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!


It’s apple season all right and this week we’re making a wonderful breakfast – dessert recipe with, what else, apples!

Have you tried our olive oil and apple cake? Or our apple porridge? How about our grape molasses tart tatin?

As you may know, when it comes to fruit, we prefer recipes that bring out the natural sweetness of fruits. We are very excited about this one, as it’s quite simple to make but the flavours are quite complex. What is it? An apple and dried cherries compote!

The secret lies in the ingredients! We’ve used our favourite dried cherries to complement the apples, fig molasses to add depth to our compote, cinnamon for warmth and our apple oil for some aromatic silkiness.

The result is a comforting apple compote, which will brighten up your mornings. It is perfect served over Greek yoghurt, porridge, or on its own as breakfast. It also makes for a delicious pie filling, or a side to pork-based dishes or a simple steamed rice.

Makes 1 jar

2 large apples (500g)
2 tbsp fig molasses
½ tsp cinnamon
75g dried cherries
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp apple olive oil
a small espresso cup of water (80g)

Remove the core and seeds from the apples. You can peel them if you want, but we prefer not to. Dice the apples. Place them in a medium-sized saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.

Turn up the heat and as soon as you see the liquid bubbling, lower the heat. Let your compote cook for around 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft and mellow.

This recipe is not on the very sweet side, as we’ve used no sugar or honey. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add some towards the end of the cooking.

Serve warm or cold.


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.


With autumn in its full swing, this week we’ve got something to warm you up and sweeten your mood. Our inspiration came from our succulent figs, one of our products of the month.

These wonderful figs are carefully selected and hand picked. Then they are dried naturally under the Greek sun, with no additives or preservatives. The figs are harvested from the fertile Messinia region in the Peloponnese, which we love.

Searching for recipe ideas with dried figs we decided to go for something we haven’t tried before. A compote. The idea came from our vegan stuffing recipe with raisins. While cooking up the recipe, the raisins soaked up all the juices and got rehydrated. What would happen to our figs in a similar situation? Let’s see, shall we?

For this recipe here we did not use any sugar. Just a combination of spices and fig molasses! It is dried figs that we want to liven up, what better pairing than fig molasses? In full disclosure, we had some leftover from our summer granola and dressing recipe. And there’s nothing more this writer loves most than no-waste cooking. And speaking of no-waste cooking have a look at our cooking class this November. We will learn a lot about no-waste there too!

For 1 jar you will need

300ml water
2tbsp fig molasses
250g figs
1/4tsp cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
25g whole raw sesame
Greek yogurt (to serve)

Place all your ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles start to form, turn down the heat and cook on low for 30-40min, until the figs are tender and the liquid has caramelized.

Fig compote is great served warm, as is or over Greek yogurt.


So, pancake day is here! Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day is this wonderful day in February or March when we eat (you guessed it) pancakes! This day is linked to the beginning of the fasting for Easter. It is indeed a moveable feast, moving every year as determined by Easter. The idea behind it is that you use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast. And pancakes are the perfect way to use up all these ingredients! What is beautiful about these cycles of feasting and fasting though, is that they create traditions and food patterns that remain unchanged. So today, irrespective of whether you fast or not, irrespective of any religious ideas one may have, we all enjoy pancake day!

At Borough Market we celebrate pancake day with the annual pancake day race, where all of us compete in a pancake flipping relay. Obviously, the best way to celebrate pancake day is to eat loads of pancakes with various fillings. And as you know, we love sharing with your our own Greek take on things.

So this week, we came up with the simplest, yet most delicious (and nutritious!) sweet pancake filling. And stay tuned, because there are various ways to use this-more to follow! So this year give chocolate or sugar a break and let us introduce you to the amazing sweet intense nuttiness of…

Tahini and Grape Molasses Pancake Filling

200g tahini
100g grape molasses
pinch of salt

In a bowl place your tahini, grape molasses and salt. Using a fork stir vigorously until both ingredients are combined and the texture is like thick butter. Generously spread over pancakes.

This mixture pairs perfectly with bananas, colourful raw pistachios and dried cherries.

 

 


The naming of all nut butters is quite clever if you think about it. Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter. You read these words and immediately your mouth is filled with the creamy taste of roasted nuts. You can almost feel it melting in your mouth, the smell of nuts filling the room.

There are all sorts of nut butters out there. But you know, not all of them are good for you. Read the labels before you buy anything. It’s a nut butter, the only ingredient it should contain is nuts. Maybe a pinch of salt. But nothing else. So next time you go shopping, try to source the nut butter that only has nuts inside.

Or, if you are a bit like us, you can make your own. Seriously, this recipe is very, very simple. Why not give it a try? As with all recipes that consist of few ingredients, you need to get the best quality nuts. We’ve got some lovely hazelnuts at Borough Market, straight from Greece. For a very smooth hazelnut butter, we will remove the skins from the nuts. But between you and I, if you can’t be bothered, just leave them on. This recipe includes roasting them. But again, you can get roasted ones. But as I replied to a friend when she asked why do I bother roasting my nuts for this recipe: can you smell the kitchen? This is why. So go on, give it a try!

For 1 jar you will need

500g raw hazelnuts
a pinch of salt

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place your hazelnuts on a tray, all in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 min, checking regularly. You need your hazelnuts to have a golden-brown colour. But be careful not to over-roast them, otherwise they will become bitter.

Lay a clean tea towel on your table. Once the hazelnuts are roasted and still very hot, remove them from the tray and place them on your towel. Carefully wrap the towel around the nuts, holding it by its ends with your one hand. With your other hand roll the towel around, so that the hazelnuts grind against each other. After a few minutes, most of the skins will have fallen off, leaving you with lovely golden hazelnuts. If skins still remain you can transfer all your nuts to a clean tea towel and repeat for a few minutes.

Once your hazelnuts are skinless, pulse in a food processor. In the beginning you will have the texture of breadcrumbs for what seems like an eternity. Be patient, it takes only 4-5 minutes of pulsing. And then, magically, you get a smooth, creamy butter! Add a pinch of salt and blend for one last time. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar.


In the UK, Shrove Tuesday (13th February 2018) is also known as Pancake Day because it is the one day of the year when almost everyone eats a pancake! Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and is the final day before the start of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday. The name Shrove comes from the old word \shrive\” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before Lent began.

Lent is a time of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

Check out our simple Greek pancake recipe with no butter.

Makes: 15 pancakes

2 cups flour
2 cups of milk
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs olive oil

Greek pancakes or tiganites are relatively small and light, a delight served with honey, jam, cinnamon or sugar and lemon.

It is a good idea to sieve the flour first if you have time. Then mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl beat eggs. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix, pour the eggs and 2 tbs of olive oil and start whisking. Then gradually add the milk into the centre, still whisking until the mixture has become smooth with no lumps. Brush the pan using the remaining olive oil and fry the pancakes 2-3 minutes on each side until light golden. Brush with more oil between batches. Serve with your choice of honey, jam, grape molasses or sugar and lemon or cinnamon.

 


Are you familiar with the song: “Sugar is sweet/ But not as sweet as my baby/ Honey’s a treat but it/ Can’t compete with my baby”? It seems like they have never tried grape molasses! In Greece when we want to say that something/ someone is really sweet, we say they are sweet like petimezi. One great thing about our health awareness and sugar rush/ tax era is rediscovering excellent ingredients like this one. Grape molasses or petimezi, is an ancient food, popular for its nutritious qualities and delightful flavour. Before establishing the use of sugar, petimezi was very commonly used across the Mediterranean and especially Greece, not only as a sweetener but as a remedy as well.

Petimezi’s flavour is sweet with a hint of spice and its aroma is pungent, potent and so incredibly tempting. This excellent product comes from boiling grape-must in low heat for a long time. It is rather expensive since the production process is long and the yield is small. Its texture is quite similar to aged balsamic vinegar; if you are an Ottolenghi fan, then you are definitely familiar with pomegranate molasses and can use petimezi, accordingly.

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