Tag: winter

Winter Warmer: when the beers are winter – Italian Cuisine


Intense personality, strong body and alcohol content, sometimes notes of spices and festive scents: these are the Winter Warmer, the beers that warm hands and heart in front of the lit fireplace


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They are part of those that are defined seasonal beers, i.e. those typically produced in a particular period of the year, when the ingredients are available fresh. For many breweries and micro-breweries, brewing seasonal beers is a tradition, especially during the winter months. The beers in winter, in particular, have an ancient history: before the industrial revolution in England, in the mid-eighteenth century, some beers were aged in cask (typically oak), for months and even years, a practice that greatly increased their profile aromatic. During the aging period, the tannins released from the wooden barrels added particular aromas to what were called Old Ale at the time, while the wild yeasts gave the beers a slightly sour taste. The origin of the Wassail (from old English was hál, literally 'to your health'), a hot punch traditionally prepared for the Christmas holidays by the monks: based on beer with a high alcohol content, apples and spices, it was widespread in southern England during the Middle Ages and today takes the most pleasant and Italianized name of mulled beer.

194913 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/WINTER-BEER-II-1.jpg "width =" 210Later, the winter Old Ale will take the name, also in England, of Winter Warmer (literally “winter-warmer”). Today a Winter Warmer is a traditional beer that is very rich in coming malt produced in the cold months: it usually has a structured body and is quite dark – but not as dark as one stout. Sometimes, winter beers are scented with spices (although they are not an indispensable ingredient), especially in the United States where they are called Christmas Beer.
The American Christmas Beers they are usually strong malted and spiced with a variety of ingredients, including cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and even vanilla. These caramel-scented malt beers evoke the familiar aromas of freshly baked bread mixed with citrusy spices.

194914 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/AA047630_.jpg "width =" 210In Belgium, where beer is serious business and every village or town has its own brewery (remember that the Belgian beer was declared a "World Heritage Site" by Unesco for the richness and diversity of local types), winter beers took hold during the Second World War, when local breweries decided to compete with the popular Scotch Ale introduced by British soldiers stationed in the country: the new born were dark and malty beers, more alcoholic than average and often quite sweet, sometimes strongly spiced, ideal for the winter cold. For example, the famous Chimay Bleue Trappist beer was born in 1948 as Chimay Bière de Noël (Chimay Christmas Beer); in 1954 it will take the name Chimay Bleue back to favor its production and sale all year round.

194916 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/AA577819_.jpg "width =" 210The main feature of winter beers is the alcoholic potency: the average alcohol content by volume varies between 6 and 12% vol. They contribute to the taste particular yeast strains, which may have notes reminiscent of the typical Christmas sweets: sultanas, plums, brown sugar and, of course, alcohol. All Winter Warmers are products that give their best in accompaniment to robust and spicy dishes such as braised meats and stews, full-bodied seconds of slow cooking red meat; often, the meat is perfumed during cooking by the beer itself, because it further enhances the taste while maintaining a certain lightness, thanks to the yeasts. Still niche drinks here are refinements to taste alone or in company, perhaps in front of the cheerful fire of a lit fireplace or comfortably seated on the sofa.

If we have inspired you or even just intrigued you, here are some greedy dishes with the scent of beer, to be enjoyed with a Winter Warmer, we suggest the pumpkin soup with juniper, the pork fillet with beer, the braised meat with small turnips and, to finish in beauty, the orange donut.

January 2022
Francesca Tagliabue

Posted on 12/01/2022


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Vegetables to choose in winter to deflate – Italian Cuisine

Black cabbage and dark cheese soup recipe

Which strains to bring to the table to combat bloated tummy and heaviness? Here are the ones low in calories and rich in anti-swelling substances

Lazy bowel, constipation, but also heaviness and a swollen belly can promote the swelling. At the origin of the problem there is often the lifestyle. Not only the overeating, but also the lack of movement. To counter the problem, seasonal vegetables can be excellent allies, but you need to choose the right ones. "Some varieties of the period such as broccoli, cabbage, cabbage, cauliflower in fact despite having few calories and many healthy virtues, in case of swelling they favor intestinal fermentation and worsen the problem", explains the nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino. So here are the vegetables to choose in winter to deflate.

Black cabbage

Also called kale or Chinese cabbage, black cabbage is excellent for counteracting bloating problems due to the formation of intestinal gas. "Its leaves are particularly generous in antioxidants including polyphenols that facilitate the work of the liver and facilitate the disposal of toxins," says nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino. In case of swelling problems, the ideal is to consume them steamed and seasoned with raw extra virgin olive oil, rich in good fats. "This combination allows on the one hand to make the fibers of this vegetable more digestible, on the other hand to better assimilate some fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin E, of which it is also an excellent source".

Red radish

"Consumed raw in salads before the other courses thanks to the richness of fibers, radicchio helps to modulate the assimilation of sugars that in excess can favor swelling and at the same time ensures excellent quantities of vitamin C, a substance that is sensitive to heat , but which has excellent detox properties , says nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino. "In addition, it provides minerals and antioxidants, including anthocyanins and ellagic acid, which counteract oxidative processes. Thanks to its particularly bitter taste given by the choleretic substances of which it is a source, it stimulates the biliary flow and the work of the liver . It also has a diuretic and draining action and is excellent in case of meteorism problems. "It facilitates the elimination of intestinal gas that favors a swollen belly".


Thistles belong to the same botanical family of artichokes and with these they share many properties including purifying and diuretic. "They are a good source of potassium, a mineral that facilitates the elimination of excess sodium that promotes retention and swelling. They then provide good amounts of ascorbic acid, with an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, and inulin, a fiber that helps to counteract the imbalance of the intestinal microbiota, which in turn promotes swelling ". The perfect match? «With anchovies, which have anti-inflammatory properties.


"Catalonian chicory is a vegetable particularly rich in magnesium, a mineral that stimulates the elimination of excess fluids, responsible for stagnation and retention. Thanks to the presence of "good" fats such as Omega 3 and antioxidants such as flavonoids, it fights inflammatory states, which can promote swelling , explains nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino. How to consume it? "Raw in salads combined with oranges and walnuts, which thanks to antioxidants and many other substances increase its detox action".


Chard, also called chard, is an excellent vegetable in case of constipation problems. "Provides a high fiber content with a laxative and diuretic action. Its leaves are also rich in substances that help the drainage of liquids such as chlorophyll and phenolic compounds, with a high antioxidant power. In order not to risk losing them, the ideal is to consume it raw or blanched quickly in a little water ".

Winter fish: abundant and convenient – Italian Cuisine


The sea is a living and vital place and, as such, it follows natural cycles that naturally also affect the species that populate it. This means that there is one seasonality of fish quite similar to that of fruit and vegetables. To be supported, also bearing in mind the origin, to discover that the Mediterranean, in winter, can give you great satisfaction.

Caught close by
The best deals, from the point of view of quality and wallet, are done with the local fish. It is therefore important to check thelabel, where the origin must be indicated together with the relative Fao code (the FAO is the United Nations organization for food and agriculture) which indicates the fishing areas. Zones 37.1 37.2 37.3 are related to Mediterranean, from the Balearics to Turkey.

What to buy in winter?
As the guide of Slow Food “Let's eat them right” (downloadable here), in our seas the cold months are the right time for straw bream, bonito, octopus, turbot, sardines, cuttlefish, mullet, clams. Available all the year they are gray mullet, murmurs, hake, glance, bream, monkfish, turbot, St. Peter's, saber, scorpion fish, mackerel, horse mackerel and zerro. In the fish market there are also excellent pink prawns, plump shrimp, delicate cicadas, savory lupins (common clams), fleshy anchovies, fine soles, elegant amberjacks. The gallinelle are small but full of flavor, the squid tender and perfect for stuffing.

Why follow the seasonality?
Buying fish specialties according to the season has several advantages. The first is, of course, optimal quality, especially in winter! In fact, specimens that swim in colder seas have firmer and more compact meats than in the hot season. Some species, such as sole, have just reproduced and are found leaner and more digestible. In addition, the low temperatures allow a better conservation of the catch.

An expense that is good for the environment
As Slow Food points out, fish are considered seasonal they are not in reproductive stage. Fishing them right now means respecting their times of growth and development, safeguarding the marine biodiversity. If in addition to this we turn to our own products, we limit the consumption of fish that comes from afar with long and polluting journeys, by sea or by land.

A look at the portfolio
Typical winter fish, molluscs and crustaceans have a lower price of other qualities which, not being in season, are imported causing prices to soar. But the convenience also comes from the fact that, when it's cold outside, meat is usually cooked more and, consequently, there is less demand for fish products and prices fall. The only exception anchovies which, swimming farther offshore, rather than under the coast as in summer, are more demanding to fish and therefore less economical than in the hot months, but on the other hand very tasty.

Better in the kitchen
Even the recipes in winter they are different: if in summer raw and quick cooking are preferred, now there is more desire to stay in the stove, turn on the oven or cook rich soups, letting broths and stews mumble over the fire. It is time, then, to try the recipes we offer you. Perfect for a winter table, dreaming of the sea.

194658Chicken fillets, fennel and baked apples. Prepare a sauce with 4 tablespoons of oil, a glass of Apple juice, a peeled and crushed clove of garlic, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a few tufts of Rosemary. Have 800 g of fillets of tub gurnard in a bowl, toss with the sauce and marinate for an hour. Clean 2 fennel (keeping some green barbina aside) and cut them into very thin slices. Also cut one into slices Red Apple with the peel. Arrange the fennel and apples, alternating them, on an oiled plate. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil and cook at 200 ° for 10 minutes. Turn the slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180 ° and add the chicken fillets, sprinkling them with their marinade. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with the barbine kept aside. For 4 people.

194659Stuffed mantis shrimp in the oven. Simmer 600 g of datterini tomatoes canned, with their liquid, in a pan with half a clove of garlic, a drizzle of oil, a pinch of salt and one of sugar. Pepper, remove the garlic and set aside. Chop another half clove of garlic with 20 g of dry porcini mushrooms and a tablespoon of bread crumbs. Mix this mixture with another 60 g of breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and the half grated rind lemon. Wash 16 mantis shrimp and clean them by removing the paws under the belly. Cut them with scissors along the back, spread them slightly and fill them with the aromatic compound through the incision. Arrange them in a pan with the tomato sauce. Drizzle with oil and bake in a preheated oven at 190 ° for 15 minutes. Complete with parsley shredded and serve. For 4 people.

194660Bonito rolls with sauce. Clean a deck of turnip greens, blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, drain, squeeze them and sauté them in a pan with a peeled clove of garlic, salt and chilli powder. Cut a bonito fillet about 800 g into slices slightly thicker than a carpaccio and lightly salt them. Divide the turnip greens over the slices and roll them up to make the rolls. Fry in a pan with a drizzle of oil 2 spring onions minced with an unpeeled clove of garlic, 2 anchovy fillets in oil chopped, a pinch of red pepper and the zest of a lemon into small pieces. Join 6 Cherry tomatoes cut the rolls in half and cook for 6-8 minutes, gently turning the rolls on all sides. Complete with 2 tablespoons of Taggiasca olives pitted, cut into small pieces. For 4 people.

194661Clam and bean soup. Put 400 g of dried cannellini beans, already soaked. Join 2 carrots in chunks, one onion sliced, a clove of garlic and 2 bay leaves. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for an hour and a half, adding more boiling water if necessary. Peel and chop another onion and brown it in a pan with a peeled clove of garlic and 4 tablespoons of oil. Combine 600 g of clams (already drained and washed), cover and let them open. Deglaze with a glass of White wine, evaporate the alcohol, turn off, drain the clams and peel them, keeping a few aside to decorate. Strain the stock and put it back in the pot with the clams. Season with chili dry and chopped parsley chopped, cook for a few moments and turn off. Add a sachet of saffron and stir to dissolve it. Add the clam broth, season with salt, turn off and serve. For 4 people.

January 2021

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