A few years ago, in the beginning of my time in London, I went through what many now Londoners might have experienced: A rough day where I was overworked, exhausted, and a bit hopeless in this big city that I then struggled to call home. If any of you have experienced such a day, then you will relate more with this week’s recipe.

What does one do on such a day? I will share with you what I did. I took a day off work, walked to the nearby market and, feeling slightly guilty and slightly excited I walked around. I had already had breakfast, but decided that breakfast food was what I needed. I bought all the ingredients I needed and in less than an hour, my tiny flat was filled with comforting smells, and I was sitting on the couch having my second breakfast, a wholesome bowl of a very unique ‘porridge’.

So today, we have a very comforting breakfast recipe for you. One that I go to whenever I find myself overworked, or in gloomy autumn mornings. This recipe takes only a bit of time. And love. And it gives back love.

We are using sour trahana, a very unique Greek ingredient.  It is made with fermented milk and wheat. With its slightly tangy flavour and comforting smell, it makes a very unique ‘Greek porridge’. Here, we’ve got inspiration from our olive oil porridge and added some graviera cheese, olive oil and of course a drizzle of honey. Trust us, it works! Top it up with some seasonal fresh fruit and nuts! This recipe is for one, but it scales easily.

Serves 1

75 gr trahana (sour)
250g milk (plus more if needed)
25 g graviera cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey (plus more, for serving)
fresh or dried fruit, and nuts (for serving)

In a small pot add the trahana and your milk. Over medium heat bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat to its lowest setting. Let it cook, stirring often (otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot), for 15- 20 minutes, until trahana is soft and you have a porridge-like texture. You may need to add a bit more milk to loosen it up.

Grate the graviera cheese and add it to the pot, along with the olive oil and honey. Stir everything together until the cheese melts, for a minute or so.

Serve with fresh or dried fruit, nuts and more honey if desired.


Today is the last day of August, so we are saying goodbye to summer with a very summery recipe using our go-to summer ingredient: tomatoes. We love tomatoes in the summer, as they are at their best during this time of the year. So we pick them to make our tomato passata. Using nothing but tomatoes and no added salt, this ingredient is as close to the flavours of nature as you would expect. We cook with it during the winter, as we wait for the new tomatoes next year.

In this recipe however, we’ve only used fresh tomatoes, as a way to say goodbye to a sweet, sunny summer.

This recipe comes from the island of Santorini, and traditionally the local variety of small cherry tomatoes is used. Look for tomatoes with a thick flesh as they will add structure to your fritters. We’ve added our favourite fresh and dried herbs, but as always feel free to omit anything you don’t like, or add anything you prefer. And yes, us Greeks fry our fritters in olive oil, so do give it a try!

Serves 6

6 medium tomatoes
2 medium onions
1 large bunch of fresh mint
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
½ tsp dried spearmint
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
salt, pepper (to taste)
2 eggs
70g graviera cheese
150g feta cheese
150g flour
plenty of olive oil (for frying)
chilli vinegar (to serve)

Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Very finely chop the onion and add it to your tomatoes. Let it rest until you prepare the rest of your ingredients. The juices of the tomatoes will soften up the onions.

Very finely chop your fresh herbs. Grate your graviera cheese. Crumble your feta cheese.

Add the fresh herbs, dried herbs and cheeses to your bowl and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the flour and mix everything well together. You should have a thick batter, resembling a slightly thicker cake batter.

Place a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add your olive oil. Start with 5cm. Warm it up until simmering. Add one tablespoon of your mixture, carefully so as not to overcrowd the pan. The fritters should be partially submerged in the olive oil.

Fry until golden on the one side -be patient, it takes a few minutes. Flip and fry until the other side is golden too. Remove your fritters and let them rest in paper towels until you finish frying.

Serve drizzled with chilli vinegar!


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.


Many of you ask where we get our vine leaves. Our producer, Marianna has been producing vine leaves for more than 20 years. They are collected from the family’s vineyard in Chalkidiki, Nothern Greece. Their stems are removed and the vine leaves are carefully rolled and packed in brine. The entire process from farm to table only lasts a few hours, so that they retain all of their freshness and nutrients. We really like this ingredient! So this week we decided to experiment a bit with it.

And here it is, a somewhat unusual recipe for you. Think: dolmades meet cheese pie. What does this mean? It means that we are using vine leaves, but not stuffing them in the classic way! When looking into what else we could do with those tasty leaves (our) Marianna suggested: why don’t you stuff them with cheese? It was brilliant!

And watch this space, we will soon share with your our classic dolmadakia recipe, stuffed with rice and plenty of herbs!

Makes 35
1/3 jar (around 40) vine leaves
Zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp dried thyme
250g manouri cheese*
200g graviera cheese*
5 tbsp olive oil

In a bowl grate the graviera and manouri. Season with thyme and add the lemon zest. Mix well.

In a chopping board or clean surface, lay a vine leaf, veins down, bottom side down and the pointy sides facing away from you. Place a large teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the middle. Carefully fold the vine leaf bottom edges forwards, then the two sides inwards. Then roll it away from you, like a cigar.

Place the dolmadakia tightly together, seam side down, in concentric circles in a pot and in one layer. If you have more and need to continue to a second layer, place some vine leaves between the two layers.

Pour over the dolmadakia enough water so that they are just covered and 5 tbsp of olive oil. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let the dolmadakia cook until the vine leaves are tender, for around 40 minutes.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

*you can find graviera and manouri cheese at our chop at Borough Market.

 

 

 


This week we’ve got the ultimate Greek summer dish for you! Kolokuthokeftedes. Or, as this dish is also known zucchini fritters. This is one of the quintessential Greek summer dishes, that one finds in every taverna by the sea. They pair perfectly with a crisp dry white wine and are one of our favourite things to order when eating al fresco, by the beach, under the shade of trees and with cicadas all around us.

So this week, we decided to bring you some Greek sunshine to our urban table and make it ourselves. Marianna and I spent quite some time discussing different variations of this recipe and going through cookery books. You see, as you may know about Greek food, there are endless variations for each recipe.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for Oliveology’s Kolokuthokeftedes! And, to make things a bit more interesting, we have served this dish with our lemongrass and tarragon olive oil. Trust us, it works! And of course, with plenty of tzatziki!

Serves 6
1kg zucchini
1 large bunch of parsley
1 small bunch of spring onions (approx. 5)
100g feta cheese
100g graviera cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 eggs
150g all-purpose flour
salt, pepper
olive oil (for frying)
lemongrass and tarragon olive oil (to serve)

Grate your zucchini and place in a clean tea towel. Squeeze it, so that all liquid is released and you are left with a dense ball of grated zucchini. Place in a large bowl.

Finely chop the parsley and spring onions and place in your bowl.

Grate the feta cheese and graviera cheese and mix into your bowl with the vegetables.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs with the dried herbs, oregano and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir very well, until everything is combined.

Add the flour, one tablespoon at the time, stirring well. You should be left with a moist mixture that can be shaped as a ball without falling apart.

In a frying pan place plenty of olive oil, so that the entire bottom of the pan if covered.
Using your hands or two spoons, form small, flattened patties and place in the frying pan, a few at a time. Fry until golden brown, flipping them half-way through, about 4 minutes in total.

Serve with lemongrass and tarragon olive oil and tzatziki.


There is something fascinating about preserving. As you know, here at Oliveology, we love eating what’s in season. However, there is a way to enjoy foods, even when they are not in season. Yes, by preserving them! Over the years we’ve experimented with preserving Butternut squash in sugar or dried figs in olive oil and vinegar. This time around we are making pesto. Yes, we have made pesto before, with pistachios, parsley and basil. But this one is different. It’s made with basil, almonds and sun-dried tomatoes!

It is funny if you think about it. Sun dried tomatoes are tomatoes dried in the sun. Preserved in the sun. Our pesto takes this already preserved ingredient and preserves it even more. Preserving the preserved if you may.

The wonderful thing about pesto is that you can make as much as you want and store it in the fridge. Then, whenever you get hungry all you have to do is open your jar. This pesto is delicious on its own, spread on toasted bread. It also pairs well with white cheese, like our galomizithra cheese. Of course it is ideal for a summery pasta lunch. Just mix it with warm pasta and serve with a glass of wine. Ta Da!

For one large jar you will need:

1 cup of basil (approx. 80g)
50g raw almonds with skin
100g sun-dried tomatoes
1 fat clove of garlic
120ml extra virgin olive oil
40gr Naxos graviera grated cheese

In a food processor pulse the basil, almonds, sun dried tomatoes and garlic until coarsely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil and pulse, until fully incorporated. Pesto should be grainy but with no large lumps.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese. Add some olive oil if needed and taste.

Store in a jar in the fridge.

You can source the almonds, sun dried tomatoes, graviera cheese, and of course olive oil from our shop at Borough Market.


This is a blog post to share with you some of the magic which exists in Greek cheese. Most of us often see cheese as an interesting ingredient to cook with or have as part of our cheese platter. And it is of course that. But so much more.

Next time you get a piece of cheese, before you eat it or start grading it, stop. Look at it. Smell it. Cut a small piece and put it in your mouth. When you taste cheese, an entire world opens up. The cheese that you taste is more than its taste and aroma. It’s more than an ingredient to be used in salads or soufflés. It carries within it all the characteristics of the place where it is coming from. Of the animals whose milk created it. Of the time of the year when it was made. Of the cheesemaker whose art turned the milk into cheese. Of the culture of that place in the world where it comes from. Each cheese carries a story. If you pay close attention, you can experience it.

Today we will share with you the story of our graviera cheese from Naxos.

The cheesemaker Emmanuel Koufopoulos lives on the island of Naxos. His cheese room operates from 1990 in the area of Saint Isidoros Galanadou at the intersection of Melana and Potamia. You know, if you are ever around. His graviera cheese has been awarded protection under the European Union’s Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) status. What does this mean? It means that only the cheese produced there can have that name.

Koufopoulos puts together family heritage and modern technology and creates his cheese using local cow’s, sheep’s and goats’ milk. Almost daily, he collects milk from his own cows, and from animals living in the mountains of Naxos. Kinda gives you a glimpse of how cheesemaking was done in the past. He also uses vegetable rennet (yes, this cheese is vegetarian!). Of course, there are no preservatives or additives.

He usually talks about his love for cheese, which, yes, comes through once you taste it. Aged for minimum one year, this cheese has a semi-hard texture and a rich aroma, a creamy and buttery mouthfeel, and a mellow peppery taste with nutty undertones.

There are various ways to enjoy this cheese. You can include it in a cheese platter. You can enjoy it in a sandwich, smothered with some chutney or pickled onions. You can use it in cooking. Grade and sprinkle over pasta. Make soufflés, quiches or pies. Cut in cubes and include it in salads. Melt in a cast iron skillet and serve with pickled cucumbers.

Yes, there are many ways to enjoy this cheese. But if you ask me, the best way to savour it is the simplest one. With some good crusty sourdough bread. You can then experience properly this graviera from the island of Naxos.