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My Kitchen Café #9: Simone’s Pasta With Broccoli And Almonds

Posted Sep 19 2010 12:00am

Let me start by saying thank you to all of you who left comments at my giveaway post . I’ll also be announcing the winner of the giveaway at the end of this post but before that, I must introduce you to this month’s guest at My Kitchen Café . She is Simone van den Berg
I first discovered her blog as a fellow Daring Baker and her gorgeous pictures there had me hooked. I was quite happy when she agreed to be my guest here this September.

Simone lives in the Netherlands and is a photographer by profession and her photography canvas encompasses much more than food . She tells me she loves cooking, attending cooking and pastry courses, and blogging which she discovered two years ago.
I guess most of us would agree with her when she says she sometimes finds it difficult to keep up with reading and writing for her blog, but she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

And now I'll let Simone share a bit of herself……..

Pasta With Broccoli And Almonds

When Aparna asked me to write a blogpost for her wonderful blog I was quite excited. I consider it an honour to write something for her blog which I have been following for quite some time now and let’s be honest; it’s beautiful!
Which immediately puts the bar a little higher to make beautiful photos to begin with. Little did I know at the time that life would become so hectic, so quickly!

So.... on to vegetarian food, as this is, obviously, a vegetarian blog. Now I have to begin by telling you that I used to be a vegetarian about 25 years ago. (Scary! How you can say something is 25 years ago and actually remember it clearly? Must be a sign that I’m getting old!)

I was a student nurse at the time and lived in a student house with a couple of people that are still my friends today. We took turns cooking and to be quite honest - I really could not cook at the time. My mom, as I have told the people who follow my blog, is not the best of cooks and her imagination when it came to creating new dishes was limited, to say the least.
So we had macaroni and cheese every friday (with some of those horrible fake ham types; we used to call it smack I believe), something with meatloaf every wednesday and usually the typical Dutch meal every other day of the week (which would be potatoes, vegetables and meat)

When I moved out of the house to live in the student house at the age of 19 years I knew little other then the potatoes and macaroni of mom. I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends there though, Jacqueline, and she liked to cook. And I think that is when this tiny cooking spark thingie that came to life, at that exact moment. So we started experimenting a little in the kitchen and we took turns cooking.

Sometimes I would cook (still not very good) and sometimes she would cook. We had a tiny, tiny kitchen that had to be shared with about 10 other people on our floor and only one little electrical cooking unit. So one pot meals only!

At some point in the two years that I lived there, I decided I wanted to become a vegetarian. Quite frankly I forgot the exact reason for that, but since I was a huge animal lover (and still am) and we are talking about the time when there was no biological farming and lots and lots of animal cruelty during the whole meat process, so I am sure that must have been the reason.

Now, as I am sure lots of you know, being a new vegetarian is hard work. 25 years ago I imagine it must have been harder then it is today, with all new foods and much more access to wholesome foods, farmers markets etc.
I am the kind of girl that wants to know all about any new passion so I started reading about good food, how to take care of your body while not eating meat and I started buying my very first cookbooks. I can’t remember all the ins and outs of it, but while being vegetarian for about a year I felt wonderful. Really!
I think the whole not eating meat for me, was a valid reason to think more about what I ate and to spend more time cooking and preparing meals, even when it was only for just me.

Like I cannot remember the exact reason for becoming a vegetarian; I also cannot remember the exact reason why I stopped being one. Maybe because I went over to someone’s house and they prepared a meat dish, or maybe it was another reason. I can’t recall exactly, but I do remember - very vividly - was the first time I ate meat again.
I felt completely horrible and bloated. It was SO heavy!! After eating wonderful greens and grains for a year, the meat did not go in very well. But as with all things; you quickly get used to it again.
So yes, I stopped being a vegetarian but I never stopped loving food and the effect it can have on our bodies.

I happen to live together with a guy who wants his meat on a regular basis, but we do make sure we eat vegetarian quite often too. Just because I feel there is still a lot wrong with the way we treat animals that are ultimately grown to be our food. And for that reason I want to buy biological or responsibly reared meats, which is more expensive. So I’d rather eat wonderful vegetarian meals a few days a week and then when I do eat meat or fish, make sure I eat responsible!

This dish is a wonderful example of a great vegetarian dish. I love my pasta simple and quick, especially during a week day. It’s simple but very tasty and can be adjusted to whatever you fancy.

Pasta With Broccoli And Almonds


150 gr of small shaped pasta such as oriechette

200 gr broccoli or bimi

almond flakes, roasted

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

lemon zest and some juice

olive oil



Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high and add the garlic. Once softened add the broccoli and saute for a few minutes until tender. Add the lemon zest and some juice.

Cook the pasta of your choice and grate some fresh parmesan. For serving, toss the broccoli with the pasta and sprinkly with the roasted almond flakes and the parmesan.

The copyright for this post and photographs rests with Simone van den Berg of Jungle Frog Cooking and are reproduced here with her permission.

And now for the winner of the CSN giveaway , picked by the random number generator which picked comment number 34.
I’m happy to announce that the lucky person who gets to shop for $80 at the CSN Stores is Jo Ann. Congratulations! Keep checking you inbox for mail.

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