Saturday 30 April 2016

John Whaite's Fried Butter Beans and Avocado ( plus... pictures from the shoot - Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients)

I'm not usually one to brag, however, on this one occasion you'll find that this isn't the case as I have quite a bit of stored up information which I can now finally off load to you all. Aahhhh! (Can you hear my sigh of relief?)

Firstly, I can announce that I came 2nd in this year's Pink Lady Food Photographer Of The Year for the young 15-17 category. My photo - 'A Handful of Raspberries' was picked out by the illustrious panel of industry experts from the thousands of worldwide entries (over 7,000 entries to be precise!) and I was lucky enough to be invited to the Mall Galleries in London for the Finalist Awards evening, held on the 26th April 2016. It was a great experience in itself and to be in the same room alongside some of my idols (David Loftus- Jamie Oliver's food photographer, and Jay Rayner) was certainly a highlight for me! You can view my photo alongside all the other 2016 finalists' here. But if you do have a chance I would really recommend visiting the Mall Galleries, it's open to the public for a free exhibition but hurry as it's only there till the 1st May. 

On another note, this seems like ages ago now, but way back before Christmas time, John Whaite kindly invited me for work experience on shoot for his latest cookbook - 'Perfect plates in 5 Ingredients', published just this month. I picked up invaluable tips and tricks on cooking, food styling and photography, as well having a right good laugh and being able to try every dish going! It went to waste otherwise and so it would be rude not to really...

 Below are a few snapshots from my time spent with everyone on shoot for the book. 


John and me
LOTS AND LOTS of ingredients on standby - trying out a front book cover shot
John's latest book is pared back but plentiful, from breakfasts to puddings, there's a dish fit for every moment and mood, the brilliant part is that each recipe only requires 5 ingredients (apart from what we call essentials - salt, pepper etc...) but imagine how much of a time saver this is! I always sigh whenever I see a long list of ingredients because firstly I have to check I have them all, and if not - go and buy it, then weight it all out. Effort. 5 ingredients makes everything so much more simpler and that's what's perfect about it.

Photographer Helen Cathcart hard at work

From literally making my way one spoonful at a time through every recipe in this book, there's this one (Fried Butter Beans and Avocado) that I couldn't wait to try out at home. Mainly because I love a good brunch recipe and it's got avocado's in it!! All good brunch recipes have just got to include avocado in some form or another right?!

In essence, I like the fact that it's another veggie alternative to the classic fry up, wholesome and filling and I'd say healthier too. 

Recipe by John Whaite from Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients

Fried  Butter  Beans  and  Avocado

Serves 2


1 medium red onion
400g can butter beans
1 garlic clove
1 ripe Hass avocado
About 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar

50g unsalted butter
sea salt
black pepper


Peel and halve the onion, then slice it as finely as you can manage. In a frying pan heat half the butter over a low gentle heat and when it melts, add in the sliced onion. Add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of the sherry vinegar. Allow the onions to cook gently and caramelise until soft but not coloured, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Once the onion has cooked, put them aside in a small bowl and then drain the butter beans. Peel and mince the garlic and add it to the frying pan with the drained beans and remaining butter. Fry over a medium heat, tossing frequently until the beans are tender and coloured partially. 

Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Roughly chop the avocado into pieces. Add the avocado to the pan with the cooked onions and fry for a few minutes longer. Serve onto plates and sprinkle over salt and pepper along with a drizzle of the remaining vinegar to taste. 

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