Thursday, November 27, 2014


November 7th: a great event takes place at the


The large dining room of the "cafeteria" is set with the colors of the Italian flag

While in the kitchens the students are cutting the meat

Then cooking it

marinating the salmon

Then slicing it

making ravioli

then steaming them

dicing pears for their sauce

preparing the puff pastry for the dessert

storing them before the final garnish.

Soon the dining rooms will be filled with 275 guests

while the kitchen will be filled with desserts.

Max is slicing the Porchetta in front of a line of patient guests.

While Chef Shore and Chef Marcella are talking....

.. and Melissa is singing

The guests are finally eating.


A Sunday morning of winter, in a unusually foggy Val di Chiana, the place of Under the Tuscan Sun. From the top, the layer of fog framed among the mountains, seems a lake.

We are here, behind Cortona, on the way toward Umbria.

Up here it is bright sunny
We came to look for these....

.....Chestnut logs...

.... as the soaked wood inside

... is a good fertilizer for..



Giovanni ha ripreso a "postare" dolci meravigliosi sul suo blog. Ecco l'ultimo, solo in ordine di arrivo:

La ricetta, nonchè i suoi "perchè" sono visibili su:

 vi consiglio di andarlo a leggere: traspare, oltre la sua onestà professionale, anche la sua sincerità.

 Grazie a Giovanni per aver confermato di essere ancora con noi a GiglioCooking nel 2015: siamo "veri" anche noi, qua nella nostra piccola scuola ma che ha qualcosa di grande: l'ambizione di essere autentica.

I corsi che proponiamo nuovamente nel 2015 sono elencati anche nel suo blog a questa pagina:

Inoltre ci sarà un corso nuovissimo, in 8 lezioni, dedicato ai dolci da ristorazione.

I programmi con gli orari saranno pubblicati su questo blog nei prossimi giorni.

Non perdete i corsi di Giovanni Stecca: hanno una marcia in più, come lui stesso che è, neanche dirlo, un maratoneta.....

Monday, November 24, 2014

When in Italy, One Must Cook, by Maggie Harriman

It is common knowledge that one of the most important, and most famous, aspects of Italian culture is its cuisine. So, it is only fitting that as students studying here in Italy, we not only learn about this cuisine and what it means to Italy, but also to learn first-hand how to make it for ourselves.

In the class Florence for Foodies, a series of four cooking classes at the Giglio Cooking School in Florence, we have not only learned how to make a wide variety of different Italian dishes, but we have also (and thankfully!) been able to eat the fruits of our labors. Everyone together in the kitchen chopping, boiling, stirring, cooking, baking, and finally sitting down to eat all together, has made for some of the most fun and memorable evenings of the quarter.

Our first lesson focused on flour and gluten, where we learned that gluten is the integral protein of wheat that keeps the pasta noodle bound together and strong after it is cooked. We also learned that there are two types of flours: durum wheat semolina (used for pasta) and tender wheat flours (generally used for cakes and breads.) We got the chance to make our own fresh pasta, which was surprisingly easier than I have always believed. All that is required is semolina flour, egg, and salt. However, it does require a bit of muscle strength to roll out the dough perfectly, until it is ready to be pressed and cut by the pasta machine. We made lasagna from scratch with our homemade pasta, layered with béchamel sauce (a sauce of butter, cream, flour, cheese, and nutmeg) Parmesan cheese, and a homemade ragu meat sauce. We learned to chop the vegetables for the ragu incredibly fine, so that they cook down to a puree when added with the tomato paste and meat.
For dessert, we made an absolutely incredible and flavorful cake; an olive oil cake flavored with lemon and orange zest. We tested our skills by making a wine caramel for this delicious cake, being extra careful as to not burn the sugar and keep the caramel at exactly 108 degrees Celsius. When we finally sat down at the end of the first class to eat our meal, we were all pretty surprised that we had been able to make something so delicious absolutely from scratch!

Our second lesson focused on the principles of The Mediterranean Diet. This diet is known throughout the world as one of the healthiest diets, rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is full of fish (high in Omega 3s and 6s,) oils, whole grains, and vegetables, and low in the saturated fats found in animal products. We cooked spaghetti with clams and zucchini for our first dish, sautéing the zucchini and cooking the clams in olive oil until they opened. We added the pasta straight to the sauce so that it would fully absorb “the taste of the sea.”

 Our second course was a dish of “pesce crudo,” or raw fish. Raw fish is commonly thought of as being a strictly Japanese dish, but this is not the case; Sicilians have been eating raw fish throughout their history. We prepared and skinned tuna and sea bass, dressing it with vinaigrette of lemon and orange juice (from which the acid keeps the fish fresh) and ginger. Served on a bed of arugula, this fresh and light dish was extremely delicious. Everyone that had not tried raw fish prior to this class was adventurous, and tasted some for themselves, and most found they actually liked it! Finally, for dessert, we made crepes of chestnut flour, filled with fresh cream and ricotta and drizzled with honey. These crepes had a delicious and unique flavor from the chestnut flour, and they were not too sweet, as no sugar was added to the filling, which brought out the natural sweetness from the honey. 

Our third lesson was centered on diversity in Italian cuisine. We prepared pasta with meatballs for our first dish, after stopping to think whether meatballs are technically an American or Italian dish. These balls are called “polpettine,” meaning that the balls are the size of a bite, and not nearly as large as the average Italian-American meatball to which we are accustomed. In fact, many of typical “Italian” dishes in America are not found in Italian at all, such as Fettuccine Alfredo, Pepperoni Pizza, or Chicken Parmesan!
We made our meatballs by rolling pork, beef, Parmesan cheese, and parsley into small balls and sautéing them in a pan. To the sauce we added minced carrot, onion, and celery, tomatoes, and a hefty dose of red wine. In addition to the spaghetti with meatballs, we ate chicken breasts stuffed with cooked spinach, pine nuts, and Grana Padano cheese, and cooked in garlic, lemon, and white wine. Cutting the chicken breasts open, stuffing them, and tying them up with string proved to be quite the process, but one that lead to a delicious result. Dessert was perhaps the most classic of all Italian desserts: tiramisu! This was made by soaking lady-finger biscuits in strong Italian coffee, layering the biscuits with mascarpone cheese and egg cream, and then adding a final dusting of cocoa powder on top. While technically a tiramisu needs at least 6 hours to set in the refrigerator, we made due with 2 hours in the freezer, and it turned out just as sweet, creamy, and absolutely fabulous.

Our last class focused on vegetarian cuisine and cooking as a form of education. Food is meant to be nourishing, nutritious, and fueling for our bodies, and hopefully using ingredients from local and sustainable sources. These themes were highlighted in the fresh ingredients we used during this class. We cooked a traditional Sicilian dish for our first course, Caponata, which was created by Sicilian women to feed their fisherman husbands as they were out at sea. Because of the vinegar and sugar added to the Caponata, it can be kept fresh out of the refrigerator for a few days, so it would not spoil while the men were on their boats. To prepare the Caponata, we had use all of our arm strength to wring every last drop of water from the eggplant so that it would not fill with oil when fried. We sautéed a combination of blanched and cut tomatoes, red onions, olives, pine nuts, and raisins (a combination of savory and sweet,) later adding fried eggplant and celery, vinegar, and a bit of sugar. The Caponata was full of flavor and perfectly cooked.

Our second dish was risotto with artichokes. We made this risotto without cream or butter, toasting the rice first in olive oil before letting it absorb vegetable broth so that it would become creamy. To this we added artichokes, which we had to peel, cut, core, and soak before cooking them with parsley. We finished our meal with what, in my opinion, was the best thing we cooked throughout the entire course: poached pears, cooked in wine, with zabaione. We first poached the pears in a mixture of red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey. Then, we made the zabaione, a challenging sauce of whipped egg yolks, sugar, and white wine. The egg yolks had to be whipped with the sugar while on heat, but not to the point where they would get cooked and turn into scrambled eggs! Finally, we dressed the poached pears with the zabaione and a reduction sauce of the wine mixture, which was cooked down until it was thick and sweet.

To be able to learn how to make incredible and authentic Italian dishes, all the way from scratch, and to work together to make them all come out (if I daresay) perfectly, made it all the more rewarding when we sat down to eat everything we had cooked. This class was incredibly fun and quite the bonding experience for all of us students as we spent 2 hours scurrying around the kitchen, everyone pitching in to make sure every job got done, all the while progressively getting hungrier as we awaited eating our feast. However, most importantly, this course gave me an entirely new appreciation for Italian cuisine. While I have always adored Italian cuisine and its emphasis on fresh, locally sourced, healthy, unprocessed ingredients as well as its ability to bring out such amazing flavor from the simple ingredients, I now have a sense of pride that I too have partaken in the beloved, upheld traditions known to Italian cooking. Now, I have learned first-hand that cooking Italian cuisine is so much more than just making a delicious dinner; it is truly a form of cultural art.



Un altro appuntamento di Antonella la Macchia con i Bambini, un ' idea per renderli più partecipi.

                     Casetta di Pan di zenzero

Una casetta innevata attende i nostri bambini! Goloso pan di zenzero e dolcissima neve di zucchero in questo appuntamento dedicato ai bambini dai nove anni.

Al termine della lezione i bambini porteranno a casa il frutto del loro lavoro.

Domenica 7 dicembre dalle ore 16:00 
presso la scuola Giglio Cooking 
in via del Ghirlandaio 6/B
 a Firenze . 

Quota di partecipazione € 30,00
Per informazioni e prenotazioni:
Giglio Cooking tel. 055 614 59 14
Sweet Occasions tel. 327 152 83 95

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Per favore, leggetelo



Regali dolci per Natale

Un nuovo appuntamento interamente dedicato alla preparazione di biscotti e piccole dolcezze da
regalare a Natale. Il corso è rivolto ai bambini dai 6 anni in poi. Al termine della lezione i
bambini porteranno a casa il frutto del loro lavoro.
Sabato 6 dicembre dalle ore 16:00 

presso la scuola Giglio Cooking 
in via del Ghirlandaio 6/B a Firenze . 

Quota di partecipazione € 30,00

Per informazioni e prenotazioni:
Giglio Cooking tel. 055 614 59 14
Sweet Occasions tel. 327 152 83 95

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Cooking together is the best way to share our thanks to life.
Wednesday November the 26, at 6:00 pm, I will be waiting for you to cook together:

Risotto with pumpking
Stuffed turkey ( we have to bone it and then slice it vertically!)
Cheese cake

Special cooking class with final dinner.
The price is 50 euros
The event cannot be done with less than 10 and more than 20 people.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014




These ladies took a class yesterday and they have been a source of inspiration for me. 
Since the beginning of the year, my resolution was: STOP TALKING ABOUT THE BAD THINGS OF THE WORLD AND THINK POSITIVE.
Thas has been something I was not able to put in practise, defeated by the daily worries.
Janet has a practical solution. Which is simple and obvious. JUST DO IT.
She keeps a Blog with only the GOOD NEWS she finds on newspapers, internet, in the circle of the people she knows. And, the discovr was: THEY ARE MANY! we are sorrounded by good things, they are about 80% of the total things we are sorrounded by. Just we see exclusively the bad ones.

I can bring my own example. I spent a "dark period": some years of "bad things": love, money, life, work... everything seemed to fall apart. Following also the advice of good friends I started to thank for the good ones and to focus my attention: my beautiful and sweet kids, our health, the tooth brush in the morning, the warm shower, the food every day in our plates, the smell of spring, a telephone call...
I also started to practice my own "yoga". 
People were telling me that I was walking with my face down to the asphalt and a sad expression.
I started to walk ( to force myself to remember and do it) with my face up and a crcaked smile. The smile started to function, as well as my Thanks. The smile become "more" real, passing the time and , from the lips, it started to go toward my minds , then to my heart, making me happy.
We think that we smile when we are happy.
I can confirm that we become happy when we start to smile.

We are sorrounded by good people and good things.

For example: isn't this chocolate cake a good thing?



120 gr ( 4 Oz) dark chocolate
120 gr ( 4 Oz) butter
100 gr ( 3 Oz) sugar
3 tbs bread crumbs
3 eggs

120 gr ( 4 Oz) dark chocolate for the frosting

Optional apricot jam

Cut the chocolate and the butter in pieces. Put them together with the sugar in a bowl over a pot of boiling water until melted.
Keep on stirring to cool down.
Add one egg at a time alternating with one spoon of bread crumbs.
Bake at 150° ( 300 F) for about 30 minutes.

Optionally, make 2 thinner cakes. Assemble them with the apricot jam in the middle.



60 gr ( 5 Oz)  Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Water (60 ml)
150 gr (5 Oz) Semi –Sweet Chocolate


            Make a syrup using the sugar and the water, bringing it to 106° C. Let it cool . when it is still warm, Add the chocolate, cut into pieces, and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
 Use immediately.

Instead of using the chocolate icing, you can decorate your cake in other ways: in the photo there are strips of cocoa powder , candied orange and raspberries in syrup.

Monday, November 17, 2014


...That is: the Culinary Traditions of the World.

We should take back possession of the real "sense of taste", that part of the "lost" - or better, forgotten , or, even better, apparently non necessary  as we do not listen to it - instinct that would warn us whether a food is good or bad. I did not say "if you like it or if you do not". I said "good or bad", meaning good for the body, good for humanity, good for the earth.
During the lecture i was asked by a student:
- are you optimistic regarding  the future of the food?
I replied:
- I am terrified -

Where do I get my fears from?
Walking down the streets of towns in Europe and America, I see the same scene: old shops and stores, artisans, craft men shutting down and at there place I see an international chain shop.
Hard to find the shop of the socks, the shop of the artisanal shoes, the shop of the plumber.....
As well as it is hard to find a butcher, a baker, a "churcuterie", a dairy shop: just supermarkets.
We will end up wearing the same cloth and eating the same foods. Listening to same music. Saying the same words. Having the same "taste". Thinking the same thoughts (pushed on by and always more subdle advertising).
Which migt appear not completely bad, by the ethic point of view: it might be ethically correct to be all the same ( although I personally do not agree with this...). 
But... but: the planet is constituted by diversities. All the echosystem are  Engines of the Nature, with all the diverse forms of life interacting with one other in perfect circles. 
Who are we to decide that everything must be the same?
Who are we to decide that the landscapes cannot be market by the seasons, by the morphology and geology of the soil,  with the different bloomings and crops suitable for that place and not for another one? 
Who are we to decide that entire countries must be cultivated with one single crop that spoils the ground (and causes many other problems in the world...)?

 Imogene Lim, Professor of Anthroplogy at the Vancouver Island University

Homegenization is my fear. 
We cannot be resigned to fears. 
We need a reaction.
We can start our enterprise with food.
I believe we have a weapon, in case you want to fight this battle with me...... just to let you know: I am not alone in this battle and not the first one: there is already an army of prepared and honest people. 
No any other war is as fun as this one.
Do not follow the stream: go out and take knowledge of the real world around you. Take your car and start to drive at random, discover what there is out of town. You will find a ranch, a farm, an orchard. We have the gift of the word. Use it to ask what they produce, and how, what are their problems. Buy good food, train you sense of taste to the "good": the good for you palate, for you body and for the earth. Make a list of good places where to find "real food".
Do your part in increasing the demand for the "good". 
Increasing the demand, also the offer will increase: it is a basic rule of the market.
We will make the change... slowly slowly, as Prof Lim says. 
Start to be Slow: it is time to run if you want to win your Slow battle!


                                                       Pranzo di Natale

Il meglio della tradizione italiana racchiuso in un menù sontuoso.
Un intero pomeriggio da trascorrere presso la nostra scuola di cucina per mettere direttamente le
mani in pasta ed assaporare la magia del Natale.
Insieme alle ricette anche tanti consigli per la preparazione della tavola.

Sabato 29 Novembre dalle ore 16:00 presso la scuola Giglio Cooking in via del Ghirlandaio 6/B , a Firenze . 

Quota di partecipazione € 85,00
Per informazioni e prenotazioni:
Giglio Cooking tel. 055 614 59 14
Sweet Occasions tel. 327 152 83 95

Friday, November 14, 2014


November 4th, Vancouver Island University. 
The lectures is about the dangers of globalization of food on public health. 
Sad, intense, emotional and with a final message of hope.

Ms Imogene Lim, Professor of Anthropology

Thanks to  Chef Shore and to Professor Lim for the honor they gave me,  letting me speak in their  important University.


November 3rd, Vancouver Island University, Food Lab. Demonstration and hands on class.
There is somethin I never miss: the orange color....!

Rolling "Pici" one by one.....
The view from the teacher desk: the students and the video showing what I am doing: I was the movie director of myself....


One of the two the finished dishes: Tagliatelle of Hazelnut pasta with Chantarelles sauce
 This is me, on the stage, behind the large screen showing my cooking actions.

Students coming to taste the Pici with Crispy Bread Crumbs and anchovies


250 gr ( 8 Oz)00 flour
250 gr ( 8 Oz)  semolina
1 egg
200 ml ( less than 1 cup)water

Mix the two flours and form a well. Sprinkle a pinch of salt.
Put one egg in the middle and start to beat with a fork.
Add the water slowly, continuing to beat. Then work with the fingers, kneading vigorously to obtain a smooth dough.

Wrap it in a plastic film and let it set for one hour.

Layer the dough in layers 3 mm thick, then pass it through a machine cutter to get big spaghetti.

- 50 g (2 oz.) bread crumbs
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4 salted anchovy fillets
- 20 g (2/3 oz.) chopped thyme and parsley
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper

- parsley

  1. Sauté the flattened garlic clove in a skillet with a drizzle of oil; add 2 chopped anchovies and let them “melt”; add the herbs and combine well.
  2. Quickly cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water, stirring once or twice with a fork to prevent it from sticking together. The pasta should be slightly soft but not yet al dente. The working time here is very important in order for the pasta to be properly cooked.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water; sauté it in the skillet with the sauce (1) and the bread crumbs.
  4. Add the 2 remaining anchovies, cut into small cubes, and a little cooking water if necessary (3).
  5. Season with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil; combine well and serve.