With extensive hospitality experience in Melbourne, New York and Auckland, food stylist, photographer and writer, Kelly Gibney is a lover and advocate of whole food. She shares her delicious and most guilt-free recipes on TV, radio, her website and most recently, in her cookbook ‘Wholehearted – Inspiring Real Food for Everyday.’ Here she shares how her journey has shaped her attitudes towards food and health.
Join Kelly in the Electrolux Taste Theatre for “Good Taste” – Sunday afternoon session (2.30 – 3.00pm).
How would you describe your love for food?
Kelly Gibney: I think food is another international language and it’s an amazing vehicle for showing love. Whether we’re cooking at home or enjoying an evening of fine dining, there are so many different cuisines to choose from – it’s endlessly fascinating and there’s always something new to be discovered.
Do you have a food philosophy?
KG: I believe in living a life which is pleasurable and enjoying the food you eat is a big part of that! We all have different body types and beliefs and in my new cookbook ‘Wholehearted’, there’s an emphasis on embracing a really broad definition of food and eating practices, where people are encouraged to incorporate modes of eating which suits them best, but are also good for us.
Who would you say are your biggest role models?
KG: I think Al Brown is a wonderfully unpretentious champion of New Zealand food. As Kiwis, we’re really starting to learn about what’s available to us in our own backyard and I think he’s been a really big advocate of incorporating fresh New Zealand produce in all his dishes. Michael Meredith is another prominent Kiwi chef who has used his talent to do wonderful things for New Zealand kids through Eat My Lunch.
What is something you can’t live without?
KG: Salt! I have so many different varieties in my pantry. There’s nothing better than a subtly well seasoned dish and salt can be the difference between home cooking and restaurant quality food.
You were involved in presenting at Taste in the Electrolux Taste Theatre last year. What do you love most about the festival?
KG: It combines everything I love – great hospitality, being outdoors in the sun with friends and great food! When I’m onstage with the other chefs in the Electrolux Taste Theatre, it doesn’t feel like a job at all – it’s actually my ‘dream job’! I love being on stage, chatting with chefs and getting the best out of them for the audience and of course, getting to taste the food afterwards!
Kelly shares her passion for healthy indulgence in a weekly “Good Mondays” column for Dish Magazine and here she shares her “Kumara Gnocchi recipe with broccoli, macadamia and basil pesto” (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian) which is also in her new cookbook ‘Wholehearted‘.
If you’ve never tried gnocchi before, please give it a go! It’s more simple to put together than you might think. The broccoli pesto adds a lovely nutritious touch and is really tasty. This vegetarian dish is a great one to serve up to friends or as a way to convince your children that vegetables are awesome. The gnocchi can also be made by replacing the sweet potato with parsnip. It’s quite a different flavour but is excellent too.
1 large orange sweet potato/kumara – washed
1 large/2 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup (85g) white rice flour
1/2 cup (60g) tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup small broccoli florets (raw)
1 tightly packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 small clove garlic – finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (65g) raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper
Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor. Blitz until a desired consistency. Process for longer if you like a smoother texture or shorter if you prefer chunky. Season generously. Preheat over to 180 degrees. Bake the sweet potato whole for 45 – 60 minutes until very tender. Cut in half and scoop out soft flesh. Mash until smooth. Place potatoes in a medium pot of cold water. Boil for 20 minutes until soft. Drain and mash until fairly smooth without adding any liquid. Combine the potato and sweet potato together. Leave to cool. You’ll need just two cups of the mash. Place in a large bowl along with the eff, half the white rice flour, half the tapioca flour and the salt. Use a wooden spoon to stir together. Add the remaining flour and use your hands to bring the dough together. It will be quite sticky.
Place the dough on a board that is well dusted with rice flour. Form a disc shape and cut into quarters. Cut each piece in half so that you have 8 pieces of dough. Re-dust the board and roll each piece into a log that is roughly 2cm in width. Cut at 3cm intervals along the log. Repeat this process until all of the dough pieces are used. Lay raw gnocchi out a large board or plates lined with baking paper. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water – 12-15 pieces at a time. They will be ready in 1-2 minutes – when they float to the surface. Repeat until you’ve cooked all the gnocchi**.
Heat a generous dollop of ghee in a large saute pan over a medium/high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden. Toss gnocchi with the pesto. Divide among plates. Garnish with fresh basil, cracked black pepper and salt. Serve immediately.
**You can freeze uncooked gnocchi for up to a month until ready to use. I cook them straight from the freezer in boiling water. I’ll always saute the cooked gnocchi if they’ve been previously frozen as they’ll have absorbed a bit of extra moisture in the freezing process and can be a bit sticky.