It’s all about tomatoes these days! The market is full of aromatic tomatoes, of various varieties, colours and sizes. In our June newsletter we had a selection of summer recipes with tomatoes for you.

Now. Are you ready for the simplest, yet most fascinating summer recipe ever? This week’s recipe was a spontaneous creation. Which, as most spontaneous creations go, ended up being spectacular.

The inspiration for this recipe was simply a half-full jar of sun-dried tomatoes.We often use sun-dried tomatoes in our recipes, and always keep a jar in the fridge. Our sun-dried tomatoes are organic, and come from a small Greek cooperative in Northern Greece. They are naturally dried in the sun, placed in large wooden trays with sea salt. They are then preserved in a delicious extra virgin olive oil with oregano, pepper, vinegar and bay leaves, which we will use in this recipe!

This is a recipe made with juicy summer tomatoes, but if you want to prepare this tomato sauce in the winter, you can use our tomato passata instead, which is made with fresh tomatoes picked now in the summer!

Makes 1 large jar

½ jar (100g) sun-dried tomatoes and their oil
2 tomatoes, or 400g tomato passata
½ teaspoon dried oregano
salt (to taste)

Cut the tomatoes in large pieces and place in a blender. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, oregano and salt. Whizz everything together until smooth. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

This makes for a delicious dip, which you can enjoy as is, with some crusty bread. You can also use it as a sauce, in your home-made pizzas, on top of Dakos rusks or bruschettas, add it in your gemista stuffing, and of course enjoy hot or cold with any pasta!

 


This week we’ve got a trick and a recipe for you. The trick is something we have been doing for years, and it came out to be quite handy during those challenging days. We read recently that it is indeed a very popular Greek trick.

Nowadays it is often difficult to maintain our regular shopping habits and visits to the market. One of the things we miss the most is fresh herbs. Enter the trick. What you need to do is get large bunches of herbs, wash and finely chop them (I like to keep the stems separately for stocks). Then, place them in small bags in the freezer – make sure to label them, trust me! These herbs are perfect to use in your cooking, in soups, stews and so forth. Simply add straight from the freezer. It is, of course, not the same things as having fresh herbs around, but it is the next best thing. And if you want to take it to the next level, you can do so with spring onions and leeks, too.

That said, this week we have a recipe using this trick!

So what are we making? We took the well-known falafel recipe technique of blending together raw chickpeas with herbs and spices, and gave it a Greek flavour-twist! So we’ve used a selection of our favourite fresh and dried herbs and, of course, lemon. This flavour combination really reminds us of Greece, ahhh. And because the frozen herbs have a different level of moisture inside, we ended up with very fluffy little balls. Bliss!

Makes around 14 small balls

100g chickpeas
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
1 tsp dried spearmint
1tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt (to taste)
olive oil or other oil for frying
yoghurt and chilli oil (to serve)*

The night before soak your chickpeas. The morning after rinse with fresh water and drain. The chickpeas will have absorbed plenty of water and you should be able to easily cut one in half -but always be careful!

In a food processor add the raw chickpeas, fresh and dried herbs, spring onions, lemon juice and salt. Whizz together, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if needed. There’s no need if you are using herbs straight from the freezer. The texture we are going for is finer that the classic falafel texture. We are aiming for pieces smaller than bulgur wheat. But you do not want to end up with a paste, so blend pausing regularly and checking.

You can then go on and fry the mixture or keep in the fridge until you are ready to do so.

To fry: In a small pot, place plenty of oil. As the oil is heating up, roll small balls the size of a tablespoon. Be careful as the mixture is quite delicate.

When your oil is hot, add a few balls at a time, frying until golden-brown on the outside, around 4 min. Rest in a towel to absorb any excess oil and serve with plenty of yogurt, and chilli oil.

Enjoy!

*You can find delicious Greek yoghurt and chilli oil at our Borough Market shop


Last week we celebrated Greek Easter. Celebrations this year were very different, with large family gatherings being replaced by phone and video calls, baskets filled with food gifts and love shared from a distance. It was a strange Easter, no doubt.

With our families often far away, we spent a lot of time preparing old family recipes. You see, food always makes us feel closer to home. In my family, we made the traditional mageiritsa soup, a soup made with offal and lots of spring greens. Marianna made her mothers’ traditional recipe of flaounes. Flaounes is a cheese-filled pastry from the island of Cyprus, that is traditionally prepared for Easter. Marianna’s family usually makes flaounes on the Thursday before Easter, and eats them on Easter Sunday – and the entire week after!

Marianna’s mother, Mrs Kalliopi does all sorts of amazing dough-based recipes. Remember her olive oil apple cake? And her kourou dough?

So this year, she sent us from Athens her hand-written recipe of flaounes, which we couldn’t but share with you this week! I always find it exciting to get hand-written old family recipes, don’t you?

This recipe makes more flaounes than you can eat (around 12). This is because making them is a communal process, where neighbours come together and all cook together. Now, at times of quarantine, make the whole recipe and share the flaounes with your neighbours!

Dough
1kg all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp mahlepi, ground (we got ours from Spice Mountain)
½ tbsp mastiha, ground to dust with ½ tbsp sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Filling
700g graviera cheese, grated
2 pieces of halloumi, grated
10 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup Corinth raisins
3 tbsp dried spearmint

1 egg and sesame (for baking)

In a large bowl, sieve together your dry ingredients: flour, baking poder, salt, mahlepi, mastiha.
Add the butter and using your fingers, mix everything together, until you have a texture that resembles small breadcrumbs.
Whisk the milk and eggs together and add to your mixture.
Kneed until you have a dough that is not sticky.

Let it rest for an hour, in a warm place.

Preheat the oven at 170C.

While your dough is resting, make the filling: grate the cheeses all together. Whisk the eggs, adding the baking powder and spearmint. Mix together the cheeses, egg mixture and raisins. You should have a filling that is slightly dense in texture.

On a clean surface, dust some flour and using a rolling pin, roll out your dough. Cut large rounds of dough, using a small plate as a guide.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of filling in each round, and fold the ends inwards, so that you have a neat parcel – but not all the way, you should be able to see some of the filling in the centre. Pinch the ends with a fork, to ensure the dough will hold its shape during baking..

Place the flaounes in a buttered baking tray. Whisk the egg and brush generously over each flaouna. Sprinkle with sesame.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.


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.

 


For some reason that we cannot comprehend fully, we very much enjoy cooking chickpeas in the spring. We do feel that chickpeas are for most a winter dish, maybe a summer one if you turn them into a cold salad. But, to reiterate, for some reason that we cannot comprehend fully, we very much enjoy cooking chickpeas in the spring.

This week, as most of us are at home with what we assume is fully-stocked pantries, we thought it was time we made some chickpeas. Maybe to remember that it is spring outside, even if it often doesn’t feel like it.

Our chickpeas come from small farms in northern Greece and have this beautiful softness and intense flavour that is rare to find. They also behave well in cooking. So they have become one of our favourite cupboard staples.

We like experimenting with sweet flavours (have you made these ones with honey?) and spices. This week we are not making a stew. We are roasting them in the oven, using only things you have in your cupboard: fragrant spices and dried herbs! Of course, feel free to omit or replace any herbs or spices you don’t have. Now that time seems to move differently, you can leisurely soak them the night before, boil them the morning after and pop them in the oven just in time for dinner.

Serves two

150g chickpeas
1tsp baking soda
6 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried garlic
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
Greek yogurt (to serve)

The night before soak your chickpeas. The morning after, rinse them and place them in a pot with fresh water. Add the baking soda and cook until tender but not broken down, around 45 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Preheat the oven at 200C.

In a big bowl, toss together the chickpeas with the olive oil and all the herbs, spices and salt.

Scatter them in one layer in a baking sheet that’s covered in greaseproof paper and place in the oven. In around 15 minutes, the cheickpeas will be tender and slightly crispy. You can remove them then. Or, leave them in the oven for another 5 minutes, until they become very crispy.

Serve with Greek yogurt, drizzling more olive oil and crunchy raw vegetables-we used fresh red peppers!


This week we’ve got the ultimate Greek summer dish for you! Kolokuthokeftedes. Or, as this dish is also known zucchini fritters. This is one of the quintessential Greek summer dishes, that one finds in every taverna by the sea. They pair perfectly with a crisp dry white wine and are one of our favourite things to order when eating al fresco, by the beach, under the shade of trees and with cicadas all around us.

So this week, we decided to bring you some Greek sunshine to our urban table and make it ourselves. Marianna and I spent quite some time discussing different variations of this recipe and going through cookery books. You see, as you may know about Greek food, there are endless variations for each recipe.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for Oliveology’s Kolokuthokeftedes! And, to make things a bit more interesting, we have served this dish with our lemongrass and tarragon olive oil. Trust us, it works! And of course, with plenty of tzatziki!

Serves 6
1kg zucchini
1 large bunch of parsley
1 small bunch of spring onions (approx. 5)
100g feta cheese
100g graviera cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 eggs
150g all-purpose flour
salt, pepper
olive oil (for frying)
lemongrass and tarragon olive oil (to serve)

Grate your zucchini and place in a clean tea towel. Squeeze it, so that all liquid is released and you are left with a dense ball of grated zucchini. Place in a large bowl.

Finely chop the parsley and spring onions and place in your bowl.

Grate the feta cheese and graviera cheese and mix into your bowl with the vegetables.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs with the dried herbs, oregano and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir very well, until everything is combined.

Add the flour, one tablespoon at the time, stirring well. You should be left with a moist mixture that can be shaped as a ball without falling apart.

In a frying pan place plenty of olive oil, so that the entire bottom of the pan if covered.
Using your hands or two spoons, form small, flattened patties and place in the frying pan, a few at a time. Fry until golden brown, flipping them half-way through, about 4 minutes in total.

Serve with lemongrass and tarragon olive oil and tzatziki.


This week, our oregano oil producer Michalis Georgaras is writing about his new product, the amazing organic, extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil, awarded by the Health & Nutrition Committee of the World Olive Center for health with the Bronze standard of Excellence Award. We are very excited to read his story!

Sharing food is a ritual in Greece. It is a sacred time when family and friends gather around the table, share large platters of food, talk, fight and joke around. Indeed, food brings people together here in Greece. But we don’t just share food. Around the table we share feelings and ideas, our joys and sorrows. The most important social events, the warmest family gatherings, all of these happen over hearty meals. Food is the social glue that brings people together…and this is exactly how our new product came into being. We were inspired by this togetherness of people -and oils as a matter of fact.

The initial idea originated three years ago. We wanted to make a fine culinary product, an olive oil flavoured with the unique aroma of our oregano. Something that would be both tasty and with health benefits. It took us two years of intensive research to create what I consider to be the finest culinary oil I could possibly put together.

And it was food once again that brought people together. My wife Anastasia and myself started meeting olive oil producers from all over Greece and trying their best varieties of olive oil. After tasting over thirty different types of olive oil, some of the best our country has to offer, we found just what we were looking for:

Continue reading →


This week we are cooking asparagus again! You see, the beauty of waiting all year long for a vegetable or fruit is that you can then enjoy it to the fullest. This week we have decided to make something simple. As we are busy preparing for our upcoming cooking workshop in mid-May, and many new exciting things for this autumn, we often find ourselves very tired at the end of the day.

On days when the idea of cooking something elaborate for dinner seems absurd and you come home late from work (or worse, you have more work to do like we often do), this simple recipe will make you happier. Making it only takes a few minutes, enough to relax you from the day’s stress.

For this one we’ve used St Isidoros cheese, a smooth and intense goat’s milk cheese, made on the island of Naxos and matured for 400 days. Come by Borough Market to taste it!

So here we go, ingredients and recipe for two people:

4 eggs
½ bunch asparagus
a couple of pinches of dried thyme
1 small leek
3 tbsp olive oil
100g St Isidoros cheese, grated
salt, pepper

Turn on your oven to grill.
Finely slice the leek. Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and cut each in half.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for two minutes.
In an oven proof skillet gently fry the leeks with the olive oil until softened.
Set aside and sprinkle half of the cheese.
Mix the eggs, salt, pepper and the rest of the cheese in a bowl, whisking with a fork.
Pour the egg mixture on top of the leeks and scatter the asparagus.
Place it under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

We hope that by now you have relaxed. Set the table and serve with a simple green salad.


Well, after a weekend of snow here in London, we might have been a bit hasty celebrating spring last time. But the sun is shining again, so let’s just wait a bit and see, maybe it’s finally here!

This week we’ve got a salad for you. I’m not sure recipes like the one below should be called salads (remember, we’ve had this discussion when we made our pasta salad last spring). But anyhow, these are dishes that feel healthy, are eaten without making you want to fall sleep after and give you energy to get through the day. Just like salads. Yet more filling.

The writer of this blog post grew up hating our main ingredient, gigantes beans, cooked in the traditional fasolada (bean soup). But things change as one grows older, and often we see the same things very differently. And all of us at Oliveology love discovering new ways to cook familiar ingredients.

These beans become soft and buttery when cooked. They are, I must admit, so flavourful that they can stand on their own. However, we’ve added a few things to brighten up their smoothness. Think of roasted broccoli and green peppers, zingy lemon zest and juice and our favourite lemon and herbs kalamata olives. So let’s get started before the weather turns cold again.

1 small head of broccoli
1 large green pepper
a few pinches of dried thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper

100g gigantes beans
vegetable stock or herb stalks, vegetable scraps
salt, pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
½ tub lemon olives

The night before soak your beans in plenty of water.

Cut your broccoli into florets. Use the whole vegetable, just cut the stem in smaller pieces. Cut the pepper into large chunks. In a bowl toss broccoli, green pepper, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking tray and bake at 180 for 30 min or until broccoli is charred and soft.

Place your beans in a medium sized pot, cover with new water and vegetable scraps or stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are tender, around two hours. Season with salt after the beans have softened up.

Drain and let the beans cool. In a salad bowl toss together beans, broccoli, green pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and lemon olives. Taste and add more salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy in the sun. Or snow, who knows anymore?


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!