Summer is the time of the year when we can’t stop eating tomatoes. We usually love them as part of a dakos salad. Or any salad for that matter. Every year I contemplate making my own passata, and preserve the tomatoes’ bright flavour for winter. But since we brought this tomato passata in store I have happily swapped to it. My point is that tomatoes should be enjoyed all year round, either fresh in summer, or beautifully preserved in winter.

As summer is coming to an end, the inspiration for this recipe came from Bon Appetit magazine as the writer of this blog post spends her summer days browsing old cooking magazines. We have used our wonderful chickpeas that pair perfectly with tomatoes and spices (remember our winter spiced chickpea stew?)

If you are making this recipe in winter, you can swap the fresh tomatoes for passata.

Feeds 2 people

200g cooked chickpeas, cooled down
3 medium tomatoes or tomato passata
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for serving)
zest of 1 lemon
Greek yogurt and fresh herbs (to serve)

In a pestle and mortar place your garlic, coriander, cumin, chilli, salt, lemon zest. Crush everything together. Slowly add the olive oil until you have a thick paste. Loosen it up with a bit more olive oil if you prefer.

Cut your tomatoes in thick slices. Lay them on a tray. Rub the paste on the tomatoes, so that each piece has been touched by the spices (but without forming a layer on top of each tomato as the spice mix is quite intense). If you are using passata, mix it with the paste. Let your tomatoes marinate for an hour (or better overnight) in the fridge, covered in cling film.

To prepare your dish, place the chickpeas in a bowl and pour in the juices that will have been released by the tomatoes. Gently toss. Place on a plate, with the tomatoes on top. If you are using passata, mix everything together.

Drizzle some more olive oil and serve with Greek yogurt and fresh herbs.


This week’s recipe is a bit stranger than the others. Not the recipe itself, the way we ended up creating it.

As you know, we love discovering interesting ingredients. And surely, there are many ways to prepare a beautiful cauliflower like the one we found at the market this week. But, I thought, there is no better way to enjoy it than in its purest form. Raw. Of course, you need something warm, spicy and comforting to balance the cold, crunchy nuttiness of the cauliflower. What else than a hot, spiced chickpea stew?

This stew takes a while to boil. This is because unlike many recipes we didn’t boil the chickpeas first. Why? Well, because we wanted them to absorb all the goodness from the spices, vegetables and tomatoes, so as to become little balls, bursting with flavour. However, you can of course boil them first (add a bit of baking soda to speed up the process). In the end, you will have a chickpea stew that will taste like Christmas in the Middle East!

Serves six hungry guests.

You will need:
1 beautiful cauliflower
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp grated cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
150ml olive oil
250g chickpeas
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
50g raisins
1 bottle tomato passata (680g)
salt, black pepper
fresh coriander leaves and lemon wedges (to serve)

 

The night before soak your chickpeas.

The morning after, finely chop your onion, celery and carrot. We went for pieces the size of the chickpeas, but you can really roughly chop your vegetables if you prefer.

Pour your olive oil in a large pot and over medium low heat warm up all your spices. Yes, the bay leaves too. Once they have released their aromas, add the chopped vegetables and stir until coated in oil. When they become softer and translucent, add your chickpeas, raisins, tomato and 1lt of water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir everything very well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let them simmer for a couple of hours, or until chickpeas are cooked. Check occasionally and add water if needed.

To serve, cut your beautiful cauliflower into florets. In a bowl serve your hot chickpea stew. Place the cauliflower on top. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon juice. How about that for satisfying your senses?


It’s this time of the year again -around Thanksgiving- that the web seems to be exploding with pumpkin pie recipes. This year the food world went crazy over a clear pumpkin pie prepared by the Alinea wizards. Some found this version of the classic American dessert “creative”, others “nonsense”. Let’s be honest, we would love to try it -would you?

The following recipe is one of our favourite ways of preparing this pie: Baking the pumpkin first, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg (sometimes we also use ginger and cloves) and mashing it up. The filling is quite delicious as it includes grape molasses for depth of flavour, walnuts for crunch, Corinth raisins for texture, and orange peel for the citrusy effect. Feel free to modify if you prefer it sweeter or add more grape molasses in case you follow a sugar-free diet. We choose to use phyllo pastry as we love its versatility –have you checked Despina’s recipes with it during our cooking workshops?

Ingredients
1 kg yellow pumpkin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup ground walnuts
2 tsp fine semolina
2 tbsp grape molasses
5 tbsp cognac
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter at room temperature
½ cup of Corinth raisins
Peel from an orange
1 egg for glazing
½ kg phyllo pastry
Olive oil
A pinch of sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Cut the pumpkin in big pieces, peel, deseed it and cut in small cubes. Coat the bottom of a tray with olive oil and lay the squash. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover the tray tightly with a double layer of tinfoil and bake to 170°C until soft (approximately for 45 minutes).

Remove from the oven and allow the pieces of squash to cool. Put the pumpkin in a food processor and whiz until smooth or mash it with a spoon. Transfer to a big bowl.

Combine the walnuts, semolina, orange peel, half portion of the sugar, sea salt and grape molasses to that mix, as well. Drizzle the raisins with cognac and let them sit for 10 minutes. Drain them and place them to the mix.

Coat the baking pan with butter and place 5 sheets of phyllo-each coated with butter and sprinkled with sugar. Turn the ends inwards and glaze the pie with an egg and water mix. Carve the pieces and bake in a preheated oven to 170°C for 45 minutes.

Enjoy with a warm cup of tea or coffee!


This week we’re baking! Because you know, there’s nothing better than a freshly baked cake to accompany your favourite cup of tea or coffee. Especially if the cake in question is made with interesting ingredients! Remember last year’s apple cake? Or the petimezopita? This time we are using pumpkin. You might have guessed it by now that this orange vegetable is our favourite one for this time of the year. You know, this pumpkin soup or the that butternut squash soup  and how about a tart or a risotto?

There is something really unique about this pumpkin cake. It is both comforting and very exciting at the same time. The pumpkin makes it very moist inside, and the plump raisins add extra toffee-like sweetness. This recipe also lays somewhere between autumn and winter. It has the autumn-y pumpkin and the fragrant spices we often associate with winter.

You will need:
700g pumpkin
120ml olive oil
120ml water
70g Corinth raisins
150g flour
100g of brown sugar
5g baking soda
10g baking powder
2tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
½ nutmeg grated
2 generous pinches of salt
5 pinches of grated cardamom

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Peel the pumpkin and remove its seeds. Chop in small pieces. Place your pumpkin pieces in a small pot over medium low heat, until soft. Mash up with a fork. Alternatively, you can cut the pumpkin in half, bake in the oven, and then scoop out its flesh. If you have some lumps remaining in your pumpkin mash it’s fine. Let it cool.

In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. In another bowl mix the water with the olive oil, raisins and the pumpkin puree.

Using a wooden spoon stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix them. Taste the batter. Are you a fan of cinnamon? Add more. Do you feel you want more cardamom? Go right ahead.

Pour into a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30-40min, until cake is cooked through, yet moist inside.

Now, put the kettle on and get that lovely teapot out of the cupboard.