A few months back, we saw that our lovely Amarylis had made chickpeas with orange, using our olives and capers. What a wonderful combination of flavours, I thought at the time! So when thinking of this week’s recipe, and with all the citrus fruit around, this idea came to mind. Chickpeas and orange! And as winter makes us all feel really cold, we thought of adding something different to our chickpeas. Saffron!

Our organic Greek Saffron comes from the Kozani Cooperative in Northern Greece. It has a unique floral flavour and aroma, while it gives an exquisite amber colour to many dishes, desserts and beverages. Including our chickpeas! Oh and did we mention it has antioxidant properties amongst other things?

Here’s the recipe and check out our hamper for the Adventurous Cook, that includes saffron!

Serves two for lunch

1 small leek
1 medium onion
4tbsp olive oil

100 g chickpeas
1 very large orange, zest and juice
2 pinches of saffron in 1 cup of warm water
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp orange blossom honey
salt

to serve:
Boiled rice or Greek yogurt
Fresh coriander or parsley
Honey

 

The night before, soak your chickpeas. The morning after, boil the chickpeas in plenty of water, until soft.

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Finely slice the leek and chop the onion. In an oven proof casserole, heat fry your leek and onion in the olive oil until transluscent and slightly caramelised. Remove from the heat and add the chickpeas, orange juice and zest, saffron, smoked paprika, salt and honey. Stir well and place in the oven. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half, until the flavours have blended, adding a bit more water if needed.

Serve with rice or Greek yogurt, fresh herbs and more honey if you desire.


This week we are trying out something a little bit different. January days can sometimes feel a bit dull, but not for us here at Oliveology. On the contrary, they often inspire us to think outside the box, add more colours and flavours to our weekly cooking routine. Cooking after all should be more about creativity and less about routine, right?

So what are we making? To begin with, we selected two of our favourite winter vegetables, beetroot and sweet potato. Remember our beetroot dip or our lentil and sweet potato vegan soup? This dish is vegetarian too, you guessed it right.

But these are no ordinary roasted vegetables. Inspired by the Greek cooking magazine Gastronomos, we are making them sweet and a little bit sour. We will use honey to bring out the vegetables’ natural sweetness, and balsamic vinegar to add a very welcome acidic note. And the ingredients that bring everything together: oranges and grapefruits!

Oh, and did we mention that apart from spending a bit of time preparing your vegetables, this recipe needs nothing more? That’s what we call an easy January dinner!

For 4 people (plus leftovers):

700g sweet potatoes
700g beetroot
1 large red onion
1 large grapefruit, zest and juice
1 large orange, zest and juice

100g wild flower honey
50ml aged balsamic vinegar
100ml olive oil
salt

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Peel the sweet potato and scrub the beetroot. Cut in small bite sized pieces (vegetables will cook faster this way). Peel and finely slice the onion.

Place your vegetables in a large baking tray. Add the citrus juices and zest.

In a small saucepan add the honey and warm it up to make it more runny. Remove from the hear and add the vinegar and olive oil. Pour over the vegetables.

Season well with salt and toss everything together so that the vegetables are coated with the honey-vinegar mixture and citrus juices.

Bake for an hour or until the vegetables are soft, sticky and slightly caramelised.


This week we’ve got something different for you. With December in full swing, the weather is now properly cold. During those cold winter days, we always think of citrus fruit. Somehow all their vitamins make us feel stronger.

So when thinking of this week’s recipe, we couldn’t but use citrus. And what a better way to incorporate all these healthy juices into your daily food routine, than with a delicious citrus dressing! But healthy doesn’t mean not festive. You can use this dressing for your seasonal greens, roasted squash and even in a simple bulgur wheat salad! Can you think of anything better for your Christmas table?

In this recipe, we have balanced the acidity and bitterness of the citrus with a bit of honey and used our favourite red wine vinegar to pump up the flavours. After all, winter requires intense flavours, right?

Makes enough for a side salad of 4

1 lime, zest and juice separately
2 grapefruit, zest and juice separately
1 orange, zest and juice separately
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp orange blossom honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all citrus juice together. Measure 5 tbsp of juice and set aside. Drink the rest, it’s good for you. In a bowl whisk together the zest, juice, the garlic, honey and vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste and if you feel it needs more sweetness, add a bit more honey.


This week we’ve got some exciting news to share with you! Four of our wonderful products received Great Taste Awards! We are very proud to share them with you, as well as some of the judges’ comments. We look forward hearing your own comments –or tell us which of our products is a winner for you!

Pistachios – Roasted & slightly Salted
2 stars **

Greek pistachios are renowned for their wonderful flavour, their beautiful pink exteriors and vibrant green kernels. The area surrounding the island of Aegina combines optimal soil conditions and a perfect maritime climate. A pistachio growing zone par excellence, Aegina offers fresh, vibrant flavoured nuts. The judges commented on the rich, full, long lasting flavour and were impressed by their pink and green colour.

Some of our judges’comments write:
An unusually pink nut. The flavour is creamy and well balanced with just the right amount of salt; soft on the palate with the expected pale green interior’
‘Lovely charring which gives character and the fresh vibrant green of the nuts is very enticing..delightful crunch into a perfectly salted almost meaty nut was a sheer unadulterated pleasure’

Kalamata Olives with Ouzo
1 star *

These olives are from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. They are hand picked, unpasteurised and cured in fresh water. They are marinated in extra virgin olive oil, ouzo, star-anise and fennel to produce a unique Greek olive taste.

Some of our judges’comments write:

Very unusual innovation, and one we enjoyed. The olives are good quality and the ouzo goes right through the fruit until the last drop. The aniseed is very complementary and we loved them!’

22°C Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 star *

This mid harvest olive oil is made from semi ripe olives. It comes from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. It is single variety (koroneiki), and harvested by hand. Cold extracted up to 22°C and unfiltered, this olive oil has a mellow quality and a silky smooth texture.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘A creamy mouthfeel. The flavour was subtle but with a good balance of spice and some herby, woody notes’
‘Lovely cut grass aroma; you are almost transported to the olive grove just by the nose’

Wild Thyme Honey
1 star *

Our wild thyme honey comes from the Taygetus mountains in Greece. It is a monofloral nectar honey from predominantly wild thyme flowers. It is, of course, raw: unfiltered and unpasteurised. With a lovely, golden colour, its intense, aromatic flavour lends it to a wide range of culinary uses.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘Rich dark caramel colours with a herbaceous nose’
‘The palate is sweet with citrus notes running through it with a depth of flavour that transports you to the dusty depths of the bee keepers shed!’

 

We look forward to stocking up our pantry and cooking up wonderful recipes with these (awarded!) Greek products. Join us!

 


For some reason summer is the time when we most enjoy making granola. Maybe because the weather is nice and we get inspired to have nice breakfasts al fresco. Last year’s granola was with our succulent dried nectarines and almonds. This year we’ve got something different for you.

We have in store an amazing new product (and you know how much we love it when Marianna brings in new ingredients). Our fig molasses is produced and packed for Oliveology by Moschoutas Farms in Evia Island. It contains only organic figs, water and a touch of organic lemon juice to balance the figs’ natural sweetness. It is a very unique product that adds depth to all your dishes. You can use it as you would use any other molasses.

This week we’re using fig molasses to make our granola. We paired it with walnuts and (of course!) dried figs. And we’ve also added some tahini, to add some depth and nuttiness. Our secret ingredient is cloves. We have my mum to thank for this, since I grew up with her making every summer fig jam spiced with cloves.

For 3 cups you will need:

2 cups oats
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
½ tsp cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fig molasses
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp orange blossom honey
1 cup dried figs, finely chopped
pinch of salt
Greek yogurt (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 150 C.

Place your oats, walnuts and sunflower seeds in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil, fig molasses, tahini, honey, cloves and pinch of salt, until all ingredients are blended together.

Pour the liquid mixture onto your oats. Using your hands or a spoon gently stir everything together until everything is covered in the liquid mixture.

Spread the granola onto a baking tray, covered in greaseproof paper. Bake, for around 20 minutes, checking and stirring every 5-10 min until golden.

Once golden, remove from the oven, and let your granola cool down. Once cool add the chopped figs and stir.

Serve with Greek yogurt and fruit and keep the rest in an airtight container.

 

 


The word melitzanosalata in Greek means aubergine salad. But despite its name, it is not a salad. It’s a spread, or you can call it a dip, it’s a creamy thing anyways. In Greece this is the dish to go for at any taverna by the beach. It is even better with rounds or fried aubergine. You know, fried aubergine dipped into an aubergine spread. Double your pleasure. You can even add a couple of tablespoons of melitzanosalata to last week’s salad.

Of course, summer is the season to get the best aubergines around. And make your own melitzanosalata. This is not the traditional recipe. Traditionally only olive oil, vinegar and a bit of garlic is added to the aubergine. But for this week’s blog post we have experimented a bit.

We wanted to use tahini, even though this links more to the middle eastern baba ghanoush. But we love using tahini to add depth and warmth to our recipes. And a touch of honey to sweeten it a bit.

1.5kg aubergines
1 large clove of garlic
60g tahini
20g wild flowers honey
2tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
20g raw almonds, crushed
salt
smoked paprika to serve (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 180C. Using a fork pierce your aubergines all around. Place them in a roasting tray and into the oven. Roast your aubergines for around an hour, until very tender inside. Remove from the oven and let them cool down a bit.

Using a spoon, scape all the flesh and place it in a large bowl. Some people prefer to remove the seeds. We are not those people, we love using the entire vegetable. Mash the flesh with a fork. In a separate bowl whisk together your tahini, honey, olive oil, lemon juice. Combine the two and stir in the almonds. Mix well.

Alternatively, once you have the aubergine flesh, dump everything except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil towards the end.

Season with salt and add more oil or lemon if needed. Serve with the smoked paprika (if using).

 


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!


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.


Melomakarona is one of the most popular treats throughout Greece during the festive season.Their intense homely smell makes every house smell like Christmas! This is an easy, healthy and easy recipe based on olive oil and honey.

Makes: 20-25 cookies

½ cup olive oil (175ml)
½ cup brown sugar (100g)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (120ml)
1 tbs orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda

2 tbs brandy
4 cups flour (about 450g)
1 cup (120g) chopped walnuts
(½ for the mix ½ for topping)
2 tbs cinnamon (½ for the mix ½ for topping)
½ tsp powder clove (½ for the mix ½ for topping)

For the syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup of water

This is a traditional Christmas cookie recipe. You will find it in every home in Greece at Christmas time.

Mix the flour, baking powder in to a bowl. Mix baking soda into the orange juice. Mix the oil, sugar, orange juice, brandy and orange zest and pour gradually into the flour mixture. Mix all the ingredients gently, without kneading to create a soft dough. Add cinnamon and clove in the mixture.

Make the dough into little cookie balls. Remember that these will rise so keep them small. Put the cookies into a tray covered with greaseproof paper. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the syrup. Put the honey, sugar and water into a large pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes skimming off the froth. Let it cool down a little bit. Take the cookies out of the oven and put them in a large plate. Pour the syrup immediately over them while they are still hot. When all the syrup is absorbed turn them over. Repeat the same procedure a few times until almost all of the syrup is absorbed.

For the topping mix cinnamon, clove and chopped walnuts and sprinkle over the top of the cookies. Let them cool down and store them away. They usually taste better a few days later and as they age. They can last up to 3 weeks.


Have you noticed how colourful everything seems to be in October? Have a look at people’s outfits around you. Come to the market and see how fruits and vegetables turn autumn into a feast of colours. Maybe we are all competing with the seductive colours of the leaves, as they change to various shades of yellow, brown and purple. Go for a walk around the park, look around you for a few minutes and notice the green grass and the myriads of colours of the leaves. Yes, autumn is indeed full of enchanting colours.

And of course, it’s the time of the year for one of our favourite vegetables: butternut squash. With its bright orange colour and warm, comforting taste, it is the ideal ingredient for an autumn dinner.

Last year we made a comforting pumpkin soup. This year we are feeling a bit more adventurous. Both with flavours and colours for that matter. Think of bright orange butternut squash, red chillies, white feta cheese, dark golden chestnut honey and bright green sage. Can you think of anything better? I think the colours of this tart can proudly compete with the autumn leaves, wouldn’t you say?

This recipe is adapted from epicurious and serves 5:

1 sheet of puff pastry (approx. 20x25cm)
400g butternut squash
a few sage leaves
1 medium red chilli
2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp for frying the sage leaves
30g-50g feta cheese
1 tbsp chestnut honey
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay your puff pastry on top.

Using a sharp knife cut off a few centimetres from the bottom and from the stem end of the squash. Then make one long cut, down the middle from the top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds (you can save them and toast them separately if you want). Slice the butternut squash vertically as fine as you can, so that you have beautiful thin half moons.

Arrange the squash on your puff pastry, gently pressing it down. Overlap the slices, as they will shrink a bit while cooking. Leave a centimetre border. Brush both pastry border and squash slices with the 2tbsp of olive oil. Finely chop half of the chilli and scatter on top of the squash. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 30min or until puff pastry is golden and squash is soft and tender.

While your tart is in the oven, slice the rest of your chilli in fine rounds. Using a peeler, create shavings of feta cheese (or crumble it if you can’t be bothered).

In a frying pan heat the remaining 2tbsp of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp, but still bright green. Transfer to a paper towel.

When your tart is ready, remove from the oven. Scatter the remaining chilli, feta cheese and fried sage leaves. Drizzle with chestnut honey. See the colours everywhere?