This week we’ve got a wonderful summer recipe for you!

The simplest version of the classic recipe calls for okra, olive oil, onions and tomatoes. As with most traditional Greek recipes, there are endless variations. For instance, my mother simply adds a bit of cinnamon and sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Others add a shot of vinegar. No matter the recipe, feta cheese is always served on the side. Here, we took inspiration from the past and created a wholesome dish that is sure to become a summer staple.

For this recipe you can use fresh or frozen okra. Just make sure to be very gentle when you stir your okra, otherwise it will break down. We’ve used our small sun-dried tomatoes, aged balsamic vinegar and orange-blossom honey to add aromas and depth to our tomatoes. We are also baking the okra in the oven, adding cheese – manouri and feta cheese! Of course, feel free to omit the cheese if you are vegan.

Serves 2 with leftovers

425g okra
1 large onion
1 bottle tomato passata or 3-4 tomatoes crushed
30g sun-dried tomatoes (reserve the oil to use in salads or dressings)
1tbsp tomato paste, mixed with ½ cup 100ml warm water
½ cup (100ml) olive oil
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey (we used orange blossom honey)
salt, pepper
cinnamon (optional)
100g feta cheese
100g manouri cheese (at our shop Borough Market or Spa Terminus)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Cut the onion in half-moons and place in a medium-sized baking tray. Add the okra, tomato passata, sun-dried tomatoes and gently stir everything together.

In a large mug add the tomato paste and warm water, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and gently stir everything together, until the paste has dissolved.

Add to your tray with the okra, season with salt, pepper and cinnamon (if using). Stir everything together.

Bake at 180C for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. You can leave it for longer, up to two hours, if you want your okra mellow and very soft.

Cut the cheeses into cubes and once the okra is cooked, add the cheeses and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread – I personally prefer okra at room temperature, but hot or cold actually works wonders with this dish!

 


It’s Shrove Tuesday!

This is the last day before the beginning for Lent. A moveable feast during which in the UK we have pancakes! This year is of course different, but we find that upholding traditions offers us a sense of comfort – especially if these are an excuse to make and enjoy delicious foods!

In search of inspiration for pancake fillings (remember our tahini and grape molasses from a couple of years ago?), we decided to turn to Greek traditions. So this year, our inspiration for this recipe comes from one of the most-loved Greek food combinations: soft white cheese and honey! A breakfast staple in many households, this combination is also the basis for kalitsounia, the little Cretan pastries. Soft creamy cheese, often on the tangy side, blends perfectly with sweet honey. For this recipe, we’ve selected our galomizithra cheese, a soft white Cretan cheese. We paired it with our orange blossom honey, a delicate, sweet honey with a citrus taste and a light amber colour. The result is truly majestic: Think of a cream cheese frosting, but more airy and light, and much more fragrant and aromatic.

Smother your pancakes with this filling. Sprinkle some cinnamon, chop up some fresh mint. We love bee pollen with this one too. Don’t forget your favourite nuts and yes, you can drizzle some more honey!

Serves two

1 pack (200g) galomizithra cheese
4 tbsp orange blossom honey,  plus more to serve
cinnamon, finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
bee pollen, nuts (to serve)

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the honey.

Using a fork or a whisk, mix everything together until well-combined.

Add the cinnamon or fresh mint, if using.

Smother over your pancakes and serve with bee pollen, more honey and your favourite nuts!


This could possibly be the simplest and most exciting recipe we’ve ever created. It is also quite versatile (which we love), as it can be served as a starter, light main, or even as dessert! It combines two of our favourite ingredients, grapes and halloumi cheese.

Grapes are the ultimate September ingredient, and the ideal way to say goodbye to summer flavours and get ready for autumn! We love grapes as a snack, as part of our morning porridge or in salads. But they are also fantastic when roasted in the oven! The first time we tried them, following an old Jamie Oliver recipe, we were in awe. The result is a dense, complex sweet flavour, so intense and wonderful. In this recipe, we’ve used the sultanina variety, the light green ones, but you can use whatever you can find.

Roasted grapes pair perfectly with halloumi’s mellow saltiness. We’ve used our traditional Cypriot halloumi cheese, that is made exclusively with goat’s milk. A semi-hard, bright cheese, with a mellow flavour and hints of mint. Perfect for your salads, but also, as you know, it is delicious when roasted, as in this recipe.

To bring everything together, we’ve used our grape molasses and extra virgin olive oil, along with some dried thyme. The result is indeed magical, and let us not forget, perfect with a white crisp Greek wine!

So join us, let’s get back into the kitchen and deal with summer blues in the only way we know: cooking.

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grape molasses
300g grapes on the vine
150g halloumi cheese
a pinch of dried thyme

Preheat the oven at 200C.

In a shallow baking dish, place the grapes on the vine. Cut the halloumi cheese in small cubes and scatter between and around the grapes. Drizzle the olive oil, grape molasses and sprinkle the thyme.

Bake for approximately 30min, or until everything is nicely roasted and there’s a lovely juice at the bottom of your dish. Serve with crusty bread, drizzling the leftover juice over the grapes and halloumi.

Don’t forget the wine!


For some reason the first days of September often still feel like summer. All of us at Oliveology use this week to regroup from time off during the summer, to reflect on the year ahead of us, make plans and dreams. The weather feels as if it is ready for autumn of course, but as a farewell to the summer, this week we’ve prepared a tart, using a selection of the last summer tomatoes.

It is a very easy and quite well-known dish, which can be made with not much fuss (it is the end of summer, after all). It looks amazing and most importantly, it’s delicious! What makes this tart unique is the combination of cheeses we’ve selected!

As you know we love cheese, especially cheese that is made with care. Our manouri and galomyzithra cheeses are two of our favourites. White, creamy, and full of flavour! You can find them at our Borough Marker shop and as part of our Greek cheese selection – just make sure to ask for them when you place your order.

We used puff pastry, but this also works with Mrs Kalliopi’s magic dough if you feel like kneading!

1 sheet of puff pastry
200g galomyzithra cheese
100g manouri cheese, grated
1 tbsp 17C olive oil
1 clove of garlic
350g cherry tomatoes
2 sun-dried tomatoes (or more, to taste)
salt, pepper (to taste)
dried thyme (to taste)
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven at 180C.
Roll out the puff pastry in a greased baking sheet. Pierce it with a fork and place it in the oven, for 10-15min or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Keep the oven on.

In a large bowl, and using a fork, mix together the galomyzithra cheese, the manouri cheese, lemon oil, salt and pepper. Mince the garlic and add to the mixture. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Cut your tomatoes in halves or quarters and set aside. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in very small pieces.

Once the puff pastry has cooled down, spread the cheese mixture. Lay the tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the thyme. Drizzle with a few gulps of olive oil and place the tart back in the oven, to cook for 20-30min.

It is perfect eaten at room temperature, and (our personal preference, don’t ask why), cold the next morning!


This week again, we’ve got a very summery recipe from Amaryllis from The Tasty Other. Amaryllis is one of our favourite guest chefs in our dinner experiences cooking workshops. She has a pure love for food, a fascination with tradition and gatherings, and great passion about storytelling through photography. You can check out many of her recipes here, and of course follow her on instagram. So here it is, words and recipe by Amaryllis, right below. Enjoy!

Grapes and figs are easily my favourite summer fruits and I have my family’s summer house to thank for this; the vines surrounding almost the entire house and our very large fig tree (which, coincidentally, is exactly the same age as me!) always offer their fruit in abundance and we enjoy them both fresh off the vine and tree, but also combined with other delicious seasonal ingredients. This salad features red & green sweet grapes, brown lentils (another family favourite and irresistible when added to cold dishes), a hefty dose of my beloved tarragon and big chunks of Cretan graviera. The latter really brings the dish together with its mild sweetness and irresistible subtle fragrance, perfectly balancing out the acidity of the aged balsamic.

Ingredients
300g red & yellow grapes, washed
1 tablespoon honey (choose a non-floral variety, such as pine or wild thyme)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
About 10g fresh tarragon, leaves picked & thinly chopped
400g cooked lentils
3 gem lettuces, washed and very roughly chopped
60-80g Cretan graviera cheese, in chunks

To serve:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan); put the grapes, honey, olive oil & balsamic into a deep roasting dish, along with a big pinch of salt, and roast for about 15’, or until the grapes start to burst. Remove and set aside to cool at room temperature.

Toss the lentils with a pinch of salt and then add the grapes (no need to remove from the sprigs, just cut them in small bunches) and their juice, chopped tarragon, lettuce and cheese chunks. Toss well and serve with additional extra virgin olive oil, chopped hazelnuts and a little black pepper.


This is a very summery dish, that is both filling and very refreshing! It is great served hot, at room temperature, or even cold as a salad. Which, if we are being honest, is one of the things we love most about summer: being able to make simple dishes that you can eat at any temperature according to our mood!

For this dish, we used summer vegetables and orzo. In Greek cuisine, orzo is usually associated with oven-baked tomato-based dishes. It usually accompanies Sunday’s slow cooked meat dishes, but can also be prepared as a dish on its own, as in our vegan version!

As such, in the past we’ve usually prepared it in winter, mixed with black truffle sauce for valentine’s, or oven-baked with saffron, sun-dried tomatoes and galomyzithra cheese.

So we were very excited to try it in a summer recipe! We used peas and courgettes, and our very summery 17C olive oil! A perfect dish for al fresco dining. Needless to say that a bottle of crisp white wine would be the ideal pairing.

Serves 4 for lunch

3 tbsp olive oil
4 fat cloves of garlic
1 cup peas (approx. 150g)
2 medium-sized courgettes, with blossoms if you can find (approx. 300g)
250g orzo
2tbsp 17C olive oil
80g graviera cheese, grated (you can find our graviera cheese in our Greek cheese selection)

Finely slice the courgettes and blossoms. Set aside the blossoms.

In a large frying pan and over medium-low heat gently fry the garlic in the olive oil until transluscent.
Add the peas and courgettes and gently fry for another 7minutes, until everything is covered in the oil.

In the meantime, boil orzo in plenty of salted water until al dente, exactly as you do with pasta. Drain and return to the pot, drizzling the lemon oil, while the orzo is still hot. Stir well.

Add your vegetables, garlic and remaining oil from the pan in the orzo. Toss everything together and add the graviera cheese and blossoms. Serve hot or at room temperature.


This week we’ve got a very fresh, summery recipe from Ligia from TheDaringKitchen. Ligia shares our passion for fresh, healthy food – with a Greek twist of course! You can check out many of her recipes here, and of course follow her on instagram. So here it is, words and recipe by Ligia, right below. Enjoy!

Summer is here, which means fresh produce abounds! Make the most of the season’s finest veggies with this summery Greek Kale Salad. It’s filled with briny kalamata olives, juicy tomato, sweet onion, creamy feta, and finished with a simple vinaigrette flavoured with fresh oregano.

The salad is best if it’s left to marinate for a few minutes before serving. This softens up the kale, making it a bit more digestible and flavourful. It also uses two kinds of kale for a bit of flavour and textural variation, but you can always use just one, depending on what’s available near you.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Dressing:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

Salad:
1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tomato, sliced
½ white onion, sliced
¼ cup Kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh oregano, minced, for garnish

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, mustard, oregano, garlic, pepper, and salt.

Add the kale, tomato, and onion. Toss to coat fully in the dressing.

Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Toss in the olives and feta cheese, just before serving.

Enjoy your salad!


Last week we celebrated Greek Easter. Celebrations this year were very different, with large family gatherings being replaced by phone and video calls, baskets filled with food gifts and love shared from a distance. It was a strange Easter, no doubt.

With our families often far away, we spent a lot of time preparing old family recipes. You see, food always makes us feel closer to home. In my family, we made the traditional mageiritsa soup, a soup made with offal and lots of spring greens. Marianna made her mothers’ traditional recipe of flaounes. Flaounes is a cheese-filled pastry from the island of Cyprus, that is traditionally prepared for Easter. Marianna’s family usually makes flaounes on the Thursday before Easter, and eats them on Easter Sunday – and the entire week after!

Marianna’s mother, Mrs Kalliopi does all sorts of amazing dough-based recipes. Remember her olive oil apple cake? And her kourou dough?

So this year, she sent us from Athens her hand-written recipe of flaounes, which we couldn’t but share with you this week! I always find it exciting to get hand-written old family recipes, don’t you?

This recipe makes more flaounes than you can eat (around 12). This is because making them is a communal process, where neighbours come together and all cook together. Now, at times of quarantine, make the whole recipe and share the flaounes with your neighbours!

Dough
1kg all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp mahlepi, ground (we got ours from Spice Mountain)
½ tbsp mastiha, ground to dust with ½ tbsp sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Filling
700g graviera cheese, grated
2 pieces of halloumi, grated
10 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup Corinth raisins
3 tbsp dried spearmint

1 egg and sesame (for baking)

In a large bowl, sieve together your dry ingredients: flour, baking poder, salt, mahlepi, mastiha.
Add the butter and using your fingers, mix everything together, until you have a texture that resembles small breadcrumbs.
Whisk the milk and eggs together and add to your mixture.
Kneed until you have a dough that is not sticky.

Let it rest for an hour, in a warm place.

Preheat the oven at 170C.

While your dough is resting, make the filling: grate the cheeses all together. Whisk the eggs, adding the baking powder and spearmint. Mix together the cheeses, egg mixture and raisins. You should have a filling that is slightly dense in texture.

On a clean surface, dust some flour and using a rolling pin, roll out your dough. Cut large rounds of dough, using a small plate as a guide.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of filling in each round, and fold the ends inwards, so that you have a neat parcel – but not all the way, you should be able to see some of the filling in the centre. Pinch the ends with a fork, to ensure the dough will hold its shape during baking..

Place the flaounes in a buttered baking tray. Whisk the egg and brush generously over each flaouna. Sprinkle with sesame.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.


This week we’ve got a very comforting recipe for you. Soon it will be the beginning of spring, yet some days it still feels like winter. So for those challenging days, there is nothing better than a good casserole dish, to take the blues away.

We are big fans of casseroles, remember our vegan orzo? And then it was the cauliflower with smoked cheese we made a couple of winters ago. This winter, we decided to use beans, as we wanted to feel a bit healthier. And for some reason, beans have that effect. We used small white beans, but you can use gigantes as well.

Our organic beans are harvested every year in farms in northern Greece. You can use them to make your own homemade baked beans, but also add them in soups, stews and grain bowls, like this comforting soup with beans and butternut squash.

This week it’s beans, fragrant pesto and melted graviera cheese. Yum!

Serves 4 with leftovers

200g small beans (you can also choose gigantes butterbeans)
2 bay leaves
2 cups seasonal greens, finely chopped (we used purple kale and spinach)
2 tbsp 17C olive oil
250gr milk or cream
2 eggs
200g graviera cheese, grated
¾ cups pesto (we used our green pistachio pesto)

The night before soak the beans in cold water. The morning after, boil the beans with the bay leaves for around 45 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans and discard the bay leaves.

Steam the greens until soft.

In a bowl whisk together the lemon oil, milk or cream and eggs, adding half of the cheese in the end.

In a casserole, mix together the beans and pesto. Add the eggs-cream mixture and stir everything together, until well mixed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 180C for 30min or until hot and bubbly inside.


“Attica”
“…a less famous grape variety”
“winner of the Sommelier Wine Awards”

…… what picture do these words draw when they are put together? I have to admit, it took me a long time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, before I finally got enchanted by the charms of this wine.

Attica
Mesogeia, located in East Attica, Greece, is the place where this wine was made. For some, it is better known as the area surrounding parts of Athens. Compared to wine-producing regions such as Santorini or Crete, this area is on the south edge of continental Greece, where the micro climate for grape growth is definitely different from that on those islands. Thanks to the dry and long summers during the grape growing season, grape varieties that are cultivated in the area have to be resistant to heat and drought. Since 1979, this region has had its own geographical indication of origin, which is recognised as a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) nowadays. One of the most well-known wines from this area is the famous Retsina, which is frequently regarded as the signature wine of Greece by many.

Roditis
Yes, we just mentioned Retsina. In many occasions the grape variety Roditis is added to Savatiano to produce a blended white wine to make Retsina. Perhaps this is the reason why the name Roditis is less well-known. What is even uncommon to see, is Roditis being used solely to produce a dry white wine. And indeed, the Aoton Roditis 2015 was in fact made in only 3,000 bottles.

Sommelier Wine Award Gold
In 2018, the 2015 Aoton Roditis won a gold prize in the UK-based Sommelier Wine Awards competition. It was described as to have a similar style to Chenin Blanc, in the way that this wine stands out for its full body and rich texture.

In the glass, this wine shows a beautiful, clear, bright and medium-to-deep gold colour, demonstrating its well-developed maturation stage. With a high viscosity, it already starts to indicate an inviting oily-ish texture. By gently swirling the glass, it releases a distinctive spicy aroma, a mixture dominated by cumin and touches of clove and aniseed. Following that, are the gradually opened notes of ripe apple and honey, which also announce the wine as being well-matured. There was clearly no trace of oak barrel. On the palate, the wine is dry, with high acidity, full body and rich texture. There are complex flavours of roasted pineapple, subtle melon and honey, together with the smoky and flinty tastes that developed from the cumin and clove aromas. Without the use of oak barrel, this wine has a citrusy finish.

The wine is ready for drink, or can age for another 2-3 years. It is best served in a globe-shape glass, like the ones you would use for an oaked Burgundy white wine, with a temperature of around 12-13°C. While some sommeliers suggest to have it with a vegetable risotto, this wine can also be an excellent pairing to fresh salmon and sea urchins. If you’d like to eat like a Greek, have the wine with a youthful graviera cheese besides fava dip and red onion; if you are a fan of Japanese food, go bold and try it with sashimi.

Order the 2015 Aoton Roditis here!

by Celine

References:
https:// www.sommelierwineawards.com/winners/winners-2018
https:// aoton.gr