Athens Snaps - and Frozen Yoghurt with Greek Olive Oil

14 March 2012

Apologies for another long absence here – and thank you so much for all your kind words and prayers on my last post, I’m very grateful for your support.

My trip to Japan was a very emotional one, but I’m glad I went back to see what is really happening through my own eyes. It’s already been a year since the earthquake – some things are back to normal, but in most affected parts there are still thousands of people who need both short and long term support.

I’m organising a Japan fundraiser at the moment which I’m hoping to launch in April through my blog. It will be a raffle full of wonderful foodie prizes, so stay tuned and I hope many people can help to raise money for those who still need help.

Meantime, I’ve been travelling a lot for my work, and there are so many stories that I’d love to share here – hopefully I’ll get back into the habit of posting more regularly this year…

I went to Athens last autumn to shoot for a wonderful olive oil company called Esti – I had been working with them for a while and the lovely owner George asked me to come and shoot around the city as well as shooting for his wife Ada’s beautiful Fresh Hotel.

It was my first time to visit Greece and I only had a few days in Athens – sadly when I was there, many strikes were going on because of the economic crisis, so I had to shorten my already shot stay otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to fly back :( There certainly wasn’t enough time to fully explore, but I really enjoyed staying in the city full of rich history, lovely people, and of course beautiful food. I was particularly excited strolling through the central fish and meat market which is just around the corner from Fresh Hotel – it was vast and great fun to explore. Everyone at the hotel looked after me well, not to mention George, Ada and all the people from Esti.

As well as devouring the old Greek favourites such as Souvlaki or Greek salad during my stay, I came across a wonderful dessert at the restaurant in Fresh Hotel. The pastry used in the dessert was called Kataifi which is like Filo pastry but in vermicelli-like strands. It is often served similar to Baklava,
but I found that a little too sweet for my taste; at Fresh Hotel, they serve it with semolina custard inside, along with red wine poached pears and vanilla ice cream -it was divine. I asked the chef for the recipe which he kindly gave me – then Ada also kindly translated it for me :) Ada also bought me some Kataifi pastry to take it back – I recreated it at home slightly changing the recipe by adding Marsala poached pears and turron ice cream to go with it, it was really lovely.

I’ll post the Kataifi recipe sometime, but I wanted to share another recipe today that uses Esti’s beautiful olive oil. A few years ago, George and Ada bought the traditional olive oil company which was established in 1912, in Kalamata – well-known as the region where the highest quality of Greek extra virgin olive oil is produced. Theirs has quite a distinctive aroma of apples and bitter almonds which I love, and when I tried frozen yoghurt drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt at a restaurant in Tokyo, I thought their oil would be wonderful for this.

This is barely a recipe and you may be put off by the combination, but believe me, it’s delicious! The lightness of the yoghurt really brings out the flavour of the oil and salt. You can use any extra virgin olive oil, but be sure to use the best you have.

The frozen yoghurt recipe is from David‘s The Perfect ScoopHeidi also posted the recipe here. Like Heidi noted, I think the simplicity works best – you could add vanilla extract, but I prefer without for this. It’s also important to use good quality, whole milk Greek-style yoghurt which is rich and much creamier than regular yoghurt. (If you can’t find Greek-style yoghurt, you can strain the regular variety as Heidi describes.)

Frozen yoghurt with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt

720g Greek style yoghurt (or equivalent quantity of strained yoghurt)
200g caster sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt (I use Maldon)

Mix together the yoghurt and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and refrigerate for about an hour. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with sprinkle of flaky sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Food - Sweet    Places    61 comments    Permalink

  • Dear Keiko, you came this close and you didn’t come to Istanbul to visit us what a shame! :))

    Posted by aylin | 14 March 2012 #
  • You make me want to rush to Greece and eat some frozen yogurt too

    Posted by Breige | 14 March 2012 #
  • Fabulous photos of Athens Keiko. I have not tried this frozen yogurt dessert. It sounds delicious.

    Posted by Barbara | 14 March 2012 #
  • This post is beautiful, and the perfect point of re-entry! The Esti packaging is very attractive, I’d like to get my hands on some of it.

    And of course, you had me at the cat photos:)

    Posted by Emma | 14 March 2012 #
  • Your lovely photos transport me to Athens, where I was born but had to leave shortly after my birth. Thanks for the equally stunning food photos, and the easy recipe. Will be on the lookout for more news about your Japan fundraiser.

    Posted by Athena | 14 March 2012 #
  • Your pictures are enough to give anybody wanderlust. Not that I’m not afflicted anyway.
    Best luck with your fundraiser. I was in Minami Sanriku in October, and feel the affected areas still can use all the help they can get!

    Posted by Skye | 15 March 2012 #
  • Your photos are beautiful. I shall try esti next time I’m buying oil. And the frozen yoghurt photos are divine. Looks like a great trip!

    Posted by Charlotte | 15 March 2012 #
  • Each and every of your posts is a precious gift for me. I’m quite excited that you plan to be posting more.
    I am lucky enough to have a fantastic olive oil made by my father in law. The combination does sound unusual, but I totally trust you, and I can’t wait to try this dessert to showcase the oil.

    Posted by Caffettiera | 15 March 2012 #
  • Welcome back Keiko! Glad to hear that things are getting better in Japan.

    Are you in Bury for a while? If you have a tiny amount of time I’d love to meet up and have some advice from you. Possible?


    Posted by Francesca | 15 March 2012 #
  • Keiko, so good to see you posting again – fingers crossed for lots more beautiful travel posts this year, have missed your posts.

    Posted by Ksalty | 15 March 2012 #
  • Oh… those pictures made me feel nostalgic!
    Last May I was on holiday in the Greek islands, and I agree with you on all: beautiful landscape, very nice people and wonderful foods. I enjoyed dried fish, sea urchin and the famous Greek yoghurt with candied fruit…
    I read your blog and I find it gorgeous, really. I can’t see the time to see your first spring posts. I whish you all the best!

    Posted by Dulcistella | 15 March 2012 #
  • Oh wow! We have a fabulous store that carries so many flavors of olive oil. I definitely have to buy some to try this.

    Posted by Sarah | 16 March 2012 #
  • You managed to capture the beautiful parts of Athens and show off a more calm and peaceful scenery than it actually is (I guess you know that already..). It’s a pity we loose all the beauties of Greece because of the crisis that’s been on here so thank you for your shots =)
    Hope you’ll visit us again soon when things will get better!
    Greetings from Crete, Eleni

    Posted by Eleni | 16 March 2012 #
  • I am from Athens and I just love seeing your beautiful photos of my city, Keiko! Too bad you had to experience the infamous Greek strikes.
    Your photographs are breathtaking!!

    Posted by Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen | 16 March 2012 #
  • Your pictures are beautiful as always… And i’m going to make some that frozen greek yogurt with olive oil tonight, yay! I was looking for some frozen recipe to celebrate my first real spring day, this is it! Merci beaucoup ***

    Posted by BonjourJuliette | 16 March 2012 #
  • 写真本当に素敵でした。お忙しいと思いますが、できるときは沢山アップしてくださいね!いつも楽しみにチェックしています。

    Posted by ミスズ | 16 March 2012 #
  • Hello there! Lovely pictures from Athens!
    Funny that the name of your blog is Swedish! Nordljus means North light or Light from the North, how come? It was very funny to see the Swedish name of your blog and all these nice photos from Athens as I’m Swedish living in Athens!

    Posted by Eva in Athens, Greece | 17 March 2012 #
  • Such a short time in Athens but you still managed to take some many lovely photos. As always, I love that these reports of your’s almost always have some cat photos. :-)) Looking forward to the raffle.


    Posted by Helle (Helen) | 17 March 2012 #
  • Swoon.

    Posted by cocopuff1212 | 18 March 2012 #
  • Always well done…Thank you!

    Posted by Sabri | 18 March 2012 #
  • Keiko – Your photos and styling are beautiful. Can you tell me what the name of the china pattern is on the photo’s with the yogurt? The china is lovely.

    Posted by tstar | 19 March 2012 #
  • love this.

    Posted by Josh | 19 March 2012 #
  • Keiko darling, let’s catch up. Would love to see you. Loved the picture of Athens, I really enjoyed walking around the area around the market.

    Posted by Valentina | 21 March 2012 #
  • As usual, you capture the spirit of a place like no one else ! Your pictures bring back good memories from my year in Greece…
    Look forward the raffle in April.

    Posted by Vanille | 21 March 2012 #
  • Great. I hope you can join me in my web and blog of Spanish food. coming soon with special Spanish food recipes in English.

    Posted by Loleta | 25 March 2012 #
  • Oh my what a lovely surprise , another wonderful post, you are just so talented, I really hope you will have the time to post most more often this year and all the best for the fundraising, the Japanese have been so brave after what they have been through
    liz from Paris

    Posted by liz | 25 March 2012 #
  • Dear Keiko san,

    I’m totally in awe of your work!
    I admire the way you capture subtle beauty in your photography. I really enjoy visiting different counties through your lens. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by goboroot | 27 March 2012 #
  • I’ve been dreaming about Greece for a while now, from when I used to study ancient Greek and Greek literature at high school, or, more recently, when I fell in love with Greek food, but I’ve never been able to go there.
    It’s in my to-do-list, though, and I hope this will be the good year!
    Thank you for these amazing pictures, it is exactly how I imagine Greece!

    Posted by Juls | 29 March 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    I found your blog through La Tartine Gourmand and Lara Ferroni! I LOVE your blog – your style, the mood, the scrumptious foods! Definitely bookmarking you!

    I miss Athens, too. When I visited, I didn’t think I’d like the place, but I actually ended up liking it… Miss it dearly…Sigh…!

    Posted by Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings | 2 April 2012 #
  • How much I wished I was in Athens, Keiko san…

    Posted by Shalimar Orlanes | 3 April 2012 #
  • wishing I was there with you.

    Posted by Shalimar Orlanes | 3 April 2012 #
  • Beautiful pictures! I want to go to Greece right now. I love everything about your beautiful blog. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    Posted by Edwina | 9 April 2012 #
  • I really love to follow your trips with your splendids pictures!

    I hope that you are fine


    Posted by sooishi | 10 April 2012 #
  • Gorgeous photographs…you could take pictures of a cardboard box and still make me hungry. Thanks for sharing your inspiring eye with us.

    Posted by Sandi | 11 April 2012 #
  • Your images tell wonderful stories. Thanks!

    Posted by Kathy Mishima | 11 April 2012 #
  • Stunning photos, as always. I love olive oil in sweets and frozen desserts. I just posted a recipe for tarragon olive oil ice cream, which I also top with flaky salt:
    Frozen greek yogurt with olive oil and salt sounds like a delectable combination!

    Posted by Alanna | 11 April 2012 #
  • As always the photos are gorgeous. It is so inspiring to see your postings! I’m sorry you had to shorten your stay in Athens because of the demos. I’ve never tasted frozen yogurt with olive oil and sea salt! That sounds intriguing!

    Posted by Kaho | 13 April 2012 #
  • I was thrilled to stumble upon this post; I’m going to Greece this summer—to Athens and Thessaloniki—with my boyfriend (who is Greek) and this reminds me of how much I have to look forward to in June. The photos are lovely and I’m bookmarking the recipe to make immediately. Just consider it the first of my travel preparations!

    Posted by katy | 20 April 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko, wonderful work as always. I’ve been a follower of yours since 2008 and always find your work has some kind of calming effect. I’ve been at the receiving end of lots of bad news lately and whenever I need a momentary escape from the real world I find refuge in your work. Thank you.

    Posted by Jule | 24 April 2012 #
  • Like Katy above I too was pleased to stumble upon this page…its been maybe 20 years since I was last in Greece and many of your (excellent) photos reminded me of its shabby chic-ness that I love above that country…you’ve started my nostalgia again…I really should plan to go back soon – thanks again

    Posted by saturdaykitchen | 26 April 2012 #
  • I feel a little ashamed for I’ve never met your works until now. It’s full of grace. Thank you!

    Posted by Anna | 27 April 2012 #
  • Your photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing

    Posted by richard | 27 April 2012 #
  • What wonderful photographs and places! I’d liked them Very much.

    Posted by Ro | 3 May 2012 #
  • Beautiful in all regards. I love kinafe..thanks for the photographic tour. Wonderful!!!!!

    Posted by Melanie Neichin | 9 May 2012 #
  • What an inspiring trip! That’s something new, it sounds different, but it looks beautiful, I have to try!! Have a nice day.

    Posted by Monsterscircus | 20 May 2012 #
  • Really beautiful photos!! As everyone else has commented, they are truly inspiring!

    Posted by Meatballs&Milkshakes | 30 May 2012 #
  • send me recipes deliciou

    Posted by marcelo leopoldino | 3 June 2012 #
  • What beautiful, evocative photos. Love your blog! I’m a new food writer. Please check out my ideas when you have a chance at

    Posted by Vespa Woolf | 4 June 2012 #
  • Keiko,

    So wonderful to see my hometown in your blog!! I’m glad that you had a chance to look around the market in the city, one of my favourite places to go when I’m visiting. Makes me even more homesick now!!

    I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and it’s always a delight to look at your pictures.

    Take care

    Posted by Haris | 5 June 2012 #
  • thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks alot very much

    Posted by مطبخنا | 12 June 2012 #
  • Dear Keiko,

    I hope this note finds you well.You have one of the most beautiful blogs and I am an old fan of yours.

    My only complaint is that I wish you wrote more!!! :)

    On another note, since you have one of the oldest blogs and know everybody would you by any chance know what’s happened to the blog A la cuisine? I only came across it by chance and was sorry to see that it had stopped being published since 2007.

    All my best,


    Posted by Golnar | 22 July 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    I found your fabulous site via WKA (what kate ate blog) and now my cup runneth over with delight, twice! I just love the fact that the universal sharing of food, travel, knowledge and culture overcomes a lot of the negativity that abounds.

    My thanks, fellow journeyman,

    Posted by alannah | 4 August 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    I recently discovered your website and I have to convey at how beautiful your photos are. You have a great eye for photography and I look forward to following your blog with much enthusiasm.


    Posted by Hung Quach | 10 October 2012 #
  • Found your site through Twitter. Wonderful photography and engrossing text. Delighted to have found you:)

    Posted by Roger Stowell | 18 October 2012 #
  • Hi,
    I’ve never been in Athens, but now I can see I really would like to be there. because of your photos! they are wonderful! :)

    Posted by mollisia | 24 October 2012 #
  • This is my first time to your blog. Your pictures are incredible, you do a really good job. Please let me know when you get your fundraiser put together. I would like to help and spread the word.

    Posted by Fork and Whisk | 26 October 2012 #
  • this sounds very good. i’d love to try that olive oil.

    Posted by Dina | 28 October 2012 #
  • Those photos of Greece look simply superb! Even inside the fish market, the lighting looks perfect. Can’t wait to see more.

    Posted by Louise | 2 November 2012 #
  • Hello Keiko,

    I love the way you describe things and the food recipes you shared. I love cooking, but I can only make something simple. Your site gives me inspiration and courage to try to make something different and more difficult. Maybe I should start now as the end of the world is not coming. lol

    Wish you a wonderful holiday season.


    Posted by Malena | 22 December 2012 #
  • very much inspired, I’ve fallen love with this beautiful blog!

    Posted by Keiko | 30 December 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko – Happy New Year to you!

    Big fan of your site, and am sad that you stopped posting…
    I hope all is well with you.
    Your website brings joy to many folks, so I hope you can start posting again.


    Posted by L | 8 January 2013 #

Commenting is closed for this article.