John Whaite's Perfect Plates in 5 ingredients: Book Review

When fresh face John Whaite won the #GGBO in 2012, he was seating for a law degree, a lot has happened since then. He is now running his own cookery school and he makes regular appearances on TV as a presenter. Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients, released in April 16, is his third book.

The opening sentence is, "In all honesty, I was dreading writing this book." Personally, I can relate 100% to this. Though john was talking about the "5 ingredients" challenge and not at all: a third in a series.

When your first book is published, you feel very lucky and somewhat undeserving, the second is never too hard to get (provide the first was good) but somehow the third seems a challenge for luck and hard work have been consumed and now the public knows what to expect. 

John Whaite has managed a beautiful book with interesting recipes. Home food, exotic but familiar.

For example, if you have cooked with Chorizo it's likely that you have added this ingredient to chickpeas or beans to make some kind of stew. At this stage, instinct says: crushed tomatoes or passata but John has us braising our dish in cider or sherry. This may not be new to hispanophiles but is uncommon enough to create a little frisson, flavour combo is great too.

With each recipe, only 5 ingredients are used and by stripping dishes from the superfluous, John Whaite gets an interesting collection of plates. The book is divided in Plates: Morning, Hearty, Everyday, Worth-the Wait, Posh, Many and Sweet.

For the foodies in your family of friends, this is a book to add to the list of presents.

John Whaite will be appearing OnBlackheath the music and food festival on Blackheath mid-September. Check the program out.

Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients is published by Kyle book and can be purchased on

Limoncello Plum Tarte

tarte, frangipane, plum, limoncello

It's Glut time. This season, plums are plentiful. Once you have jammed, made cobblers, given kilos of plums to the people you like and shoved even more through the letterboxes of these you don't. What do you do?

Turn to the drink. Plum and limoncello complete each other nicely. Just in case, here is a quick reminder: Limoncello is a cocktail of vodka and lemon. Here it gives a little kick to the smooth texture of the frangipane.

tarte, frangipane, plum, limoncello, top shot, lakeland

Earlier in the summer, I attended "Xmas in July" the presentation of all things Xmassy by several brands. As usual, my preferred show was that of Lakeland. Always full of useful kitchen gadget, though I can't say that the plastic shot-pipettes stroke me as useful at first. But, always curious to try, I thought that this limoncello tart would be the perfect experimentation ground. After sucking the liqueur in the pipette, it's released by pressure to the top. It works. I would definitely recommend these Shot-Tops.

tarte, frangipane, plum, limoncello,
Frangipane is one of France's many traditional foods associated with Christmas celebration, it's a filling made with almonds, it's found in Bakewell tarts and a few other bakes too.

But back to our recipe, Limoncello and Plum Tarte

tarte, frangipane, plum, limoncello, top shot, lakeland

500g ready-made shortcrust pastry
zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
4 tbsp double cream
100g pack ground almonds
5 eggs
100g butter, melted
8 tbsp limoncello liqueur
10 plums, stoned and cut into wedges

200g golden caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven 160C (gas) or on 4
  2. Roll out the pastry and place it in a 25cm tarte/quiche tin - bake blind for 10 minutes
  3. Put the lemon zest and juice, cream, almonds, sugar, eggs and melted butter in a large bowl and whisk until smooth then stir in the limoncello.
  4. Place the plum on the pastry. Pour over the mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Check the colour in the last 5 minutes.
  5. Let it cool and sieve icing sugar on the top

If you like the idea of a frangipane tarte, check these blogs out:

Pear Frangipane tarte with black sesame by De tout Coeur Limousin

Pear and Frangipane tarte by tartelette

Peach and Rosemary Frangipane Tarte by Cloudy Kitchen

Lobster Pasta aka Pasta All'Aragosta

 When a recipe is supposed to look like so

                                                      But ends up looking like above

I used to get very upset when my dishes didn't turn up like the original pictures, then I started blogging, rubbed shoulder with some of the best food photographers and quickly understood that a picture gallery is very much like a wardrobe. 

What's New in the Kitchen #14 : Tried-and-True

I am Tilda's biggest fan. But without a microwave, their pouches were, so far, out of my reach. Not anymore, the new Tilda Pulses 'n Rice can be eaten quickly stir-fried or straight from the pouch, if you are in a real hurry . The new range is international (Mexican, Moroccan, Japanese and Caribbean style).

It should be heaven, right?

Wrong, I love the packaging and the range has proven to be very handy when in a hurry for lunch. 140g is small but the content is satisfying though a little seems to get lost in the creases at the bottom of the pouch, annoying.
Tilda can be trusted to offer organic products, all of which are gluten free. Sadly the taste was disappointing, the new range of 5 has been crafted by Bruno Loubet. Its's cheap and satisfying but nothing really stands out. RRP £1.35

Heinz summer range
Heinz sauces

This summer, the 140 years old brand is "adding a little Magic" to our dishes. As usual promotional material can be a little over the top. Used on a side of a plate or squirted over a dish these sauces are handy but often taken for granted, it's good old Heinz, afterall.

Mix them within a dish and yes, it's almost Magic. I added the BBQ sauce to a burger mix, using the sauce as an ingredient in its own right and the burgers were brilliant. Same with the piri-piri used as a pork chops marinade. RRP £1.25- £3.65
My heart goes to gluten intolerant sufferers as I always find the products, dry and slightly rough to my palate. Same here, though Nairn's is usually a tasty brand. One nice thing about these crackers is the ingredients, full of nutritious seeds and omega3 rich RRP £1.75

Lemon Curd

Lately, I have been obsessed with  fresh fruits as if my body was telling me to quick, quick do something to store a little of summer so that it could face the months to come, happily.

curd, lemon,

With the abundance of summer fruits and the in-season citrus,  I have been jamming, canning as much as the pantry space will allow me. I found a quick recipe for a deliciously tangy lemon curd. Curds seem to be coming back in fashion. Probably because the orange and lemon curds are making way for new flavours. Take blackcurrants, Lucie at Baking Queen 74 adapted a BBC blackcurrants curd recipe with very effective results.

Inheritance Recipes - August 16 -

Not all strawberries are red, the white ones, pre-date the red ones, they taste of pineapple
Welcome to August edition of Inheritance Recipes. The holidays season is open us. Time for friends and family gatherings, some of us will stay in the UK some will travel further but we are all likely to come back with a recipe or two which we had forgotten.

GiveAway #33 : Cirio Goody bag

It may not have escaped the assiduous Pebble Soup readers that I celebrated the 160th Birthday of Cirio tomatoes in the presence of Doctore Antonio Carluccio who told us "with Cirio tomatoes you can do a hundred things... No! a thousand things, my mother used to cook with Cirio tomatoes". Now it's your turn

The lovely Cirio tomatoes people are offering one lucky Pebble Soup reader a Celebration Goody Bag containing........

crème caramel

Today is the 14th July and I am trying very hard to conjure the one dish which embodies French homemade food. I grew up in a multicultural environment so I remember much more the colourful Moroccan family reunions than the rather subdued French ones.

My mum never cooked, she was on an eternal diet, my dad did, though, but only at the weekends as he spent the weekdays away from home. So if I had to name the dish that represents France for me, I would have to dig in the food I used to love and one of these was the crème caramel pots found in supermarkets 

In these days, I may not have put it so eloquently but there is something very sensual about the creamy soft filling and its runny caramel top. The crème caramel of my childhood was of course not home made but it had several elements of fun. 
       Its name to start with. He still talks about camarel, the way I used to when I was a child and I never told him it was wrong.



Related Posts with Thumbnails