Tag: good

Because chocolate puts us in a good mood – Italian Cuisine

Because chocolate puts us in a good mood

I eat too much chocolate. 1997 is the year of the release of an album by Giorgia that looks a bit like all of us. That we look for a chocolate cube when we come back from work, as soon as we wake up on Sundays or in those afternoons where everything seems black.
The rain, the phone call that does not arrive and the too many commitments that seem to suffocate us. Just in these moments, a bar of chocolate seems ready to welcome us, to tell us that it was waiting for us.

And every bite is a hug, a comfort, a smile. And if on the one hand it is thepositive effect of every comfort food that is respectable, on the other it can not be denied that that of chocolate it is also a question of chemistry.

Read also

Does it say chocolate or chocolate?


Let's start from here, that is fromgood-humor hormone. One of the main reasons we feel happier when we eat chocolate is that it is able to raise the levels of serotonin. But inside this greedy elixir of happiness is also present tryptophan, or the molecule useful for our body to synthesize serotonin. Bite after bite, therefore, we increase our chances of increasing the presence of the hormone of good mood in our body. And smile a little more.
But not only. In fact, cocoa also contains modest doses of salsolinol and salsolin or of the dopamine-derived alkaloids that function as natural antidepressants.

The craving effect

The common definition of this effect is the compulsive desire for a psychoactive substance for a food, but also for objects or other rewarding substances. And although there is a strong emotional component that drives us to look for a particular food and consume it consistently and in abundant doses, cocoa and chocolate contain substances that can create a slight dependence. For this reason it is good not to exceed in the doses: pamper our mood with a square of chocolate a day is a good habit, while giving us frequent feast could be dangerous.

Slice happiness

And now that we understand why we feel happier with a piece of chocolate in our hands, we just have to give us some joyful bite, maybe of your favorite cake. Or one of these 15 selected among the best we have prepared. Are you ready to feel happy?

Chocolate cake with coffee cream
Chocolate and almond cake
Soft Chocolate Cake
Chocolate filled hazelnut cake
Chocolate cake, red pepper and red fruits
Chocolate and coconut cake
Chocolate cake with walnuts and candied oranges
Chocolate cake with walnuts
Plum cake with oil and cocoa
Sacher cake
La Tris
Cake with chocolate
Chocolate frosted cake
Pears and chocolate cake
Ricotta cake and bitter chocolate

The autumnal vegetable of good humor – Italian Cuisine


After reviewing the tastiest autumn fruit, we could not possibly miss his counterpart, the vegetables. Autumn also here is able to give the best, giving us vegetables to discover and rediscover, rich in beneficial properties and perfect for light and appetizing recipes that trigger an immediate good humor.

The fruits of the autumn garden are colorful, low-calorie, rich in vitamins and minerals; in addition, they have properties that counteract aging thanks to the high content of antioxidants, which counteract free radicals.

If you never got along well with autumn, here's a series of good reasons to come back and make peace … at least, at the table!


Pumpkin: a full of potassium, beta-carotene and antioxidants without worrying about calories

Potassium, beta-carotene and very few calories: why just eat pumpkin just before Halloween? Decorative, good, tasty and perfect to maintain the line: in fact, it boasts a high satiating power in the face of an almost minimal caloric intake, and can therefore be inserted into any type of diet. Moreover, this autumn first-fruit is an excellent antioxidant and has purifying properties, which make it perfect for delicious velvety and soups.


Jerusalem artichoke: rich in iron and vitamins, helps purify, digest and fight cholesterol

Yes, we know, it is actually a tuber, but we can not not add it to this list for several good reasons. Jerusalem artichoke is very rich in iron and vitamins, and has more than one beneficial properties: it helps purify, digest, keep blood sugar low and fight cholesterol. Added to the salad will give a touch of flavor more not only to the dish, but also to health.


Mushrooms: low in fat and even fewer calories, in addition to abundant mineral salts and vitamin B

If we had made an exception for the Jerusalem artichoke, we also have to extend it to the mushrooms, as neither plants nor fruits. How could we, however, exclude the true protagonists, who, in the face of their few fats and even fewer calories, lend themselves to a thousand ways to be cooked? They contain abundant mineral salts, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, but also vitamin B; they are excellent antioxidants and help the body to protect itself from viruses, especially those coming with the first colds. Perfect in risottos, sautéed, even baked or raw in salads: you will not be spoiled for choice on how to taste them!


The cabbage: helps digestion and naturally prevents constipation, as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties

Nourishing and healthy, rich in fiber and fatty acids, the cabbage – or savoy cabbage – is a beneficial vegetable for health because of its recognized anti-inflammatory properties. Among its "superpowers", it helps digestion thanks to the richness of fibers and helps to prevent constipation naturally. It also contains vitamins A and C, as well as being a source of mineral salts such as iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.


Red radicchio: good diuretic and detoxifying properties in the face of few calories and many minerals, fibers and vitamins

Pliny the Elder called it "the Venetian lettuce": the radicchio preserves its history even in the Latin origin of its name, "radicula" or root. This typically autumnal delight can count on the one hand on low caloric contents (it is made up of 90% of water) and on the other on a good dose of mineral salts (calcium, phosphorus, potassium), as well as fibers and vitamins. Its nutritional characteristics translate into good diuretic and detoxifying properties as well as – due to the presence of polyphenols – antioxidant qualities. The extra advice? To taste it at best, for salads opted for an early variety (with rounded leaves), while in the case of risottos choose the late variety (with long leaves).

Marianna Tognini
October 2018


Chestnuts, queens of the forest: 5 good reasons to eat them – Italian Cuisine

Chestnuts, queens of the forest: 5 good reasons to eat them

October: it's time to chestnuts (and castagnate!). Thanks to an unexpectedly sunny autumn and the desire to be outdoors, many have reached the woods armed with baskets, bags and bags, to conquer the most greedy spoils of the season. Protected by curly and hidden by a thick carpet of leaves, the chestnuts are divided into two groups: those of small size and color dark brown, crushed on one side, with very tasty pulp and i brown, larger and with a characteristic heart shape, with a light brown striped skin that encloses a sweet pulp.

Very appreciated in the kitchen for its versatility, which makes it perfect for sweet and savory preparations, the chestnut is a real concentrate of vitamins is minerals but the good reasons to choose this autumn fruit do not end here!

Energy and good mood
The chestnut has a high nutritive power and is an important one source of energy, so necessary in this season. The high caloric rate is due in part to the low amount of water – the chestnut is composed of 50% of water – and to the wealth of complex carbohydrates like starch. Furthermore, thanks to the magnesium which stimulates the nervous system, it also seems to favor good mood.

Toccasana for mind and body
Small fruit, but beneficial for the whole body! In fact, the chestnut is good for mind, muscles is bones thanks to the vitamins of the complex B and al phosphorus, of which it is particularly rich, which help to keep the concentration high. It also contains a large amount of potassium, Useful for strengthening muscles and reducing rheumatic pains, and of sulfur which strengthens the bones and at the same time purifies the body. It is recommended during pregnancy because it is rich in folic acid, vitamin B group important in the prevention of malformations of the fetus. Thanks to the content of ironIt also helps improve blood circulation.

360º goodness
Chestnut is a precious source of fibers, which is very rich, and thus helps fight constipation. Even if it is not a cereal it has a nutritional value similar to wholemeal bread and flour and being gluten-free, can also be consumed by those suffering from celiac disease. Has a low fat therefore it is also indicated for cardiac patients.

Beauty ally
Chestnut cooking water has an effect lightening on the hair to which it gives shine, while the infusion with the leaves of the chestnut tree is a facial tonic, especially suitable for those with oily skin.

Versatile and delicious
Very famous the castagnaccio, dolce of Tuscan origin made with chestnut flour, and equally delicious tarts, cakes, rolls and in general sweets based on chestnuts and / or chestnut flour. More unusual, but not less good, the savory preparations that see among the main ingredients the chestnut: gnocchi, pizzoccheri and maltagliati for lovers of the first, but also meatballs, sautéed with vegetables and chestnuts, creamy velvety. And the chestnuts also end up in the sumptuous stuffing of the famous turkey Thanksgiving!

The only negative note: the high content of tannin and sugar, the consumption of chestnuts it is not indicated to those suffering from diabetes and who is a diet, also because the high sodium presence favors the assimilation of foods. Of course the energy content of chestnuts varies according to the type of cooking: if boiled, 100 grams provide 120 calories, which become 193 in the case of roasted chestnuts and rise up to 343 for flour.

How to use them in the kitchen
Chestnuts go always consumed after cooking and at the time of purchase it is good to check that the skin is whole, smooth and shiny. Before cooking, they must be left to soak in water for about two hours; spent this time those that they surface they are not healthy and therefore they must be eliminated. If instead chestnuts are harvested in the wood, it is better to wait 4-5 days before consuming them, so as to allow a part of the starches contained inside to turn into sugars, making them sweeter.

After the purchase they are kept up to 15 days in cold and dry placeIf you put them in the fridge, make sure you put them in a paper bag. You can also keep them longer, up to a few months, but first put them in a container covered with water at room temperature. This procedure is called "novena"Because it lasts 9 days: half of the storage water must be replaced every 24 hours, except in the fifth and eighth days, when the water has to be completely changed; the ninth day the chestnuts are removed from the water and left to dry.
In freezer at home, on the other hand, they are stored for 6-12 months, better if peeled.

The roasted chestnuts they go first engraved with a knife from the most pot-bellied part, then they are cooked in the appropriate area iron pan from the perforated bottom positioned above the embers – and not over a live flame – in the fireplace. It is necessary to shake them often, so that they are well roasted on all sides. They can also be cooked in the oven traditional or even in the microwave at maximum power for a few minutes, cooking that makes them very soft and tasty, even if you lose the characteristic burn of the peel, typical of roast chestnuts.

To prepare the boiled chestnuts they are engraved on the flat part and then cooked in boiling salted water, with bay leaves, for 40-45 minutes depending on the size. Finally, if you buy chestnuts dry, remember to rinse them and let them come out in warm water for 8-10 hours. Then you can cook them in milk with sugar and Cognac or use them for soups with fresh pasta, ideal for maltagliati.

The chestnut … good, healthy and for everyone!

Monica Pilotto
October 13, 2015
updated in October 2018 by Claudia Minnella


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