Well, as most of you may know Greece has a long tradition of stuffing foods with other foods, wrapping foods in other foods and so forth. And this goes beyond Greece and over to various Mediterranean and other countries. A few years ago, a Turkish friend and I bonded over our mutual fascination for foods that you can stuff.

In Greece we have of course the all-famous gemista (stuffed vegetables with rice or meat) that are one example of this tradition. Another example is of course the all-famous dolmades.

So this week, as we open a jar of vine leaves, we set off to make our own version of this classic dish. Traditionally, vine leaves had to be briefly boiled before being used. But these ones require no such preparation. They are ready for you to fill! And we must admit, we love this!

The first few that you will roll are the hardest. Then somehow your fingers and hands learn their way around the vine leaves and before you know it you are rolling dolma after dolma, feeling relaxed and at peace.

Makes 65-70

2/3 jar (around 75) vine leaves
1 large white onion
1 small bunch of spring onions
6 tbsp olive oil, plus 5 tbsp more for cooking
300g Carolina rice
3 cups of water
1 large bunch of dill
1 large bunch of parsley
1 large bunch of mint
juice of half a lemon, plus more for cooking
salt

Finely chop the onion and spring onions.
In a medium-sized pot and over medium-low heat place the olive oil and onions and cook until soft and transluscent.
Add the rice and 3 cups of water. Season with salt and cook until the rice still has a bite, for around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Finely chop all your herbs. Mix well the herbs with the rice and the lemon juice. Adjust for seasoning. Let the rice cool down completely.

Remove the leaves from the jar and carefully rinse under cold water. Pat dry.

In a chopping board or clean surface, lay a vine leaf, veins down, bottom side down and the pointy sides facing away from you. Place a quite large teaspoon of the rice mixture in the middle. Carefully fold the vine leaf bottom edges forwards, then the two sides inwards. Then roll it away from you, like a cigar. Make sure to roll them as tightly as you can, otherwise they will fall apart during cooking -trust me, I have been there!

Place the dolmadakia tightly together, seam side down, in concentric circles in a pot and in one layer. If you have more and need to continue to a second layer, place some vine leaves between the two layers.

Pour over the dolmadakia around 5 cups of water, so that they are just covered with water. Drizzle 5 tbsp of olive oil and more lemon juice, around 4 tbsp. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let the dolmadakia cook until the rice and vine leaves are tender, for around 40 minutes.

Serve with more olive oil, lemon wedges and some Greek yogurt.


It was autumn a few years ago, when I first joined Oliveology. I was about to make one of my first recipes for this blog. Marianna had given me a few produce to experiment with. I looked at the tin with our apple oil. I was fascinated. Who would think of that, I wondered. Who would combine apples with olives? I loved it before even opening the tin. And when I finally tasted it, and poured it over this pumpkin soup, it was, and I am not exaggerating here, one of the most interesting things I’d ever tasted in my life.

It is perfect with sweet things, of course: drizzled over cake, and over your morning porridge -yes, try it!

So this week, we’ve used our favourite apple oil to make soft oven-baked sweet potatoes! We just love this autumn ingredient. Do you remember our vegan lentil soup with sweet potatoes? Or our sweet and sour winter vegetables? Delicious!

Serves 4 as a generous side

1kg sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple oil
5 spring onions
smoked salt
black pepper
50g roasted hazelnuts
balsamic creme with mandarin (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 200C.

Finely chop your spring onions. Scrub your potatoes under running water. You can peel them, but we’ve left them with their skin. Cut them in rounds, around 1cm thick. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside for serving.

Place the sweet potatoes and spring onions into a baking tray. Drizzle the apple oil. Season generously with the smoked salt and pepper and toss everything together. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for around 30-40min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Serve with the hazelnuts, drizzling some balsamic cream with mandarin.

 


As we go into autumn, we feel less and less nostalgic about summer and more excited about the months to come. All of us at Oliveology are impatiently waiting for the new season ingredients to arrive, and for our workshops and dinners to begin! This autumn we are going to learn how to make Cretan food, baklava, cooking with no-waste, and of course, our Christmas workshop will prepare us for the holidays.

For the first time we have some very unique dinner experiences! Amaryllis is cooking a delicious vegetarian menu with amazing autumn produce, Lida is preparing a festive meal with mostly surplus fresh produce from Borough Market and I will be sharing stories from my research at Athenian delis and fine-dining restaurants, while I prepare for you traditional and modern Greek foods.

As we all are now back into our post-summer schedules, what we need is lunches that we can make ahead and enjoy cold, at room temperature, as well as heated up. So this week we have a filling potato salad for you. Oh and check out this potato salad too!

For this recipe, we found some colourful beans at the market and will use these too! And what makes this dish more special is that we will cook everything together in our 3-star awarded 17 olive oil! This is a limited production oil made from unripe olives, crushed with fresh lemons, oranges and thyme. Yum!

Serves 4 for lunch

½ bunch spring onions
500g fresh beans (we used a combination of green and yellow beans)
700g potatoes, peeled
6 tbsp 17 olive oil, plus more to serve
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
salt, pepper
½ tub unripe lemon olives

Cut the potatoes in rounds, 1cm thick. Trim the edges of the beans and cut them in half.

Place the potatoes in a large pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the beans. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and beans are tender. Drain and set aside.

As your vegetables are boiling, finely chop your spring onions. In a large frying pan add 6 tbsp of 17 olive oil and over medium-low heat cook the onions until tender.

Once the vegetables are cooked, place in a large bowl. Mix in the spring onions and toss them around, seasoning with salt and pepper, lemon zest and juice. Add the olives.

Serve immediately or let the salad cool and enjoy at room temperature. It is perfect served with a few boiled eggs cut in half.


Have you tried our ospriada? It is a mixture of various beans, lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas and bulgur wheat. Produced in the organic farms of Nestoras in northern Greece, it is ideal to turn into a hearty soup. But we prefer to save soups for winter days.

This week we are using handfuls of this nutritious mixture of pulses to create a filling salad. You often ask what is the inspiration behind our recipes. Often, it is the desire to use everything that we have in our fridge and cook with no waste. It is a philosophy many of our chefs share and first and foremost, Lia. Lia is one of our favourite Greek chefs. She is passionate about quality and low impact food and is part of a collaborative food pop-up focussing on food waste reduction. You can meet and cook with her in our November Wasteless Greek Cooking Workshop.

So in this case, we had small bunches of herbs left from last week’s bulgur salad. We store our fresh herbs in small jars with water, like you would with flowers. That way they last longer. But their time had come. So we decided to whiz them with plenty of olive oil and voila, our salad was born! Some pistachios for added saltiness and crunch and there you have it.

This is a salad that takes a bit of time to make. But it’s perfect for the end of the summer, as you can slowly cook the beans, slowly shell the pistachios and generally it requires no rush. And as September is just around the corner, we can spend the last days of summer at a slower pace.

Serves 4 as a side

100g ospriada
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of dill
a small bunch of coriander
1 bag of roasted and slightly salted pistachios
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

The night before put the ospriada in cold water to soak. The morning after, drain and place in a pot with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook until all beans are tender, around 1-2 hours. Drain and set aside to cool.

Roughly chop all the herbs and place in a blender with the olive oil and vinegar. Blend everything together, until you get a smooth paste.

Gently mix together the beans and herb mixture.

Shell and crush the pistachios and toss into your salad.

Serve at room temperature.


Did you hear the wonderful news about our 17°C olive oil?
Yes, it has been awarded with three stars, the highest accolade in Great Taste 2019!

We are σο excited and proud.

And of course, this week we couldn’t but create a recipe using our awarded olive oil. Cold extracted with fresh lemons, oranges and thyme, it has always been one of our go-to summer staples, perfect with grilled white fish, or drizzled over fresh vegetables. The salad we’ve created for you today uses a classic summer vegetable combination, but adding our 17 olive oil transforms these familiar flavours.

What is it, you may wonder? Tomatoes and corn, of course! We absolutely love cooking with fresh corn on the cob during the summer. Remember our zucchini, corn and feta salad made with our lemongrass and tarragon olive oil from last summer?

So go on, give it a try, cooking with fresh produce when in season is the most wonderful thing to do! And if you make any of our recipes do take a pic or two. We have an exciting competition coming up, more info soon to follow!

Serves 6
900g grape tomatoes
2 pieces of corn on the cob
1 large red onion

4 tbsp 17°C olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
a few pinches of dried thyme
salt

fresh herbs such as parsley (to serve)
lemon and orange wedges (to serve)

Following the same instructions as last year, place the corn in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the kernels are tender, around 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, remove the kernels. To do so, place your corn vertically against your chopping board. Running the knife parallel to the corn, remove all kernels. They should fall on your board. Collect and place in a large bowl.

Cut your tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place in the bowl. Finely slice the onion. Toss everything together. Season with thyme and salt. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and mix well.

Serve with lemon and orange wedges and fresh herbs.

 

 


What’s your favourite Greek food? Many of you told us how you love our more traditional Greek recipes. Remember Katerina’s arakas from a few weeks ago? So this week we’ve got another classic for you. Fasolakia. This is a dish we usually make in late spring-early summer in Greece.

Fasolakia is the name for green beans in Greece. Strolling around the farmers’ markets one sees many types of green beans at this time of the year. And as tomatoes are at their best, we couldn’t but share with you a recipe that combines both.

As with most traditional Greek recipes, you only need a few ingredients and lots of care. Take your time when preparing Fasolakia, and let them slowly cook, so that they become mellow and tender. This recipe is also my mother’s.

This dish needs, of course, a mature feta cheese and some warm crusty bread. If you eat it al fresco then it’s even better. So come into my family’s kitchen and cook with us this wonderful dish.

Serves 4

650g green beans
2 small red onions
240g grated tomatoes or tomato passata
1 tsp tomato puree, stirred into 1 cup of hot water
4 tbsp olive oil plus more for serving
Salt, pepper

Finely grate or chop your onions. Place your beans, onions and olive oil in a large pot, along with 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, covered, until your beans are soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste in the water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for another 30-45’, until the beans are very tender, the water has evaporated and you are left with a loose tomato sauce.

Serve with more olive oil, feta cheese and crusty bread.


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.


Next week is the final week of Lent for us Greeks. As we are all looking forward to the Greek Easter next week, this week, traditionally, we prepare simple recipes that do not contain any animal produce.

But simple doesn’t mean not tasty. And it also doesn’t mean that these recipes can’t be enjoyed throughout the year. Indeed, in the Greek food culture, many of these recipes have become part of the daily diets of people. To learn more about the way us Greeks approach Vegan foods, join our upcoming Cooking Workshop! Our talented Lida is going to be talking about all these foods and has prepared a delicious menu for us. So come along, we have very few spaces left!

This week we’ve prepared something that you can enjoy as a dip or starter -a wonderful addition to your Easter table! But, between you and me, this also makes for a wonderful light dinner, with the addition of some crusty bread. It is spring after all, a cold dinner is sometimes appropriate.

Serves 6 as a starter

150g small white beans
5 sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 25g)
100g roasted red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli vinegar
chilli flakes, lemon wedges, chilli vinegar, olive oil (to serve)

The night before, soak your beans in plenty of water. The morning after, boil them until tender. Set aside and let cool, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a food processor, place the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, olive oil, lemon zest and chilli vinegar. Blend until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer, add some of the cooking liquid, to make the paste smoother.

Serve with chilli flakes, lemon wedges, and more vinegar and olive oil. And of course, pita bread or crusty bread!

Happy Easter everyone!


Last week we were very happy to have the wonderful Margot, from Margot’s Kitchen hosting one of our workshops. During two fully booked classes, Margot talked about the Mediterranean diet, healthy eating and offered clever tips on how to incorporate more wholesome ingredients into our daily diets.

The workshop, as with all of our workshops was vegetarian and included delicious recipes such as a Butternut Squash Kibbeh with Chickpeas & Caramelised Onions and a gluten-free Banana and Pistachio Teff Cake.

So, this week, we have one of Margot’s recipes for you, made especially with our favourite Oliveology ingredients. This Roasted Antipasti recipe is very easy to make, and will definitely impress your guests!

We’ve got more cooking classes coming up this spring and summer, so watch this space or email us to make a booking!

 

Margot’s Roasted Antipasti with Mixed Olives

Ingredients

350g mixed olives (black and green)
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 jar roasted red peppers
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
a pinch of flaked red pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan).
2. In a medium-sized tray, place the mixed olives along with the roasted peppers and artichokes.
3. Add the sliced lemon and fresh herbs.
4. Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


This is a very easy and quick recipe, made with ingredients you have in your cupboard. It is perfect for when you don’t have much time, but makes for a very exciting meal!

For this recipe we’ve used a combination of our capers, kalamata olives with lemon and herbs and sun-dried tomatoes, but you can adjust it of course, using whatever you have available.

When it comes to pasta, we’ve selected our trichromo organic penne. Trichromo means having three colours, which is exactly what this pasta is. It comes from a small producer in Grevena, in the northern part of Greece. It is made with organic durum wheat semolina. The red pepper from Florina region in northern Greece gives this penne its red colour and peppery taste. Organic spinach turns it green and vibrant. Similar to fresh pasta, penne trichromo cooks in a few minutes! We told you it is a quick and easy recipe!

 

Serves four
200g penne trichromo
2tbsp olive oil plus more to serve
30g capers
75g kalamata olives with lemon and herbs
30g sun-dried tomatoes
a small bunch of fresh parsley

Boil the pasta for 5-8 min, or until al dente. Drain and place it in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and stir. Add the capers, olives and sun dried tomatoes, fresh parsley and toss until well mixed.

Serve hot or at room temperature, drizzling some more olive oil.