Tahinopita, literally meaning “tahini pie” is a well-loved Cypriot sweet bread/cake, traditionally eaten during Lent. Marianna, who is half Cypriot, grew up with tahinopita, be it from the neighbourhood bakery, or home-made by her mother and aunts. I, on the other hand did not, as tahinopita was not part of my culinary universe.

So when I was researching for this recipe I was, I must confess, not so enthusiastic about it. In its many versions, it read like a sweet bread with sweet tahini, which is a much loved combination, but nothing more than that.

Well. Let me tell you, I was standing in my kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, fragrant smells of cinnamon, mahleb and cloves all around me, tasting perhaps one of the most delicious baked goods I’ve ever made.

The recipe is quite straightforward. You make the dough and the filling and then put them together. There are various ways to do so, and you can have a look at this video which is quite helpful. There’s also a much simpler way, which you can find here and which we used. It is very similar to making cinnamon rolls.

We got inspired by Georgina Hayden’s recipe who uses carob molasses in the filling and we absolutely loved the idea!

For the dough
350g flour
½ tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp aromatic spices such as mahleb, mastiha, vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 sachet dried yeast (7g)
275ml lukewarm water

For the filling
200g tahini
125g white sugar
3 tbsp carob molasses
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
3tbsp water

To serve
wild flower honey (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160C.

First make the dough. Add the yeast to a jug with the lukewarm water and let it stand for a couple of minutes. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking soda, and all the spices. Add the yeast/water mixture and using a fork bring everything together. Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until you have an elastic dough, around 10min. Dust your bowl with some flour and return the dough to your bowl. Let it rest in a warm place while you prepare the filling, around 15min.

To make the filling, gently whisk together the tahini, sugar, carob molasses, spices, olive oil and water. You should have a thick-but-not-too-thick paste. Set aside.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle, around 2-3mm thick. Spread the filling on top. Then roll up the dough, cut in thick pieces, turn them on their side (like you would do with cinnamon rolls), and gently push them down, so that you have a small, round tahinopitas, resembling cookies. Alternatively, you can follow the traditional way: Fold the dough like an envelope, so that you have two layers of dough, with the filling in between. Roll up the dough and twist it around like a cheese stick. Roll it like a snail.

Place them in a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven at 160C for approx. 20minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey, if using. Enjoy!


With a war happening so close, it is difficult to even write this recipe. But we find solace in food, and in sharing food. Eating together often seems the only way to cope with reality these days, and we savour these moments, knowing that not everyone gets to experience comforting food today. Our recipe of honeyed apricots or nectarines is for pancake day tomorrow, and we hope that you will enjoy making it and that you will share it with friends, family, neighbours, strangers.

For this recipe, we are using our succulent apricots and nectarines. With a natural vibrant yellow-orange colour, they are picked during the summer and dried without the addition of any sugar or other flavourings. They have a natural sweetness which is enhanced by slowly cooking them in honey. You can choose apricots, nectarines or a mixture of the two.

Our honeyed apricots/nectarines are stirred together with creamy galomizithra cheese and Greek yoghurt. We add colourful, raw pistachios to create a very unique pancake fulling for this year’s pancake day! Don’t forget to check our last year’s galomizithra and honey pancake filling, and our other pancake and breakfast recipes.

Of course, if you want to keep this recipe simple, you can use just the honeyed apricots and nectarines as your pancake filling – and yes, they are also great in your morning porridge, on top of fresh fruit, or on their own.

Serves two

100g dried apricots or nectarines
2 tbsp strawberry tree honey, plus more if desired
100g water

50g yoghurt (you can find it at our Borough Market & Spa Terminus shops)
200g galomizithra
25g raw pistachio kernels

Finely chop your apricots or nectarines. Place them in a small saucepan with the honey and water. Cook over low heat, until the apricots/nectarines are soft and tender, around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste (careful not to burn yourselves!) and add more honey if desired. Your simple pancake filling is ready!

If you go the cheese route, then let the apricots/nectarines cool down a bit. Roughly chop the pistachios. In a bowl mix together the yoghurt and galomizithra cheese. Add the honeyed fruit and pistachios and stir everything together. Spread onto your pancakes. Yum!


The 28th of October is the Greek national holiday, known as the Ohi Day. It commemorates the rejection of the Mussolini ultimatum by the Greek PM Metaxas, which resulted in Greece joining WWII. The day is widely celebrated all around Greece, and though there are no traditional dishes served on this day, it’s usually a time for the family to come together.

So this week, we’ve prepared something sweet for you, a beloved Greek traditional dessert called portokalopita. Portokalopita, literally meaning orange – pie, is a fascinating dessert. It’s made both with cake batter and filo pastry, and (!) an orange-sugar syrup drizzled on top (using the same technique as in the classic baklava). The result, as you can imagine is spectacular. It’s moist and aromatic, and extremely satisfying.

The cake batter is made with oil and while the classic recipe uses sunflower oil, we prefer using olive oil, as it adds depth and flavour.

Serves 12

For the cake
225g olive oil (plus more for the cake dish)
225g sugar
225g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 oranges (zest)
400g filo pastry
3 tbsp semolina or flour (for the cake dish)

For the syrup
500ml water
500gr sugar
250ml orange juice
1 orange, sliced (optional)

fresh bee pollen (to serve)

Thaw your filo (if from frozen). Shred your filo into large pieces and scatter on a large baking dish. Let it dry for a couple of hours. You can do this step the night before.

As your filo is drying, prepare the syrup. In a medium-sized pot, add the water, sugar, orange juice and sliced orange and stir everything together. Place your pot over medium-high heat and warm up the suryp, until the sugar has dissolved, 2-3min. Boil for another couple of minutes, remove from the heat and let cool.

Preheat your oven at 180C

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the olive oil, baking powder, yoghurt, orange zest. Stir well until everything is combined.

Grease a large cake tin (30cm) with olive oil and dust some semolina flour all around. Lay the dried filo. Pour over your cake batter and using your hands gently toss everything together. You can do this in your bowl and then transfer to the cake tin if you prefer.

Bake at 180 for 30minutes or until your cake is cooked through. Remove from the oven and using a ladle, immediately pour over the cold syrup, one ladle at a time. It may look a lot, but worry not, your portokalopita will magically slowly absorb it all.

Decorate with the orange slices and bee pollen.
You can serve it immidiatley or ideally wait a few hours. It keeps well in the fridge.

 


This recipe belongs to Frantzeska and Froso, two women from the island on Tinos and were featured in the Greek cooking magazine Gastronomos, in a wonderful issue dedicated to old recipes from all over Greece.

The ingredients for this cake are fascinating, as there were no eggs, butter or sugar. The recipe calls for olive oil (you know that us Greeks love baking with olive oil, remember Mrs Kalliopi’s Olive Oil Cake?), which as the two women say can be replaced with tahini. Instead of sugar or honey, grape molasses are used, even though you can also use any leftover syrup from the traditional spoon sweets, for example from this grape spoon sweet. But grape molasses is one of our favourite ingredients to use, and our product of the month for September, so we couldn’t but give it a try. The result truly surprised us. This wonderful cake, with flavours that remind us of Fanouropita, or Petimezopita filled the house with warm, autumn smells. Expect a moist cake with a remarkable depth of flavours.

Frantzeska and Froso add some sesame on top of the batter before baking the cake, but we decided to swap the sesame for our tahini, and created these lovely swirls.

Serves 6
50ml olive oil (plus more for your baking dish)
250ml grape molasses
45ml tsipouro
½ lemon zest and juice, divided
½ tsp baking soda
½ tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
200g all-purpose flour (plus more for your baking dish)
2 tbsp tahini
Cinnamon (to serve)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the olive oil, grape molasses, tsipouro and lemon zest.

In a mug add the lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) and the baking soda and carefully stir. It will foam, be prepared.

Add it to your bowl, along with the flour and spices, and whisk until just combined.

Grease your baking dish with olive oil and coat it with some flour, so that your cake doesn’t stick. Add the batter.

Add a few dollops of tahini all around the batter and using a wooden skewer or knife, swirl it through the batter.

Bake at 180C until the cake is cooked through, for 30-40min. You can test if your cake is done by inserting a knife at the centre. It should come our clean.

Serve with cinnamon!


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.

 


Our recipe this week comes from the island of Sifnos. Melopita is a cake made with honey and anthotyro cheese, a soft white cheese resembling ricotta. On the island of Sifnos, as we learn in this video, it is is traditionally made during Easter, when households had anthotyro cheese around. Today of course we do have access to such cheeses all-year round, but it’s always interesting to see how seasonality is present in things one would least expect, like a dessert cake.

As you may know if you’re following this blog, when it comes to traditional Greek recipes, there are as many recipes as there are cooks. The one we have for you here is slightly adapted from Mrs Maria’s in the video, adding just a bit more anthotyro cheese and a few pinches of salt to bring out the honey’s sweetness. It somewhat reminds us of a honey cheesecake, but the texture is lighter and the flavour of honey is much more intense. We used wild thyme honey, a monofloral nectar honey from predominantly wild thyme flowers, as it’s both the honey used in Sifnos, but also one of our favourite ones!

Serves 6

650gr anthotyro cheese (you can replace it with any other soft white cheese like ricotta, or email us and we can order some for you)
250gr wild thyme honey
5 eggs
150g sugar
a few pinches of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
50gr semolina

Preheat your oven at 180C

In a large bowl, roughly mix the cheese, honey, eggs, sugar and salt with a fork. Using a food processor, blend the mixture in batches until smooth. If you have a large food processor, you can skip the bowl and simply add all the ingredients in the food processor. You should be left with a silky batter, slightly looser than cake batter.

Grease a large baking tray (we used a 30cm one) with the olive oil and add the semolina, so that the bottom and sides are covered. Pour in your batter. Your cake should be quite thin, around 2.5cm tall.

Bake for around 40 minutes, or until your cake is no longer wobbly. Serve cold.


On Sunday we celebrated Greek Easter! There are many traditions that go with this celebration. There’s the lamb on the spit, of course; our beloved tzatziki; dying eggs red; fasting for 40 days; eating loads of tsoureki, the traditional brioche-type bread; the traditional magiritsa soup, made of offal.

Galatopita is a tradition upheld at Marianna’s home, and in many other Greek hourseholds as I’ve discovered while researching for this post. Galatopita literally means milk pie. Its custard-like filling has a buttery, creamy texture and a subtle, comforting sweetness. It is made of milk, sugar, fine semolina and eggs. Some variations around Greece include filo, while others omit the filo. The recipe we’re using is by Mrs Kalliopi, Marianna’s mum. It was hand-written, with just a rough estimate of the ingredients, and no cooking instructions. More of a reminder for the experienced cook of what goes into the galatopita. We absolutely love such recipes!

In the past, this was traditionally made with fresh, unpasteurised milk. So if you can find some, do use it for this delicious dessert. We used goat’s milk for ours. If you try any plant-based milk, do let us know how it turned out! As this recipe only has very few ingredients, do try and get the best you can afford. Definitely get the cinnamon to serve, this is not optional, it’s part of tradition.

So let’s enter May, and celebrate spring with this sweet delicious dessert. Thank you Mrs Kalliopi!

Serves 10

1200ml milk (approx. 6 cups)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200gr white sugar (approx. 1 cup), plus more for the baking tray
150gr fine semolina (approx. 1 cup)
6 eggs
Olive oil and more semolina (for the baking tray)
cinnamon (to serve)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place your milk in a large heavy-bottomed pot and over medium heat. Add the vanilla and stir well. Add the semolina and sugar. Using a whisk, start whisking all the ingredients together. As the milk warms up and the semolina hydrates, you will slowly see the mixture thickening up. Do not forget to whisk the mixture, otherwise the milk will burn at the bottom of the pot – you do not want that. The texture we are going for is like that of a very thick béchamel sauce, or Greek yoghurt.

After the mixture thickens up, after around 15-20 minutes, remove your pot from the heat. Very slowly add the eggs, one by one, whisking constantly so that each egg is incorporated before moving to the next one. You should end up with a very smooth, silky mixture.

Butter or oil a shallow baking tray and dust it with plenty of semolina. Pour in your mixture. Sprinkle more sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes, until the cream is set.

Serve with plenty of cinnamon.

 

 


Halva is a category of desserts which are very popular in the Balcans, parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. There are many variations, flavour combinations and textures. Today we are preparing halvas simigdalenios, literally translated as semolina halva. It is a dessert served all throughout Lent in Greece, and in many other occasions throughout the year.

It is also known as the 1-2-3-4 halva, as the key ingredients are measured by volume: 1 x olive oil, 2 x semolina, 3 x sugar, 4x water. In the classic recipe, the olive oil is mixed with the semolina, the sugar with the water and then the two come together. We’ve simplified the recipe, simply adding everything gradually in the same pot. We’ve also weighed the ingredients, so that it’s easier for those of us who do not like measuring things in cups. And reduced the sugar a bit, so that it’s not too sweet.

The traditional recipe calls for the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and orange. We’ve also added almonds and raisins. You can add your preferred spices, use whichever nuts you prefer and other dried fruit instead of raisins.

Serves 6

100g olive oil
200g coarse semolina (you can also use fine, or a mixture of the two)
250g sugar (we used light brown sugar, but white sugar works as well)
400g water
1/3 tsp ground cloves
2/3 tsp ground cinnamon
zest from 1 orange
50g raw almonds (you can also use any other nuts you prefer)
50g Corinth raisins (you can also use any other dried fruit you prefer)

Roughly chop the almonds, so that they are the size of the raisins. Or however you prefer, it’s a personal choice, really.

In a bowl mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest. Set aside.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and over medium heat pour the olive oil and semolina. Stir until the semolina is golden-brown, around 10 minutes.

This step is crucial. So leave all distractions outside the kitchen. Take your time in “roasting” as we say in Greek the semolina, and your halva will have a nutty, intense, wholesome flavor. But this step needs lots of care, so stay with it for those minutes, stirring and contemplating the beauty of the heat, as it transforms the white-yellow grains into golden brown. Or the beauty of those moments of stillness.

Once the semolina is ready, add the sugar-spice mixture and stir for a minute. Add the almonds and raisins and stir for another minute, smelling as the aromas come together.

Remove from the heat and very, very slowly add the water. It will splatter, so be careful.

Lower the heat to its lowest setting. Return the pot to the heat and stir until the mixture thickens up, around 15-20 minutes.

Again, do not leave it alone, the halva doesn’t like that. Yes, this is a recipe that takes time and care. But you will be rewarded. Soon, you will have a delicious halva. But as you may have realised by now, these moments of stillness, as you stir the halva, smell the aromas and breathe -without any distractions- are perhaps even more precious than the halva itself.

You will know it’s ready when it’s quite thick and there is resistance as you stir.

Now there are two schools of thought here.

Some prefer the halva hot, so in that case you are done and you can serve immediately. Others however prefer the halva cold. It’s a big debate in Greece, you must know. So if you want to serve it cold, pour the halva in a greased cake tin (even better if it’s non-stick), and let it cool down a bit. Place in the fridge to let it cool completely. Remove from the tin and serve.

After you are done, take a walk around the house. Perhaps the most rewarding thing when you make halva is the smell that fills your home.

Let us know which of the two ways you prefer (hot/ cold, or maybe at room temperature!) and in any case, do serve with extra cinnamon!


Fanouropita is a traditional Greek olive oil cake, made in honour of St Fanourios. The saint’s name, Fanourios, comes from the Greek word fanerono, which means to reveal; and this is where this cake’s name, fanouropita, comes from.

St Fanourios is celebrated on the 27th of August every year. On this day, many Greeks bake Fanouropites and take them to church to be blessed. The legend has it that these are in memory of the saint’s mother, who was a harsh woman, and whose salvation the Saint (and by extension the bakers) ask. So when one bakes the cake, one needs to say “God forgive the mother of St Fanourios”. Which is something I did not do, as I only found out about it during my research for this piece. So please, when you bake this cake, do it for me as well.

But fanouropita is also baked asking the saint to reveal items that are missing, or to bring people something that they want: Good health or “a good husband”, if one is single. So even though it is not August (yet!), this week we decided to make this cake and ask for health, and for finally being able to see, share food and hug our loved ones.

It is important to know that this cake is to be made with only seven or nine ingredients, symbolic numbers in Greek religion. Apart from the 7 key ingredients, we’ve added our delicious Corinth raisins and walnuts. The result is a rich and moist cake- and vegan! You can make it with sunflower oil, but we feel that the olive oil gives it a more robust flavour, so do give it a try!

Serves 8

150g super-fine white sugar
150g olive oil
350ml orange juice (from 3-4 oranges) and zest from 2 oranges
½ tsp baking soda
400g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsps cinnamon
50g Corinth raisins
50g walnuts

Preheat your oven at 170C.

In a large bowl sieve the flour, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk the sugar and olive oil together until very well combined.

Mix the orange juice and zest and stir in the baking soda. Be careful as it will bubble. Slowly add to the olive oil-sugar mixture.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon, until just combined (you do not want to overmix the flour). Add the raisins and walnuts and give it one final stir.

Your batter should look like a loose cake batter. Place it in an oiled baking tin and bake at 170C at the bottom rack for an hour, or until your knife comes up clean from the middle of the cake.

Remove from the oven and let your fanouropita cool in its tin. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 


This Valentines’ Day is unlike any other. Most of us are still on lockdown. We are rarely able to spend time with our loved ones – let alone go out and meet new people to love. But despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, now is the time to, more than ever, express our love to the people around us. To ourselves as well.

So this week’s recipe is a very special one. It is an easy and fun recipe to make, it gets your hands messy, and with your favourite music on, it is guaranteed to cheer you up. Plus you know, you are left with lovely chocolate truffles to enjoy -yes we are making chocolate truffles!

But of course, these are no ordinary truffles. Remember last year’s olive oil and dark chocolate mousse? This year we are using olive oil as well, but a very special one. Our 21C olive oil! It is made from semi-ripe olives cold extracted together with walnuts, purslane,  fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano. The wild aromatic herbs give these truffles a subtle earthy flavour; and as we love nuts, so we couldn’t but add plenty in these little chocolate balls.

Makes 25
350g chocolate 60% cocoa (you can do a bit less, or a bit more, depending on what you prefer)
200g double cream
2 tbsp 21C walnut oil
100g nuts (hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts)
to serve (finely chopped nuts, or cocoa, or powdered sugar, or salt and pepper)

Cut the chocolate in small pieces (the size of chocolate chips). Place in a large bowl.

Roughly chop the nuts. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan warm up the double cream until bubbly on the sides, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit of a couple of minutes.

Using a whisk, slowly whisk together the chocolate and cream (the cream will have melted the chocolate by now). It will slowly come together. Once it does, add the olive oil and whisk again until you have a smooth and shiny mixture.

Add the nuts and stir everything together, using a wooden spoon. Spread the mixture in a shallow baking dish and place it in the fridge. After half an hour or so, it will have changed in texture you will be able to shape it. Give it a bit more time if you need to. Using a teaspoon for measuring shape your chocolate into little balls.

You can serve them as is, or roll them in finely chopped nuts, cocoa, powdered sugar or (our favourite) sprinkle some sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks (well, we seriously doubt they will last that long!) and always serve at room temperature.