Today’s recipe is an ode to Florina peppers. Florina peppers are a specific variety of peppers, cultivated in northern Greece in the region of Florina. This is where they take their name from. As the Greek food writer Evi Voutsina writes, they ripen and turn red after the 15th of August. They are a big part of the local history and culture, and there’s even a yearly local celebration of Florina peppers at the end of August in Florina.

In 1994 they were awarded a Protected Destination of Origin status. They have a distinct flavour, with a rich sweetness and are widely used in Greek cooking. They are perhaps one of the most popular preserves, roasted over open flame and jarred. Vinegar is the key ingredient in preserving here.

In our recipe today, we’ve used our organic roasted peppers to make a delicious and easy recipe. This lays somewhere between a dip and a sauce. You can add it in pasta, in roasted vegetables, or enjoy as a dip on its own. Dakos adds body and complexity to this recipe, but you can use stale bread as well. Don’t omit the tomato paste, it really transforms this dip! Check out our recipe to make your own roasted red peppers!

4 large roasted red peppers (350g)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grape molasses
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato puree
50g dakos rusks or stale bread
½ tsp chilli flakes (plus more, to taste)
salt (to taste)

Serves 6

Break the dakos rusks into small chunks.
In a blender whiz together the peppers, olive oil, grape molasses, vinegar, tomato paste and dakos, until you have a smooth dip. Add the chilli flakes and season with salt. Blend for a few more seconds.

Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding a bit more grape molasses, balsamic, salt or chilli if needed.

 


Our favourite summer vegetable is aubergine. We love its texture, meaty flesh, comforting bite. This member of the nightshade family has a distinct taste when cooked, and really loves smoke. So if you ever find yourself in a barbeque, get some aubergine in there.

In Greek cuisine, aubergine is widely used (and only during the summer), in a variety of dishes such as briam, moussaka or in the all-famous melitzanosalata. Melitzanosalata, literally meaning ‘aubergine salad’ is a spread made with the cooked or smoked aubergine flesh. It exists in many other food cultures in various combinations of ingredients and flavours.

Today, we’ve prepared the classic Greek melitzanosalata for you. But don’t forget to check our less ordinary take on this summer classic, with tahini and honey.

We used white aubergines because we love their sweet taste, but any kind will do. In a variation of this recipe, you can also add finely chopped roasted red peppers, which we also recommend trying.

Serves 4-6

2 large aubergines (approx. 800g)
1 tbsp olive oil (or more, to taste)
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar (or more, to taste)
1 small clove garlic (or more, to taste)
1 small bunch of parsley
salt, pepper
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Using a fork, pierce your aubergines all around. Place them in a roasting tray and roast for about an hour, until very tender inside. Remove from the oven and let them cool down a bit.

Once the aubergines are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl. Drain any excess liquid.

Using a fork, mash up the aubergine flesh. Finely chop the parsley and add it to your bowl. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and roasted red pepper (if using). Grate in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything well together using your fork.

Taste and adjust for seasoning, vinegar, olive oil or garlic.

Serve with more olive oil!


Today is Kathara Deutera, literally translated as Clean Monday. It is the beginning of Lent in Greece. Traditionally on this day we fly kites and eat foods like taramosalata, melitzanosalata, lagana bread (a special type of bread with a lovely crust), seafood, pickled vegetables and lots of other delicacies like dolmades.

So this week, we’ve prepared for you a classic salad, made with black eye beans. We’ve added plenty of cupboard staples, like capers, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, but also fresh parsley and red onion. For that extra kick, we’ve used our balsamic chilli vinegar, a beautiful organic vinegar. It is made from grape must from the Nemea P.D.O wine process using the ubiquitous Agioritiko red grape variety, infamous in this region of the Peloponnese. This vinegar is then aged in French oak barrels for three years.

This salad is perfect served cold or at room temperature, and ideally the day after, so that all flavours blend together. As always, feel free to add more of anything you really love, and omit anything you don’t like.

Serves 6

300g black eye beans
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in their oil
1 small red onion
3 tbsp balsamic chilli vinegar
½ tub olives
1 large bunch fresh parsley

Place your beans in a medium-sized pot. Fill it up with water, add the bay leaf and over high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large serving bowl add the capers and olives.

Finely chop the roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onion and parsley and add to your bowl.

Add the beans and toss everything together. Drizzle the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and the vinegar and toss well again.

Season with salt and pepper if needed and serve with more olive oil and vinegar.

 


Christmas is usually the time of the year when we cook the most. Tables are set, various platters of all sorts of foods come out, guests are fed. This year however, things are a little bit different. Most of us are not hosting like we used to, and many of us are already quite tired from the long year we’ve had.

So what do we do at times like these? The answer is simple. We source delicious ingredients, like our meze box, we unbox and plate everything and there we go, ready for Christmas!

This week we have a recipe that is perhaps one of the simplest ones to make. And requires very few ingredients. If you, like us, feel like resting this Christmas, then this dip is all you need. With some crusty bread or Cretan kritsini breadsticks, olives and cheeses (yes also in the meze box!), and you are sorted for an alternative Christmas dinner, lunch or dare we say breakfast?

1 jar roasted red peppers
150g feta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more to serve
1 tbsp grape molasses
nigella seeds (optional, to serve)

Drain the peppers.

In a blender whiz together the peppers, feta cheese, olive oil and grape molasses.

Let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Serve with nigella seeds and olive oil.


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you must know that we absolutely love chickpeas. It’s true that chickpeas  take a while to cook. But as many of us are now working from home, a chickpea stew is perhaps the ideal dish to prepare. All you need to do is soak the chickpeas overnight, and in the morning, prep your vegetables and put everything in a nice casserole in the oven. Comes dinnertime and you’ve got yourself the most comforting stew. Plus, the entire house warms up and smells like food during the day, which if you ask me, is the best environment to work in.

In Greece there is a big debate if chickpeas are better with lemon, like in our traditional revithada, or with tomato, like in this not-very-Greek spiced stew. This week we went for tomato, but we’ve used two secret ingredients, which add depth to this wonderful stew: grape molasses and roasted red peppers! Pure organic grape molasses, known as Petimezi in Greece is made from Agiorgitiko grapes. The aroma of light honey and fresh grapes, and its distinctive caramel tones are unbeatable. As for the roasted red peppers, these are organic Florina peppers, cooked over open flame. They are famous for their rich and sweet flavour, and balance perfectly the mild acidity of tomatoes.

Serves 2 with leftovers, or 4 for lunch

150g chickpeas
1 very large onion
1/2 cup of olive oil, divided
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium carrot
5 colourful peppers
½ jar roasted red peppers
1 bottle tomato passata
1 litre vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp grape molasses
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, to taste
2 tsp baking soda (optional)

The night before soak your chickpeas.
The morning after preheat your oven at 200C.
Finely slice the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely slice the carrot. Cut the peppers in thick strips. Drain and finely slice the roasted red peppers.
In a medium-sized casserole, and over medium-low heat add ¼ cup of olive oil and gently fry until the onions are translucent and slightly caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot, along with the carrot, peppers, roasted red peppers, tomato passata, vegetable stock, grape molasses and bay leaves. Add the rest 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and carefully add the baking soda (if using). Stir well, cover tightly and place in the oven for approx. 2-3 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender.

Serve with plenty of feta cheese!

 


Have you seen our delicious Greek meze box? It was created with the Greek summer in mind and is filled with Greek delicacies! Think of wonderful marinated artichoke hearts and tender roasted red peppers. A specially selected variety of Greek olives – amfissa green and kalamata! Bright sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and one other unique Greek cheese complete this wonderful box of goodies. Savour all these delicacies with crunchy kritsini breadsticks. The idea behind it is to just unbox, plate everything and there you have it, you are ready for a Greek meze feast.

But if you want to spice it up a notch, this week we’ve got our own meze recipe, for you to make at home, and share, along with all the other goodies! In this recipe, we are roasting peppers and onions with grape molasses. And the secret ingredient? We are adding roasted red peppers, which act as a condiment, offering depth and a hint of smoke!

4 large peppers (various colours)
2 large onions
2 large cloves of garlic
100g roasted red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grape molasses
1 tsp spices of your choice (we used ¼ tsp of chilli, ½ tsp smoked paprika and ¼ tsp cumin)
1 tsp dried oregano
salt, pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven at 200C
Remove the stem and core from the peppers and discard. Cut each pepper in eight large pieces.
Peel the onions and cut each onion in eight wedges. Peel and finely slice the garlic.
Finely slice the roasted red peppers.
Place all your vegetables in a baking tray.
Drizzle with olive oil and grape molasses and gently toss everything together. Season with the spices and oregano, salt and pepper. Toss again.

Bake at 200C for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender and slightly charred. Let cool.

Serve at room temperature with the rest of the goodies from the meze box!


Sometimes the inspiration for a recipe comes from the most unusual places. In this case, it came from one of our producers, Michalis. Michalis creates the amazing oregano oil and, lately, some fascinating floral waters. He loves to cook, too. A few weeks back, he made a dip using leftover cooked pulses he had in his fridge. What a fascinating idea, we thought!

As you may know, we love mixed pulses! In the past we have turned them into a salad, with plenty of herbs and pistachios. And even know we love dips made with pulses, like our white beans dip with sun-dried tomatoes, we had never thought of actually making a dip with various pulses.

This tastes amazing and somehow feels so good for our body! We’ve also added roasted red peppers and salted almonds, to make it even more delicious. And served it with our favourite rosemary floral water, thinking of our wonderful producer, Michalis.

Serves 8 as a starter

300g mixed pulses (we used a mixture of various beans, lentils, yellow split peas and chickpeas)
2 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic
2 large roasted red peppers (approx. 200g)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
50g roasted and salted almonds
4 tbsp olive oil
smoked salt (to taste)
smoked paprika (to taste)
rosemary floral water (to serve)

The night before, soak your pulses in plenty of water. The morning after, place the pulses, bay leaves and garlic in a large pot with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook over medium heat for 1-1.5 hours, until the pulses are very tender.

Drain and discard the bay leaf. Let cool.

Whizz together the pulses, adding the olive oil, vinegar, peppers, almonds. You can whizz until you have a smooth paste or for a bit less if you like your dips a bit lumpier-we do!

Transfer to a bowl and season with smoked paprika and salt.

Serve with olive oil, more paprika and spraying with the rosemary floral water.


Next week is the final week of Lent for us Greeks. As we are all looking forward to the Greek Easter next week, this week, traditionally, we prepare simple recipes that do not contain any animal produce.

But simple doesn’t mean not tasty. And it also doesn’t mean that these recipes can’t be enjoyed throughout the year. Indeed, in the Greek food culture, many of these recipes have become part of the daily diets of people. To learn more about the way us Greeks approach Vegan foods, join our upcoming Cooking Workshop! Our talented Lida is going to be talking about all these foods and has prepared a delicious menu for us. So come along, we have very few spaces left!

This week we’ve prepared something that you can enjoy as a dip or starter -a wonderful addition to your Easter table! But, between you and me, this also makes for a wonderful light dinner, with the addition of some crusty bread. It is spring after all, a cold dinner is sometimes appropriate.

Serves 6 as a starter

150g small white beans
5 sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 25g)
100g roasted red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli vinegar
chilli flakes, lemon wedges, chilli vinegar, olive oil (to serve)

The night before, soak your beans in plenty of water. The morning after, boil them until tender. Set aside and let cool, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a food processor, place the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, olive oil, lemon zest and chilli vinegar. Blend until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer, add some of the cooking liquid, to make the paste smoother.

Serve with chilli flakes, lemon wedges, and more vinegar and olive oil. And of course, pita bread or crusty bread!

Happy Easter everyone!


Last week we were very happy to have the wonderful Margot, from Margot’s Kitchen hosting one of our workshops. During two fully booked classes, Margot talked about the Mediterranean diet, healthy eating and offered clever tips on how to incorporate more wholesome ingredients into our daily diets.

The workshop, as with all of our workshops was vegetarian and included delicious recipes such as a Butternut Squash Kibbeh with Chickpeas & Caramelised Onions and a gluten-free Banana and Pistachio Teff Cake.

So, this week, we have one of Margot’s recipes for you, made especially with our favourite Oliveology ingredients. This Roasted Antipasti recipe is very easy to make, and will definitely impress your guests!

We’ve got more cooking classes coming up this spring and summer, so watch this space or email us to make a booking!

 

Margot’s Roasted Antipasti with Mixed Olives

Ingredients

350g mixed olives (black and green)
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 jar roasted red peppers
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
a pinch of flaked red pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan).
2. In a medium-sized tray, place the mixed olives along with the roasted peppers and artichokes.
3. Add the sliced lemon and fresh herbs.
4. Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.