Inspiration for cooking may came when you least expect it. And in the most mysterious ways. You can eat something and get inspired. Watch a film and have your mind going back to that food that couple had at that scene. Memories often come into play, nostalgia about past meals. Books and magazines, obviously. A weekly walk around the market. And then, there are leftover ingredients. What do you do with some cooked chickpeas that are left? How can you use a bit of flavoured walnut oil that was left in your cupboard after the holidays?

When it comes to cooking inspiration, this game is the one I enjoy the most. So this week’s inspiration for our recipe is exactly that: leftover ingredients. Remember our Christmas brussels sprouts recipe? How about our spiced chickpeas? From testing these recipes, I’ve had some boiled chickpeas left, which I froze. And a bit of walnut oil in the cupboard. In the spirit of no waste, and because it’s good to start the new year with cupboards and freezer nicely sorted, here’s our take on leftover ingredients!

The flavour combinations may be similar to our Brussels sprouts dish, but the nuttiness of the cauliflower and the crispy chickpeas will surprise you in this pairing!

Serves 2

1 small cauliflower
200g cooked chickpeas
6 tbsp walnut oil 
3 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven at 180C. Place your cauliflower in the middle of a baking tray. Keep the leaves and small stalks, we will cook these too in a bit! Rub 2 tablespoons of walnut oil all around it. Sprinkle half of the oregano and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the oven and roast for 15-20min. Remove from the oven and scatter around it the cauliflower leaves, garlic and chickpeas. Drizzle the rest of the walnut oil, oregano, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of walnut oil to your cauliflower. Return in the oven and bake for another 15-20min, until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is cooked but firm.

If you prefer a more raw-in-the-middle cauliflower, then you can put all ingredients together in a baking tray, in the oven at 180C for 20min.
Enjoy!


Happy New Year Everyone! All of us here at Oliveology hope that you had a wonderful time, and a good start to the New Year. Not to be cliché, but can you believe it’s 2018?

After all the days of eating and celebrating, we thought we’d prepare something comforting and luscious for you. Post-holiday food needs a feel of luxury. You know, so that you transition to the New Year with style.

What’s one of the most comforting foods? Soup of course! And what is one of the most luscious foods? Truffle oil of course! At the market we found this beautiful celeriac. Put everything together and you’ve got yourself a creamy, comforting celeriac soup that drizzled with truffle oil becomes the ideal way to start the New Year!

But of course, celeriac alone won’t do it. We have added potatoes for their creaminess and green apples for their tanginess. Oh and instead of water or vegetable stock we used milk! And finally, a little secret: One of our readers suggested we tried blending roasted nuts into the soup. Well, roasted hazelnuts were added to this one and the result was a dreamy soup, with underlying nuttiness that you couldn’t really describe, but felt throughout. The only thing we have to say is that we are really looking forward to many more of your suggestions!

This soup is blended, so even though ideally you want same size pieces of vegetables, this recipe is quite forgiving when it comes to chopping.

For a large pot you will need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek
2 celery sticks
1 green apple
1 large potato
1 large celeriac (approx. 1 kg)
1 tsp dried thyme
1lt milk
35g roasted hazelnuts
salt and white pepper
truffle oil (to serve)

Finely chop your leek and celery. Cut the green apple and potato in small cubes. We didn’t peel them for some extra fibre and taste. Peel and roughly chop your celeriac.

In a large pot and over medium-low heat, warm up your oil and gently fry the leek and celery until soft and caramelised. Add the apple and potato and stir until covered in oil. Add the celeriac, thyme, and milk. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts. Season with salt and white pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let your soup cool down. Blend, adding a bit of water or milk if needed.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

 

 


This week’s recipe is a bit stranger than the others. Not the recipe itself, the way we ended up creating it.

As you know, we love discovering interesting ingredients. And surely, there are many ways to prepare a beautiful cauliflower like the one we found at the market this week. But, I thought, there is no better way to enjoy it than in its purest form. Raw. Of course, you need something warm, spicy and comforting to balance the cold, crunchy nuttiness of the cauliflower. What else than a hot, spiced chickpea stew?

This stew takes a while to boil. This is because unlike many recipes we didn’t boil the chickpeas first. Why? Well, because we wanted them to absorb all the goodness from the spices, vegetables and tomatoes, so as to become little balls, bursting with flavour. However, you can of course boil them first (add a bit of baking soda to speed up the process). In the end, you will have a chickpea stew that will taste like Christmas in the Middle East!

Serves six hungry guests.

You will need:
1 beautiful cauliflower
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp grated cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
150ml olive oil
250g chickpeas
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
50g raisins
1 bottle tomato passata (680g)
salt, black pepper
fresh coriander leaves and lemon wedges (to serve)

 

The night before soak your chickpeas.

The morning after, finely chop your onion, celery and carrot. We went for pieces the size of the chickpeas, but you can really roughly chop your vegetables if you prefer.

Pour your olive oil in a large pot and over medium low heat warm up all your spices. Yes, the bay leaves too. Once they have released their aromas, add the chopped vegetables and stir until coated in oil. When they become softer and translucent, add your chickpeas, raisins, tomato and 1lt of water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir everything very well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let them simmer for a couple of hours, or until chickpeas are cooked. Check occasionally and add water if needed.

To serve, cut your beautiful cauliflower into florets. In a bowl serve your hot chickpea stew. Place the cauliflower on top. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon juice. How about that for satisfying your senses?


Eating vegetables can be quite tricky for some. You see, many of us grew up eating boiled vegetables. Or deep-fried. Boiled vegetables can be quite bland. Deep fried vegetables can often be very heavy. So what does one do?

When you decide to incorporate more vegetables in your diet, your mind often goes to boring food. And at wintertime one needs bold, interesting flavours to balance the gloomy weather outside. How do you go from a hearty beef stew to a meatless Monday?

When it comes to vegetables, there are two things you need really. A different way to cook them. Something interesting to dress them up with.

So grab some nice root vegetables. Or squash. Or broccoli. Whatever’s in season. Whatever you like. We chose cauliflower this week.

Cut the vegetables and place them neatly on a baking tray. Make sure to spread them in one layer and leave space between them. You don’t want to end up with boiled vegetables. Not today anyway.

Season with salt, pepper and drizzle some olive oil. Add spices or herbs. For the cauliflower we used some dried thyme. Roast the vegetables at 200C, turning them once if needed. When they are tender when pierced with a knife and have a lovely golden brown colour they are ready. You’re half way there.

Now for the second step. This week we are making a yogurt-tahini dressing. It goes perfectly with roasted cauliflower (or any other vegetables of your choosing).

For a medium-sized bowl you will need:

Yogurt, 250g
Tahini, 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
Lemon zest, from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Finely chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, mint…), 2 tablespoons or more to taste

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and zest. Stir until everything is blend together smoothly. If you want a more liquid sauce, loosen the mixture with as much water as you like. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving, add the freshly cut herbs. You can use chives, parley, mint, whatever you prefer. Whatever you have in your fridge really.

Serve while the vegetables are hot and the sauce is cold. I think now you are ready for that meatless Monday, right?

 


You know, it has been a while since we made something sweet for our blog. And as October has just come to an end, we couldn’t think of a better moment. Weather is getting colder and colder. What makes up for cold weather? Comforting, vibrant, sweet smells.

So how do we go from grey cold weather to a warm house that smells (dare we say) like Christmas?

Walking around the market, we got some lovely local pears. Yes, there are so many varieties to choose from-but wherever you are, go for the variety that’s closer to home. Today we will poach them. But if you’ve been with us for long, you should know by now how we love using grape molasses instead of sugar. Remember our petimezopita cake? Or the vegan mastiha and petimezi cookies? In this specific recipe, grape molasses offer a deeper, more intense flavour. Try it and you’ll know what we mean.

And of course, you need plenty of aromatic, warm spices. Below is our favourite combination, but as always, you can substitute whatever you don’t like. Just keep the pink peppercorns, they add something really unique to your poached pears.

For 5 pears you will need:

5 firm but ripe pears
1lt water
250g grape molasses
½ nutmeg grated
1 cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
15 cloves
20 pink peppercorns

Peel the pears, keeping their stalks intact. As you are peeling them, keep them submerged in cold water.

Place the water, grape molasses and all the spices in a small pot. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down the heat. Once the aromatic liquid has warmed up, and the grape molasses have melted, slowly place your pears in the pot. They need to be completely covered by the liquid, so place a small heatproof plate on top of them to keep them in under-water-love. Simmer at low heat for 30-40min, or until pears are soft and the house smells like Christmas.

Remove the pears from the aromatic liquid. You can serve them with the flavoured water, or if you prefer, turn up the heat to reduce it into a syrup. You can also keep it separately and add to your tea or coffee! These pears pair perfectly with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!


This week we are into shapes. What do we mean? Well, let me step back a bit. Autumn is in full swing and here at Oliveology we feel it’s time for soups! As always, we walked around the market and selected delicious seasonal vegetables. Yes, butternut squash of course, it is mid autumn after all! Soups, like all foods, should follow the seasons. If it’s summer, make a roasted tomato soup. If it’s winter, go for a vegan lentil soup. If it’s spring, then sugar snap peas and green beans are your ingredients of choice.

For our soup this week, we used tons of fresh, nutritious vegetables and small white beans. This soup feels very healthy, with its white beans, root vegetables, spinach. And for all our non-vegetarian readers, throw in a beef bone for extra flavour and nutrients.

But you know, soups sometimes can be dull. Let me explain myself. Imagine a perfectly pureed soup. Or a soup where all vegetables are cut in identical, symmetrical cubes. Yes, symmetry is often linked to beauty, but how about we spice it up a bit? Not the soup itself, its appearance. How? By cutting our vegetables in various lovely shapes.

Finally, when it comes to the To Blend or Not To Blend question, this one here goes against last year’s smooth pumpkin soup. Up to you to decide which one is your favourite autumn soup!

So, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea and join me as we prepare this year’s butternut squash soup!

For 6 hungry guests you will need:

6 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots
1 small leek
600g butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
2.5 lt of water
200g small white beans
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of spinach
salt, black pepper

For the prep:
The night before, soak your beans in cold water. The morning after, drain.

For the chopping:
Peel the carrots and cut in rounds. Cut your leek in rounds as well.
Peel your butternut squash. Scrape out the seeds (you can save them and toast them separately if you want). Cut thick slices of the butternut squash and then each slice in triangles, following the edges that you created when peeling it.
Finely chop your garlic and onion.
Cut the celery in small cubes.
Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves (but keep separately).

For the soup:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, pour the olive oil. Once heated, add the onions, leek and garlic and stir until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, squash and parsley stalks. Stir until your vegetables begin to caramelise. Add the water and beans and season with salt and black pepper. Bring your soup to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours or until beans are soft. A few minutes before serving, add your parsley leaves and spinach.

Serve as is, or with some grated graviera cheese and fresh chilli or pistachio pesto.


Have you noticed how colourful everything seems to be in October? Have a look at people’s outfits around you. Come to the market and see how fruits and vegetables turn autumn into a feast of colours. Maybe we are all competing with the seductive colours of the leaves, as they change to various shades of yellow, brown and purple. Go for a walk around the park, look around you for a few minutes and notice the green grass and the myriads of colours of the leaves. Yes, autumn is indeed full of enchanting colours.

And of course, it’s the time of the year for one of our favourite vegetables: butternut squash. With its bright orange colour and warm, comforting taste, it is the ideal ingredient for an autumn dinner.

Last year we made a comforting pumpkin soup. This year we are feeling a bit more adventurous. Both with flavours and colours for that matter. Think of bright orange butternut squash, red chillies, white feta cheese, dark golden chestnut honey and bright green sage. Can you think of anything better? I think the colours of this tart can proudly compete with the autumn leaves, wouldn’t you say?

This recipe is adapted from epicurious and serves 5:

1 sheet of puff pastry (approx. 20x25cm)
400g butternut squash
a few sage leaves
1 medium red chilli
2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp for frying the sage leaves
30g-50g feta cheese
1 tbsp chestnut honey
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay your puff pastry on top.

Using a sharp knife cut off a few centimetres from the bottom and from the stem end of the squash. Then make one long cut, down the middle from the top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds (you can save them and toast them separately if you want). Slice the butternut squash vertically as fine as you can, so that you have beautiful thin half moons.

Arrange the squash on your puff pastry, gently pressing it down. Overlap the slices, as they will shrink a bit while cooking. Leave a centimetre border. Brush both pastry border and squash slices with the 2tbsp of olive oil. Finely chop half of the chilli and scatter on top of the squash. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 30min or until puff pastry is golden and squash is soft and tender.

While your tart is in the oven, slice the rest of your chilli in fine rounds. Using a peeler, create shavings of feta cheese (or crumble it if you can’t be bothered).

In a frying pan heat the remaining 2tbsp of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp, but still bright green. Transfer to a paper towel.

When your tart is ready, remove from the oven. Scatter the remaining chilli, feta cheese and fried sage leaves. Drizzle with chestnut honey. See the colours everywhere?

 


Autumn is the time of the year when I get most..snacky. It could be the cold, slowly preparing us for winter, the gloomy weather, or the fact that most of us are getting busier and busier at this time of the year. But even when I’ve had a good breakfast or lunch, I always feel hungry in between. Hungry is not the right word probably. Most of the time I feel like I need to snack on something. And most of the time I’m craving something sweet.

But you know, usually sweet things make your cravings even bigger. And then you find yourself snacking throughout the entire afternoon. So I am always in search of interesting things to have with my tea or coffee. Like our mastic cookies, the oat bars with chocolate and tahini, or even some plain raisins.

This week, inspired by our home-made hazelnut butter, we are making intense, flavourful energy balls! What are we using? Oats, honey, hazelnut butter, and lovely dried cherries from our Borough Market shop!

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.

Makes 18-20 small energy balls

50g wild flowers honey
1 generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1 generous pinch of salt
80g creamy hazelnut butter
50g oats
60g coarsely chopped dried cherries

In a large bowl mix honey, hazelnut butter, nutmeg and salt. Add the oats and dried cherries and mix everything together, using a wooden spoon or your fingers.

Taking a teaspoon of the mixture, form small balls. Store in an airtight container and consume throughout the afternoon. Or you know, whenever you get snacky.


The naming of all nut butters is quite clever if you think about it. Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter. You read these words and immediately your mouth is filled with the creamy taste of roasted nuts. You can almost feel it melting in your mouth, the smell of nuts filling the room.

There are all sorts of nut butters out there. But you know, not all of them are good for you. Read the labels before you buy anything. It’s a nut butter, the only ingredient it should contain is nuts. Maybe a pinch of salt. But nothing else. So next time you go shopping, try to source the nut butter that only has nuts inside.

Or, if you are a bit like us, you can make your own. Seriously, this recipe is very, very simple. Why not give it a try? As with all recipes that consist of few ingredients, you need to get the best quality nuts. We’ve got some lovely hazelnuts at Borough Market, straight from Greece. For a very smooth hazelnut butter, we will remove the skins from the nuts. But between you and I, if you can’t be bothered, just leave them on. This recipe includes roasting them. But again, you can get roasted ones. But as I replied to a friend when she asked why do I bother roasting my nuts for this recipe: can you smell the kitchen? This is why. So go on, give it a try!

For 1 jar you will need

500g raw hazelnuts
a pinch of salt

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place your hazelnuts on a tray, all in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 min, checking regularly. You need your hazelnuts to have a golden-brown colour. But be careful not to over-roast them, otherwise they will become bitter.

Lay a clean tea towel on your table. Once the hazelnuts are roasted and still very hot, remove them from the tray and place them on your towel. Carefully wrap the towel around the nuts, holding it by its ends with your one hand. With your other hand roll the towel around, so that the hazelnuts grind against each other. After a few minutes, most of the skins will have fallen off, leaving you with lovely golden hazelnuts. If skins still remain you can transfer all your nuts to a clean tea towel and repeat for a few minutes.

Once your hazelnuts are skinless, pulse in a food processor. In the beginning you will have the texture of breadcrumbs for what seems like an eternity. Be patient, it takes only 4-5 minutes of pulsing. And then, magically, you get a smooth, creamy butter! Add a pinch of salt and blend for one last time. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar.


As you know we love salads that ain’t exactly salads. By that we mean that they go beyond leafy greens and dressing. Ingredients such as bulgur (and dried prunes!), dakos, favaki or lentils form the basis for colourful, filling dishes. These non-salads are great for a light dinner, and perfect for lunch. If you have leftovers, some of our readers also have them for breakfast, with the addition of a couple of fried eggs. Try it, it actually works!

This week, with fall in its full swing, we will be using black-eyed peas. These are very popular in the southern United States, cooked with pork for added flavour. In Greece things are, as you may have guessed, simpler. Greeks enjoy these legumes boiled and served simply with olive oil, lemon and a bit of salt. You see, Greek cuisine is all about simplicity in flavours.

And so are we at Oliveology. However, we will of course add a few more ingredients. Vegetables and herbs. And of course, keep the olive oil and lemon. The secret for this recipe is to boil the black-eyed peas in salted water. So that when you drain them, your main ingredient will be very flavourful on its own. Most of us usually season our dishes in the end. But this trick here makes all the difference.

For this salad, we recommend using parsley. However, you can use whatever herb you prefer. Dill would work great, and so would mint.

Serves 2 for main or 4 as a side
200g black-eyed peas
1tbsp coarse salt
1 bay leaf
½ cucumber
15 cherry tomatoes
zest of one lemon
1 small bunch of parsley
Plenty of olive oil (to serve)
Lemon juice (to serve)

In a medium-sized pot place the black-eyed peas, salt and bay leaf. Boil until tender. Strain and let cool.

Slice your cherry tomatoes in half. Dice your cucumber. Finely chop your parsley. Zest the lemon.

In a large bowl mix the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon zest. You can serve your salad at room temperature or cold. Before serving, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and lemon juice.