This week we’ve got a diffrent kind of Greek pie for you. As you know we love pies, and traditional Greek recipes! This recipe comes from the region of Thessaly, in mainland Greece, an area with vast valleys and mountains. It is sometimes called the “easy” spanakopita, or hortopita (wild greens pie) as it’s basically a spinach or wild greens pie, but without the classic filo.

As with most traditional Greek recipes, there are as many recipes out there as there are cooks. When researching for this blog post, I discovered lovely stories of “this is how my grandmother used to make it”, tips on how to achieve the best texture and so forth.

In this pie, the filling is the same as that of the spanakopita, with spring onions, onions, and/or leeks, spinach and feta cheese. Many also use wild greens instead of spinach, as in the classic Hortopita (wild greens pie). However here, all vegetables are added raw. Our alliums were not that tender, so we gently fried them for a bit, diverging from the classic recipe.

Instead of the labour-intense filo, the cooks prepare a mixture of cornmeal, olive oil, and some liquid, placed on top and at the bottom of the filling. Some use water (and omit the feta cheese if the pie is to be consumed during Lent). Others use milk instead of water, kefir, or yoghurt mixed with water. Some put little pieces of butter on top of the pie before placing it in the over, but olive oil is also preferred.

In our version of plastos, we went for our beloved olive oil instead of butter, and used vegetable stock for the cornmeal, as we feel it offers a delicate, light texture. We also love equal parts of filling/filo, but if you prefer more filling, just use a bit less of the cornmeal / water mixture. Feel free to experiment and create your own version of this wonderful pie!

Serves 10

4 spring onions
1 medium leek
2tbsp olive oil
500g spinach or seasonal greens
1 large bunch of dill
250g feta cheese
600g cornmeal
100ml olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan and drizzling over the pie
500ml+100ml water, vegetable stock or other liquid

Preheat your oven at 200C.

Place your spinach in a large bowl, season generously with salt and massage the leaves for 2-3 minutes. Their volume should reduce in half. Set aside in a colander, as you prepare the rest of the filling.

Finely slice the spring onions and leeks. Place them in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently fry until tender but not caramelised. Let cool.

Finely chop the dill.

In a large bowl add the spinach, spring onions and leeks, dill, and crumble the feta cheese.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornmeal with the 500ml of vegetable stock (or other liquid you are using). Season generously with salt. You should have a thick mixture, resembling a slightly looser cookie dough.

Grease a 30cm baking pan with olive oil. Place half of your cornmeal mixture and spread it so that the bottom of the pan is covered. Place your spinach filling on top.

Add the 100ml of vegetable stock (or other liquid) to the remaining cornmeal mixture to dilute it, so that it resembles a loose cake batter. Pour it on top of your spinach filling. Drizzle plenty of olive oil on top.

Bake at 200C for 50min-1 hour on the bottom rack of your oven, until golden. Serve with Greek yoghurt of more feta cheese.


Skordalia is a traditional Greek dip, made with raw garlic, “skordo” as is its name in Greek. It is eaten every year on the 25th of March, the Greek Independence Day, alongside battered fried cod. It is also a classic dish found on every taverna. It accompanies boiled beetroot or green beans, fried zucchini or aubergine.

The classic recipe calls for olive oil, vinegar and either stale bread soaked in water or boiled potato. Sometimes nuts are also added. There are of course many variations and each household has its own loved version of the dish.

As spring is coming to an end, young garlic is all around us. So this week we’re making skordalia, but with a few twists. This is a recipe adapted from a 1989 calendar with traditional Greek recipes and comes from mainland Greece. We are adding fresh spinach, which gives a wonderful green colour, and almond butter, for a nutty take on the classic dish. Our smooth almond butter is made purely from organic, raw almonds, with no added salt or any preservatives. It is the ideal way to get all the nutrients from nuts! Feel free to use whatever type of garlic you prefer; wild garlic leaves would also work great here.

We are using our favourite Ergani olive oil, which has a robust, rich flavour and our white wine vinegar for that gentle kick.

Serves 6

100g stale bread (we used white sourdough)
100g spinach leaves (1 cup)
100g almond butterraw almonds or other nuts
2 cloves of garlic
130g olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt, more olive oil and vinegar to taste

Soak the bread in water for a few minutes until soft. Squeeze out all excess water and place it in a food processor.

Add the spinach, almond butter, garlic and vinegar and pulse everything together, slowly adding the olive oil.

You should have a thick homogenous mixture.

Season with salt, adding more olive oil and vinegar to taste.


Ladera, literally meaning foods that have plenty of olive oil are perhaps the most loved dishes of Greek cuisine. These are vegetables (always in season), that are slowly cooked with olive oil and either lemon or tomatoes. Plenty of herbs are added towards the end of the cooking. These dishes take time and care, but the result is mellow, comforting flavours that have come together over low heat. Remember our pea & lemon stew?

Olive oil is the star in these dishes, and we love using our Ergani for such recipes. It is a classic olive oil made from ripe olives, produced on a small organic family farm in the Messinia region of the Peloponnese. It has a full, traditionally rich flavour and is fantastic for this week’s recipe.

We’re making a pea and tomato stew, with the first fresh peas of the season! You can use frozen as well, but if you can find fresh it will be amazing! This is my mother’s recipe which we grew up eating in the summers. In the classic recipe, some add potatoes or carrots, so feel free to do so! My mother also adds cinnamon in all tomato-based dishes, so of course, I had to.

This dish is great on its own as a main dish, but also an ideal accompaniment to roast chicken. It is also perfect for lunch the next day, and some even prefer eating it at room temperature or cold!

Serves 2 with plenty of leftovers

½ cup olive oil
1 large onion
500g fresh peas
1 bottle tomato passata or 4 tomatoes, blended
1 tsp tomato puree
salt, pepper
a few pinches of cinnamon
small bunch of dill, finely chopped

Finely chop the onion.

In a heavy-bottomed pot add your olive oil and onion. Over medium heat gently cook the onion until translucent but not caramelised, around 5-10 minutes. Add the peas and stir.

In a bowl add two cups of hot water and the tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste is dissolved. Add it to your pot.

Add the tomatoes (or passata). Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the cinnamon and stir everything together.

Cover, turn up the heat and bring the peas-tomatoes to a boil. Turn down the heat, and let it slowly cook until the peas are soft, around 30-45 minutes minutes. Add more water if needed.

When the peas are tender, add the dill and let it simmer for a few more minutes.

Serve with plenty of feta cheese and crusty bread.


Pies are very much loved in Greece. They were traditionally created as a way to use whatever vegetables, herbs, and other foods were available. They represent in many respects the “Greek cuisine of need”, in which the food that is created is interlinked to the changing of the seasons and availability of ingredients.

It takes flour, water, olive oil and vinegar to make the filo and then the cook’s imagination takes over. This week we are making a classic Greek pie, spanakopita. We’ve made a vegan version in the past, which is also traditionally eater during Lent in Greece. The basis of this pie is of course, spinach. Some kind of allium, usually spring onions, red onions or even leeks are used. Feta cheese is a must, as well as eggs for texture. In some households milk, cream or yoghurt is added in the filling, but we decided to keep it classic. You can make your own filo, use store-bought, or even puff pastry! If you can get your hands on large, dark green spinach leaves go for it! They take a while to clean and prep, but I feel they work better here than baby spinach.

Serves 10

1 bunch of spring onions
1 medium leek
1.5kg of spinach (leaves and stalks)
½ cup olive oil (80ml)
1 small bunch of dill, leaves only, finely chopped
250g feta cheese
4 eggs
8 sheets of filo
150ml olive oil

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Finely chop the spring onions, leek and spinach stalks (if any). In a large pot, and over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and gently fry them until translucent and tender.

Roughly chop the spinach leaves and add to the pot, turning up the heat to high. Season with salt and pepper (but remember not to use too much salt, as the feta cheese is salty too). Stir everything together, until the leaves become tender, reduce in volume and all liquid is absorbed, around 20 minutes. Add the dill, remove from the heat and let the spinach cool down.

Crumble the feta cheese in the spinach mixture and add the eggs. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Brush your baking tray with olive oil and place one sheet of the filo. Brush with olive oil again. Cross over a second sheet of filo, ensuring that the entire surface of your tray is covered. Brush with olive oil. Continue crossing over with olive oil and filo, using four sheets in total.

Place the cool filling in your tray, careful not to break the filo.

Cover with one sheet of filo and brush it with olive oil. Repeat until the top is covered with four sheets of filo. Tuck in the edges. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil.

Score the pie and bake at 180C at the lower rack of your oven for about one hour.


On Sunday we celebrated Greek Easter! There are many traditions that go with this celebration. There’s the lamb on the spit, of course; our beloved tzatziki; dying eggs red; fasting for 40 days; eating loads of tsoureki, the traditional brioche-type bread; the traditional magiritsa soup, made of offal.

Galatopita is a tradition upheld at Marianna’s home, and in many other Greek hourseholds as I’ve discovered while researching for this post. Galatopita literally means milk pie. Its custard-like filling has a buttery, creamy texture and a subtle, comforting sweetness. It is made of milk, sugar, fine semolina and eggs. Some variations around Greece include filo, while others omit the filo. The recipe we’re using is by Mrs Kalliopi, Marianna’s mum. It was hand-written, with just a rough estimate of the ingredients, and no cooking instructions. More of a reminder for the experienced cook of what goes into the galatopita. We absolutely love such recipes!

In the past, this was traditionally made with fresh, unpasteurised milk. So if you can find some, do use it for this delicious dessert. We used goat’s milk for ours. If you try any plant-based milk, do let us know how it turned out! As this recipe only has very few ingredients, do try and get the best you can afford. Definitely get the cinnamon to serve, this is not optional, it’s part of tradition.

So let’s enter May, and celebrate spring with this sweet delicious dessert. Thank you Mrs Kalliopi!

Serves 10

1200ml milk (approx. 6 cups)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200gr white sugar (approx. 1 cup), plus more for the baking tray
150gr fine semolina (approx. 1 cup)
6 eggs
Olive oil and more semolina (for the baking tray)
cinnamon (to serve)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place your milk in a large heavy-bottomed pot and over medium heat. Add the vanilla and stir well. Add the semolina and sugar. Using a whisk, start whisking all the ingredients together. As the milk warms up and the semolina hydrates, you will slowly see the mixture thickening up. Do not forget to whisk the mixture, otherwise the milk will burn at the bottom of the pot – you do not want that. The texture we are going for is like that of a very thick béchamel sauce, or Greek yoghurt.

After the mixture thickens up, after around 15-20 minutes, remove your pot from the heat. Very slowly add the eggs, one by one, whisking constantly so that each egg is incorporated before moving to the next one. You should end up with a very smooth, silky mixture.

Butter or oil a shallow baking tray and dust it with plenty of semolina. Pour in your mixture. Sprinkle more sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes, until the cream is set.

Serve with plenty of cinnamon.

 

 


This week we’ve got a fascinating recipe for you, which we prepared using the last nettles of the season. We love nettles! A few weeks ago we made a wonderful nettle pesto, so this week we decided to go for something a bit more unusual. In Greece we usually put nettles in pies, but it’s rare that we would ever make something sweet.

But there was Mrs Kalliopi’s delicious olive oil cake recipe, which called for fresh fruit -we had originally made it with graded apples, if you remember? So we thought, why not try with nettles? So there you have it, a bright green olive oil cake with nettles –and a bit of apple. Nettles have a unique flavour, imagine something between spinach, cucumber, a bit grassy, this sort of thing. So now imagine a sweet version of this, and that’s our cake!

As always, make sure to use gloves when handling nettles and to blanch them before using them in cooking.

Makes one small tin

½ cup olive oil
1 large bunch of nettles
1 large green apple
zest from 1 lemon (optional)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Apple oil (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Using gloves, pick the leaves from the nettles and discard the stalks.
In a large pot with boiling water blanch the nettles for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. Finely chop or (better), blend them into a smooth paste. You should be left with roughly ¾ cups of nettle pulp.

Peel, core and grate the apple. Mix together the apple, nettle pulp and lemon zest if using. Set aside

In a separate bowl sieve together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and olive oil. Add the egg and whisk again until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Add the nettles and apple and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a greased and floured baking tin. Bake at 180°C for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown on top and cooked through. To check, you can insert a knife and see if it comes our clean.

Serve with Greek yoghurt and our fragrant apple oil!


One thing we love about veg boxes, is that you never know what you will get. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been getting nettles. Last week we made a spinach pie, adding the nettles for a different twist. This week however, we got two bunches. So we thought, let’s make pesto!

If you are following our recipes, you will know by now how we love making pesto. I don’t know if I’ve written this before, but realising that you can make pesto using anything you’ve got around was life-changing for me. So in the past we’ve made a pistachio pesto, a sun-dried tomato pesto with almonds, and the uber-seasonal wild garlic pesto!

One must be careful when handling nettle, as this lovely green can sting. The way we usually go about with nettle, is blanching it for a few minutes, and then use it in recipes such as pies, or in this pesto here. That way, it will not sting you. But do use gloves beforehand, to separate the leaves.

Makes one jar

2 bunches of nettle
¾ cups olive oil
½ cup raw nuts (we used walnuts, but pistachios are great too! – you can use whatever you have)
2 tsp white wine vinegar or 2 tsp lemon juice (or one of each)
salt (to taste)

Using gloves, separate the nettle leaves and thin stems.
Place in a large pot with boiling water. Blanch for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out all excess water. You should be left with 1 cup of nettle pulp.

In a large frying pan, dry-toast the walnuts and let cool.

Whiz together the nettle, olive oil, walnuts. Season with salt. Add the vinegar or lemon juice (we used a teaspoon of each), and whiz again until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt or acidity.

Serve with pasta, veg or simply crusty bread!


Most of us are house-bound I suppose. I don’t know about you, but when there is so much uncertainty around, one of the few things I find soothing is going into the kitchen and cooking.

Despite the world being so precarious, the weather seems to have its own way. This week we are feeling that spring is finally here. Or anyway, glimpses of it.

March has been a challenging month indeed. So we decided to use whatever greens we have in our fridge or freezer and create a comforting dish that is perfect for the times we live in. And to give us a sense of control, this dish can be turned into a soup or stew! For this versatile dish, we used seasonal greens, and bulgur wheat. Mostly because we love the combination of greens and grains, in the traditional spanakoryzo. So we decided to mix it up a bit. Bare in mind, a little bit of bulgur wheat goes a long way.

We’ll have more recipes to come, using cupboard staples. Let us know what ingredients you have available, and we’ll inspire you with recipes! Stay safe and calm.

Serves 6
2 spring onions
1 large leek
2 stalks of celery
5 tbsp olive oil
5 cardamom pods
100g bulgur wheat
4 cups of water
4 cups of seasonal greens (we used a combination of spinach, kale and wild nettle)
A small bunch of parsley (to serve)
17 olive oil (to serve)
lemon juice (to serve)

Finely chop the spring onions, leek and celery. In a large, shallow pot place the olive oil and the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and slowly cook until tender and caramelised, approximately 10 minutes. Add the cardamom and bulgur wheat and stir well. Add the water and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for around 30min, until the bulgur wheat and vegetables are very tender. Add the shredded greens.

If you prefer a more soup-like dish, then along with the greens add 3 cups of water.

Let it cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with fresh parsley, the 17 lemon oil and lemon juice.

 

 


This week we’ve got for you a very traditional Greek recipe. Arakas (which means “peas” in the Greek language), is a dish most Greek households make regularly. As with most Greek vegetarian dishes, it entails slowly cooking vegetables, in olive oil and water, adding herbs and lemon or tomato. There are of course as many recipes for this, as nearly each household has its own. But this one we are making for you today is special.

It is my mother’s. We always love sharing our family’s recipes with you. Remember Mrs Kalliopi’s magic dough? Yum! Katerina, my loving mother, always manages to cook dishes that are airy, soft, comforting. For these classic Greek dishes, she uses a few simple ingredients. She never uses high heat and takes her time in stewing the vegetables, stirring every so often and then sitting in our kitchen, by the pot. It is as if the food needs constant care. And indeed it does. She is a wonderful cook, you see.

Her recipe for Arakas is one of my favourite ones, one that we always make in spring. So last week, when I visited her, we made it together, so that we can share it with you.

Serves 2

350g fresh peas
4 spring onions (only the white part and a little bit of the green)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving
1 small bunch of dill
salt, pepper (to taste)

Place the olive oil and spring onions in a medium-sized pot and gently fry over medium heat. Once the onion is soft, add the peas and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, so that your peas are coated in the olive oil.

Add 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and let the peas simmer, covered for 25min. Taste, add the dill, lemon and more water if needed. Cook for another 15min, or until the peas are soft and the water has reduced into a sauce.

Serve with more lemon juice and dill.


This week we’ve got a very aromatic spring recipe for you. We are using one of the most seasonal ingredients, rhubarb. The first time I tasted rhubarb was poached, with cinnamon and loads of sugar. I didn’t think much of it. The second time I tasted it, it was raw, thinly sliced, and with a little bit of sugar, just to take the sourness off. It was an intense experience. It tasted like snails in grass. It was fascinating. Indeed, rhubarb is quite unique and stirs up passionate reactions. There are those who love it and those who hate it. We belong in the second category.

The recipe we’ve prepared is quite unique too. We are not using any sugar to sweeten our rhubarb. Just grape molasses and Corinth raisins. What are we making? The most interesting chutney-like creation. It lays somewhere between jam and chutney. You can have it with bread and butter, but also with cheese and oily fish. You can taste the sweetness of the raisins, the depth in flavour of the grape molasses, the fruity rhubarb notes and there is still a hint of sourness still remaining. And, like last year’s poached pears, we’ve paired these three ingredients with fragrant spices, just to give you a slightly more complex creation.

Makes 2 jars

500g rhubarb
100g Corinth raisins
170g grape molasses
300ml water
¼ tsp cinnamon
10 cardamom pods
¼ tsp ground cloves
5 black peppercorns

Cut the rhubarb in 5cm pieces. Place the rhubarb in a pot, along with the raisins, grape molasses, water and spices. The liquid should just cover the rhubarb. Bring to the boil and then immediately lower the heat. Let it simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 min, stirring occasionally or until the rhubarb has soften, the raisins have soak up the juices and all the flavours have blended together.

Keep in jars in the fridge and serve on toast, with graviera or manouri cheese and oily fish.