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.


Giahni is a traditional Greek way of cooking, loved by most Greeks. In giahni, seasonal vegetables are slowly cooked in olive oil and lemon or tomato. The result is a comforting, mellow dish so versatile that can be served as a main or side, and eaten hot, at room temperature or cold.

For these tomato-based dishes, some use crushed tomatoes or tomato passata, others use tomato puree diluted in water, or both. We’re using both. The passata offers a lush sauce, while the paste adds depth to this dish. Today we are making potatoes, patates giahni, as it’s called. This recipe is said to have been popular amongst the monks in the Greek church. In our adaptation of the classic recipe, we added a little honey to balance the natural acidity of the tomatoes. And we are very keen to try molasses next time!

Check out our other traditional Greek recipes in this blog, and let’s get cooking!

Serves 2 as a side

2 potatoes (500g)
1 large onion (or 2 medium)
8 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
1 tomato passata (680ml) or 3-4 tomatoes, crushed
1 tsp tomato puree in 200ml 1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey (we used wild thyme honey)
2 bay leaves
a few pinches of cinnamon
salt, pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes in big wedges and place in a bowl with cold water.
Cut the onion in half moons and finely slice the garlic.

Place 4 tbsp of olive oil in a deep frying pan or wide casserole over medium-low heat. Once the olive oil warms up, add the onions and cook until golden and caramelised, around 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until they are covered in oil.

In a large mug add the warm water, tomato paste and honey. Stir well until the tomato paste dissolves.

Return to your pan and add the tomato passata, water with tomato paste, bay leaves and the remaining olive oil. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper and gently stir everything together. The potatoes should be just covered. Add more water if needed.

Cover and cook for half an hour, shaking the pan so that the potatoes don’t stick at the bottom. Lower the heat to medium, uncover and cook for another half an hour, until the potatoes are tender and the tomato is thickened.

Serve with more olive oil and feta cheese.


Remember last week’s semolina halva? This week, continuing our journey to the magical land of halva, we are making sesame halva with honey! Traditionally this sesame halva is made with sugar and tahini. However, as many (including us!) prefer honey to sugar, many recipes now opt for sweet, runny honey instead. The texture is less crumbly and resembles that of toffee, which we must admit, we absolutely love.

For this, we’ve used our whole tahini, but you can use the classic one as well. We’ve also used a combination of strawberry tree (Arbutus) and orange blossom honey. Both coming from the Peloponnese, arbutus is a rare “bitter” honey made by bees feeding on the Arbutus unedo tree flowers (strawberry tree), while the orange blossom honey is a delicate, sweet honey with a citrus taste and a light amber colour. They pair perfectly in this halva!

This is the basic recipe, to which you can add cocoa or chocolate, various nuts (almonds are a classic!), or sesame. We love pistachios, as they have this beautiful pink-green bright colours which make the halva not only taste, but also look delicious!

This is a quite filling snack, so a little goes a long way. Cut it in small square pieces and enjoy with your afternoon tea, for breakfast or as post-dinner dessert!

 

280g tahini (whole or white)
280g honey (we used both strawberry tree honey and orange blossom honey)
80g raw, unsalted pistachios or any other nuts of your choosing

Place your pistachios at the bottom of a non-stick cake tin. You can finely or roughly chop them and/or roast them if you prefer. We left them raw and whole.

Stir well your tahini in the jar and add it in a small saucepan. Over low heat warm it up for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan and over low hear warm up the honey, until bubbly and caramelised. To check if it’s ready, drizzle a bit in a glass with cold water. It should shape as a soft ball and not be runny. If you have a candy thermometer, you should aim for 115C.

Once your honey is ready add it to the tahini. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything together. Almost immediately, you will see the mixture changing texture, as the ingredients come together. When it gathers around your wooden spoon and not touching the sides of your bowl you are done!

Carefully pour the halva in the cake tin over your nuts. Let it set for a few hours. Cut in small pieces and serve!

 


It’s Shrove Tuesday!

This is the last day before the beginning for Lent. A moveable feast during which in the UK we have pancakes! This year is of course different, but we find that upholding traditions offers us a sense of comfort – especially if these are an excuse to make and enjoy delicious foods!

In search of inspiration for pancake fillings (remember our tahini and grape molasses from a couple of years ago?), we decided to turn to Greek traditions. So this year, our inspiration for this recipe comes from one of the most-loved Greek food combinations: soft white cheese and honey! A breakfast staple in many households, this combination is also the basis for kalitsounia, the little Cretan pastries. Soft creamy cheese, often on the tangy side, blends perfectly with sweet honey. For this recipe, we’ve selected our galomizithra cheese, a soft white Cretan cheese. We paired it with our orange blossom honey, a delicate, sweet honey with a citrus taste and a light amber colour. The result is truly majestic: Think of a cream cheese frosting, but more airy and light, and much more fragrant and aromatic.

Smother your pancakes with this filling. Sprinkle some cinnamon, chop up some fresh mint. We love bee pollen with this one too. Don’t forget your favourite nuts and yes, you can drizzle some more honey!

Serves two

1 pack (200g) galomizithra cheese
4 tbsp orange blossom honey,  plus more to serve
cinnamon, finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
bee pollen, nuts (to serve)

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the honey.

Using a fork or a whisk, mix everything together until well-combined.

Add the cinnamon or fresh mint, if using.

Smother over your pancakes and serve with bee pollen, more honey and your favourite nuts!


Mulled wine is one of our favourite European Christmas traditions. This week, we’ve prepared for you our very special recipe for mulled wine, inspired by Greek wines, spirits and flavours.

As you may know, we love unique Greek wines and spirits, ethically sourced from small producers and vineyards from all over Greece. So for this special mulled wine, we’ve used the Sant’Or Krasis Red, an organic, biodynamic, natural wine, made wine with indigenous yeasts. Its rich red fruit flavours of cherry, plum and cassis and spiced notes of cinnamon, cardamom and rose wood pair perfectly with the winter spices we’ll use. And to make our mulled wine truly special, we are also adding Metaxa, a spirit laying somewhere between Cognac and Brandy, yet impossible to classify. Its toffee tasting notes and fruity finish are the ideal pairings for the Corinth raisins and citrus fruits we will be using!

Oh and did we mention that our mulled wine has absolutely no sugar? Yes, like in a hot toddy, we used honey to add sweetness and a splash of grape molasses to add depth. Trust us, it’s the most delicious mulled wine you’ll ever taste!

Serves 6

1 bottle of Sant’Or Krasis red
100ml Metaxa 7 Stars Love Greece
100gr orange blossom honey
1 tbsp grape molasses
60g Corinth raisins
3 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 oranges
2 tangerines

Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp small knife, remove large strips of the orange zest from the oranges and tangerines, making sure to have as little of the white pith as possible.

In a large pot place the wine, Metaxa, honey, grape molasses, raisins, spices, bay leaves and citrus peel.

Gently simmer over medium-heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the wine is lightly simmering.

Serve warm.


November is here and things seem to be more challenging than ever. We hope that you are all taking good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Times are tough, so remember to breathe and relax.

As we seem to be spending more and more time at home, this week’s recipe is one which we started to make on Sundays, so that we can have something tasty – and healthy- to nibble on, during those dull weekday afternoons, when many of us seem to be lost behind a laptop screen. This is a snack you can enjoy with a warm cup of tea by the window. A small sweet break in your routine, if you wish.

We’ve used what is perhaps one of the best dried fruits we’ve ever brought to you: dried pears. They are picked, sliced and dried without the addition of any sugar or other additives. They have a mellow, fragrant taste and soft texture. You can add them to your stews, salads, morning granola or baking. Or, you can use them to make these delicious, no-bake granola bars! And make sure to snack on some as you are cooking. Trust us, it makes the prep so much sweeter!

Makes 5 (one for each workday of the week)

50g raw almonds
100g dried pears 
150g cup oats
100g honey (we used Arbutus honey)
100g almond butter (see here how to make your own!)
¼ tsp each cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
pinch of salt

Roughly chop your almonds and your pears. The larger the pieces, the more visible they will be in the bars.

In a large bowl place your oats and mix in the spices and salt. Add the chopped almonds and pears.

In a small pot heat the honey until small bubbles start to form. Remove from the heat. Add the almond butter and slowly whisk until blended together.

Pour the almond-honey mixture over the oats and using a wooden spoon, stir well.

Place in a small baking tray, lined with grease-proof paper. Press down firmly until the entire surface is flat. You can use a glass or the back of a large spoon to do so. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours until firm.

Remove from the fridge and cut in 5 pieces.


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.


Summer is in full swing and this week we’ve decided to turn off our hob. There’s nothing better than enjoying a lazy morning, sitting on the balcony or living room, sipping something refreshing and enjoying the summer quiet.

To inspire you, this week we’ve decided to make a simple, yet delicious smoothie for you. We absolutely love fresh fruit in our breakfasts, remember our summer fruit granola or our pear, galomyzithra cheese and bee pollen toast? So in this smoothie we’ve used peaches and bananas. But you can also add nectarines, apricots, cherries, whatever you can find at the market these days!

We’ve used Greek yoghurt (of course!), a tiny bit of honey to sweeten our smoothie and our secret ingredient: cinnamon! We are very excited, as you can now find Greek yoghurt on our website, along with other cheese and dairy products! Feta cheese
or halloumi anyone?

 

Serves 2

2 small peaches
1 banana
200g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp cinnamon

Remove the stones from the peaches and peel the banana. In a blender whizz together the fruit, yoghurt, honey and cinnamon.

Serve over ice cubes, with more cinnamon. Or you can or mix it with oats for a full-on summer breakfast! Oh and did we say that this is actually perfect in the afternoon too?

 


This week we’re using the first strawberries of the season to make a unique recipe. You must know by now how much we enjoy poaching fruit in grape molasses. Remember our spiced pears from a few years ago? And the spiced rhubarb recipe we made last year? So this year we couldn’t but use one of our favourite fruits: strawberries!

We love using grape molasses, it’s such a unique ingredient. We often use it instead of sugar. It adds depth and a complex sweetness to both sweet or savoury dishes. It is also perfect for dressings, drizzled over porridge and added to your morning coffee. Read more about it here and find more recipes here! And definitely have a go at this delicious grape molasses cake! 

For this recipe, we decided to take it one step further and added a bit of honey in the end, for a slightly sweeter result. Do not expect the sweetness jam has. But do expect mellow strawberries and a warm, complex flavourful liquid. So without further ado, grab some strawberries from the market and join us in our Oliveology kitchen!

Makes 2 jars

600g strawberries
½ cup (150ml) grape molasses
½ cup water
3 tbsp honey

 

Hull the strawberries and cut the large ones in half. Place in a medium-sized saucepan with the grape molasses and your water.

Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for around 40min, until the liquid is reduced –but is still plenty, and the strawberries are soft and tender.

Remove from the heat and immediately add the honey, stirring well until all is combined.

Place in jars and keep in the fridge. Serve with Greek yoghurt.


As we were preparing this recipe, we debated a lot on whether bee pollen reminds us more of winter or spring. You see, bee pollen is known as nature’s living superfood, as it is a source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes including iron, protein, Vitamin B1, B2 and B3. So it’s our go-to ingredient during winter, when we feel we need an immunity booster. At the same time, it really reminds us of spring, of flowers blossoming and bees buzzing, as it is collected by honeybees from the forests and flora of Northern Greece.

So we decided to settle the debate, by making a spring granola with bee pollen. Eating this granola for breakfast also feels great for our body during these challenging times. And what goes best with bee pollen? Honey, of course and crunchy, beautiful almonds.

Makes 1 jar

200g oats
100g almonds
pinch of salt
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp orange blossom honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp bee pollen

Preheat the oven at 150C.
Roughly chop the almonds.

In a large bowl, place the oats and almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and salt. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats and nuts, and gently toss everything together, until the oats and nuts are all covered with honey and olive oil.

Place the granola on a baking sheet, nicely spread out and bake in the oven for around 20’, tossing regularly. Be careful not to burn it!

Once the granola is golden remove from the oven and let cool. Toss in the sesame and bee pollen. Store in an airtight jar.