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.
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.
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!
Just because it's one of my favorites, here's a link to Robot Lover from John B's latest album Light Speed.