Monday, December 5, 2016

The Easy Recipe of the Christmas Log



A cake with the shape of a snow-ed fir-log.

For the pastry dough:
4 egg, separated
75 gr ( 2 ½ Oz) sugar
a few drop of vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
75 gr ( 2 ½ Oz ) flour
For the filling:
1 egg
2 tbs ( 30 gr – 1 Oz) sugar
2 tbs Brandy
400 gr ( 13 Oz) chestnut jam
1 tbs bitter cocoa
For the topping:
300 gr ( 10 Oz) bitter chocolate
For garnish:
Powdered sugar
Candy fruits

1)    Put 4 egg yolks in a bowl (keeping the whites apart) with 75 grams sugar and beat up with a whisk. Add the vanilla powder (1 envelope) and a pinch of salt.
2)    In one other bowl, beat up the egg whites until stiff
3)    Add 75 gr flour to the yolk mixture, a bit a time, passing it through a sieve; then add the whites carefully.
4)    Pour out the batter in a large baking pan and cook at 200° for 10-12 minutes. Wet a large cloth and lay it on the table; remove the cake over it. Roll the cake with the cloth and put in the fridge for 1 hour. Take care the cake is still hot as you roll it.
5)    Prepare the cream. Put 1 whole egg in a bowl, add 2 spoons of sugar and beat up until foamy ( to prevent eventual salmonella diseases, heat this batter in double boiling until 70°). Aromatise with 2 spoons of brandy, add 400 grams chestnut jam, a spoon of bitter cocoa and mix well.
6)    Take off the rolled pastry from the fridge; un-wrap with care; lay the cream upon it. Roll again. Wrap in the cloth, or in plastic film, and put in the fridge again for 3 hours
7)    Remove from the fridge, take off the plastic film, cut the two ends and joint them to the sides, as a tree log.
8)    With a spatula, lay melted chocolate, making strips with a fork
9)    Sprinkle with powdered sugar (the snow) and decorate with candy fruits.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chick Peas & Baccalà - Recipe

The Baccalà is Cod Fish preserved in salt.

Thus the first thing to do is to soak it in cold water for a couple of days, changing water often.

The finger food of the photo above is composed by two traditional Italian recipes: 
Baccalà Mantecato alla Veneziana
Panissa Ligure

Plus a cracker made with puree of boiled chicke peas and starch.


Ingredients for 6 :

1 kg (2.2 Lb) salted codfish
20ml ( 1 cup) milk
2 garlic cloves
2 spoons chopped fresh parsley
Extra virgin olive oil as much needed
salt and pepper

Put the codfish into a casserole dish, cover with water and milk  and put over heat. As soon as it starts to boil, skim and remove the froth, turn off the heat and leave the codfish for 15/20 minutes in the covered pot, and then drain. In case the fish is not tender, boil it for 10 minutes more minutes. As ready, remove its skin, open it up, remove the bones and then crumble the meat, putting it in a bowl-like container. Mix and beat the fish hard with a wooden spoon and pour in a thin thread of olive oil ( you can use an immersion mixer) . Continue to beat always in the same direction (as for the maionaise) until the fish has all been well combined. It should become white and creamy. At this point, add as much oil as the fish absorb. Add salt, pepper, finely chopped garlic. Serve cold.

Optionally you can add a mashed boiled potato, or some milk/cream  to the fish "dough or/and cream " to have a suitable consistence.

Once the Baccalà Mantecato is ready, put it in a pastry bag to pipe it out on the Panissa.


300  gr ( 10 oz) chick peas flour
1 Lt ( 4 cups) water
30 gr ( 1oz) extra virgin oliv oil

Put the chick peas flour in a large bowl and start to “temper” it pouring lukewarn water whilemixing with a wisk, avoiding lumps. At the end, pass the mixture through a thin sifter.
Mix in the estra virgin olive oil and let it rest for 2 hours.
After this time, add the salt. Pour it in a casserole and cook on low heat for  60 - 80 minutes, like a Polenta.
Pour the mixture in a greased flat container, level the surface with a spatula and let it sit at room temperature until firm and compact ( better to the next day).
Un-mould the Panissa and cut it.

For this finger food, cut the Panissa in squares, brush slightly with extra virgin olive oil and bake at 180° - 350 F for about 15 minutes, until a crispy crust forms.


100 gr ( 3 oz)) boiled chick peas with 100 ml ( 3 oz) of their cooking water
15 gr ( 1/2 oz) corn starch
Super fine chopped rosemary

Put the corn starch in a large bowl and pour slowly some the chickpeas water avoiding lumps.
Put the boiled chickpeas in a blender with the remaining water and mix until thin and smooth.
Mix the two preparations.
Add salt and a little chopped rosemary.
With a spatula, brush the mixture on a silicon sheet, giving to it irregular shapes.
Bake at 200° c - 400 F for about 8 minutes or until golden and crispy.


Pipe some Baccalà Mantecato on each squared Panissa.
Garnish with one boiled chick pea and a chick pea cracker. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

They never cleaned an Artichoke Before

They had fun learning it and preparing with the artichokes a tasty filling for ravioli.

How to Clean Italian Artichokes

First, take off the external tough leaves, making 2 or 3 complete circles around, until the interiorwhiter part of the leaf becomes wider.

 Cut the stalk. Hold the artichoke upside down. 

The stalk has a “whiter” center running along the middle. With a small pairing knife start to score the base of the cut stalk to the edge of the inside circle. Pull off the thick skin to the base of the flower, then continue to peel the “heart” using the knife. 

When the artichoke is clean, place it on a cutting board and cut off the tips, about one inch (depending on variety and size). 

Cut the artichoke in quarters and eliminate the inside choke.


The Rules of My Nonna

With her gentle ways, she has been able to infuse in me - as well as in all the family members - the rules of right and correct behaviour  with yourself and with the others.

Simple rules, that have a solid base of honesty and respect.
Something we don't know where they are any more. 

Some rules start at table, but they are valid in any other circumstance of life.

Never un-polite, never loutish nor vulgar, with the heart always full of anxiety for the health and  the welfare of everybody, my nonna was the sweetest person I have met. 

At table, my place was in a corner between the "ottomano", a coach with the ironwork armrests, and the wooden cupboard, with the carved roses in the angles. My sister and I took the place of one person as there was not enough space for everybody. 

We had to sit nicely straight, without bending the body and without putting the elbows on the table.

We were served after the old ones. My nonna would have said that first come the old ones, then the women, then the men. But she loved to serve us first, as children yearn for. 

We could not start eating before everyone was served.
We could not talk while eating: because it is not education, as the chewed food would be in sight and becasue talking while eating could send the food to the wrong way and be dangerous. 

We could not put the feet on the chair, nor stay on our knees.

We all wished "Buon Appetito" at the beginning of every meal and toast with our glasses to the health of everybody. 

Before the lunch, we had to welcome the people entering home - my nonno, my old great-uncle - with "Buongiorno", as it is duty of the younger to greet the older as first.

Nothing difficult to learn.
Do you think it is boaring?
What do you think about yelling in the few minutes with the eyes off from the smart-phone; wearing pants that fall to the feet, groaning instead of conversating, eating a sandwich with open mouth while listening to music by head-phones...?

.............put your comments.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Happens at Home When a Man Takes Lessons at GiglioCooking - Recipe of Risotto with Mushrooms

Men put on an apron and....surprise their wives.

They put in practice the learned techniques and apply their immagination to create delicious dishes.

A "real" broth is prepared, with "real" ingredients...( not with a "cube").



Ingredients for 2:

180 gr ( 6 oz) Arborio rice
120 gr ( 4 oz) Porcini mushrooms (or other mushrooms as available)
80 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
0,6 lt ( 2 ½ cups)  vegetable broth
4 tbs grated parmigiano
2 tbs parsley, chopped
1/2 glass white wine
salt & pepper

Melt 40 g butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook a few minutes  until soft, then remove them from the pan and put aside.
Add onion and cook until transparent.  Add rice and stir until well coated. Add wine and let evaporate. Season with salt and pepper Add little by little the hot broth until rice is "al dente". Return the mushrooms to the pan. Add half of the minced parsley.
Leave the risotto  watery and very soft, take it off from the heat,  add cheese,  stir well and let rice rest for 1 minute before serving. Decorate with parsley


Calendar: the Second Week of December 2016

The Academic Year is over.

The next regular courses will start in the new year.

But, next week there are still two beautiful lessons:

On Saturday , December 10th, at 10:00 am
Giovanni Stecca will be the Chef of:


On the same day, Saturday Decemebr 10th, at 4:00 pm, the children will be protagonist with Chef Antonella La Macchia:


Please, contact:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

About An Affordable Way to Be Happy

No Meditazion, No Slow  Breathing...nor  Gymn.....  no Deep reaserch inside yourself, research of God, research of gold, research of eternal love...

something easy and affordable.... a simple smile of satisfaction and fun .......

a laugh for a flying wooden spoon or  too much sugar in the soup

a clean, elementary "Salt of Life": Take it Simple and Just Be Happy.

Thanks to Ann Marie for the "Happy Pics" of a fun cooking day!