Mondays are always full of positive intentions for the week ahead, which makes them an excellent day to eat fresh and delicious vegetarian food inspired by the seasons. Each fortnight, Kelly Gibney of Bonnie Delicious wholefoods blog will be sharing original and exclusive recipes to make it easy to start the week right. Her philosophy is that food should first and foremost be tasty, with healthiness being an added bonus of many of her wholesome creations.
We thought we'd introduce her to you, so asked her about everything from the contents of her fridge to her pet food peeves. Here's what she had to say...
How did Bonnie Delicious come about?
Bonnie Delicious was named after my daughter. Her gorgeous little smile and hilarious energy are a constant source of inspiration. Having her two years ago was a real turning point for me. Everything was turned upside down (in the very best way) and it became obvious that it was the perfect time to start doing something I was truly passionate about. I've always loved food (having worked in restaurants, bars and events forever) and been interested in healthy living. I studied photography after finishing school and spent some time assisting a food and prop stylist when I lived in New York in my early 20’s.
Creating the blog brought together all the things I love doing and gave me a way to share and express the things I was working on.
What’s your earliest cooking memory?
My sister and I would play “cooking show” after school from about age 10. We would chop things up and pop them into little ingredient bowls like the TV chefs always had.
We would chat to the kitchen window as though it was the camera and cook up delicious delicacies like stuffed jacket potatoes, cornflake truffles, macaroni cheese and devilled eggs.
To be honest I did most of the talking - I’m a bit of a chatterbox. My sister was a very loyal assistant and eating partner.
What’s in your fridge at the moment?
Homemade kefir - I’m obsessed with it at the moment; fancy goat cheese left over from an event I worked at last week; lots of veggies and homemade stock for the soup I’m making tonight; some homemade mini gluten-free date puddings; Lewis Road Creamery single cream (for my morning coffee) and homemade kombucha. There’s also always free range eggs and kale or silverbeet - ready for an easy frittata or omelette.
If you had to only eat the cuisine of one country, which would you choose?
That is so tough! It would be probably be toss up between Japan or a Mediterranean country like Italy or Greece.
Do you have any food pet peeves?
I’m uncharitably peeved by fussiness or an unwillingness to try new things. I love pretty much everything (except junk food) and am always really excited to try new things.
What's the best dish you've eaten in the past year?
The dish that left me talking about it for days was a Mapo Tofu from Spicy Joint on Dominion Road in Auckland. Really hot and big punchy flavours. I love good Chinese food. It’s not a cuisine I ever replicate at home so it always seems a little bit magic to me.
What are your top three places to eat and drink in New Zealand?
Dominion Rd - I live in sandringham and am always looking for an excuse to rally a group to try out somewhere along the strip. So many delicious eateries. Depot - I adore the simplicity and perfection of how they serve seafood. Great wines and lovely service. Hard to beat. My mother-in-law's house - my partner's parents live in Waipu, two hours north of Auckland. His mum, Susan, is a really excellent cook (though she seems unaware of this) and has an incredible huge garden. I’m always inspired when we’re there. Last time we visited I left with Jerusalem artichokes, chamomile, grapefruit, rhubarb, greens and lots of herbs. My daughter spends the summer running around the orchard and raiding the strawberry patch. It’s idyllic.
What recipe are you proudest of?
I really love my Gluten Free Chocolate and Blueberry Cake and my Lemony Brussel Sprout Slaw w/ Dates, Pistachios and Mint. Both illustrate the way I like to approach cooking. Healthy, real food that you can feel great about eating and tastes amazing. I’m always trying to figure out if there’s a delicious twist I can put on a recipe.
What or who influences your cooking?
I draw inspiration from all kinds of places. Though I most often choose to cook with a wholefood approach I’m inspired by many different chefs. I love David Chang for his punk spirit and incredible play with flavour, Yottam Ottolenghi for his deft touch with produce, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Nigel Slater are both real favourites too.
The seasons and the available produce inspire me too. Rich, slow-braised dishes and puddings in winter and lots of salads, seafood and green smoothies in summer.
Which other food blogs are regularly in your search history?
There are so many! It’s amazing to me that the new media blogger world is largely dominated by women. I find that very cool. I love Local Milk, My Darling Lemon Thyme, Yummy Supper, Home Grown Kitchen and Dolly and Oatmeal. Those are just a few, as I'm bit of a blog addict!