Baklava is one of the most-loved Greek desserts. With origins in the Ottoman cuisine, it is prepared all around Greece, Turkey, and many other countries of the Levant, the Balkans and beyond.

We’ve tasted some delicious Turkish baklava with pistachios, while in Greece walnuts are preffered. Some more ‘modern’ versions which were popular all around Athens in the 90s-2000s used hazelnuts. Diverting from traditional recipes, for us, the selection of nuts is a very personal choice, and in this recipe we’ve actually used a mixture of all three: pistachios, walnuts and hazelnuts.

When it comes to the layers of filo, there are, again endless variations. If you love a tall baklava, double the recipe, or prepare it in a smaller baking dish. In ours we used one pack of filo and a 32x26cm dish and the result was a thin baklava. Ideally a metal baking dish is preferred as the distribution of heat is optimal for the baklava. However, we tried baking ours in a classic baking dish and it worked just fine.

For the syrup, we used our wild flower honey to sweeten ours, which adds a wonderful depth of flavour. When it comes to pouring the syrup over the baked baklava, there is a great debate around the ideal temperatures. We found that cooled down syrup poured over the hot baklava, just as it comes our of the oven gives a wonderfully crispy filo.

1 pack filo (450g)
350g nuts (we used raw pistachios, walnuts and hazelnuts)
100g white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
250g clarified butter (or simply melt butter)

For the syrup
250ml water
200g white sugar
200g wild flower honey
2tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
lemon peel

Syrup: In a medium sized pot and over medium heat add the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice and peel, and cinnamon stick. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick and set aside to cool.

Preparation: Preheat your oven to 190C.

Working in batches and using a pestle and mortal or blender, grind your nuts until they resemble coarse sand. Whisk in the sugar and cinnamon and set aside in a bowl.

Place the sheets of filo on the table over a kitchen towel and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Melt your butter and place it on the table.

Assembling: Brush the bottom and sides of your pan with butter. Place one layer of filo, trimming the ends if needed. Drizzle some butter and add another layer of filo. Repeat until you have four layers of filo at the bottom.

Sprinkle a thin layer of your nut mixture. Cover with a sheet of filo and drizzle with butter. Repeat the process with a thin layer of nuts, then filo then drizzled butter, until you are left with three sheets of filo and no nuts.

Drizzling butter in between the sheets of filo, cover the top of the baklava with the remaining three sheets. If you have any butter left then pour it over your baklava.

Using a sharp knife cut in a diamond-shaped pattern (or squares or whatever you prefer). You can place the baklava in the fridge for the butter to set if you are finding it difficult to cut.

Baking: Bake at 190C in the bottom rack of the oven for 30-40minutes, until the baklava is golden and cooked underneath as well (check by gently lifting a piece from the corner).

Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the syrup. You will hear it making a beautiful sound. The syrup might seem a lot but let it cool and it will absorb most of it.

Tip: Baklava is always better the next day, so if you can, be patient and wait at least a few hours before serving it.

 


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!


Briam is our favourite summer food. Aubergines, courgettes, potatoes and onions slowly cook in the oven, along with crushed tomatoes and plenty of olive oil. The result is tender vegetables that melt in your mouth. The classic recipe is only made during the summer. Growing up, we never had a winter version of briam at home.

However, when looking around for culinary inspiration, I realised that in the last few years a winter version has indeed appeared, with sweet potatoes, beetroot and other winter vegetables.

As we love eating vegetables that are in season, we couldn’t but try this one! How does it differ to roasted vegetables? This Winter Briam keeps the same principles as the summer much-loved dish: vegetables slowly cook in the oven, this time with honey, mustard and orange or lemon juice to replace the tomatoes. Olive oil is always there, of course. The result is not caramelised vegetables or vegetables that keep their bite. The result is a mellow, colourful dish with soft and tender vegetables that melt in your mouth.

Make a large tray, it’s great for lunch the next day. Actually it keeps well for the week, so you can have it for lunch every day!

Serves 6 as a main

2 large carrots (approx. 300g)
2 sweet potatoes (approx. 300g)
4-5 beetroot (approx. 500g)
1 medium broccoli (approx.. 200g)
1 leek
2 medium onions
½ head of garlic
1 tsp dried spearmint
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
200ml olive oil
50ml water
1 tbsp wild thyme honey
1 large orange, juice and zest
2 tbsp mustard
1 small bunch of parsley (to serve, optional)
Feta cheese (to serve, optional)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Peel and cut the carrots and sweet potatoes in bite-sized pieces. Trim the beetroot and cut in quarters or in half. Leave small beetroot whole. Cut the broccoli in florets.
Finely slice the leek. Peel and cut the onions in wedges.
Place all vegetables in a large baking tray and sprinkle with the dried herbs.
In a mug whisk together the olive oil, water, honey, orange juice and zest and mustard. Pour over your vegetables and mix everything together.

Cover in tinfoil and bake for one hour covered. Uncover and bake for half an hour.Finely chop the parsley and add to the tray. Serve with plenty of feta cheese.

 


As you know, trahana is one of our favourite winter foods. It makes for a hearty, nutritious soup with spiced peppers, can become a luxurious dish with the addition of truffles, or a very unique breakfast with olive oil, cheese & honey. You can also use it to make a creamy soup, or add to your stews for texture.

What it is? It is a mixture of fermented milk and wheat, with a slightly tangy flavour and a very comforting smell! A classic in Greek cuisine.

So this week, as we are preparing for our Winter Rural Feast in December, plan wine tastings for the months ahead and many other culinary experiences for you all (check this space!), we couldn’t but make a nutritious breakfast.

This week we’ve cooked trahana in milk (you can use hazelnut milk or any other milk of your choice), and added our absolute favourite: smooth hazelnut butter! Made purely from organic, raw hazelnuts, with no added salt or any preservatives, it is the ideal way to get all the nutrients from nuts. Add some honey and you’ve got yourselves a breakfast that can get you through any challenging winter day!

Serves 1

75g trahana
250g milk of your choice
1 tsp hazelnut butter
1 tsp raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1-2 dried figs, roughly chopped
1 tsp honey, plus more 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.

Add the hazelnut butter and honey and give it a swirl. Top with the chopped hazelnuts and dried figs and more honey if desired.


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.

 


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.


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!