Autumn is officially here and our first recipe for October couldn’t be anything but a comforting soup. If you’ve been following this blog, you must know by now how much we love soups. Remember our luscious celeriac soup? Or our soup with beans and many colourful vegetables? Be it with pulses or just vegetables, soups are our favourite way to get all the nutrients we need. Not to mention, the anticipation of a hot bowl of soup for dinner make us feel wonderful.

This week however we are not using pulses or vegetables for our soup. Instead, we are using trahana, a fascinating ingredient made with wheat and fermented milk. There are two varieties, sour and sweet, and you can opt for either. We selected the sour trahana, as we are serving this soup with dried spiced peppers also known in Greece as boukovo. Boukovo is a blend of various spiced peppers which is widely used in Greek cooking. Because of the variety of the peppers used, it that adds a unique warmth and depth to your dishes. Of course, you can use any other dried chili of your choice. We’ll be serving this soup at our Greek Rural Feast Dinner, this December! Book now, spaces are filling up fast.

Serves 6 as a starter

1 small onion
2 tbsp olive oil
A few pinches of boukovo or dried chilli (to taste)
160g sour trahana
1.5lt vegetable stock
Salt (to taste)
Chili oil (to serve)

Very finely chop your onion.

In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil and onion and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the boukovo and cook for another minute. Add the trahana and stir well, until the grains are coated in the olive oil.

Add the vegetable stock, season with salt and stir. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat to its lowest setting and cook, covered, for an hour, or until trahana is very, very tender, stirring every few minutes.

Serve immediately with chili oil. If you have leftovers, you can reheat your soup adding some water or vegetable stock, as tranaha tends to absorb all liquid as it cools down.


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.


In our last newsletter a few days ago, we shared with you our the need to reconnect with our roots, to rediscover the smells and tastes that we grew up with, in hopes that they will bring some comfort during this lockdown.

As we are slowly getting used to being more and more at home, we are making dishes that remind us of happier times. Fides is an ingredient that many of us at Oliveology have associated with our childhood. Traditionally, fides is used to make a very simple soup just with lemon and a bit of olive oil, often given to children.

These very thin strings of fides pasta boil in only a few minutes, and they are the perfect addition to soups. So this week we’ve used to is to make a hearty soup packed with green vegetables! For this one, we gathered lots of green vegetables from the market and served it with one of our favourite flavoured olive oils!

Cold-extracted at 21°C with walnuts, purslane, fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano, our 21°C  olive oil adds depth and warmth to this hearty soup.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized leek
3 medium-sized courgettes
1 small head of broccoli
1 medium-sized potato
a few celery leaves
60g fides
salt, pepper, to taste
plenty of 21°C walnut oil, to serve

Prepare your vegetables: Finely slice the leek. Cut the courgettes in small cubes. Pull apart the broccoli florets and finely cut the stems. Peel and cut the potato in small cubes. The idea is that all the vegetables should be roughly the same size, so that they cook evenly. Finely chop the celery leaves.

Prepare your soup: In a medium-large pot add the olive oil and gently fry the leek until translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables and celery leaves and stir, so that everything is coated in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 6 cups of water. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer, for 50minutes, almost fully-covered. After 50minutes, check that all your vegetables are tender. Add the fides and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately with plenty of walnut oil.


Trahanas is a very unique Greek ingredient and an ideal way to take a culinary journey to Greece. It is a combination of fermented milk and wheat. You can use it to make a comforting thick soup, add it to your stews for some texture or have it instead of porridge in the morning.

We love its slightly tangy flavour and comforting smell. In autumn, we always make cook with trahanas. So this week we’ve decided to combine it with our favourite autumn vegetable: mushrooms! And of course, what is the perfect pairing when it comes to these flavours? Truffles. Yes, this week we are making a luscious trahanas soup, with mushrooms and truffles!

For this, we are using our black truffle flakes  a very unique ingredient. These aromatic flakes of dehydrated black summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) only need to be rehydrate in lukewarm water and add an exquisite depth to your dishes. And to make it even more lush, we’re serving this dish with truffle oil!

Serves 2 as main, 4 as a starter

250g large button mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 leek
3 tbsp olive oil
100g sour trahanas
4 cups vegetable stock
1/3 pack truffle flakes plus one cup of water
truffle oil (to serve)

Cut the mushrooms in half or in quarters. In a frying pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, just to coat the bottom of the pan. Place your mushrooms, all in one layer and cook over high heat, turning occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown on the outside.

As the mushrooms are cooking, finely chop the leek and onion. Add the rest of the olive oil in a pot and over medium-low heat gently fry the onion and leek, until translucent. Add the trahanas and stir to coat with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and your stock. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat and let your soup simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, until trahanas is tender.
A few minutes before serving uncover the pot and rehydrate the truffles in one cup of lukewarm water. When the soup is ready, add the truffles and flavoured water. Stir well and serve immediately, drizzling some truffle oil on top.


Christmas is around the corner and all of us are feeling very festive here at Oliveology! Have you checked our advent calendar yet? We’ve got a special treat every day, how exciting!

We’ve had a very busy few weeks, planning our delicious events for 2020!

We are very excited to share with you some very interesting workshops: In February we will warm up with our Greek stews & soups workshop. In March we will learn how to make Traditional Greek pies, and at the end of March we have our Vegan Workshop.

When it comes to dinner experiences, On Valentine’s Day we have a special dinner experience planned, focusing on the senses. In June we have a dinner & a talk around Greek olive oil mythologies, with lots traditional dishes, slowly cooked in olive oil. The latter by yours truly.

So in case you are looking for an unusual gift this Christmas, our Events Gift Card is what you need!

Following last week’s festive spirit, when we made a warm orange salad with our truffle honey, this week we have prepared a white soup made with one of my favourite Oliveology ingredients: our apple oil! Imagine olives pressed with apples, walnuts, cinnamon, honey & sage, what a combination! And like we did in our celeriac soup, we’ve added a little secret ingredient: almonds!

Serves 6 as a starter

1 kg cauliflower
5 tbsp apple oil
salt, pepper, dried thyme
50g almonds
2 cups of milk

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Break the cauliflower in florets and place it in a single layer in a large baking tray. Add the almonds. Season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Drizzle the apple oil and toss everything gently together until all florets and almonds are coated with the oil and the seasoning.

Bake until the cauliflower is golden and tender, for around 30min. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Using a blender, blend the cauliflower and almonds, adding the milk. You can work in batches if necessary.

Transfer the soup in a large pot. Cook until bubbly hot, adding more milk if needed. Check for seasoning.

Serve immediately, drizzling more apple oil.

 

 

 


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.