Eating Nose to Tail

Between making awesome tunes and flying all over the world, John B also spends time making delicious meals and letting us all have a look at them on Cooking With John B, his tumblr account devoted to food.

John B took some time to answer a few of my questions about food and cooking, and even share a few hints about his Mum's potato soup.
Photo credit
SO: Your food looks delicious!  How long have you been cooking?

JB: I started really getting into it a few years ago - when I broke up with my last girlfriend. She was really into too healthy stuff and I just kinda let her take over when we lived together, roasted vegetables with a bit of paprika on them, and over the top simple salads just wasn't cutting it! Plus - I now find cooking dinner for ladyfriends is such a good date activity. It’s much more fun than going out for dinner, cheaper too, and you get to demonstrate positive qualities.

SO: Got any favorite dishes you've been making lately?  Anything you've perfected?

JB: I think I've really started to nail soups. My mum makes an awesome leek and potato soup which I did a couple of times last week, it’s pretty simple to do, but really healthy and super yummy. Just sweat off a couple of leeks, an onion, carrot, seasoned etc for 15 mins-ish - then chuck in diced potatoes and some vegetable stock and simmer for a while. Then whizz it up with a hand blender and serve with cream and bacon on top. Love it. I'm getting pretty good at duck now too - pan frying it skin down to get the skin all crispy, then just brown off the rest and whack it in the oven for around 10 minutes - slice it nicely afterwards and do with a plum sauce and mash or whatever.

SO: Any particular favorite ingredients or techniques you've been using?

JB: I did a couple of slow-cooking casserole kind of dishes over the winter, Lancashire hotpots and lamb stew stuff. I bought a really nice casserole dish and lots of herbs - just following pretty standard recipes and cooking it low and slow until the lamb is super tender. It’s pretty heavy though, so I try to cook healthier, lighter stuff as well whenever possible.

There's a Gordon Ramsay recipe I always seem to go back to recently - think its on my site - the spicy chilli beef with mini gem lettuce and a nice sauce made with chilli, toasted sesame oil, fish sauce - good to share too.

A version of the Gordon Ramsey recipe mentioned above - using mushroom instead of beef. Photo credit

SO: I know you're a wine drinker - do you have any bottles you can recommend?

I'm a white burgundy man, currently really into Macon Villages, pretty cheap but just really nice. A good Chablis or Sancerre can't go wrong either. I had an amazing Pinot Gris from Alasace lately too - £11 a glass at the hinds head in bray though so can't drink too much or ill go broke!

SO: You're on the road all the time, do you have any favorite food destinations from your travels?

Whenever I'm in Miami there's a few places I always love to go - mainly light, sushi. Sushi Rock on Collins is always a favourite - but Doraku on Lincoln Rd is now my number 1 sushi in the whole world place. Followed by Sushi Samba in Vegas, I had a sushi with tuna, fois gras, caviar and gold leaf last time - amazing. Whenever I'm in Russia I love to get Blinis Ikroi - just the little blinis with the red salmon caviar - its much cheaper there than anywhere else and definitely a treat I reward myself with for flying on domestic Russian airlines.

SO: It's a particular interest of mine, but do you have any interest in nose to tail eating?

Errrrrr. Not entirely sure but I think I can grasp the idea. Not sure I'm fully into that but I’m all for trying new things. There are certain parts of an animal I don't think I'd like to eat, eyes, brain, and trotters etc. Even though apparently they're quite yummy. I do however like the idea of not wasting anything - that roe one you did looks interesting. I always thought you were supposed to throw that stuff away but I'll give it a go next time I do my seductive scallops.

SO: You should!  Scallop roe is delicious.  If the world were ending is there anything in particular planned for your last meal?

My Mum’s homemade lasagna would probably be up there - plus presumably I'd be eating it with my family which you'd want to be doing if you were about to melt into a fireball.

SO: Thanks again for doing this!

No problemo Sir!

And there you have it!  Lancashire hotpot, Mum's lasagna and white burgundy.  
Just because it's one of my favorites, here's a link to Robot Lover from John B's latest album Light Speed.
Another great big thanks to John B, and keep checking back here for a version of Mrs B's potato soup coming soon.
Some of you may know that Ross and I run, an online record shop that specializes in drum & bass.  Through the shop we've been lucky enough to meet a lot of really neat people - one of which was the very polite, very talented UK-based dubstep producer Ramadanman.

One night over the summer we had the pleasure of having Ramadanman and a few local dubstep DJ's over for some late night tea.  We talked extensively about what constitutes a proper cup of tea, and throughout our chat it became apparent that Ramadanman knew his way around a kitchen.  It occurred to me much later that he also has a pretty killer tune called 'Offal.'
Recently I got back in touch with Ramadanman and was lucky enough to get a quick interview with him about offal, cooking and food in general.

ENT - I gather you enjoy cooking.

RAMADANMAN - I'm a big fan of cooking, especially traditional French.

ENT - Traditional French cuisine uses a fair bit of offal - I'm thinking of pâté specifically.  Are there any French dishes you cook frequently or specifically enjoy?

RAMADANMAN -  I do like pâté in fact, and I did get to try some foie gras at Christmas time in France - at a school meal of all places.  By French cookery I'm thinking more French techniques of cooking rather than particular dishes - although all the famous French classics are wicked.

ENT - Do you cook regularly, and are there any offal dishes that pop up in your kitchen?

RAMADANMAN - I cook quite often, mainly simple stuff such as pasta, but generally once a week cook something a bit more special. I've cooked some pork belly before, although I wouldn't really class that as offal. All about slow roasting it for a few hours.

ENT - How did you come up with 'Offal' as a title for one of your tunes?

RAMADANMAN - Think I called the tune that cause it was kinda murky and a bit dark! Then again I might just not have eaten decent offal.

ENT - It's neat that you describe the song as dark and murky like offal.  Is it purely that offal are generally organs, and that there's something a little sinister about eating those parts of the animal?

RAMADANMAN - I think innards and organs are generally quite sorta...well almost taboo in our society.  Maybe some people find it weird eating a part of an animal that had a particular function. Whereas if you're just eating a regular say steak, it was just a bit of flesh, rather than an animal's tongue, which did something specific. I think abbatoirs and butchers can be quite dark places - a lot of references to that in films and novels.
Image courtesy of

I suppose that depends on which side of the knife you're on.

Thanks again to Ramadanman for taking the time to give us his thoughts about offal, cooking and food in general.  We hope to hear more about his culinary exploits in the future.