Lentil soup is a classic Greek dish. Every Greek household has its own version. My mother makes it in its simplest form, simply boiling lentils with plenty of garlic. Marianna’s mother adds onions, carrots and celery (and it is this recipe that we have for you today). But no matter what vegetables one chooses for this soup, there is one ingredient that all Greek lentil soups include: bay leaves. These fragrant leaves give a unique aroma, with complex herbal and slightly floral notes. They turn our lentils into a truly comforting meal. Our bay leaves are organic and wild, and hand picked from the mountains of Epirus, in North West Greece.

We’re serving this soup with our 18 extra virgin olive oil (surprisingly our apple oil works great here!) and plenty of vinegar. It is great eaten hot, but keeps well, so it also makes for a great lunch the following day.

Serves 10

150ml olive oil
2 onions
4-5 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 tbsp tomato puree
1kg lentils
4 garlic cloves (plus more if you love garlic)
2-3 bay leaves
5lt water or vegetable stock
salt, pepper (to taste)
18C olive oil (to serve)
red wine vinegar (to serve)

Finely chop your onion, carrot and celery stick. Peel the garlic and leave whole.

In a medium-sized pot add the chopped vegetables and garlic, along with the olive oil. Gently cook over medium heat for a few minutes until tender. Add the tomato puree and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves and water or stock.

Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. Cook for 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Serve hot, with more olive oil and plenty of vinegar.

 


We are now well into January and the holidays feel like a distant memory. Most of us are getting back to work, and to our usual routines. So this week, we’ve decided to make something sweet, to brighten up our days. This recipe is also vegan and sugar-free, and it is our way of saying that such food that may fall further away than what we’re used to eating can be good for our bodies, filling, fulfilling and delicious!

This is an unusual recipe, as it uses succulent dried fruit and Metaxa, the unique Greek amber spirit to create a luscious jam. The original recipe is by the Greek pastry chef Stelios Parliaros, but we’ve adapted it using two types of fruit and our apple oil to finish!

It is perfect on toast with some mature cheddar on top, great in your porridge, but also makes for a wonderful addition to your cheese platters. It is a great glaze for roast pork, or topping for your baked sweet potatoes or squash.

Makes 1 large jar

200g dried apricots
200g dried cherries
120ml Metaxa 12*
40 ml water, plus 100ml water, divided
3 tbsp apple oil

Cut the dried apricots in quarters. Place them in a medium-sized bowl, along with the cherries, metaxa and 40ml of water. Leave overnight to soak.

The following day, place them in a medium-sized pot and over low heat. Add the 100ml of water and simmer, stirring occasionally for around 15-30min, or until the jam is set. You can check by placing a tablespoon of the jam on a place, let it cool down a bit, then run your finger though it. The line created by your finger should stay clear and the jam should not run back to fill the gap.

Remove from the heat, let it cool down and add the apple oil. Place in a large jar and keep in the fridge.


Happy New Year! Whether it’s new-year-new-us, or new-year-old-us, we are extremely happy to be getting back to cooking wholesome, simple meals. We very much enjoyed the extravagant Christmas and New Year’s lunches and dinners, but there is something really comforting in simple foods that feel good for our bodies.

So we are kicking off 2022 with a much loved recipe.

Black eye beans cooked with greens (usually spinach) is a classic dish in Greek cuisine. Our small black eye beans are harvested every year in organic farms in northern Greece. They are also perfect simply boiled and served with herbs and plenty of lemon. Here, we’ve kept it simple, using just a bit of onion and a bay leaf to flavour the dish. You can use spinach or any other seasonal greens that you prefer. This dish can also be served hot or at room temperature and makes for a wonderful lunch the following day. If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ll know how much we love such versatile dishes.

So from all of us at Oliveology, have a healthy, happy New Year, filled with delicious food and your loved ones!

Serves 2
150g black eye beans
1 bay leaf
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
200g spinach leaves
salt, pepper (to taste)

Place your beans in a medium-sized pot with fresh water. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover and let the beans cook for 30’, until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Finely chop your onion.

In a large skillet, and over medium-low heat, gently fry the onion with the olive oil, until transluscent, around 5 minutes.

Add the cooked beans and spinach leaves and stir everything together, adding a few splashes of water.
Season with salt and pepper.

Cook everything together for 10-15 minutes, until the beans are tender and the spinach is wilted.

Serve hot or at room temperature.


Making gingerbread men was one of the most fun baking sessions with little Harry and yiayia Philippa. We used olive oil instead of butter and grape molasses to reduce the sugar needed. The result was truly amazing and the feedback a success from all ages. Check our Instagram post for this super fun child friendly activity 🙂

Makes approximately 20 cookies.

Cookie dough

400g flour
100g brown sugar
120ml grape molasses
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg
2-3 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Icing (optional) 
350g icing sugar
4 tbs of lemon juice

 

Method

Preheat oven to 170ºF and line your baking trays with parchment paper or you can use silicone baking mats.

In one bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix well and bid together brown sugar, molasses, egg, and olive oil until creamy. You can use a blender or mix by hand. It worked fine by hand. Gradually add flour mixture into liquid mixture and beat until dough starts to form together. Gently knead the dough into a ball.

Olive oil cookie dough is sticky, so you can put your dough in the fridge for an hour prior to rolling out.
Alternatively you can also use two sheets of parchment paper to carefully roll out your dough until approximately 1-cm thick. I did both of the steps above and worked out perfect!

Using cookie cutters, cut into fun shapes. Bake for 10 -12 minutes depending on the size and how crunchy you like them. These cookies are naturally brown because of the molasses and won’t brown further with baking. If you bake them for too long, you will have firm, crisp cookies. We like ours slightly softer than crunchy.

When you remove from the oven transfer on a cooling rack.

Serve as is or decorate with icing.
For the icing simply add the lemon juice into the icing sugar until it becomes firm and spreadable. Then pipe the icing on the cookies to decorate.

Store in airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

 


We are so excited for Christmas this year! After what felt like a very long year, we are happy to be able to prepare once again our favourite dishes. In Greece there are many Christmas traditions (such as the melomakarona and kourabie Christmas cookies), but when it comes to main courses and sides, there are endless variations. Stuffing is often found at our Christmas table. Traditionally, stuffing in Greece is made with rice, but we love experimenting, so check out our other stuffing recipes.

This year we are using brown rice for our stuffing. This organic, whole-grain rice comes from Grevena in the northern part of Greece. It is high in fibre and nutrients and has a wonderful, nutty taste that pairs perfectly with the walnuts we are using in this recipe. So come by Borough Market, gather all your ingredients and let’s get cooking for Christmas!

Serves 6

3 leeks
6 tbsp olive oil
small bunch of celery leaves
3 tbsp grape molasses (plus more for serving)
300g brown rice
1 lt vegetable stock
50g Corinth raisins
50g walnuts (plus more for serving)
100g chestnuts
½ tsp cinnamon or other spices such as nutmeg, cardamom etc.
salt and pepper (to taste)

Finely slice the leeks.

In a large pot place the olive oil and the leeks and cook over medium heat until transluscnet but not caramelised. Add the grape molasses.

Finely chop the celery leaves and add them to your pot. Cook for a few more minutes, until the leaves are soft.

Add the rice, vegetable stock, raisins, walnuts and spices. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 30-40min, or until the rice is cooked. Add the chestnuts, adjust for seasonings and cook for 5 more minutes.

Transfer to a serving dish, scatter more walnuts and drizzle with grape molasses. Serve hot.


This week we’ve got a classic Greek winter recipe for you. Lahanorizo, literally meaning cabbage-rice, is perhaps one of the most comforting dishes in Greek cuisine. It is made with slowly cooked cabbage, carrots and rice, and served with plenty of olive oil and lemon. This mellow vegan stew is a classic in Greek households. It is only made in the winter, as soon as the first cabbages appear at the market.

For this recipe you need rice that’s high in starch, so we’ve used our Carolina rice. It is organic and comes from a small cooperative in the area of Grevena in the northern part of Greece.

This dish is perfect served hot, but also makes for an excellent lunch the following day, served at room temperature.

Serves 6 with leftovers
3 onions
6 tbsp olive oil (plus more, to serve)
1 cabbage, around 1.2kg
4 large carrots
200g Carolina rice
salt, to taste
a small bunch of parsley
lemon juice (to serve)

Finely chop the onions. Place the onions in a large pot with the olive oil and gently fry over medium heat, until translucent but not caramelised.

Shred the cabbage and grate the carrots. Add to your pot with one cup of water and cook until the cabbage is wilted, around 15 minutes. Add the rice and 3 cups of water, and season with salt. Cover the pot and cook until the rice is cooked through and the vegetables are soft, around 30 min.

Finely chop the parsley and add to your pot. Stir and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with plenty of lemon juice and more olive oil.


This recipe belongs to Frantzeska and Froso, two women from the island on Tinos and were featured in the Greek cooking magazine Gastronomos, in a wonderful issue dedicated to old recipes from all over Greece.

The ingredients for this cake are fascinating, as there were no eggs, butter or sugar. The recipe calls for olive oil (you know that us Greeks love baking with olive oil, remember Mrs Kalliopi’s Olive Oil Cake?), which as the two women say can be replaced with tahini. Instead of sugar or honey, grape molasses are used, even though you can also use any leftover syrup from the traditional spoon sweets, for example from this grape spoon sweet. But grape molasses is one of our favourite ingredients to use, and our product of the month for September, so we couldn’t but give it a try. The result truly surprised us. This wonderful cake, with flavours that remind us of Fanouropita, or Petimezopita filled the house with warm, autumn smells. Expect a moist cake with a remarkable depth of flavours.

Frantzeska and Froso add some sesame on top of the batter before baking the cake, but we decided to swap the sesame for our tahini, and created these lovely swirls.

Serves 6
50ml olive oil (plus more for your baking dish)
250ml grape molasses
45ml tsipouro
½ lemon zest and juice, divided
½ tsp baking soda
½ tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
200g all-purpose flour (plus more for your baking dish)
2 tbsp tahini
Cinnamon (to serve)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the olive oil, grape molasses, tsipouro and lemon zest.

In a mug add the lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) and the baking soda and carefully stir. It will foam, be prepared.

Add it to your bowl, along with the flour and spices, and whisk until just combined.

Grease your baking dish with olive oil and coat it with some flour, so that your cake doesn’t stick. Add the batter.

Add a few dollops of tahini all around the batter and using a wooden skewer or knife, swirl it through the batter.

Bake at 180C until the cake is cooked through, for 30-40min. You can test if your cake is done by inserting a knife at the centre. It should come our clean.

Serve with cinnamon!


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.

 


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.


Halva is a category of desserts which are very popular in the Balcans, parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. There are many variations, flavour combinations and textures. Today we are preparing halvas simigdalenios, literally translated as semolina halva. It is a dessert served all throughout Lent in Greece, and in many other occasions throughout the year.

It is also known as the 1-2-3-4 halva, as the key ingredients are measured by volume: 1 x olive oil, 2 x semolina, 3 x sugar, 4x water. In the classic recipe, the olive oil is mixed with the semolina, the sugar with the water and then the two come together. We’ve simplified the recipe, simply adding everything gradually in the same pot. We’ve also weighed the ingredients, so that it’s easier for those of us who do not like measuring things in cups.

The traditional recipe calls for the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and orange. We’ve also added almonds and raisins. You can add your preferred spices, use whichever nuts you prefer and other dried fruit instead of raisins.

Serves 6

100g olive oil
200g coarse semolina (you can also use fine, or a mixture of the two)
300g sugar (we used light brown sugar, but white sugar works as well)
400g water
1/3 tsp ground cloves
2/3 tsp ground cinnamon
zest from 1 orange
50g raw almonds (you can also use any other nuts you prefer)
50g Corinth raisins (you can also use any other dried fruit you prefer)

Roughly chop the almonds, so that they are the size of the raisins. Or however you prefer, it’s a personal choice, really.

In a bowl mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest. Set aside.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and over medium heat pour the olive oil and semolina. Stir until the semolina is golden-brown, around 10 minutes.

This step is crucial. So leave all distractions outside the kitchen. Take your time in “roasting” as we say in Greek the semolina, and your halva will have a nutty, intense, wholesome flavor. But this step needs lots of care, so stay with it for those minutes, stirring and contemplating the beauty of the heat, as it transforms the white-yellow grains into golden brown. Or the beauty of those moments of stillness.

Once the semolina is ready, add the sugar-spice mixture and stir for a minute. Add the almonds and raisins and stir for another minute, smelling as the aromas come together.

Remove from the heat and very, very slowly add the water. It will splatter, so be careful.

Lower the heat to its lowest setting. Return the pot to the heat and stir until the mixture thickens up, around 15-20 minutes.

Again, do not leave it alone, the halva doesn’t like that. Yes, this is a recipe that takes time and care. But you will be rewarded. Soon, you will have a delicious halva. But as you may have realised by now, these moments of stillness, as you stir the halva, smell the aromas and breathe -without any distractions- are perhaps even more precious than the halva itself.

You will know it’s ready when it’s quite thick and there is resistance as you stir.

Now there are two schools of thought here.

Some prefer the halva hot, so in that case you are done and you can serve immediately. Others however prefer the halva cold. It’s a big debate in Greece, you must know. So if you want to serve it cold, pour the halva in a greased cake tin (even better if it’s non-stick), and let it cool down a bit. Place in the fridge to let it cool completely. Remove from the tin and serve.

After you are done, take a walk around the house. Perhaps the most rewarding thing when you make halva is the smell that fills your home.

Let us know which of the two ways you prefer (hot/ cold, or maybe at room temperature!) and in any case, do serve with extra cinnamon!