Auckland-based food writer, photographer and stylist Kelly Gibney is passionate about delicious flavour-first whole foods. She shares beautifully photographed and styled recipes on her blog Kellygibney.com and Instagram at @kellygibney_wholehearted, where you'll find everything from slow-roast lamb with herb sauce and pomegranate seeds, to sea salt chocolate and olive oil brownies, all prepared in her Te Atatu kitchen. Gibney has also released a cookbook, Wholehearted, available at most book retailers. Here, she shares her at-home kitchen essentials with Be Well.
My kitchen at home is… a 90s reno that couldn't be further from what I'd like.
To turn it into my dream kitchen I'd… rip it all out and start again. I'd knock through the wall into our laundry and create a big cooking and eating space with a large wooden table at the centre. I'm obsessed with @plainenglishkitchens on Instagram and would love a kitchen that has some of their refined traditional kitchen vibe. I'm not a fan of bright white kitchens; I like moodier, textured spaces, with loads of natural light, plants and places to display my beloved ceramics.
Items I always have in my fridge are… capers, olives, cream, parmesan, sauerkraut and kimchi. These create yummy meals when you've only got basics.
My kitchen will always be stocked with… fresh and dried herbs. Also garlic, ginger, chilli and lots of lemon.
The pantry will always have… some gluten-free pulse paste for easy meals, red lentils for dhal and soup, rice noodles for quick stir-fries, tapioca and buckwheat flour for pancakes and crepes. I also have plenty of nuts and seeds around to make crackers, home-made granola, and to add yummy flavour and texture to everything.
One of my favourite ingredients is… mushrooms. I absolutely adore the millions of ways you can use them and the rich, umami flavour you can create. Mushrooms were one of the things I craved when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I couldn't get enough!
My go-to meal made with pantry ingredients is… noodle soups. Even my kids absolutely love broth-based meals. I'll pull homemade chicken stock from the freezer, dried rice noodles from the pantry and whatever veges I have on hand. To the broth I'll add miso paste, a little soy, dried chilli flakes, maybe a little curry powder and a little knob of butter (trust me it's good). Sesame oil on top and some sliced spring onion. I can throw together a noodle soup in no time and we're all happy.
I cook at home… constantly! I'm cooking all day every day. I spend lots of my week recipe testing for clients and cooking dishes that I'm photographing. I also make things like yoghurt, sauerkraut and stocks from scratch for us. Often I'll cook a separate kids and adults dinner too (I know every parenting expert says not to do this) because us grown-ups like big, bold flavours and spice. It's kind of incredible how many dishes can get produced in one day in our tiny kitchen.
In winter I love to make… slow cooked meat dishes, noodle soups and curries. In warmer weather we love to eat lots of Mexican, fish dishes and fresh meals like larb or Vietnamese rice paper rolls. I'm also very partial year round to a perfectly cooked steak and crisp salad.
My most loved and well-used kitchen tool is… a cast iron skillet. I've got three in different sizes and they live on my stove top because I use them every day. They're awesome for every kind of cooking. Well worth the investment.
A kitchen gadget everyone should own is… some sharp knives! It's incredible how much more enjoyable cooking is when you're not wrestling with blunt knives.
My mantra for living well is…. sleep. It sounds basic but it's life changing. It's incredible how every facet of your life (mood, energy, focus, self-esteem) improves after a good night's sleep. I think many of us have forgotten what it feels like to be truly well-rested. And it's free! No special equipment required! I'm really passionate about healthy eating but no amount of greens and veges will make up for a lack of rest.
Kelly has also shared two of her gorgeous recipes with us: