The Ship Inn, Newnham-on-Severn

The blue exterior of the cosy Ship Inn, Newnham-on-Severn

The blue exterior of the cosy Ship Inn, Newnham-on-Severn

One early March Friday evening, we headed to The Ship Inn in the pretty Forest of Dean waterside village, Newnham-on-Severn. It’s not difficult to find The Ship – it’s along the A48, in the centre of the village’s High Street and is painted bright blue, which I’m sure has been done for people to find it but also as a talking-point. After all, talking-points are the basis of all of the The Ship’s marketing ploys to lure visitors through its door.

In the past The Ship’s owner has unveiled the ‘Rat Burger’ – a lamb burger with rosemary and thyme, rather than a flattened roadkill courtesy of the A48 – and it is still on the menu. More recently the ‘Titanic Burger’, (deep breath in) a stack of ¼ lb steak burger, ¼ lb bacon burger and a 1/4lb minted lamb burger with three toasted buns, three potato rosti, red onion, sliced tomato, tomato ketchup and minted mayo, and of course the killer Iceburg (breathe out), was in the limelight. Gluttons who fancy themselves a ‘Man vs. Food’ legend are welcome to come and sink a Titanic (at £17.95) and if successful, make The Ship’s very own hall of fame. In addition to these key talking-points, you can often see signs along the neighbouring road to beckon passing-trade for their custom.

The relaxing restaurant environment at The Ship Inn

The relaxing restaurant environment at The Ship Inn

There is sometimes difficulty to park near The Ship – you need to find a space some where along the High Street as the pub/restaurant doesn’t have its own car park. After you push open the pub’s creaky entrance door you are met with a cosy, warm-lit small bar area to the right and the restaurant to the left. The interior has a nautical theme with natural wood, beige and mint-green and the sparkle of polished surfaces, crockery and glass make you well aware you are in a clean and relaxing environment.

We ordered some drinks at the bar, where a few locals sat on bar stools nursing half-drunk pints of lager, before we were seated in the lovely restaurant. We took our pint of Peroni and half pint of Scurvy Cure cider through to our table. The cider is very good but unfortunately I didn’t find out who makes it. Although a later conversation revealed the reason behind the cider’s name; apparently years ago sailors used to take cider on voyages as water or fruit would not preserve very well and the vitamins in cider would prevent the onset of scurvy.  Quite a convenient story about the cider that is served in a conveniently-named pub.

The lady on front-of-house advised us of the specials board, with a nod to the ½ lb barbeque beef burger with fries. We opted for two burgers, with a side-order of onion rings, to enjoy after the starters of whitebait with tartar sauce and filo prawns with sweet chilli dip.

Filo prawns and sweet chilli dip

Filo prawns and sweet chilli dip

When the starters arrived they were on a starter plate with a small bit of garnish and a ramekin. The starters to be honest, were pretty bog standard but I didn’t really expect any more – given we had ordered the filo prawns and whitebait.   The starters weren’t fresh, they had been bought in bulk – probably in a big box from Bookers – and thrown into a deep-fat fryer. I can tell, as for many years as a student I worked as a waitress and kitchen-prep – and I know a cash and carry, pub-grub, pre-made starter when I see one. The starters were edible, as I said I knew what to expect when we ordered.

 

1/2 lb barbeque burger and chips

1/2 lb barbeque burger and chips

After our empty plates had been collected our mains soon followed. Two burgers with fries and a side of onion rings were plopped down on the table in front of us. The first thing I thought was how enormous the vessel-like burgers were and that we didn’t need the extra side.

The gigantic bap stack was held together by its wooden crucifix, and the mountain of skinny chips accompanied it on a tin plate covered with parchment not unlike the stuff you get at an Ed’s Diner.  Pulling apart the burger I could see the a melted slice of cheese – possibly Monterey Jack (if not, it should have been) – under a gloop of sticky dark barbeque sauce. Underneath the beef was a potato hash on salad.

 

You need to use a knife and fork for the burgers at The Ship and the first slice of the beef I saw that the meat was cooked medium to medium-rare. The flavours of the juicy meat, with the smoky-sweet sauce and the creamy tang of the cheese was a heavenly combination. I was very glad the burgers were recommended to us as it was seriously delicious. The bun, although I didn’t eat too much, was white, soft and floury and very pleasant. The only criticism I do have is that I would have liked to say the onion rings were home-made – I think they had made the same trip back down the A48 from Bookers with the filo prawns and whitebait.

The burgers at The Ship are well worth the trip to Newnham for and I recommend that you go hungry. The atmosphere of the restaurant is always nice. I’m sure the landlord has some more talking-points up his sleeve and so in terms of the menu, I don’t think this ship has yet well and truly sailed. For now, anyway.

Dinner for two at The Ship for two courses, drinks and a tip came to £60.00.

The Ship, High Street, Newnham-on-Severn. GL14 1BY. Tel: 01594 516283.

 

Chocolate and Nutella Birthday Cake

Ahhh, June.  The month where it feels like summer officially starts for me.  The great thing about June is that it’s my birthday month, and my day is pretty much in the middle.  When I was a kid it was great because there was six months in between my birthday and Christmas, a time for lots of food and presents.

So many other people that I know also have their birthday in June.  So I’ve decided to post a birthday cake recipe that I made for a colleague, who’s birthday is five days before my own.

It’s inspired by a Nigella recipe but I made some changes!  The link is there as I didn’t want to seem as though I’m ripping off her recipe.  Plus, this cake is flourless so is great for those who are gluten intolerant.

Chocolate and Nutella Birthday Cake

Chocolate and Nutella Birthday Cake

You will need:

  • 6 large eggs (separated)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 125 grams of soft unsalted butter
  • 500 grams of Nutella
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 100 grams of ground almonds
  • 225 grams of dark chocolate
  • 100 grams of hazelnuts
  • 125 ml double cream
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.  In a large bowl, mix the egg whites and the pinch of salt until stiff.  In a separate bowl, beat 400 grams Nutella and butter together (this is very satisfying) then add the water, egg yolks and ground almonds.  Fold using a wooden spatula.  Melt 100 grams of chocolate.
  2. When the melted chocolate has cooled, fold into the egg whites slowly.
  3. Pour the mixture into two greased round cake tins/ silicone moulds.
  4. Put into the oven for 40 minutes, or until the cakes pass the ‘clean-knife’ test, and leave to cool.
  5. Slightly toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan (but do not burn as this will ruin the taste).
  6. In a good, sturdy saucepan, add the cream, the remaining chocolate and a tablespoon of water and melt together (this too is very satisfying).  When it has melted entirely take off to cool.
  7. Once slightly cooled, whisk until the consistency thickens.
  8. Remove the cooled cakes from the tins/ silicone moulds and place somewhere to decorate.
  9. On top of one cake spread about a quarter of the melted chocolate/ cream mixture  so it is spread evenly.  Then spread 100 grams of Nutella on the top of that.
  10. Place the second cake on top of the first, so that there is a chocolate filling in between.  Spread the rest of the melted chocolate/ cream mixture evenly on top of the cake, and decorate with the toasted hazelnuts.
  11. Leave to set and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.

Voila, you have one hell of a rich and gorgeously delicious cake.

 

Chocolate and Nutella Birthday Cake candles

Make a wish!

When I presented to my colleague for her 28th birthday, she was delighted – it helps she’s a complete chocolate monster.  The cake was so moist, rich and the hazelnuts on top gave a really nice texture.  Even though the cake was rich it was not too heavy, hence it being free of any flour.

If I’d gone with Nigella’s suggestion of adding frangelico, this would have probably given the taste an extra element.  Not that my cake was lacking in taste at all!

I’d love to know if anyone makes this cake for themselves, and if they add a twist.  Please leave a comment if so.

GloucestershireGlutton