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:

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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!


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 time of the year, we always look around for interesting recipes for Christmas stuffing. You can’t have a festive table without it, can you? In Greece, stuffing is usually made with mince meat and rice. Here in the UK, sausage meat is preferred. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, surely you will know by know how we love creating vegan takes on traditional recipes.

Remember last year’s rice stuffing? With that in mind, this year we decided to take stuffing to a whole other level. How? Well, we kept some of the Christmassy flavours and added a few new ones (intense red cranberries and roasted chestnuts have arrived at our shop at Borough Market, need we say more?). Oh, and we’ve swapped rice for our favourite bulgur wheat!

Truth is, this dish is not just for your Christmas table. As I prepared it for this post, a bit before Christmas as you can imagine, I found myself in the middle of December, carrying with me this fragrant dish for lunch, looking forward to eating it again and again. And I have to tell you, just make more. It makes for a wonderful addition to your favourite winter lunches. This recipe serves 4 people, because sometimes all you need for Christmas is these few people you love most. But if you are feeding many, just multiply accordingly. It works very well.

For 4 people you will need:
1 small leek, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed walnuts and hazelnuts (or other nuts of your choosing)
100g roasted chestnuts
½ nutmeg grated
4 cloves
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried thyme
salt
pepper
200g bulgur wheat
600ml vegetable stock
a few springs of mint (to serve)

In a medium sized and over medium heat pot place the olive oil and gently fry the leek until soft and caramelised. Add the bulgur wheat and stir until all grains are coated in oil. Add the cranberries, nuts, chestnuts and stir again. Season with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable stock and stir until well combined.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat.
Simmer for 15-20min or until bulgur is cooked and flavours have blended.

Serve with finely chopped mint and lots of Christmas love!


Orzo, or kritharaki in Greek is traditionally eaten as part of a beef stew. Oven baked pieces of meat, with tomato sauce and orzo. Orzo is usually added towards the end of the cooking, when meat has started falling off the bone. It gets a delicious meaty flavour and mellow texture.

A vegetarian friend recently told us how for him, this is such a wonderful dish that it can stand on its own. Just remove the meat he said. Indeed, now that we are full into spring, maybe something lighter will be better.

This dish can be prepared in the hob, or you can finish it off in the over. We prefer the oven. You can serve orzo al dente. But we feel that there is something comforting in the soft grains, enveloped in tomato sauce. Also, although this shifts our recipe away from vegan, we would add some feta cheese. Take the orzo out of the oven a few minutes before it’s cooked. Crumble some feta cheese on top. Return to oven and bake for a few more minutes, until feta is melted. Trust us, this takes this recipe to a whole different level.
Feeds 4
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
8 tbsp of olive oil 
200g orzo
1 bottle of tomato passata
1 bay leaf
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried rosemary
salt
pepper

Peel and finely chop the onion. Mince the garlic. You can use a cheese grater for both if you prefer.
In a medium sized pot, add the olive oil. Yes it’s plenty, to add flavour to the dish. In medium heat, gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent and slightly caramelised. Add the orzo and give it a stir, to cover it in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato, oregano, rosemary and bay leaf. Add 1/2 cup of water. Lower the heat and let the orzo cook in the flavoured tomato juice. Alternatively, cover and place in the oven at 180C. Check occasionally and stir, adding water if needed. When the orzo is cooked through, approximately 15 minutes later remove from heat/oven. Add the feta cheese if using. Serve with warm crusty bread for a wonderful, light spring dinner.


“Trahana” is made with either semolina, wheat flour, bulgur or cracked wheat that has been soaked in milk and then dried in the sun; it is one of the oldest East Mediterrenean foods that varies a lot in different regions in Greece. There are two types: sweet trahana and sour trahana. Traditionally, sour trahana is made with fermented raw goat and/or sheep and/or cow milk or yoghurt. Sweet trahana is made with milk (usually sheeps’ or goats’ milk). The two are very popular in Greece and Cyprus.
I am a big fan of sour trahana, especially for its nutty and sour flavour. My usual way of having the soup is with caramelised onions, garlic, tomato, oregano and –of course- feta. This time, I decided to modify an old Christoforos Peskias recipe as I find the addition of yoghurt –and figs, of course, an
excellent idea. The recipe adds to the soup, a wonderful creaminess as well as a sweet and crunchy layer which I loved! Did someone say comfort food?
Cream soup of trahana garnished with sun-dried figs

Serves 6-8

Ingredient
1 kilo of sour trahana
2L of chicken broth
1 whole onion, peeled
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 big carrot, (preferably organic) peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tbs of dried thyme
300g of sheep’s yoghurt, 300g strained yoghurt
300g sun-dried figs
4 tbs of evoo
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Method
In a soup pot heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add trahana. Stir until coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth (or water) onion, garlic, carrot and bring to a boil. Add bay leaf, thyme, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins, stirring often, until trahana is tender and nutty tasting and the broth slightly thickened. Remove carrot, onion, garlic and bay leaf from the mix.

The mixture should be more like porridge. Remove from heat and add the soup to a food processor (or blender) and pulse it for about 20 minutes. Pass the soup through a strainer for a smoother texture. Add the mix to a big bowl and stir in both types of yoghurt to the mix, top with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon into bowls and garnish them with chopped sun-dried figs. Enjoy!


Rosehip has a warm, sweet and sour flavour and an astringent aftertaste. Its flowers smell like roses but have a lighter smell than the cultivated ones. The herb is used in cooking as herbal infusion, for syrup production as well as for baking and patisserie. Rich in seven vitamins, especially in C; when boiled, the vitamin attributes come out. If preparing an herbal infusion with whole rosehip, boil it for at least for 10 minutes.

This herb is known to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent properties.  Rosehip’s medicinal qualities also include the following: reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, helps with osteoarthritis pain, acts as a body toner, strengthens the immune system, fights viruses and microbes . When made as a tea, it can prevent a common cold, induces sleep and is effective with urinary system problems.