This week we’ve got something special for you! A sneak peak into our March Cooking workshop! For this one, Marianna teamed up with lovely Despoina Siahuli, for a 3-hour Greek feast! Despoina shared her skills and Oliveology Cooks learned to make delicious Greek dishes. Marianna talked about our favourite Oliveology ingredients and their stories. Everyone gathered together and shared food and wine in the end.

In case you missed it, there will be more!
But to give you an idea, this week we have prepared for you one of Despoina’s recipes from the March workshop! Despoina put together a beautiful combination of flavours: dakos rusks, grape molasses, feta cheese, hazelnuts. All of these coming together with seasonal greens!

We’ve adapted her recipe, steamed our greens and used more dakos and feta, but the core flavour palet is the same. And it’s delicious!

So make the recipe and sign up for the next two cooking classes with Despoina and Marianna! We look forward to having you there cook with us.

Serves 4 as a side or two as main

Salad
300g of spring greens
50g roasted hazelnuts
100g dakos croutons
100g feta cheese

Dressing
¼ clove of garlic, minced into a paste with salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp grape molasses
4 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper

In a large pot with salted, boiling water blanch your greens for 3-4 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl with iced cold water. Let them cool.

To make your dressing, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, grape molasses. Slowly add the olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper (but remember, feta will add a layer of saltiness too).

Crush your hazelnuts and crumble the feta cheese.

In a large bowl toss together greens, hazelnuts, dakos croutons, feta cheese and dressing.

I liked this salad more the next day, the flavours all blend together and dakos is soft. Try it both ways and let us know which you prefer!

 

 


So, pancake day is here! Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day is this wonderful day in February or March when we eat (you guessed it) pancakes! This day is linked to the beginning of the fasting for Easter. It is indeed a moveable feast, moving every year as determined by Easter. The idea behind it is that you use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast. And pancakes are the perfect way to use up all these ingredients! What is beautiful about these cycles of feasting and fasting though, is that they create traditions and food patterns that remain unchanged. So today, irrespective of whether you fast or not, irrespective of any religious ideas one may have, we all enjoy pancake day!

At Borough Market we celebrate pancake day with the annual pancake day race, where all of us compete in a pancake flipping relay. Obviously, the best way to celebrate pancake day is to eat loads of pancakes with various fillings. And as you know, we love sharing with your our own Greek take on things.

So this week, we came up with the simplest, yet most delicious (and nutritious!) sweet pancake filling. And stay tuned, because there are various ways to use this-more to follow! So this year give chocolate or sugar a break and let us introduce you to the amazing sweet intense nuttiness of…

Tahini and Grape Molasses Pancake Filling

200g tahini
100g grape molasses
pinch of salt

In a bowl place your tahini, grape molasses and salt. Using a fork stir vigorously until both ingredients are combined and the texture is like thick butter. Generously spread over pancakes.

This mixture pairs perfectly with bananas, colourful raw pistachios and dried cherries.

 

 


January is in full swing, with gloomy wet weather (which however the writer of this blog post happens to adore). January is the month when we all decide we will take better care of ourselves. With the feasting of the holidays now way past us, we make promises to eat healthier, better. What healthier and better means may differ for each of us. For us at Oliveolology it is eating fresh vegetables, food made with care, good olive oil.

But you know, you have to have exciting flavours too. So this week we are playing with one very special ingredient. Kalamata olives with orange and herbs. These olives are marinated in orange juice, zest and wild aromatic herbs from our farm. Try to imagine the meatiness of the kalamata olives together with the citrusy orange. Absolutely delicious.

And what these olives pair perfectly with? Beetroot! You know we love this vegetable and there is something very satisfying to roasted beetroot. Remember our beetroot dip? How about last year’s lentil and beetroot salad?

To bring everything together we’ve selected kale and our organic goat’s cheese.

Serves two as side or one as main

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet red wine vinegar
1 grape molasses
1 bowl/plate/bunch/bag of kale leaves
2 large beetroot
½ tub orange olives
¼-1/2 pack goat cheese
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 200C. Scrub your beetroot under running water. Wrap each one in tinfoil and place them in a baking tray. Roast them until cooked through, around an hour.
In the meantime, wash and tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, sweet vinegar and grape molasses, salt.
Once cooked, remove the beetroot from the oven. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, unwrap them and using your fingers peel the skin off. You can of course leave the skin on. Slice the beetroot or cut them in wedges. Gently toss together beetroot, kale, orange olives, dressing. Lay on a plate or bowl (we used a chopping board). Crumble the cheese on top.


One of the things we enjoy the most during this holiday season is baking. There is something quite unique when the house fills with aromas. Especially when it comes to these spices we have associated with this time of the year. Yes, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, all these fragrant spices make us feel even more festive.

This week we have prepared cookies! Soft and moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. But as cookies go, you can of course go for the crunch throughout. Just let them bake for a few more minutes. For these cookies we have used one of our favourite ingredients, grape molasses. When I was growing up, my father would prepare for me and my sister a slice of bread, with a thin layer of butter and grape molasses on top. The memory of this intense and strangely fragrant syrup always comes to mind when I open a bottle of grape molasses and smell it. And to this day, I find it very hard to describe its unique taste.

But back to the cookies.

The recipe below is adapted from Bon Appetit. We used a mixture of our favourite spices, but as always, feel free to substitute. If you love cinnamon, just use cinnamon, if you hate cloves, just make it without.

For 20 cookies you will need:

100g dark brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
½ egg
55g grape molasses
60g whole wheat flour
75g white flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spices (we used a combination of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper)

1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp grape molasses and icing sugar (optional, to glaze)

 

Whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and whisk just to combine. Add molasses and whisk again until incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your mixture, carefully so as not to over-mix.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using your hands, form small or larger balls and place them on your tray, leaving space in between your cookies as they will expand. Bake for 7-12 minutes, or until you have reached your desired softness.

If you want to glaze them, stir the milk and grape molasses until well combined. Slowly add powdered sugar until your glaze is thick and glossy. Drizzle over cool cookies.


Christmas is just around the corner and here at Oliveology we are getting ready for the day. Very interesting cheeses have arrived from artisan cheesemakers from all over Greece. They are made mostly with sheep’s and goats’ milk. Soft white galomyzithra from Crete, Ash Cheese and St. Isidore from the island of Naxos, matured feta cheese from Attica, these are just some of the options. Of course you can use them in cooking, preparing delicious festive recipes. But there is no better way to enjoy such excellent cheeses than on a cheese platter.

And what better to accompany them than a home made chutney. This one is easy to make, as it doesn’t require much chopping or preparation. Gather your favourite spices and get cooking. We are using of course our succulent dried figs. Carefully hand-picked and selected for top quality, they are dried naturally under the Greek sun, with no additives or preservatives. The figs are harvested from the fertile Messinia region in the Peloponnese, which is famous for its high quality figs. Together with our aged balsamic vinegar and grape molasses, this chutney is both sweet and vibrant.

Just one bag of our figs makes a jar of chutney!

You will need:

1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1tbs ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bag (250g) coarsely chopped dried figs
160ml balsamic vinegar
70ml grape molasses
200ml water
Salt and pepper

Preparation

In a saucepan add the olive oil and in medium heat stir in the ginger and coriander, until fragrant. Add the dried figs, vinegar, grape molasses and water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let your chutney simmer. Add more water if needed until the figs are soft and the liquid is thick and glossy. Let cool and place in sterilised jars. Enjoy with your cheese platter or offer it as a delicious edible gift.


I think as we are moving into winter, it’s time you got introduced to our favourite winter vegetable. For this year at least. What do we love this December? Beetroot!

With its deep purple-red colour, sweet taste and aroma, it is the perfect ingredient to brighten up our winter lives. You can of course enjoy it raw. Like last week’s cauliflower, or last year’s winter salad.

But this time around, we are making something using another of our favourite ingredients. Oregano essential oil is in store, all the way from a small farm in Nothern Greece. We met the producer a few weeks ago, during our November workshop and got even more excited about this aromatic ingredient.

So this week, we are bringing the two together, in a creamy beetroot dip, topped with oregano oil. Can you think of anything better for this time of the year?

For one large bowl you will need:

8 medium beetroot (approx. 500g cooked)
100g greek yogurt
3 tbsp sweet vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp grape molasses
salt

To serve:

2 drops oregano oil
4 tbsp olive oil
finely chopped spring onions and fresh thyme
sesame seeds or other nuts

Scrub the beetroot. Wrap each beetroot in tinfoil and bake at 180C until soft inside. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, using your fingers remove the skins. Let them cool. Place beetroot in a food processor (you can cut them in smaller pieces to make your life easier). Add the yogurt, vinegar, olive oil and grape molasses. Blend until smooth. Season with salt.

To serve, mix two drops of oregano oil with 4 tbsp of oil. Smell. Breath. And drizzle over the dip. Sprinkle over some spring onions, fresh thyme and sesame seeds.


It sounds quite philosophic, doesn’t it? It’s mostly because we love freshly baked bread and the moment it comes out of the oven, hot and crusty you can’t help but feeling pure bliss. And it is also that feeling -that you accomplished a simple but glorious task- that boosts your confidence.

How can you not love bread? Of course we Greeks have a special affair with it –you can’t really have a meal without it. That’s why we were thrilled when Michael Pollan devoted a whole episode in his brilliant series Cooked, about it. He argues that bread is the product of civilisation and the enabler of the civilisation, as well. But related to the title of the post, he explains that air is mostly what you’re eating when you eat bread.

Have you ever considered that air is one of the reasons we love bread? And as far as this very recipe is concerned, what a fine air that is, with grape molasses, mastiha, orange and cinnamon?

Petimezodakos
Ingredients
1 cup of grape molasses
3 pieces of mastiha
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 kg all-purpose flour (sieved)
30 g of fresh yeast
Olive oil for glazing
1 egg for glazing

Method
Dilute yeast in lukewarm water. As soon as it’s done, add the mix to a small portion of flour in order to create very soft dough. Cover it and let it sit in a warm place in order to double its size.

Freshly ground mastiha using mortar and pestle. When the initial dough is increased add grape molasses, orange juice, olive oil, mastiha, cinnamon and salt. Mix it well until the initial form changes and add flour gradually until a homogenous fluffy dough is created. Cover it once more and let it sit for 40-50 minutes until it’s double the size.

Knead the dough and form loaves cut in 4-5 cm pieces. You can also knead individual loaves –this amount of dough makes about 12 small loaves. Place them in baking pans, let them rise and they’re double the size. Drizzle some olive oil (or an egg and water mixture, alternatively) and let them bake in a preheated oven for approximately an hour about 180°C. Remove from the oven, let them cool and cut the pieces you have already carved –or your individual loaves.

Petimezi makes the dough quite moist, so keep checking your oven so they won’t get dry. If you still have some left from the day before, taste them and see the difference – we felt they tasted less sweet the day before. Liked our thoughts on Michael Pollan’s Cooked? We’ll get back to it, soon as we were quite inspired by this series! Have you watched it? Would love to know your thoughts on that.


You know, it has been a while since we made something sweet for our blog. And as October has just come to an end, we couldn’t think of a better moment. Weather is getting colder and colder. What makes up for cold weather? Comforting, vibrant, sweet smells.

So how do we go from grey cold weather to a warm house that smells (dare we say) like Christmas?

Walking around the market, we got some lovely local pears. Yes, there are so many varieties to choose from-but wherever you are, go for the variety that’s closer to home. Today we will poach them. But if you’ve been with us for long, you should know by now how we love using grape molasses instead of sugar. Remember our petimezopita cake? Or the vegan mastiha and petimezi cookies? In this specific recipe, grape molasses offer a deeper, more intense flavour. Try it and you’ll know what we mean.

And of course, you need plenty of aromatic, warm spices. Below is our favourite combination, but as always, you can substitute whatever you don’t like. Just keep the pink peppercorns, they add something really unique to your poached pears.

For 5 pears you will need:

5 firm but ripe pears
1lt water
250g grape molasses
½ nutmeg grated
1 cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
15 cloves
20 pink peppercorns

Peel the pears, keeping their stalks intact. As you are peeling them, keep them submerged in cold water.

Place the water, grape molasses and all the spices in a small pot. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down the heat. Once the aromatic liquid has warmed up, and the grape molasses have melted, slowly place your pears in the pot. They need to be completely covered by the liquid, so place a small heatproof plate on top of them to keep them in under-water-love. Simmer at low heat for 30-40min, or until pears are soft and the house smells like Christmas.

Remove the pears from the aromatic liquid. You can serve them with the flavoured water, or if you prefer, turn up the heat to reduce it into a syrup. You can also keep it separately and add to your tea or coffee! These pears pair perfectly with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!


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 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