Things

Inside Louise McGuane’s Kitchen

26th April 2018

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

The whiskey bonder picks out some very good local beer, an Irish whiskey-tasting glass named after a mythological race, and her favourite food website

INGREDIENTS

Western Herd beer »
“Western Herd is run by a brother and sister who are vaguely related to me. They set it up in their family farm and the brewery is in the milking parlour. They did this beer for my husband’s birthday – it’s normally called Blue Jumper but I rebranded it Spitfire, because Dom is obsessed with World War Two. And this is their new session IPA called Islander, it’s lighter, nuttier, really good. We’re working together now: they’re making porter now and I’m sending them some empty whiskey casks for it to mature in. Eventually I’ll release a whiskey that’s been finished off in those casks.” – Louise

Burren Smokehouse smoked salmon »
“This smoked salmon from the Burren is quite famous now. Brigita Curtin, the amazing woman who set it up, is brilliant. It’s wild salmon, ethically sourced, and she smokes it herself. She’s got her shit together in terms of marketing, Burren Smokehouse is a global brand now, she sells it all over the world.”

Hazel Mountain chocolate »
“This is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker from the Burren, they bring in the beans and process the entire thing and do it really well.”

Anam coffee »
“We’ve got a couple of really good coffee roasters around here, including Anam Coffee up in the Burren. He sources single-origin coffee, goes out, buys the sacks, brings them in, it’s all ethically sourced. He has these beautiful Italian roasters in the shed in the back, he’s roasting amazing coffee.”

Bacon from Inagh Free Range Farm »
Louise slow-cooks an Inagh hock of bacon for our lunch. “They’re a smallholder in East Clare with rare-breed, free-range pigs, they have the best quality happy-days pork.”

Glenstal butter »
“It’s as close as you can get to farmhouse butter.”

Sriracha sauce »
After spending years in South East Asia, Louise craves this cult hot sauce. “At 11am, I’ll have a piece of brown bread and a fried egg and some sriracha,” she says.

OBJECTS

Tuath whiskey glass »
In the store room, Louise produces a beautiful glass so that we can sample her wares. “This is a new Irish whiskey-tasting glass, it’s called a Tuath, like the Tuatha de Danann [a supernatural race in Irish mythology].”

Big Green Egg »
“We go through phases of being really into barbecues, so we’ve got the Big Green Egg out there. We’ll go bananas on that, do big parties on it – briskets and randomly smoking vegetables, even pizza. And we’ve smoked a lot of meat on that in the past.”

Japanese knife
“I had this unbelievable Japanese knife until two weeks ago, when my husband gave it somebody to cut an apple tart, and it’s just disappeared. It was the most priceless possession in the kitchen, it was just perfectly balanced, perfect for everything. I miss it every time I cut something. A Japanese bartender gave it to me, he was an expert ice carver and I had him over for an event in Greece. I was talking about knives and he gave me his knife. I miss it so much. So I need to get a set now of killer Japanese knives. They’re super-expensive, but they’re worth every penny.”

Tala Cook’s Dry Measure »
“This thing is the best. I don’t have a weighing scales, so when the recipe says you need 300g of this or a pint of that, you just pour it in, shake it, boom.” This clever little device is particularly useful if you’re converting cup measurements in US recipes into milligrams or millilitres, or vice versa.

Nutribullet »
“They’ve rebranded these things, they used to be called Magic Bullets. They’re the handiest frigging gadget. I use it for grating cheese, mincing garlic and onions, this thing gets used every day. And it’s really compact. And easy to clean. I bought it off the telly seven years ago.”

BOOKS

The Kitchn »
“I use online stuff a lot, websites like Kitchn, if I need something quick.” – Louise

Food & Wine magazine »
“One thing we’ll do on weekends is go to the store and buy a food magazine, then pick recipes from it to make. It could be Good Food or Food & Wine. It’s good so you don’t get lazy, it makes you try different stuff.”

Food DIY, Tim Hayward »
Louise says she doesn’t really use cookbooks, but we spy this gem by Tim Hayward on her shelf in the kitchen, alongside a few barbecue books – Big Green Egg Cookbook and The Barbecue! Bible – and Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch.

The Lost Distilleries of Ireland, Brian Townsend »
We notice this interesting-looking volume atop a pile of books in Louise’s sitting room. She’s been doing her research, clearly.

Posted 26th April 2018

In Things

 

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

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