Many say that Mastiha is an acquired taste. As an ingredient, these little rocks look like blurry diamonds. It is quite bitter in taste and very, very aromatic. So one needs to use it with care. A little goes a long way. You can make cakes with mastiha, cookies, use it in cooking as well (it actually goes very well with chicken).

When discussing recipes for this blog post, we decided to go for cookies. But not any cookies. These ones are made with olive oil instead of butter, grape molasses instead of sugar. And orange juice! I call them cookies because they have a very soft and chewy interior. I think the secret is the combination of olive oil, grape molasses and water. Oh and yes, these cookies are vegan too!

They are quite something. You can play around with the dough and make smaller cookies, or, experiment a bit. Shape the dough like a bagel by taking a large round ball and making a hole. Just make sure to bake the larger cookies a few minutes longer. You can eat them as is, or try them with our soft, creamy galomizithra cheese  and some orange blossom honey. And before you start gathering your ingredients, have a read at the story of mastiha. Somehow, images of mastihohoria, the villages on the island of Chios that produce mastiha from centuries ago give this resinous sap a whole different aroma.

For 45 cookies you will need:

1 cup olive oil 

1 cup grape molasses 

1 cup water

1 orange (both zest and juice)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mastic tear drops (ground)

700g of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

You can buy mastic tear drops from our shop at Borough Market. These can be ground using a mortar and pestle by adding a few pinches of sugar, so that they don’t stick together. Alternatively you can add 1/4 teaspoon (3-4 drops) of our pure mastic oil. Taste and add more if you want a more intense flavour.

In a bowl, whisk together your olive oil, grape molasses, water, orange juice and zest, until you have a smooth mixture. In a separate bowl sieve the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and mastiha. Mix until well combined until just smooth. Be careful not to over mix the dough.

Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients onto your wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. You should have a slightly sticky dough that you can easily shape. Using a bit of flour, make small round balls, or larger bagel-shaped cookies.

Place some greaseproof paper onto your baking tray and place the cookies on top, leaving a few centimetres between them.

Bake for 10-15min at 180C until they are lightly brown – the centres will be soft. Once your cookies have cooled down a bit, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You can have them straight away (please do!), or keep them in an airtight container.

 


Have you ever made dough? If you have, you’ll know what we are talking about in this blog post. If you haven’t then let us introduce you to the magical word of putting a few ingredients together and creating something you thought was impossible.

Sure, like most things you can get ready made dough of your choosing from the grocery store. Do you need filo (phyllo) pastry for a spinach pie? The corner shop will have it. Do you need puff pastry for a bulgur pie ? Supermarket is next door.

But then you will be missing half the fun. You see, making dough is much easier than what you think. When we are talking dough, it all comes down to two things: ingredients and recipe. Dough usually has very few ingredients so as we’ve said in the past, make sure they are damn good. Get the good eggs. Get the slightly more expensive flour. Get the best you can afford. Now, when it comes to the recipe. That’s a tricky one. Internet these days is full of recipes. Bookstores are filled with cookery books. How does one choose which recipe to trust? Because we know first hand how horrible it is to put time and love into a recipe and it not giving you that love back. How does one find a recipe they trust? Here at Oliveology if there is one person we trust more than anyone it’s Mrs Kalliopi, Marianna’s mother. Remember her delicious Apple cake? Every week when we discuss future blog posts at Oliveology I nudge Marianna: call your mum, she has great recipes!

This time she shared with us her recipe for Kourou dough. This is a Greek dough that Mrs Kalliopi makes with olive oil and yogurt. The recipe came just as a list of ingredients and only the phrase: “make a soft and fluffy dough. Let it rest for 30min”. But worry not, we’ve deciphered it for you.

In Greece we usually make it into small pastries and fill them with feta and egg. But as you can imagine you can stuff it with whatever you wish: graviera or other hard cheese and bacon, tomatoes and a soft creamy white cheese like galotyri. Or you can even spread it and use it as a base for your pizza. This specific dough can actually stand on its own, so you can even roll it out and cut it in strips.

Ingredients 
500g  flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
230ml (1 cup) of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons (30g) grated graviera cheese
200g greek yogurt
1 egg

Preheat your oven at 180C. Sieve your flour in a bowl and add the salt.

In a separate bowl whisk your egg. Add the olive oil and yogurt and stir until everything is combined. Add the cheese and stir again. Slowly pour your wet ingredients into your flour bowl. Use your hands until everything is combined. Place your dough in a lightly floured surface and kneed for a few minutes until you get (you guessed it) a soft and fluffy dough.

Let it rest for half an hour while you prepare your fillings or topping (if using any). Roll it and either stuff it, use it as a pizza base or cut in strips. Bake at 180C. Your dough will rise a bit, having a delicious slightly flaky texture. When you make it, drop us an email or tweet, Mrs Kalliopi would be thrilled.


Unsalted Kalamata olives are a very interesting ingredient. They are very different than any other Kalamata olives you’re used to eating. The lack of salt makes all other flavours become more intense. What do we mean by that? Imagine an olive with a more fruity olive-y taste. An olive with the acidity of vinegar biting you gently. And that olive paired with mellow Spartan extra virgin olive oil and wild herbs from the Mt. Taygetus. Add to that the fact that they have been hand picked, hand selected, cured in fresh water and they have not been pasteurised. You see where we are going with this?

Unsalted Kalamata olives are a very unique ingredient.

And sure you can enjoy them plain or in salads. But because of their unique flavour they change anything plain to super interesting. They add colour to a white canvas and they do not overpower the dish with added saltiness.

What is the whitest of canvasses for a cook? White bread of course.

So here it is, for this week, a recipe for bread that comes to life with the unsalted olives. Oh and we’ve added some sun dried tomatoes and oregano, too. But we’ll tell you more about the beauty of our sun dried tomatoes and oregano another time.

Makes 1 loaf

500g strong bread flour
1 sachet (7g) of yeast
1 tbs of salt
1-2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
375ml of lukewarm water
1 tbs oregano
50g unsalted olives, finely chopped
50g sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Mix the yeast with water and stir gently until it dissolves. Add the olive oil. Mix the salt with the flour on a clean surface. Make a hole in the middle and slowly incorporate the water-yeast, stirring with a fork or with your fingers until all ingredients are combined together. Dust a bowl with flour and place your dough inside. Let it rise for a few hours, until double in size.

Dust a surface with flour and kneed the dough, adding the olives, sun dried tomatoes and oregano, until all ingredients seem to have combined evenly. Don’t kneed too much though. Shape a loaf (shape it as you wish) and let it rise until again doubles in size.

Bake at very hot oven (250oC), by placing your loaf on a pre-heated baking tray. It takes about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven once your bread is golden brown and responds with a hollow noise when you tap its bottom. Wait until it cools down to cut. Or don’t. Hot bread makes right all that’s wrong in the world.


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.


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.


Have you ever thought making a cake without any added sugar? This is an ancient and very simple recipe that varies in different regions or different islands of Greece. People used back then grape molasses or petimezi as sweetener in baking, and it does work wonders.

Ingredients:

1 cup olive oil
1 ½ cups grape molasses
1 cup orange juice
peel from 1 orange
3 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1tbs baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ cup crushed almonds or walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Mix the olive oil with the grape molasses. Add the soda into the orange juice, orange peel, spices, then add into the olive oil and molasses mix. Add the baking powder into the flour and then stir into the molasses. Combine slowly until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter into a well greased pan and bake for about 1 hour into a preheated oven at 180 oC.

Buy our grape molasses