This week we’ve got a very summery rice salad for you. It is great for picnics or barbecues, makes for a delicious lunch or light dinner and makes use of July’s seasonal vegetables that we so love.

This rice salad with various variations of vegetables, and with a mustard-olive oil-lemon dressing is a classic in Greek households. In my family we always prepare it on Clean Monday (the day which marks the beginning of lent in Greece), along with taramosalata. Then we use spring vegetables, so I’ve been very excited for this summer take on a family classic.

In this recipe, we used our Carolina rice, which comes from the area of Grevena in the northern part of Greece. Carolina rice is high in amylopectin (starch), making it the perfect ingredient for a creamy risotto or a rice pudding. But here, we’ve rinsed it well, so that we can use it as our base for this summer salad. For our dressing we’ve used a very special oil, made from semi-ripe olives crushed with fresh lemongrass and tarragon. It has an especially fresh flavour and intense aroma, pairing perfectly with our summer vegetables. This salad is great as is, but you can also add some grilled chicken or prawns if you prefer.

Serves 2
100g Carolina rice
1.5 cups of water
250g cherry tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 small tub of Amfissa green olives
1 lemon, zest and 1 tbsp juice
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp olive oil with lemongrass & tarragon
dried spearmint (to taste)
salt, pepper (to taste)

Rinse the rice thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Place the rice and 1.5 cups of water in a medium-sized pot and over medium heat. Cook, covered, for around 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and the cucumber in bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl whisk together the lemon zest and juice, mustard, olive oil with lemongrass & tarragon and spearmint. Add the rice to your bowl, along with your tomatoes, cucumber and olives, and gently toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

 


Summer is the time of the year when we try to avoid turning on the oven. We love simple recipes that can be eaten cold or at room temperature. So this week we’ve got a very unique dip for you. It’s great to bring to a summer barbecue or picnic. It also makes for a wonderful lunch, spread over toasted bread with some sliced cucumber on top.

We are making a yogurt and herb dip, with dakos rusks and walnuts! The inspiration for this recipe is from the book Herbs in Cooking by Maria and Nikos Psilakis.

We are using our walnuts and dakos rusks, which both add depth and texture to this dip. You can grind them until they resemble coarse sand, or alternative you can crush them with your hands, adding more texture to this dip.

This dip is packed with fresh and dried herbs. We love fresh parsley, together with dried oregano, but feel free to play around with different herbs. Definitely use our 21°C Olive Oil with Walnuts, Fennel, Rosemary & Oregano, which pairs perfectly with the dip’s flavours.

Makes one large jar

100g dakos rusks
50g walnuts
1 clove of garlic
small bunch of fresh parsley
250g yoghurt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp walnut oil, plus more for serving
2 tbsp water
salt, pepper

In a blender or using your hands grind or crush the dakos rusks and walnuts.

Grate the garlic and finely chop your parsley.

In a large bowl mix the yoghurt with the dried basil and oregano. Add the ground dakos and walnuts, parsley and garlic. Stir well. Add the vinegar and walnut oil, and a few splashes of water to loosen up the mixture (if needed). Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Let the dip stand for a couple of hours before serving so that the flavours develop. Serve with more walnut oil.


This week we’ve got an easy and wholesome recipe for you. As you may know, chickpeas are one of our favourite ingredients. However, we often associate them with hearty stews or the classic revithada soup. So this week, as the sun is shining and the summer is in full swing, we’ve decided to make a nutritious salad. Our chickpeas, harvested every year in organic farms in northern Greece are the ideal ingredient for your go-to summer salad.

We’ve kept this simple, using mostly cupboard ingredients. Feel free to add any herbs you have around, and swap any ingredient you don’t really fancy. Definitely serve with plenty of feta cheese!

Serves 2 with leftovers

150g chickpeas
1 red onion
1 lemon, juice and zest
½ jar sun-dried tomatoes in their oil
1-2 tbsp capers and/or olives
small bunch of fresh herbs (mint, parsley or dill)
salt, pepper (to taste)
feta cheese (to serve)

The night before soak your chickpeas. The morning after drain and place them in a pot with lots of water. Boil until tender but not mushy, about an hour. Drain and set aside.

While your chickpeas are boiling, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel and cut the onion in half, and then finely slice in half-moons. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, retaining their oil.

In a large bowl add the chickpeas, onion, lemon juice (start with 2 tbsp) and zest, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and olives and fresh herbs (if using). Add 1 tbsp of the reserved sun-dried tomato olive oil and toss everything together.

Taste and season with salt and pepper, adjusting for lemon and olive oil.

Serve at room temperature with some feta cheese.


In Greece, olives are usually eaten as part of a meze platter, added in salads and used in cooking in slowly cooked stews. So when we came across a recipe for little olive pies from the island of Cyprus (by the Greek-Cypriot chef Christoforos Peskias), we couldn’t but give these a try. Inspired by this Cypriot classic, we’ve adapted the recipe using a selection of our olives.

Organic, hand-picked and unpasteurised, our olives are naturally cured in fresh water for 6 to 9 months. They have high levels of monounsaturated fats and are a good source of protein, not to mention absolutely delicious! In this recipe we used a combination of our Kalamata, Amfissa green and Kalamata orange olives. But feel free to select your favourites!

Makes 15 small pies

1 portion of pie dough with orange
200g olives (we used a combination of our Kalamata olives, Amfissa Green olives and Kalamata olives with orange and herbs)
1 large red onion
zest from 1 orange
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch of mint
1 tbsp sesame (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C

Finely slice the onion. In a medium skillet and over medium heat gently fry the onion in the olive oil, until tender and caramelised, around 20minutes. Let it cool down.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of your filling. Remove the olive pits, gently pressing down the olives, or using a small pairing knife. Roughly chop the olive flesh and add to a bowl. Add the orange zest. Finely chop the mint and add it to your bowl.

Add the onions and stir well.

Roll out your dough in a rectangular 20x30cm, and around 2-3mm thick. Spread the filling on top, leaving some space on the sides. Roll up the long side, creating a log. Slice vertically creating thick pieces, around 10cm each. Turn them on their side (like you would do with cinnamon rolls).

Lay them on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. Sprinkle sesame on top (if using). Bake at 180C until the little pies are golden, around 30min.


Moussaka is one of the most popular and most loved Greek dishes. It takes a while to make, so think of it as a weekend project. But the result will not disappoint. Layers of mellow vegetables are followed by a layer of beef mince, then more vegetables and finally a smooth béchamel sauce. It is a quintessentially summer dish, as aubergines and courgettes, they key ingredients, are in season – and at their best- then.

Following our delicious Olive Oil Mythologies dinner a few weeks ago, this is the recipe for moussaka, which we served as a main course. It is by Katerina, Nafsika’s mother. We have planned many more amazing dinner experiences after the summer, so watch this space for our autumn events!

This recipe serves 16, as in Greece we always make large quantities of moussaka. It freezes well if you want to make two trays. Simply place in the freezer before the final step of baking. You can also half the recipe, if you prefer.

Final advice: moussaka needs to rest after baking. So estimate at least 45 minutes of resting time before diving in. Trust us, the result is worth it!

Serves 16

Mince meat
2 medium red onions (approx. 300g)
6 tbsp olive oil
1kg beef mince, lean
1 cup water
2 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp sugar (optional)
1.5 bottles tomato passata (or 5 juicy tomatoes)
½ tsp cinnamon
salt, pepper (to taste)

Finely chop or grate the onions. In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot add the olive oil and onions. Gently fry over medium heat until transluscent but not caramelised.
Add the mince and stir well, until the mince is broken down and has browned.
Add one cup of water and cook until the mince is tender, around 15minutes.
In a cup with warm water stir in the tomato puree and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Add it to your pot, along with the tomato passata and stir well.
Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the mince is tender and the sauce thickens, around 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Vegetables
2kg aubergines
1kg courgettes
1kg potatoes
1.5 cups olive oil
salt, pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven at 180C.
Slice all the vegetables into 5mm / ½ cm slices.
Lay the vegetables in trays and brush the one side with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 180C until the vegetables are soft, around 20min.
Half-way through turn them over and brush the other side with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Set aside to cool.

Béchamel sauce
225g butter
225g flour
3lt milk
10 eggs
750g kefalotyri cheese

In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot and over low heat add the flour and butter. Whisk together until golden. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. You can test by covering the back of a spoon with the sauce, and running your finger through it. The line should remain clear. Remove from the heat and whisk in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, eggs and cheese. Set aside, covering tight with cling film. The cling film should touch the surface of the sauce.

Assembling
Preheat the oven at 180C.
Brush the bottom of a large baking tray with a bit of olive oil (2 tbsp). Layer half the aubergines, followed by courgettes and potatoes. Add the mince. Continue with another layer of aubergines. Top with the béchamel sauce.
Bake at 180C until the béchamel sauce is golden and the moussaka is bubbly, 20-30min.
Let the moussaka rest for at least 45 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This week we’ve got a family recipe for you. Every summer, my mother, along with many other Greek cooks, prepares tomato sauce, enough to last the entire winter. She uses summer tomatoes, which are particularly juicy and ripe towards the end of August in Greece.

Often unable to get my mother’s sauce in London, I started making it myself. However, as this is a sauce with very few ingredients, the quality of tomatoes is really important. When I started using our tomato passata I was amazed: the sauce tasted exactly like my mother’s. You see, our organic tomato passata is made with organic Greek tomatoes picked during the summer when they are at their best, with no added salt, as close to the flavours of nature as you can get. It’s great for any tomato-based dish (check out our recipes here), and it’s great in this family recipe.

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion
1 bottle tomato passata
1 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, pepper (to taste)

Grate or finely chop the onion. In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil and onion and gently fry over medium heat until translucent but not caramelised. Add the tomato passata.

Stir the tomato puree and sugar (if using) in a cup of warm water until dissolved. Add to your pot. Add the basil and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Stir well.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavours blend together, for about an hour. Half way through taste and adjust for seasonings, adding more basil, cinnamon, salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with pasta or rice, use on top of bruschetta, or even as a dipping sauce.


This week we have a very hearty recipe for you. Lentils and tomatoes are an all-time favourite and we couldn’t but pair them together in this simple, yet very comforting dish.

We are after all getting ready for summer, eagerly waiting for the first juicy summer tomatoes to appear in the market. So in this recipe, adapted from Jack Santa Maria’s cookery book Greek Vegetarian Cooking, we are using the vibrant red organic tomato passata to make a delicious lentil stew. It makes for an excellent dinner, served alongside brown rice. But also, it works great as a more filling pasta sauce. Don’t forget to check out all of our recipes with tomato passata.

Serves 2 as main

1 medium red onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bottle tomato passata (or 2-3 juicy tomatoes, crushed)
500ml water (plus more if needed)
150ml red wine (we used the Barafakas Idea Red)
100g lentils
dried thyme (to taste)
dried oregano (to taste)
salt, pepper (to taste)
brown rice and fresh tomatoes (to serve)

Grate or finely chop your onion and garlic. In a medium-sized pot add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Gently fry over medium heat until translucent but not caramelised.

Add the tomato passata, water, wine and lentils and stir everything together. Add the thyme and oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook, covered, until the sauce is thickened and the lentils are tender, around 45minutes. Half-way through taste and adjust for dried herbs and seasoning.

Serve with brown rice and fresh tomatoes (if desired).


Today is the last day of August, so we are saying goodbye to summer with a very summery recipe using our go-to summer ingredient: tomatoes. We love tomatoes in the summer, as they are at their best during this time of the year. So we pick them to make our tomato passata. Using nothing but tomatoes and no added salt, this ingredient is as close to the flavours of nature as you would expect. We cook with it during the winter, as we wait for the new tomatoes next year.

In this recipe however, we’ve only used fresh tomatoes, as a way to say goodbye to a sweet, sunny summer.

This recipe comes from the island of Santorini, and traditionally the local variety of small cherry tomatoes is used. Look for tomatoes with a thick flesh as they will add structure to your fritters. We’ve added our favourite fresh and dried herbs, but as always feel free to omit anything you don’t like, or add anything you prefer. And yes, us Greeks fry our fritters in olive oil, so do give it a try!

Serves 6

6 medium tomatoes
2 medium onions
1 large bunch of fresh mint
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
½ tsp dried spearmint
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
salt, pepper (to taste)
2 eggs
70g graviera cheese
150g feta cheese
150g flour
plenty of olive oil (for frying)
chilli vinegar (to serve)

Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Very finely chop the onion and add it to your tomatoes. Let it rest until you prepare the rest of your ingredients. The juices of the tomatoes will soften up the onions.

Very finely chop your fresh herbs. Grate your graviera cheese. Crumble your feta cheese.

Add the fresh herbs, dried herbs and cheeses to your bowl and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the flour and mix everything well together. You should have a thick batter, resembling a slightly thicker cake batter.

Place a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add your olive oil. Start with 5cm. Warm it up until simmering. Add one tablespoon of your mixture, carefully so as not to overcrowd the pan. The fritters should be partially submerged in the olive oil.

Fry until golden on the one side -be patient, it takes a few minutes. Flip and fry until the other side is golden too. Remove your fritters and let them rest in paper towels until you finish frying.

Serve drizzled with chilli vinegar!


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!


How are you spending this summer? We were very fortunate to be able to travel around Greece, tasting wonderful food and swimming in the deep blue sea. This week we are bringing to you a recipe for one of the simplest and perhaps one of the most wonderful dishes we tasted while in Greece: wild greens with tomatoes and cheese!

Wild greens are found everywhere in Greece during the summer, sold in large bunches at local markets all around the country. There are endless varieties. The ones we selected are called vlita (amaranth) and have a subtle bitter, earthy taste which pairs perfectly with the sweet summer tomatoes. In this recipe we’ve used our tomato passata, so that you can easily prepare it in the winter, selecting more wintery greens. You can use whichever seasonal dark leafy greens you can find: chard, kale, spinach, collard greens. Anything goes!

In the classic recipe, greens are boiled and then fresh tomatoes are grated on top. A soft white cheese like mizithra or feta is crumbled and, of course, plenty of olive oil is drizzled on top. We followed this classic recipe and kept things simple. It is still summer after all, and we love feeling a bit more relaxed before the hectic winter begins. Do feel free to omit the cheese, to keep this vegan.

Serves 2 as main or 4 as a side

1kg dark leafy greens
1 bottle tomato passata (or 3-4 tomatoes, crushed)
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
salt, freshly ground black pepper
150g soft white cheese (we used our organic feta), to serve

Thoroughly rinse your greens and remove any large stems (you can reserve them to make stock). We kept the leaves whole, but if you prefer you can roughly chop them.
Place your greens in a large pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until soft and tender. We used a very large pot and boiled the greens all in one go, for around 6 minutes, but you can also work in batches.

Drain and place your greens in a large salad bowl. While they are still warm, pour over the tomato passata, season with pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Serve immediately with the feta cheese and more olive oil. If you are not using cheese, do add a bit of salt.

This dish is also perfect served cold. If you are serving it cold, let the greens cool down and place them in the fridge. Continue with the tomato, etc just before serving.