Happy New Year Everyone! All of us here at Oliveology hope that you had a wonderful time, and a good start to the New Year. Not to be cliché, but can you believe it’s 2018?

After all the days of eating and celebrating, we thought we’d prepare something comforting and luscious for you. Post-holiday food needs a feel of luxury. You know, so that you transition to the New Year with style.

What’s one of the most comforting foods? Soup of course! And what is one of the most luscious foods? Truffle oil of course! At the market we found this beautiful celeriac. Put everything together and you’ve got yourself a creamy, comforting celeriac soup that drizzled with truffle oil becomes the ideal way to start the New Year!

But of course, celeriac alone won’t do it. We have added potatoes for their creaminess and green apples for their tanginess. Oh and instead of water or vegetable stock we used milk! And finally, a little secret: One of our readers suggested we tried blending roasted nuts into the soup. Well, roasted hazelnuts were added to this one and the result was a dreamy soup, with underlying nuttiness that you couldn’t really describe, but felt throughout. The only thing we have to say is that we are really looking forward to many more of your suggestions!

This soup is blended, so even though ideally you want same size pieces of vegetables, this recipe is quite forgiving when it comes to chopping.

For a large pot you will need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek
2 celery sticks
1 green apple
1 large potato
1 large celeriac (approx. 1 kg)
1 tsp dried thyme
1lt milk
35g roasted hazelnuts
salt and white pepper
truffle oil (to serve)

Finely chop your leek and celery. Cut the green apple and potato in small cubes. We didn’t peel them for some extra fibre and taste. Peel and roughly chop your celeriac.

In a large pot and over medium-low heat, warm up your oil and gently fry the leek and celery until soft and caramelised. Add the apple and potato and stir until covered in oil. Add the celeriac, thyme, and milk. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts. Season with salt and white pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let your soup cool down. Blend, adding a bit of water or milk if needed.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

 

 


This week we are into shapes. What do we mean? Well, let me step back a bit. Autumn is in full swing and here at Oliveology we feel it’s time for soups! As always, we walked around the market and selected delicious seasonal vegetables. Yes, butternut squash of course, it is mid autumn after all! Soups, like all foods, should follow the seasons. If it’s summer, make a roasted tomato soup. If it’s winter, go for a vegan lentil soup. If it’s spring, then sugar snap peas and green beans are your ingredients of choice.

For our soup this week, we used tons of fresh, nutritious vegetables and small white beans. This soup feels very healthy, with its white beans, root vegetables, spinach. And for all our non-vegetarian readers, throw in a beef bone for extra flavour and nutrients.

But you know, soups sometimes can be dull. Let me explain myself. Imagine a perfectly pureed soup. Or a soup where all vegetables are cut in identical, symmetrical cubes. Yes, symmetry is often linked to beauty, but how about we spice it up a bit? Not the soup itself, its appearance. How? By cutting our vegetables in various lovely shapes.

Finally, when it comes to the To Blend or Not To Blend question, this one here goes against last year’s smooth pumpkin soup. Up to you to decide which one is your favourite autumn soup!

So, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea and join me as we prepare this year’s butternut squash soup!

For 6 hungry guests you will need:

6 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots
1 small leek
600g butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
2.5 lt of water
200g small white beans
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of spinach
salt, black pepper

For the prep:
The night before, soak your beans in cold water. The morning after, drain.

For the chopping:
Peel the carrots and cut in rounds. Cut your leek in rounds as well.
Peel your butternut squash. Scrape out the seeds (you can save them and toast them separately if you want). Cut thick slices of the butternut squash and then each slice in triangles, following the edges that you created when peeling it.
Finely chop your garlic and onion.
Cut the celery in small cubes.
Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves (but keep separately).

For the soup:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, pour the olive oil. Once heated, add the onions, leek and garlic and stir until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, squash and parsley stalks. Stir until your vegetables begin to caramelise. Add the water and beans and season with salt and black pepper. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours or until beans are soft. A few minutes before serving, add your parsley leaves and spinach.

Serve as is, or with some grated graviera cheese and fresh chilli or pistachio pesto.


The first chef I worked with once gave me what I consider to be the most valuable advice since. It’s all about the concentration of flavour he had told me, while preparing some greens with minimal water. You see, in home kitchens we are used to boiling ingredients, then getting rid of the water. Along with it goes much of the flavour. I hadn’t realised how important this advice was, until I started experimenting with various recipes. Like this one here. You’ll see what I mean in a bit.

It’s the end of the summer. Fine, the summer is long gone, but let’s pretend it’s still the end of the summer. September can allow us that. But tomatoes are slowly disappearing from the market, giving their place to autumn vegetables. And what better way to say goodbye to a lovely summer, but with a comforting soup. So this week, we take the last ripe tomatoes, roast them in the oven, concentrating their flavour to make a red, velvety soup. Ah, soups are so nice, remember our pumpkin one from last fall? Or our spring one?

The recipe is inspired by Gordon Ramsey’s own (no he was not my chef in case you were wondering).

For 4 servings you will need

1 large red onion
1 clove of garlic
1.5kg of ripe tomatoes, preferably of the same size
5tbsp olive oil
1tsp smoked paprika *
4tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
salt
pepper
500g vegetable stock

Preheat your oven at 200C.

Finely slice your onion and garlic. Place a large casserole or tray over medium heat. Add your olive oil and gently fry the onion and garlic. Add the smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

As the onions and garlic are cooking, prepare your tomatoes. Remove the core and slice them in half or in quarters if they are large. Once your onions are caramelised place the tomatoes in the casserole, all in one row. Don’t forget all the juices from your chopping board. You want your tomatoes to caramelise, not steam. Add the aged balsamic vinegar and let it reduce.

Place your casserole or tray in the oven, for 20-25 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and caramelised (see, now we have concentrated their flavour!). Remove from the oven and let them cool down a bit, so that you can blend them into a creamy soup.

Here is where you need to be very careful. Laugh not, it may sound obvious but you do not want litters of piping hot soup escape from your blender, like a volcano erupting hot lava all over your face, clothes and walls around you. Yes, this is from personal experience.

So once the tomatoes are cooled down, blend them in batches, using the vegetable stock (also cooled down!). Return your soup in a pot on the hob if you want to serve it hot. It is equally delicious cold though. Taste for seasoning.

Serve with a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto, or drizzle with olive oil and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

——

* You can find smoked paprika at our shop at Borough Market

 

By Nafsika


Further to our research project: “Fides –beyond the chicken soup” we developed this comforting and delicious soup.

Combining the excellent antioxidant properties of saffron with mineral-rich tahini bring us to a special soup that you can use as a starter or as a meat free Monday meal. It’s great if you’re fasting too –the main inspiration for this soup is frugal Monastery cooking. We are preparing a special blogpost introducing you this brilliant cuisine, stay tuned!

Ingredients

1 lt water
,
1 1⁄2 cup of fides pasta (angel hair)
1 cup of tahini
Juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of Kozani saffron
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Method

Break fides with your fingers, in smaller pieces. Boil it in salted water. Remove it from fire.

Mix tahini in small bowl and set aside. Add saffron and lemon.

In the small bowl with tahini, add a few spoonfuls of hot soup broth and mix well. Add this back to the soup and stir to incorporate completely. Stir well and boil it for a couple of minutes.

Serve it and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If you feel like going large with your toppings: garnish with grated lemon zest, sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Don’t forget paximadia!

Delightful note:
Did you enjoy the saffron-tahini combination? You can always use it as a salad dressing. We love it with green salads, especially with roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Soften the saffron in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, and let it cool. Put into a bowl with the tahini and lemon juice and whisk to a creamy consistency. Check the seasonings.


What is interesting about spring, is that it is an in-between season if you wish. Between winter and summer. During spring one gets to experience the best of both worlds. Winter is not completely gone. There might be rain or cold. Summer is not completely here. There might be sunny and warm days. That’s spring for you. Which sometimes makes what to cook very confusing. It is not the time of the year for a hearty lentil soup. It is not the time of the year for aubergines.

Then what time of the year is it anyway? Well. You know that spring is here when you are suddenly surrounded by greens. Green broad beans, wild garlic, peas, spinach. The market is now officially deep into the new season. What can you prepare with these spring greens? Well, this week we are making a soup. Yes, you heard right. A soup for the cooler days of spring. One which however, you can have at room temperature and will be equally satisfying. You see, the trick in this recipe (inspired by epicurious.com by the way), is not to overcook anything. In this recipe, we will use fides (also known as angel’s hair) a very thin handmade pasta that cooks in seconds. There is a bit of chopping in the beginning and then before you know it, you are presenting an impressively looking dish to your dining companions. Or yourself for that matter.

The ingredients listed below are the ones we used. But of course, feel free to substitute anything. Or include whatever else you have in the fridge. Keep something onion-y, something sweet like the carrot, and then whatever else inspires you from the market. Definitely green vegetables though. It is a spring soup after all.

Feeds 4 as a starter

1 small carrot
½ leek
1 small onion
1 stick of celery
salt pepper
dried thyme
fresh basil
4 tbsps olive oil
1 handfull sugar snap peas, broad beans or other green beans of your choice
1 cup fides
1 small bunch of spinach

Finely chop the carrot, leek, onion and celery. In a pot place the olive oil and gently fry your vegetables, adding the thyme and basil. Once the vegetables are caramelised, fill the pot with water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat, letting it simmer. In 20min or so you will have a flavoured vegetable broth. Turn up the heat and add the peas or beans and the fides. Let them cook for 3-5 min. Add the spinach and stir. Leave for a couple more minutes. Serve with a glass of chilled white wine.


On Halloween we like to dress up, change ourselves. On All Hallows’ Eve, we become different people. Even just for one night. It’s fun and often, cathartic. But what about food? We all have recipes that we trust. Familiar flavours. And very often we stick to them religiously. For us, Halloween is the time of the year when we experiment. We take comfort foods of our past and turn them into something new. With the easiest way possible. Change one ingredient. Think about it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just think outside the box. Get inspired by the ingredients themselves.

Our inspiration for this year is our limited edition apple oil. Its complex flavour will change completely a comforting squash soup. Olives, apples, walnuts, cinnamon, honey, lemon and sage are all crushed together to create it. It is not your ordinary infused oil.

Follow our recipe for the warm squash soup:

For a large pot of soup (feeds 5 or 7 really hungry people)

1.5kg pumpkin (or squash)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small white onion
1 small red onion
1 piece of ginger, the size of your two thumbs together
1 red chilli
1-2 tsp of mixed spices (we used coriander, cumin, turmeric, caraway)
Salt to taste
1-1.5l vegetable stock

Cut the squash in wedges or in half and roast it in the oven, at 200C, drizzled with olive oil and a bit of salt, until the flesh is tender, around 40 minutes. Scoop out all the flesh (You can skip this last step if you want).

Peel and roughly chop the onions, ginger, chilli. In a large pot pour some olive oil and gently fry them. Add the spices and stir. Add the squash and stir again so that everything comes together. Pour 1lt of stock and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let the soup simmer, so that the aromas blend and the squash is completely soft, around 30-45 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot and if needed add more stock, salt, spices.

And now for the metamorphosis.
Serve the soup with Greek yogurt and drizzle our limited edition apple oil. The soup is spicy and sweet, warm and comforting. The yogurt adds the much needed tanginess and freshness. And the apple oil, oh with its sweet aromas of the semi-ripe Koroneiki olives, apples, honey and cinnamon and the nuttiness from the walnuts and sage. You’re in for a treat!