Inside Clovis & Fingal Ferguson’s Kitchen

18th November 2016

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Emile Dinneen

The food producers at Gubbeen on a rule-breaking kombucha, a simple everyday knife sharpener and a cookbook with wonderful combinations


Mr Pettersen’s raspberry vinegar » 
Where’s this raspberry vinegar from? we ask, pointing at a bottle in Clovis’s kitchen. “Big John Pettersen,” replies Fingal. “He’s a local character. He reduces down the raspberries and makes this delicious sweet vinegar.” “It’s lovely in prosecco, in all kinds of things,” adds Clovis.

Miya’s shiso miso paste
Takashi Miyazaki, who runs Miyazaki restaurant in Cork City, gave Clovis a present of some of his homemade shiso miso paste shortly before our visit. “He said, ‘Oh I know your brother loves fire. Put the shiso miso on the pork belly after you’ve cooked it in dashi and blow-torch it.’” That’s exactly what Fingal does for our lunch and the result is insanely good. Shiso is a large-leaf Asian herb, AKA perilla. The paste also contains carrot, green chilli and yuzu pepper.

Durrus cheese » 
Fingal and Clovis give a shout-out to their cheese-making neighbours in Coomkeen, about 30 minutes north of Gubbeen, who have been making their trademark semi-soft cow’s cheese since 1979.

Earl Grey kombucha with ginger and grapes
Not many kombuchas we’ve tried in our time could be described as delicious, but this one definitely is. “The guru of fermentation, Sandor Katz, says don’t use Earl Grey tea in kombucha because there might be essential oils that stop the fermentation, but I love Earl Grey and got the most organic one I could find, and actually it works.” – Clovis



Kitchen Devils sharpener » 
What’s a good kitchen sharpener? we ask Fingal. “If you want an everyday, accessible knife sharpener, get one of those Kitchen Devils roller ones, with a slight valley off to the side. It’s not a great sharpener but it’s a practical one. Use it little and often, just keeping the edge sharp.”

Enamel draining plate » 
Clovis has a couple of wide, shallow enamel bowls with colander-like holes in the middle for draining. She uses it for washing garden leaves and vegetables – it’s a nice alternative to bulky plastic salad-spinners.



Salt, Sugar, Smoke, Diana Henry » 
“This book is all about preserving. Making things from scratch. Having a little jar of something lovely in a larder somewhere, pulling it out every now and then. She’s got good tips and recipes and lots of nice preserving methods.” – Clovis

A Year in My Kitchen, Skye Gyngell » 
My Favourite Ingredients, Skye Gyngell » 
Clovis admires Skye Gyngell “for her respect for ingredients and all the wonderful combinations in her books. These books the only two of hers I have, but anything I’ve seen of hers is always good. She’s teamed up with a grower who’s an old friend of ours, Jane Scotter of Fern Verrow, and Jane is now the grower for [Gyngell’s London restaurant] Spring. The whole thing – she’s doing it really well.”

Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Darina Allen » 
“When I got into cookbooks, there was only one I ever used. It was the Ballymaloe cookery course book,” says Fingal, adding that now he mostly uses Google for recipe inspiration.

Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef, Allegra McEvedy »
“I can’t help but love this cookbook by Allegra McEvedy – not least because of the knife connection.” – Fingal



Posted 18th November 2016

In Things


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Emile Dinneen

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