With January in full swing and most of us staying at home, there’s always the need for some culinary inspiration. This week’s recipe is quite simple, and makes for a perfect lunch. Add these lovely roasted peppers to it, and you’re in for a treat.

As you may know, in Greece food revolves around two main flavours: lemon and tomatoes. We love them both, equally. But this week we went for the latter. However, during the long winter months tomatoes are scarce, more expensive and trust us, they taste nothing like the ones you find in the summer. So we go for our organic passata. Tomatoes are picked during the summer when they are at their best and then turned into our aromatic tomato passata without any seeds or peels. Using nothing but tomatoes and no added salt it is as close to the flavours of nature as you would expect.

Now, when you slowly cook brown rice in this tomato passata, the result is a nutritious, delicious meal! With the addition of olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes, of course.

Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
100g brown rice
450g passata
250ml water
½ tub of olives (we used a selection of Kalamata plain and unripe olives)
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes
½ jar artichoke hearts, drained

Pour the olive oil in a medium-sized pot and over medium-low heat. Once hot add the rice and stir, so that each grain is coated with the oil. Season with salt.

Add the passata and water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the rice cook until tender, for approximately 40min.

Once the rice is cooked, add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes and let the flavours blend for another 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with plenty of feta cheese.


Welcome to 2021! We hope you all had a peaceful end of the year and are somewhat ready for the challenges and fun times ahead. During these first weeks of the year many of us reflect on the year past and make plans for the future. Food, of course, is always part of our new year’s resolutions. No matter what these are (eat more vegetables!), this week we have a simple, fun recipe for you. We are kicking off 2021 with a very unique pesto-like dish.

The inspiration for this dish came to us when faced with plenty of wilted greens in the fridge. Usually we go for pesto, but alas, there were no nuts at hand. But there’s always dakos around, so we figured, why not give this a try?

The result is magnificent! With a much more intense and robust in flavour than your classic pesto, this recipe is perfect to accompany all sorts of vegetables, from roasted carrots to boiled broccoli. Or you know, just eat it straight from the jar.

Makes 1 jar
2 cups of greens (we used spinach and parsley)
½ cup olive oil, plus more if needed – depending how thick they want it
50g dakos carob rusks
1 tbsp 17C lemon oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt

In a food processor or pestle and mortar blitz together the rusks until they resemble like little rocks. Add the greens, olive oil, lemon oil and vinegar and blitz everything together, until you get a pesto-like texture. Taste, season with salt, adding more olive oil or vinegar if needed.

Serve with more dakos rusks!


This week we’ve got a very Christmassy recipe for you! Think of tender butternut squash and sweet potatoes, roasted in the oven and mixed with plenty of olive oil, to create the perfect creamy mash. It is the ideal side dish for your Christmas table, and why not, a main meal on its own, with a green salad! Oh, and did we mention it’s vegan?

As you know, we love roasting vegetables. Do you remember last year’s Honey & Grape Molasses Carrots, or the Festive Brussels Sprouts with Walnut Oil from a few years ago? It is true that flavoured olive oils take roasted vegetables to a whole other level. Especially this year, we were very happy to add the unique Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil to our selection. And in this dish, it pairs perfectly with our Apple Olive Oil with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Honey!

For this mash, we’ve used not one, not two, but three olive oils! The flavours complement each other, adding depth and silkiness to the dish. Serve with all three, so that your guests can select which one they prefer. And as we are during a pandemic, when we say guests, we mean you.

Serves 6

1 kg sweet potatoes (approx. 3 large)
1.5 kg butternut squash (1 medium)
100ml olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tbsp ginger, lime and basil olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tbsp apple olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven at 200C

Peel the sweet potato and cut in bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut in bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Lay the vegetables separately in two roasting trays, making sure they are in one layer.

In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, ginger oil, apple oil, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over the two trays. Toss the vegetables, so that they are nicely coated with the flavoured oil mixture.

Cover each tray with tinfoil.

Place the two trays in the oven, roasting the vegetables for 1-1,5 hours, until very tender. Let them cool.

Mash them all together, using the liquid from the roasting trays. You should have a smooth mash. Serve with plenty of olive oil.


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you must know that we absolutely love chickpeas. It’s true that chickpeas  take a while to cook. But as many of us are now working from home, a chickpea stew is perhaps the ideal dish to prepare. All you need to do is soak the chickpeas overnight, and in the morning, prep your vegetables and put everything in a nice casserole in the oven. Comes dinnertime and you’ve got yourself the most comforting stew. Plus, the entire house warms up and smells like food during the day, which if you ask me, is the best environment to work in.

In Greece there is a big debate if chickpeas are better with lemon, like in our traditional revithada, or with tomato, like in this not-very-Greek spiced stew. This week we went for tomato, but we’ve used two secret ingredients, which add depth to this wonderful stew: grape molasses and roasted red peppers! Pure organic grape molasses, known as Petimezi in Greece is made from Agiorgitiko grapes. The aroma of light honey and fresh grapes, and its distinctive caramel tones are unbeatable. As for the roasted red peppers, these are organic Florina peppers, cooked over open flame. They are famous for their rich and sweet flavour, and balance perfectly the mild acidity of tomatoes.

Serves 2 with leftovers, or 4 for lunch

150g chickpeas
1 very large onion
1/2 cup of olive oil, divided
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium carrot
5 colourful peppers
½ jar roasted red peppers
1 bottle tomato passata
1 litre vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp grape molasses
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, to taste
2 tsp baking soda (optional)

The night before soak your chickpeas.
The morning after preheat your oven at 200C.
Finely slice the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely slice the carrot. Cut the peppers in thick strips. Drain and finely slice the roasted red peppers.
In a medium-sized casserole, and over medium-low heat add ¼ cup of olive oil and gently fry until the onions are translucent and slightly caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot, along with the carrot, peppers, roasted red peppers, tomato passata, vegetable stock, grape molasses and bay leaves. Add the rest 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and carefully add the baking soda (if using). Stir well, cover tightly and place in the oven for approx. 2-3 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender.

Serve with plenty of feta cheese!

 


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.


We’ve got a new olive oil from our farm in Sparta! The Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil is a very special oil. It is made from semi-ripe olives of the Koroneiki, Athinoelia and Kalamata varieties. These are crushed together with ginger, lime and basil. We use 1200g of semi-ripe olives to produce 100ml of this cold extracted oil. Of course it has no additives or preservatives. It has a very vibrant flavour and intense aromas, and a fascinating aftertaste.

This olive oil pairs perfectly with white fish and rice dishes. But what is the ideal way to savour such an exquisite olive oil? Vegetables, of course, as they are the perfect canvas to bring out its delicious colours. So this week, after a visit to the market, we got some fresh green beans and created this lovely recipe for you. It is quite simple, yet this olive oil transforms the green beans into magic!

This is great for a light lunch, but can also be served as a side dish as part of a meal.

Serves 2

500g green beans
2 small red onions
2 fat clove of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
50g raw almonds
4 tbsp Ginger, Lime & Basil Olive Oil, plus more for serving
zest 1 lime
1 tbsp. lime juice
salt (to taste)

Cut your beans in large bite-sized pieces.
Place your beans in a large pot with boiling, salted water and cook for approx. 5-7 minutes until tender but not soft. Drain and place in a large bowl. While the beans are still warm, toss them together with the ginger, lime and basil olive oil, lime juice and zest. Season with salt. Set aside.

Finely slice the onion and mince the garlic. Gently fry in the olive oil, over medium-low heat, until caramelised, approx. 4-5 minutes. Roughly chop the almonds and add them to your frying pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve the beans with the onion-almond mixture, drizzling some more ginger, lime and basil olive oil if needed.


As you may already know we love making dips with pulses. Have you tried our mixed pulses dip? Or our bean dip with roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes?

It’s a great way to eat beans, especially when it’s warm outside and the weather calls for something other than a stew or a soup. So this week we’ve prepared a lovely white dip, using our little small beans from Grevena, in northern Greece. You can use gigantes beans as well if you prefer, but we like these little ones.

We are making it with a few simple ingredients: spring onions and garlic, but you can experiment with any other onions or garlic that you have handy. And we’ve added a secret ingredient, capers!

And as we realised, this dip is also lovely served as a side dish, instead of mashed potatoes or any other mash you may be making. Yum!

Makes one large bowl

250g small beans
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
2 spring onions
2 tbsp capers

The night before soak your beans. The morning after drain, and cook in plenty of water until tender.

Drain the cooked beans, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside and let cool.

Roughly chop the spring onions, garlic and capers.

In a blender blend together the beans, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, spring onions, garlic and capers. You will need to add a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen up the mixture. We used ½ a cup, but you might need a bit more. Once your mixture is smooth transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

We prefer serving this dip on a simple white soup plate. Sometimes simplicity is quite calming, I do not know if you agree?

But if you’re into decorating, then finely chop some spring onions, add some more capers, reserve some of the cooked beans, drizzle some olive oil and add some more lemon zest. Either way, enjoy with some raw vegetables and crusty bread!

 


Roasted red peppers really are the easiest thing to make. Don’t get us wrong, we love the jarred ones equally. Our organic Florina peppers are cooked over open flame. And this specific variety of Florina peppers is famous for its rich and sweet flavour! But as we now have a bit more time, we decided to go ahead and cook things we don’t ordinary prepare. And this recipe works well with any type of peppers you’ve got.

Roasted red peppers are excellent when stuffed with rice, shrimps, mince meat and of course, feta cheese! Finely chop them and add in sauces, salads, pasta and risotto for a boost of flavour. Blend them with some extra virgin olive oil and make your own dip.

10 large red florina peppers (around 1kg)
3 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar or sweet balsamic chilli vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Pierce the red peppers all around with a fork. Make sure you do not skip this step!

Remove the tops and gently tap the peppers so that you remove all seeds as well.

If you have a gas stove, you can roast them directly over the gas flame. Turn them around regularly for 10min or so, depending on how large your peppers are, until there are charred bits all around and the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork.

If you are using a conventional oven, place the pierced peppers in a baking tray and bake at 160C (no fan) for about half an hour, or until tender.

Remove from the gas flame or oven and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and let the peppers steam a bit, until they are still warm, but cool enough to handle. Using your hands or a small knife, remove the skins and discard.

Place the pepper flesh in a jar, tupperwear or serving platter and add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Keep in the fridge.


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!


How are you all doing? Most of us around the world are at home these days. To avoid going out, and support local producers many of us at Oliveology go for small veg boxes, brought to us by local farmers. And somehow every week we end up with more carrots than we can grate in salads.

Enter the inspiration for this recipe, so this week we decided to go for a dip. I personally prefer chunkier dips than smooth- and when it comes to root vegetables like carrots, I very much savour their natural sweetness. After making plenty of dips the last few years, the very much loved tahini and yoghurt, or the cheese & yoghurt one, dips with mixed pulses or pistachios, beetroot and oregano and of course, the classic greek ones tzatziki and melitzanosalata, this week we’re going for carrot.

You see, carrot and tahini are really good friends. We are not going to lie, this recipe takes a while. But it can be done in stages over a day or so. Spending more time at home offers this luxury.

Makes one large bowl.

800g carrots
6tbsp olive oil
2 tsps dried thyme
1tbsp grape molasses
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt

120ml olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1tbsp grape molasses
4tbsp tahini
150ml water
sesame seeds (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

You can peel the carrots if you want, but we just scrubbed them and removed the tops. Roughly cut the carrots in small pieces. We went for buttons, the size of your small finger.
Toss them together with the olive oil, grape molasses, vinegar, thyme and salt and place in a baking tray.

Bake for half an hour, until caramelised, but not tender. Add a cup of water and keep baking for another half hour, adding water if needed, until the carrots are tender and there’s a bit of liquid left in your baking tray.

Remove from the oven and let them cool.

Whizz together the carrots with the olive oil, lemon juice, grape molasses and tahini, adding a bit of water to loosen up the mixture if needed. Season with salt. Now, it’s time you made it your own. Do you want to go for something nuttier? Drizzle some more tahini. If you want it a bit sweeter (that’s me!), go for grape molasses. And for the more adventurous ones out there, we got you: just add more lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Serve with more olive oil and with plenty of sesame seeds, if you’ve got.