase “spoon sweets” sounds a bit peculiar in English, but it’s the actual translation of the Greek phrase Gluka tou koutaliou. The phrase gave its name to a category of “sweets” that are served and eaten with (you guessed it) a “spoon”. It includes fruits (but also vegetables) that are slowly cooked with water and sugar. The fruits are picked when in season, and large quantities of spoon sweet are prepared. They are then carefully stored in jars, and last all year-round, until the fruits are in season again. As the fruits slowly cook in the sugary syrup, they release their natural sweetness and their flavours intensify. The result is quite flavourful, so usually a small spoon is enough to satisfy your sweet cravings. In the past, every guest was greeted with Greek coffee and a small plate of spoon sweet.

So this week, as the market was full of grapes, we decided to go ahead and make Gluko tou koutaliou stafyli (grape spoon sweet). For this, select the larger grapes, as they will better hold their shape. And we used seedless grapes.

Makes 2 jars

675g grapes
350g sugar
200g water
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Greek yoghurt (to serve)

Carefully remove the grapes from the vine and wash under cold running water. Drain well and place in a large pot with the water, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Bring to the boil, without stirring. Then immediately turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir carefully so that the grapes are mixed with the sugar syrup.

Cook, half-covered, for 54min to one hour. To test if the spoon sweet is ready, take a tablespoon of the syrup and place it in a small plate. Let it cool and run your finger through it, to create a line. If the syrup stays in place, then you are done.

Remove from the hob and let it cool.
Store is glass jars and keep in the fridge.

Serve with Greek yoghurt!