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.


We’ve got a new olive oil from our farm in Sparta! The Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil is a very special oil. It is made from semi-ripe olives of the Koroneiki, Athinoelia and Kalamata varieties. These are crushed together with ginger, lime and basil. We use 1200g of semi-ripe olives to produce 100ml of this cold extracted oil. Of course it has no additives or preservatives. It has a very vibrant flavour and intense aromas, and a fascinating aftertaste.

This olive oil pairs perfectly with white fish and rice dishes. But what is the ideal way to savour such an exquisite olive oil? Vegetables, of course, as they are the perfect canvas to bring out its delicious colours. So this week, after a visit to the market, we got some fresh green beans and created this lovely recipe for you. It is quite simple, yet this olive oil transforms the green beans into magic!

This is great for a light lunch, but can also be served as a side dish as part of a meal.

Serves 2

500g green beans
2 small red onions
2 fat clove of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
50g raw almonds
4 tbsp Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil, plus more for serving
zest 1 lime
1 tbsp. lime juice
salt (to taste)

Cut your beans in large bite-sized pieces.
Place your beans in a large pot with boiling, salted water and cook for approx. 5-7 minutes until tender but not soft. Drain and place in a large bowl. While the beans are still warm, toss them together with the ginger, lime and basil olive oil, lime juice and zest. Season with salt. Set aside.

Finely slice the onion and mince the garlic. Gently fry in the olive oil, over medium-low heat, until caramelised, approx. 4-5 minutes. Roughly chop the almonds and add them to your frying pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve the beans with the onion-almond mixture, drizzling some more ginger, lime and basil olive oil if needed.


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.


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.


One thing we love about veg boxes, is that you never know what you will get. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been getting nettles. Last week we made a spinach pie, adding the nettles for a different twist. This week however, we got two bunches. So we thought, let’s make pesto!

If you are following our recipes, you will know by now how we love making pesto. I don’t know if I’ve written this before, but realising that you can make pesto using anything you’ve got around was life-changing for me. So in the past we’ve made a pistachio pesto, a sun-dried tomato pesto with almonds, and the uber-seasonal wild garlic pesto!

One must be careful when handling nettle, as this lovely green can sting. The way we usually go about with nettle, is blanching it for a few minutes, and then use it in recipes such as pies, or in this pesto here. That way, it will not sting you. But do use gloves beforehand, to separate the leaves.

Makes one jar

2 bunches of nettle
¾ cups olive oil
½ cup raw nuts (we used walnuts, but pistachios are great too! – you can use whatever you have)
2 tsp white wine vinegar or 2 tsp lemon juice (or one of each)
salt (to taste)

Using gloves, separate the nettle leaves and thin stems.
Place in a large pot with boiling water. Blanch for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out all excess water. You should be left with 1 cup of nettle pulp.

In a large frying pan, dry-toast the walnuts and let cool.

Whiz together the nettle, olive oil, walnuts. Season with salt. Add the vinegar or lemon juice (we used a teaspoon of each), and whiz again until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt or acidity.

Serve with pasta, veg or simply crusty bread!


Christmas is now slowly coming to an end, but somehow we are still feeling festive. The New Year is after all very close!

This week we have selected a wonderful recipe that will certainly fill you with warmth. A honey & spices granola! It is filled with fragrant spices, such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened with vanilla fir honey. And because we’re feeling very festive, we’ve used our apple oil to give our granola a wonderful subtle aroma. This granola makes for a perfect gift for the New Year. Just put it in a lovely jar with a colourful ribbon.

But it’s also the ideal way to use up any leftover nuts and dried fruit you may have from Christmas. And as the year is coming to an end, we love the idea of clearing out our kitchen cupboards and starting fresh. So have a look, gather all leftover nuts and dried fruit, and join us, as we say goodbye to 2019 with one last recipe.

Makes one large jar

200g oats
100g mixed nuts (we used walnuts and hazelnuts)
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 tbsp apple oil
4 tbsp vanilla fir honey
50g dried fruit (we used raisins)

Preheat the oven at 160C.

Roughly chop the nuts. Place them in a large baking dish, along with the oats.

In a small bowl, whisk together the apple oil, honey, spices and pinch of salt.

Pour over the oats and nuts and using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix everything very well together, until all oats and nuts are coated in the aromatic olive oil-honey.

Bake at 160C for around 30min, stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and add the dried fruit.


This week we are feeling quite autumn-y. And what goes better with autumn, than wonderful baking activities on a Sunday afternoon!

So this week we are making a recipe that is something between a bread and a cake. What do we mean? It is a dough made with flour, nuts and dried fruit! It is very moist and not at all sweet. You can have it with tea, butter and honey for a filling breakfast, serve it as part of your cheese platter alongside crackers, or even enjoy as is.

For this recipe we used dried apricots and cherries. As our dried fruit have no added sugar, the result is dense and flavourful. But do not expect it to be sweet. It is more on the bitter/sour side. So if you wish, you can add a bit of honey or sugar in the recipe, or omit the balsamic vinegar. But first, try this one, it really is something special, especially served with plenty of honey.

Another idea would be to get our Autumn Baking bundle and use all of its ingredients for this recipe!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe created by Nena Ismirnoglou, whose recipes always surprise us with their simplicity and flavour.

Makes a medium-sized cake tin

200g all-purpose flour
8g dried yeast
300g dried fruit (we used a combination of apricots and cherries)
50ml balsamic cream with mandarin
120ml water
100g nuts (we used raw almonds and raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp oak honey, plus more to serve
½ tsp ground cloves, cinnamon or other warm spices

Finely chop the dried fruit. Warm up the balsamic cream with the water and pour over the fruit. Let them soak for 30minutes.

Ground the almonds and hazelnuts. Mix together your flour, ground nuts and spices.

In a large bowl whisk together the yeast with 2tbsp of warm water. Add to the bowl the flour-nuts mixture and dried fruit. Knead well until you have a slightly sticky dough. Cover with a tea-towel and let your dough rest in a warm environment for 30minutes.

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place some greaseproof paper on a cake tin and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of honey. Place your dough in the tin and push it gently. Drizzle the rest of the honey on top of the dough.

Bake for 30min. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.


It was autumn a few years ago, when I first joined Oliveology. I was about to make one of my first recipes for this blog. Marianna had given me a few produce to experiment with. I looked at the tin with our apple oil. I was fascinated. Who would think of that, I wondered. Who would combine apples with olives? I loved it before even opening the tin. And when I finally tasted it, and poured it over this pumpkin soup, it was, and I am not exaggerating here, one of the most interesting things I’d ever tasted in my life.

It is perfect with sweet things, of course: drizzled over cake, and over your morning porridge -yes, try it!

So this week, we’ve used our favourite apple oil to make soft oven-baked sweet potatoes! We just love this autumn ingredient. Do you remember our vegan lentil soup with sweet potatoes? Or our sweet and sour winter vegetables? Delicious!

Serves 4 as a generous side

1kg sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple oil
5 spring onions
smoked salt
black pepper
50g roasted hazelnuts
balsamic creme with mandarin (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 200C.

Finely chop your spring onions. Scrub your potatoes under running water. You can peel them, but we’ve left them with their skin. Cut them in rounds, around 1cm thick. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside for serving.

Place the sweet potatoes and spring onions into a baking tray. Drizzle the apple oil. Season generously with the smoked salt and pepper and toss everything together. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for around 30-40min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Serve with the hazelnuts, drizzling some balsamic cream with mandarin.

 


This week we’ve got a somewhat unusual recipe for you. August and September in Greece are usually months of preserving in our household. We make tomato passata to last all winter, and jams using very ripe fruit, like figs or peaches, as their season is coming to an end.

However, it is not a preserving recipe we’ve got for you this week. It is one that you can make using any overripe fruit you may have. It works great with apricots, but you can also use peaches, plums and yes, figs!

Here, we have combined apricots with dried apricots (how surprising, I know!) and almonds, but you can mix and match, depending on what dried fruit or nuts you love most. We baked these in the oven with olive oil, our balsamic cream with mandarin, and a bit of honey. The result is soft fruit, bold flavours and the perfect pairing to a grilled manouri or halloumi cheese. This recipe is also perfect to accompany a cheese & cured meats platter, or your morning yogurt. It really is the best way to make use of the wonderful last fruit of summer and welcome autumn.

We are serving this with one of our favourite summer ingredients: rosemary floral water!

We spent most of the summer spraying this aromatic water on our body and hair after the beach, but who says we can’t ‘perfume’ our dishes too? Floral waters are absolutely perfect to use in the kitchen too! So as you are serving this dish, spray on each plate -and on each guest if you dare! Trust us, you are in for a treat.

Serves two

150g apricots
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic cream with mandarin
30g dried apricots
30g almonds
1 tbsp vanilla fir honey
pinch of salt
rosemary water (to serve)

Cut the apricots in half, removing all stones. Cut the dried apricots in small pieces and roughly chop the almonds. Place everything in an oven dish. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic mandarin glaze, honey and salt. Mix with your fruit and nuts, so that everything is coated with the liquid.

Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for 30 min or until the fruit is soft and the flavours have blended.

To serve, place on individual plates and spray rosemary water over each plate.


This year we decided to create a very festive recipe using our newest dried fruits and nuts! We selected the word stuffing when categorising this recipe, but this will make for a wonderful side dish, or vegan dinner. It is somewhat a combination of our other Christmas stuffing recipes. It is made with rice, just like our vegan stuffing from a couple of years ago, but also leeks, like the less ordinary stuffing we made last year. But this year we decided to take it up a notch.

We went full on with our dried fruit and used colourful nectarines and cherries. The bright yellow-orange nectarines are very aromatic and sour enough to add an additional dimension to this dish. Our cherries are moist and intense, full of natural sweetness. And what better pairing than our roasted and slightly salted almonds! And of course, many fragrant spices. It is Christmas after all.

We served our stuffing in an old serving dish, as we are somehow feeling more retro and nostalgic during Christmas. Somehow using old platters or bowls to serve our Christmas food brings us closer to all those moments of food sharing of the past. You know, these dishes do carry their own histories.

But before we get carried away, let’s get to our recipe!

Serves 4 as a side
1 large leek
4tbsp olive oil
200g Carolina rice
600ml vegetable stock
50g dried nectarines
50g dried cherries
50g almonds, roasted and slightly salted
1 tsp spices (we used a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg)
salt, black pepper (to taste)
lemon zest and fresh parsley (to serve)

When it comes to the dried fruit or nuts, you can select to finely chop them, roughly chop them, or for the more adventurous out there, leave them whole.

Finely chop the leek. In a medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat gently fry the leek in the olive oil until transluscent. In the meantime, rince your rice under cold running water. Strain and set aside. Add the rice to your pot and stir until coated with olive oil. Add the dried nectarines, cherries, almonds and stir again. Season with salt and pepper. Be mindful, the almonds are slightly salted!

Pour the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat and cook your stuffing simmer half-covered until the rice is cooked and the fruits are plump and rehydrated.

Serve with lemon zest and fresh parsley or other fresh herbs.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!