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


For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll know by now that we love cooking with vegetables. We love making flavourful soups, colourful dips and, of course, salads. But we often wonder, how can we find a way to incorporate more raw veggies in our daily lives?

The solution is quite simple, it seems: Just accompany them with something exciting. Not that raw vegetables aren’t exciting on their own. But let’s be honest, a dip of sorts will take them to a whole other level.

Last week we made this hearty mixed pulses and roasted red peppers dip. This week we’ve got something simpler, yet equally exciting for you. This recipe uses ingredients that we don’t yet have on the website –but we will soon! So come by our Borough Market shop or visit our Railway Arch at Bermondsey, we have all of these in stock!

So go on, source these simple ingredients, and within minutes you’ll have the most interesting dip to accompany raw vegetables.

Makes one bowl:
200g Greek yoghurt
200g galomyzithra cheese (or other soft white cheese)
50g kefir
salt (to taste)
chilli oil (to serve)

In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, galomyzithra cheese and kefir. Season with salt. Drizzle plenty of chilli oil and serve with colourful raw vegetables.


Halloumi is in store! A few weeks ago, we received our amazing halloumi from Cyprus, made purely from goats’ milk. For some reason, I have associated halloumi with summer. I am not sure why, it is equally tasty during winter: grated into pies, placed on top of winter vegetables and roasted in the oven, or as part of our winter salads. But this season somehow makes me crave it even more.

When thinking what to pair it with, my mind went back to summers past. A few summers ago, I worked for a brilliant Greek chef called Chrysanthos Karamolegos. He is a larger-than-life man, full of creativity and love for Greek cuisine. A cosmopolitan creature, he always takes unusual ingredients and puts them together, resulting in the most amazing flavour combinations. The recipe we have today for you is from my memories of his flavours, of my time with him, memories of life-changing culinary experiences that made life sparkle, bite after bite.

So if during summer, like me, you sometimes lose yourself in the slower pace of life, in the heat, or in the holidays away from home, this recipe is to remind us that there is always a bite of food that can let the light in.

Serves two as main
250g halloumi cheese
500g very cold cold melon
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
3 tsp white vinegar
1 red chilli
a few fresh basil leaves

Cut the melon into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, mix together the remaining olive oil, honey and vinegar. Finely chop the chilli and basil leaves. Add to your dressing. Toss together the melon and dressing and place on a plate. Slice the halloumi into thick slices and grill in a frying pan or griddle, using 1 tsbp of olive oil. Place the grilled halloumi on top of your melon and serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

 


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.

 


Valentine’s Day on February 14th is usually associated with romantic love. For us here at Oliveology it is indeed a day of love. Love is not only for lovers, but also for friends, family, yourself. It is also the day to indulge in the pleasures of eating-and cooking for that matter.

So this week we have prepared a recipe for you, using one of our very special ingredients! Black. Truffle. Sauce.

Our truffle sauce is made of champignon mushrooms, blended with black summer truffle, extra virgin olive oil, salt and spices. Each jar contains 10% of truffle, so the aroma is quite intense. You can use this sauce in various dishes, stir into warm pasta, add on omelettes or mix with cream for a delicious sauce. My personal favourite is simply spreading it on warm toast, with fresh herbs on top. Add a poached egg and you’ve got yourselves the most luxurious breakfast -or dinner for that matter!

But back to this week’s recipe. It is possibly the simplest way to use this delicious ingredient. Apart from simply spreading on toast, that is. You can swap orzo for rice, and if you want to complicate it a bit more, use vegetable stock instead of water. But for us, this version is ideal.

Serves two

1 medium red onion
2tbsp olive oil
150g orzo
½ jar black truffle sauce
300ml water
salt pepper
30g kefalotyri cheese, finely grated
springs of thyme (to serve)

Finely slice the onion. In a medium sized dish and over medium-high heat gently fry the onion in the olive oil until translucent and slightly caramelised. Add the orzo and stir until covered in the remaining oil and well mixed.

Add half of the truffle sauce and stir again.

Add the 300ml of water, season with salt and pepper and let it cook, half covered until orzo is al dente.

Remove from the heat, add the cheese and stir, adding a few splashes of water if needed.

Serve with the remaining black truffle sauce and fresh thyme.


Manouri is one of our favourite cheeses. Why you ask. Well, its flavour is magnificent, with sheep’s and goats’ milk balancing the tanginess and smoothness. Texture wise, this semi-hard white cheese manages to exist perfectly between creaminess and firmness. More than this, when grilled, this balance transforms into a more intense play between a near-crispy exterior and a smooth interior. You know, almost anything grilled is better.

So this week we decided to get our griddle pan out of the cupboard and grill everything for this dish. First things first though. Manouri pairs perfectly with both salty flavours and sweet. Another balance we love. In this recipe we went for sweet, pairing it with summer fruit and chestnut honey. This interesting combination of ingredients makes this dish ideal for either a starter or a dessert. Yes, another perfect balance, don’t you think? I’m telling you, manouri has that quality. But just between you and I, this dish is actually perfect for a summer dinner. Don’t ask me why, just give it a try and you will see. Somehow it makes you feel full, body and soul.

For 2 people you will need

2 thick slices of manouri cheese (approx. 5cm each)
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 apricots
1 peach
1 nectarine
1 red chilli, finely chopped
a few springs of mint, finely chopped
2 tbsp chestnut honey
black pepper

Place your griddle pan over medium-high heat and let it heat up. Gently rub the olive oil around the manouri.

Cut the apricots in half, the peach and nectarine in quarters, removing –and discarding – the pits. Rub the rest of the olive oil on your fruit.

Place the manouri and the fruit on your griddle pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.

Put the cheese and fruit on a plate. Sprinkle the chilli, springs of mint. Crack some black pepper and drizzle with honey.

Let us know if you prefer this for a starter, dessert or as a main!


Yes, we’re cooking again with spinach this week! Did you make our spinach and rice stew last week? This week we felt it’s time we did something less traditional. Recipe books call these little thingies that we are making this week gnocchi or dumplings. We are not sure which word we prefer, but they do look like golf balls, hence the name on the title.

We are using fresh spinach from the market and our two favourite cheeses. Manouri, a creamy semi-hard white cheese and kefalotyri, a more piquant yellow cheese. Both are made from goats’ and sheep’s milk, from two small producers in Greece. We love them both equally. Manouri adds silkiness to the balls and kefalotyri adds the necessary saltiness.

For two people you will need:

400g of spinach (leaves only)
100g manouri cheese, grated
50g kefalotyri cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
60g all-purpose flour
black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (to serve)

Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, running the leaves under cold water. Squeeze the spinach with your hands, so that all the water is removed. You should be left with a couple of handfuls of spinach. Finely chop. Squeeze again to remove any excess water.

Place your spinach in a large bowl. Add the manouri cheese and the kefalotyri. Using a fork mix all ingredients together. In a separate bowl break the egg yolks. Add them to the spinach-cheese mixture and stir well. Slowly add the flour. You should have a slightly sticky dough. Add black pepper to taste.

Place it in the fridge for an hour. It will become firmer.

In the meantime, set up for cooking: Place a large pot with salted water over medium high heat and bring to the boil.

Once the dough is cold and firm, using your hands shape round balls. In batches, drop them in the boiling water but be careful not to overcroud the pot. The balls will rise to the surface. Once they do, let them swirl there for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove from the pot.

Serve warm, with extra virgin olive oil and more black pepper.

 

 


This week we are cooking asparagus again! You see, the beauty of waiting all year long for a vegetable or fruit is that you can then enjoy it to the fullest. This week we have decided to make something simple. As we are busy preparing for our upcoming cooking workshop in mid-May, and many new exciting things for this autumn, we often find ourselves very tired at the end of the day.

On days when the idea of cooking something elaborate for dinner seems absurd and you come home late from work (or worse, you have more work to do like we often do), this simple recipe will make you happier. Making it only takes a few minutes, enough to relax you from the day’s stress.

For this one we’ve used St Isidoros cheese, a smooth and intense goat’s milk cheese, made on the island of Naxos and matured for 400 days. Come by Borough Market to taste it!

So here we go, ingredients and recipe for two people:

4 eggs
½ bunch asparagus
a couple of pinches of dried thyme
1 small leek
3 tbsp olive oil
100g St Isidoros cheese, grated
salt, pepper

Turn on your oven to grill.
Finely slice the leek. Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and cut each in half.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for two minutes.
In an oven proof skillet gently fry the leeks with the olive oil until softened.
Set aside and sprinkle half of the cheese.
Mix the eggs, salt, pepper and the rest of the cheese in a bowl, whisking with a fork.
Pour the egg mixture on top of the leeks and scatter the asparagus.
Place it under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

We hope that by now you have relaxed. Set the table and serve with a simple green salad.


Spring is here! Well, let’s not be hasty, but it seems so. The snow that surrounded us here in London last week has now melted and the sun is shining. The first flowers appear in the green parks. We timidly stop to smell them once again.

I always think of bees when I smell flowers. Imagine living a life surrounded by aromatic flowers. But let me not get carried away, our favourite beekeeper has more to say on bees.

But bees bring us to this week’s recipe. We will make a delicious spring breakfast using bee pollen! And not only to welcome spring. As many of us at Oliveology have been ill the last few weeks, bee pollen is our go-to superfood to boost our immunity. And ideas on how to incorporate it in our lives are always welcome (let us know if you’ve got any!). Bee Pollen is a source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes including iron, protein, Vitamin B1, B2 and B3. Sounds like it’s very good for our bodies.

Collected by honeybees from the forests and flora of Northern Greece, our bee pollen is carefully dried to preserve all the vital nutrients. If you’ve never tasted bee pollen you’re in for a treat! These golden granules look like small rocks. But they are powdery, creating a silky dust in your mouth. And you can read a bit more here too!

This week we are pairing bee pollen with pairs and our favourite white soft galomyzithra creamy cheese. In an open sandwitch! Talk about pumping up your morning toast! Oh and for future spring breakfasts, bee pollen is great sprinkled on Greek yogurt, porridge, cereals and salads or added in milk, juice or smoothies.

Spring bee pollen toast for two

1 large pear
2 slices of qood quality bread
60g of galomyzithra cheese
2 teaspoons of bee pollen
sage honey (optional)

Finely slice the pear. Spread the galomyzithra cheese on your bread. Place the pear slices on top. Sprinkle bee pollen. Drizzle some honey if using.