Moussaka is one of the most popular and most loved Greek dishes. It takes a while to make, so think of it as a weekend project. But the result will not disappoint. Layers of mellow vegetables are followed by a layer of beef mince, then more vegetables and finally a smooth béchamel sauce. It is a quintessentially summer dish, as aubergines and courgettes, they key ingredients, are in season – and at their best- then.

Following our delicious Olive Oil Mythologies dinner a few weeks ago, this is the recipe for moussaka, which we served as a main course. It is by Katerina, Nafsika’s mother. We have planned many more amazing dinner experiences after the summer, so watch this space for our autumn events!

This recipe serves 16, as in Greece we always make large quantities of moussaka. It freezes well if you want to make two trays. Simply place in the freezer before the final step of baking. You can also half the recipe, if you prefer.

Final advice: moussaka needs to rest after baking. So estimate at least 45 minutes of resting time before diving in. Trust us, the result is worth it!

Serves 16

Mince meat
2 medium red onions (approx. 300g)
6 tbsp olive oil
1kg beef mince, lean
1 cup water
2 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp sugar (optional)
1.5 bottles tomato passata (or 5 juicy tomatoes)
½ tsp cinnamon
salt, pepper (to taste)

Finely chop or grate the onions. In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot add the olive oil and onions. Gently fry over medium heat until transluscent but not caramelised.
Add the mince and stir well, until the mince is broken down and has browned.
Add one cup of water and cook until the mince is tender, around 15minutes.
In a cup with warm water stir in the tomato puree and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Add it to your pot, along with the tomato passata and stir well.
Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the mince is tender and the sauce thickens, around 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Vegetables
2kg aubergines
1kg courgettes
1kg potatoes
1.5 cups olive oil
salt, pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven at 180C.
Slice all the vegetables into 5mm / ½ cm slices.
Lay the vegetables in trays and brush the one side with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 180C until the vegetables are soft, around 20min.
Half-way through turn them over and brush the other side with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Set aside to cool.

Béchamel sauce
225g butter
225g flour
3lt milk
10 eggs
750g kefalotyri cheese

In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot and over low heat add the flour and butter. Whisk together until golden. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. You can test by covering the back of a spoon with the sauce, and running your finger through it. The line should remain clear. Remove from the heat and whisk in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, eggs and cheese. Set aside, covering tight with cling film. The cling film should touch the surface of the sauce.

Assembling
Preheat the oven at 180C.
Brush the bottom of a large baking tray with a bit of olive oil (2 tbsp). Layer half the aubergines, followed by courgettes and potatoes. Add the mince. Continue with another layer of aubergines. Top with the béchamel sauce.
Bake at 180C until the béchamel sauce is golden and the moussaka is bubbly, 20-30min.
Let the moussaka rest for at least 45 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This week we’ve got a family recipe for you. Every summer, my mother, along with many other Greek cooks, prepares tomato sauce, enough to last the entire winter. She uses summer tomatoes, which are particularly juicy and ripe towards the end of August in Greece.

Often unable to get my mother’s sauce in London, I started making it myself. However, as this is a sauce with very few ingredients, the quality of tomatoes is really important. When I started using our tomato passata I was amazed: the sauce tasted exactly like my mother’s. You see, our organic tomato passata is made with organic Greek tomatoes picked during the summer when they are at their best, with no added salt, as close to the flavours of nature as you can get. It’s great for any tomato-based dish (check out our recipes here), and it’s great in this family recipe.

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion
1 bottle tomato passata
1 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, pepper (to taste)

Grate or finely chop the onion. In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil and onion and gently fry over medium heat until translucent but not caramelised. Add the tomato passata.

Stir the tomato puree and sugar (if using) in a cup of warm water until dissolved. Add to your pot. Add the basil and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Stir well.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavours blend together, for about an hour. Half way through taste and adjust for seasonings, adding more basil, cinnamon, salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with pasta or rice, use on top of bruschetta, or even as a dipping sauce.


This week we have a very hearty recipe for you. Lentils and tomatoes are an all-time favourite and we couldn’t but pair them together in this simple, yet very comforting dish.

We are after all getting ready for summer, eagerly waiting for the first juicy summer tomatoes to appear in the market. So in this recipe, adapted from Jack Santa Maria’s cookery book Greek Vegetarian Cooking, we are using the vibrant red organic tomato passata to make a delicious lentil stew. It makes for an excellent dinner, served alongside brown rice. But also, it works great as a more filling pasta sauce. Don’t forget to check out all of our recipes with tomato passata.

Serves 2 as main

1 medium red onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bottle tomato passata (or 2-3 juicy tomatoes, crushed)
500ml water (plus more if needed)
150ml red wine (we used the Barafakas Idea Red)
100g lentils
dried thyme (to taste)
dried oregano (to taste)
salt, pepper (to taste)
brown rice and fresh tomatoes (to serve)

Grate or finely chop your onion and garlic. In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Gently fry over medium heat until translucent but not caramelised.

Add the tomato passata, water, wine and lentils and stir everything together. Add the thyme and oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook, covered, until the sauce is thickened and the lentils are tender, around 45minutes. Half-way through taste and adjust for dried herbs and seasoning.

Serve with brown rice and fresh tomatoes (if desired).


How are you spending this summer? We were very fortunate to be able to travel around Greece, tasting wonderful food and swimming in the deep blue sea. This week we are bringing to you a recipe for one of the simplest and perhaps one of the most wonderful dishes we tasted while in Greece: wild greens with tomatoes and cheese!

Wild greens are found everywhere in Greece during the summer, sold in large bunches at local markets all around the country. There are endless varieties. The ones we selected are called vlita (amaranth) and have a subtle bitter, earthy taste which pairs perfectly with the sweet summer tomatoes. In this recipe we’ve used our tomato passata, so that you can easily prepare it in the winter, selecting more wintery greens. You can use whichever seasonal dark leafy greens you can find: chard, kale, spinach, collard greens. Anything goes!

In the classic recipe, greens are boiled and then fresh tomatoes are grated on top. A soft white cheese like mizithra or feta is crumbled and, of course, plenty of olive oil is drizzled on top. We followed this classic recipe and kept things simple. It is still summer after all, and we love feeling a bit more relaxed before the hectic winter begins. Do feel free to omit the cheese, to keep this vegan.

Serves 2 as main or 4 as a side

1kg dark leafy greens
1 bottle tomato passata (or 3-4 tomatoes, crushed)
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
salt, freshly ground black pepper
150g soft white cheese (we used our organic feta), to serve

Thoroughly rinse your greens and remove any large stems (you can reserve them to make stock). We kept the leaves whole, but if you prefer you can roughly chop them.
Place your greens in a large pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until soft and tender. We used a very large pot and boiled the greens all in one go, for around 6 minutes, but you can also work in batches.

Drain and place your greens in a large salad bowl. While they are still warm, pour over the tomato passata, season with pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Serve immediately with the feta cheese and more olive oil. If you are not using cheese, do add a bit of salt.

This dish is also perfect served cold. If you are serving it cold, let the greens cool down and place them in the fridge. Continue with the tomato, etc just before serving.

 


As you may know, Greek cuisine is all about seasonality. So when summer comes along, we can’t but cook with the produce of the season. Aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes are all in abundance and at their best during this time of the year. Remember our stuffed peppers with bulgur wheat, or our friend Amaryllis’ stuffed peppers with orzo?

In the spirit of Greek summer, briam is perhaps one of the most loved Greek dishes! It is very easy to make and makes use of all these delicious vegetables. As with most summer foods it is great eaten at room temperature or even cold. In the classic recipe, the vegetables are slowly cooked in the oven, along with crushed tomatoes and plenty of olive oil. The result is a mellow, delicious dish that you can keep in your fridge for when you need an easy supper or lunch. In our version of this dish, we’ve used a few sun-dried tomatoes and their oil which adds depth and flavour. You can add a bit of grape molasses too if you wish!

This dish is great with feta cheese, which we’ve added towards the end of cooking, but you can omit this if you are vegan.

Serves 6

2 aubergines (700g)
2 courgettes (700g)
1 green bell pepper
2 potatoes (400g)
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
20g sun-dried tomatoes (or more, to taste)
1 tbsp tomato puree in 150ml warm water
2 bottles of tomato passata or 6-8 tomatoes, crushed
150ml olive oil plus more for drizzling
Salt, pepper (to taste)
150g feta cheese
a small bunch of parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven at 180C.
Cut the aubergines, courgettes, peppers and potatoes in large bite-sized pieces. Cut the onion in half moons and finely slice the garlic. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
Place all your vegetables in a a large baking tray.
In a mug, mix together the tomato paste and warm water and stir with a spoon until the tomato paste is dissolved. Add it to your tray.
Also add the crushed tomatoes, olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix everything together. The tomatoes should just about cover your vegetables.
Cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for an hour.
Remove the tinfoil, add the feta cheese crumbled, parsley and drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and bake for another half hour or more, until the potatoes are soft and the tomatoes have turned into a mellow sauce.

Serve with crusty bread!


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.


This week we’ve got a wonderful summer recipe for you!

The simplest version of the classic recipe calls for okra, olive oil, onions and tomatoes. As with most traditional Greek recipes, there are endless variations. For instance, my mother simply adds a bit of cinnamon and sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Others add a shot of vinegar. No matter the recipe, feta cheese is always served on the side. Here, we took inspiration from the past and created a wholesome dish that is sure to become a summer staple.

For this recipe you can use fresh or frozen okra. Just make sure to be very gentle when you stir your okra, otherwise it will break down. We’ve used our small sun-dried tomatoes, aged balsamic vinegar and orange-blossom honey to add aromas and depth to our tomatoes. We are also baking the okra in the oven, adding cheese – manouri and feta cheese! Of course, feel free to omit the cheese if you are vegan.

Serves 2 with leftovers

425g okra
1 large onion
1 bottle tomato passata or 3-4 tomatoes crushed
30g sun-dried tomatoes (reserve the oil to use in salads or dressings)
1tbsp tomato paste, mixed with ½ cup 100ml warm water
½ cup (100ml) olive oil
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey (we used orange blossom honey)
salt, pepper
cinnamon (optional)
100g feta cheese
100g manouri cheese (at our shop Borough Market or Spa Terminus)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Cut the onion in half-moons and place in a medium-sized baking tray. Add the okra, tomato passata, sun-dried tomatoes and gently stir everything together.

In a large mug add the tomato paste and warm water, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and gently stir everything together, until the paste has dissolved.

Add to your tray with the okra, season with salt, pepper and cinnamon (if using). Stir everything together.

Bake at 180C for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. You can leave it for longer, up to two hours, if you want your okra mellow and very soft.

Cut the cheeses into cubes and once the okra is cooked, add the cheeses and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread – I personally prefer okra at room temperature, but hot or cold actually works wonders with this dish!

 


This week we’re continuing our discovery of traditional Greek recipes and have prepared a hearty, summery bean soup for you. Fasolada, as bean soup is called in Greek, is a dish eaten throughout the year, but mostly in the winter. Beans are cooked with tomato, water, and vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery leaves. Bay leaf is a must here.

This recipe, adapted from my favourite 1989 recipe calendar is the summer version of this dish and comes from the island of Crete. It uses seasonal vegetables such as peppers which are found in abundance in farmers’ markets this time of the year.

We used our small white beans, which are harvested every year in organic farms in northern Greece. You can also use gigantes beans, or any other bean you prefer. In this recipe, we’ve used a very unique ingredient. Carob molasses! Made from 100% Cretan carob pods, it is cold-extracted and with no added sugar. It has a mild, sweet taste which adds sweetness and depth to our soup.

Serves 2 with leftovers

130g small beans
1 medium red onion
5 cups of water
2 carrots
1 stick of celery
2 large peppers
400ml tomato passata or 2 large tomatoes crushed
salt, pepper
1 tbsp carob molasses
½ cup olive oil
Dakos carob rusks and feta cheese (to serve)

The night before soak your beans in cold water. The morning after drain the beans and place them in a heavy-bottomed pot or casserole with 5 cups of water. Finely chop the onion and add it to your pot. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to medium-high, cover and let your beans cook for half an hour.

As your beans are cooking prepare your vegetables: Peel and slice the carrots. Slice the celery, and cut the peppers in bite-sized pieces. Add the vegetables in the bean pot, along with the tomato passata. Season with salt and let the soup cook over medium heat, covered, for an hour or so, until the beans are tender.

When your beans are cooked, add the carob molasses and olive oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with Dakos carob rusks and feta cheese.

This soup is perfect eaten hot, but also at room temperature if you prefer.


With January in full swing and most of us staying at home, there’s always the need for some culinary inspiration. This week’s recipe is quite simple, and makes for a perfect lunch. Add these lovely roasted peppers to it, and you’re in for a treat.

As you may know, in Greece food revolves around two main flavours: lemon and tomatoes. We love them both, equally. But this week we went for the latter. However, during the long winter months tomatoes are scarce, more expensive and trust us, they taste nothing like the ones you find in the summer. So we go for our organic passata. Tomatoes are picked during the summer when they are at their best and then turned into our aromatic tomato passata without any seeds or peels. Using nothing but tomatoes and no added salt it is as close to the flavours of nature as you would expect.

Now, when you slowly cook brown rice in this tomato passata, the result is a nutritious, delicious meal! With the addition of olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes, of course.

Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
100g brown rice
450g passata
250ml water
½ tub of olives (we used a selection of Kalamata plain and unripe olives)
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes
½ jar artichoke hearts, drained

Pour the olive oil in a medium-sized pot and over medium-low heat. Once hot add the rice and stir, so that each grain is coated with the oil. Season with salt.

Add the passata and water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the rice cook until tender, for approximately 40min.

Once the rice is cooked, add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes and let the flavours blend for another 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with plenty of feta cheese.


What’s your favourite Greek food? Many of you told us how you love our more traditional Greek recipes. Remember Katerina’s arakas from a few weeks ago? So this week we’ve got another classic for you. Fasolakia. This is a dish we usually make in late spring-early summer in Greece.

Fasolakia is the name for green beans in Greece. Strolling around the farmers’ markets one sees many types of green beans at this time of the year. And as tomatoes are at their best, we couldn’t but share with you a recipe that combines both.

As with most traditional Greek recipes, you only need a few ingredients and lots of care. Take your time when preparing Fasolakia, and let them slowly cook, so that they become mellow and tender. This recipe is also my mother’s.

This dish needs, of course, a mature feta cheese and some warm crusty bread. If you eat it al fresco then it’s even better. So come into my family’s kitchen and cook with us this wonderful dish.

Serves 4

650g green beans
2 small red onions
240g grated tomatoes or tomato passata
1 tsp tomato puree, stirred into 1 cup of hot water
4 tbsp olive oil plus more for serving
Salt, pepper

Finely grate or chop your onions. Place your beans, onions and olive oil in a large pot, along with 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, covered, until your beans are soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste in the water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for another 30-45’, until the beans are very tender, the water has evaporated and you are left with a loose tomato sauce.

Serve with more olive oil, feta cheese and crusty bread.