I was asked to tell the Evening Standard about my worst hangover of 2014, heaven only knows why they picked me.

The article was published here.


The worst one? There are too many candidates. I suppose there’s always a hangover of something, if I think about it, but epic ones are memorable, known in the trade, and in Ireland, as “the fear.” It starts at the moment of awakening, before the eyes open. There is the silent writhing melancholic horror of consciousness with the dread of opening the eyes for terror of not knowing where you are or how you got there. Might there be an injury, or a tattoo? Was it a good idea to boast in the Groucho at 3.30am that you had the keys to the pub in your pocket? Who am I? Has my brain shrunk? (It feels like it’s rattling in my skull).

These thoughts are easily dismissed as occupational hazards. Usually it gets better after that, but, occasionally, it gets worse. When the elixir (Peter Langan’s fino sherry soaked apricots, below) doesn’t work and the Berocca bucks fizz is not helping, (who would consume dog hair?), oh what is Vieille Prune? I can’t be specific about dates and people, times and shenanigans (for legal reasons and to protect the vulnerable) but safe to say I have a breadth of experience. Tuesday Irish session at The Ship always a likely candidate. The proof is when I watched the film, “The Hangover” and I keep thinking, yeah, I’ve done that, and that, and that’s not a surprise, oElixirh yeah, I know him, I’ve been there….





Langan’s Elixir, instructions.

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The Ship’s very simple, incredibly delicious Yorkshire Puddings.

10 large Yorkshire Puddings.

200g plain flour.



A little salt and pepper.

Some olive oil, or if you prefer, vegetable oil.

According to our chefs Yorkshire puddings are incredibly easy to make. They are chefs though so for the rest of us mere mortals I asked them to explain it to me step by simple step.

First of all, one of the most important things is to attempt to have equal parts plain flour, egg and milk. That is to say that if you had three jugs side by side, one filled with each, the ingredient would go up to the same line on all the jugs.

Of course that’s easier said than done. An egg is not the same as every other egg especially these days. Should one start with large eggs, medium eggs or small eggs? Free range eggs or any will do? Ones with speckles on the shell or without?


Free range, and the same amount as 200g flour (in volume not weight that is) apparently.

Next you whisk them all together, very thoroughly, chef thoroughly.

Our chefs then recommend leaving the mixture in the fridge over night for the best results.

Once you’re almost ready to eat your Yorkshire puddings (don’t let anyone tell you you can’t have them any/every day of the week) pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees.

If you have Yorkshire pudding trays (you probably don’t need to be reading this recipe) wonderful, if not some type of shallow cupcake tray will probably do. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into each base and place them in the oven until the oil is piping hot.

Then, carefully top each one up with your Yorkshire mixture, pop them back in the oven at 190 for 14 minutes. This should get you very simple, incredibly delicious Yorkshire Puddings… If not pop them back in at 160 degrees for 3-4 minutes and you will definitely have very simple, incredibly delicious Yorkshire Puddings.

*A shrug absolutely does not mean it does not matter, quite the opposite in fact. This is probably the most important part.

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Scotch Egg Challenge 2014 – Entries now open.



Who can do an-oeuf to win?


Entries are now open for the fourth annual Scotch Egg Challenge taking place at Young’s pub, The Ship in Wandsworth, on Tuesday, 16th September.


If you’re a restaurant, pub, cafe or food shop and you serve a cracking Scotch egg then get entering for your  chance to be crowned the nation’s best. Last year, The British Larder in Suffolk took the trophy home with its mouth-wateringly good (and good looking) smoked venison scotch egg.


All shortlisted entries will be put to the test in the kitchens of The Ship for what promises to be a fiercely contested cook-off.  The final judgement will lie in the hands of a panel of food experts who will cast their vote for the best entries following a blind tasting.



The deadline for applications is the 15th August, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to take what was once a humble bar snack to the next level email ship@youngs.co.uk for an application form. For those wanting a slice of the action on the night, a limited number of tickets to the Scotch Egg Challenge will be released shortly.



For more news, updates and the announcement of the final line-up, read The Ship’s blog at www.theship.co.uk/blog or follow us @ShipWandsworth.




The Ship, 41 Jew’s Row, Wandsworth, London SW18 1TB

020 8870 9667





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Ox Roast


Sometimes we take on a challenge. This is a pretty big one. It was Charlie Carroll’s idea. Charlie is founder of Flat Iron, the steak restaurant in Soho specialising in undervalued ‘butchers’ cuts of great quality beef. He sources his meat from a third generation beef farmer in North Yorkshire, who specialises in rare breed cattle. Charlie proposed an ox roast. As far as we can gather, an ox roast has not been done in London since the 50s, although they were very popular in Victorian times. So, Charlie has chosen a 250kg longhorn steer, which is currently on a finishing diet including 150 pints of London stout. We intend to roast the whole animal on a specially designed spit at The Ship on the week of 14th April, for sale on Easter Saturday 19th April.


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Fillet of sea bream with clam and saffron butter, crushed new potatoes, Swiss chard

 For two people:

1 sea bream filleted

200g potatoes

Swiss chard 2-3 leaves, with the white centres removed.

A pinch of saffron

Roughly 20 clams

100g of butter

1 lemon

2 diced shallots

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

150ml white wine

Filet of Sea Bream with Clam and Saffron Butter


Boil the new potatoes in salted water, drain and cool, roughly mash with the back of a fork.

Finely slice the Swiss chard

Take the tail ends off the fillets and score the skin with a sharp knife.

Soften the shallots in a little of the butter, add 100ml of the white wine and the saffron then reduce by 2/3, then whisk in the remaining butter a little at a time and keep warm.

Fry the new potatoes in olive oil until golden and crispy.

Heat a small sauce pan until very hot, throw in the clams and remaining white wine and cook until the clams open. Stir in two tablespoons of the saffron butter until emulsified. Season with black pepper and a little lemon juice. Keep warm whilst cooking the fish.

Heat a frying pan until smoking hot. Season the bream fillets on both sides. Add a little oil to the pan. Cook the fillets skin side down for two minutes until golden. Add a small knob of butter, turn over the fillets and remove the pan from the heat. Leave to cook in the residual heat for another minute.

Add a little butter to the new potatoes and stir through the Swiss chard until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the potatoes and chard in the center of a large plate, top with the bream fillets and pour over the warm clam butter.

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How to make the Ship’s Scotch Egg

It’s about time we shared our scotch egg recipe with you. There are a couple of secrets to getting it just perfect.

The trick is to have the white fully set and the yolk runny. We use large free range hens’ eggs and we boil them from room temperature for exactly 5 and a half minutes. They are then plunged into iced water to stop the cooking process. The pork used is about 35% fat and we mostly use belly cuts for the mince. Here’s the method:

Finely chop carrots, onions, leeks and celery into a brunoise. Sweat them in a pan until soft. Leave them to cool before adding them to the pork mince, as hot vegetables should not be added to raw meat. Mix the finely chopped sage, parsley and thyme with the pork, season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place each egg into a rolling boil for 5½ minutes then quickly submerge in ice cold water. Press 95g of mince flat in the palm of your hand then wrap around the egg. Flour it, then dip in egg. Coat with seasoned panko breadcrumbs and place in the fryer for 5 and a half minutes at 180°C. Take it out and place in the oven at 180°C for a further 5 minutes.

The mince should be cooked through and the yolk should be fabulously runny. Enjoy.


Cycling in Mallorca

I’ve been commuting for a couple of years on the pushbike, with occasional forays to Box Hill and once to Brighton on a clunky hybrid. I took the plunge only a couple of weeks ago and purchased a half-decent road bike.

For a break, I took a cheap flight to Mallorca to cycle. My old buddy Dan has made himself an expat out there with his lovely family. He lives surrounded by almond and orange, lemon and pomegranate, palms and a pool. He has set himself up a rather cool cycle-touring business on the natural harbour of Puerto de Soller where I was his guest for a couple of days. It was dreamy, ascending with one of his posh bikes behind on a ribbon of perfect asphalt through foothills into rising glens and rocky rugged peaks. Then sailing down the other side through glades of ancient, craggy olive, rocky crevices and unlikely picturesque villages and rolling hills of farmland.

Mallorca is an island of contrasts. Further on were forests of sweet-scented pine, huge thickets of redolent juniper, and gorse down to a beautiful craggy red rhyolite bluff shoreline. With warm fresh air and unseasonable sunshine over a warm sea it was enough to lift the soul.

En route we refuelled at unassuming cafes on local delicacies and tapas; Empenadas; snails in pork broth; peas with artichokes and calves liver; spicy mejillones; albondigas con salsa and beer so refreshing that never tasted so good. With very little traffic and accommodating drivers it is easy to see why Mallorca is hugely attractive to both amateur and pro cyclists. We climbed to the top of Galilea, through tree lined streets of Puigpunyent and dropped at exhilerating speed down the sweeping descent from Valldemossa in the direction of Palma.

I’ll surely be back, the short trip for a few days worked well. Next time I’d like to to take a leap, to be fit enough to tackle the 10km climb of Sa Calobra and the 14km climb of Puig Major – these two are the iconic routes Dan has promised to show me on my next visit to this unique and beautiful island.

Marsh-mallows.com is Dan’s enterprise. He specialises in the luxury end of the road biking world. Challenging holidays rather than training camps. That, along with private bespoke trips for small groups of cyclist and challenge events for the competitive corporate lot.

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The Scotch Egg Challenge 2013 Finalists

We’re very pleased to announce the full list of finalists for the Scotch Egg Challenge 2013, taking place on Tuesday 17th September. Congratulations to all.

The British Larder

Bumpkin Restaurants

The Canbury Arms

The Drapers Arms, Islington

Duck & Waffle

Fino & Barrafina

Fish Market

Gauthier Soho

The George Inn, Chideock

The Grove, Balham

The Henry Root

Kitchen Table

Marquis of Westminster

The New Inn, Baschurch

Peyton & Byrne


Princess Victoria, Uxbridge

Rivington Grill

The Swan, Bampton

Thatched House, Hammersmith

The Queen Adelaide

The Victoria, East Sheen

Whyte & Brown

To purchase tickets, go to http://endhunger.actionagainsthunger.org.uk/scotchegg – all proceeds go to international charity Action Against Hunger. It’s set to be a brilliant night. If you’d like to learn more about the Challenge, have a look here: http://www.theship.co.uk/blog/2013/05/03/its-back-scotch-egg-challenge-2013/

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Regarding the wonderful Sipsmith distillery.

If you haven’t yet visited the Sipsmith distillery, you’re missing out.

On being invited to a distillery ‘tour’, a certain image forms in your mind of being led through cavernous rooms crowded with giant vats of bubbling, fermenting liquids; the ultimate big boy’s chemistry set. Imagine our surprise when we arrive at the address provided to find a small, pretty, suburban house with a two-car garage attached. Tentatively knocking at the door, we are beckoned in by our guide for the day and all-round expert Georgie to discover that Sipsmith’s distillery is indeed housed in an ordinary garage.

This small scale is crucial to their production process. Each batch of their artisan gin and vodka consists of 500 bottles, a figure which, as Georgie informs us, most major global distillers would be able to bang out in the time it takes to sneeze. It’s a cliché to say that the smaller the scale of production, the higher the quality of a product, but that doesn’t stop it being any less true. The buttery, peppery vodka warms as it slips down the throat and can quite happily be drunk neat, as can their riotously fruity London dry gin.

Sipsmith's delicious Summer Cup

Crucial to their product is their use of a magnificent copper still by the name of Prudence (her sister, Patience, is still under construction, the result of increased demand for their goods). Copper is a porous metal, the  molecules of which expand when heated, and thus is easily absorbs impurities. As a result it’s the perfect material for the dedicated distiller. It does, however, cost a fair whack of money to create a copper still, and that’s one of the reasons why they’re actually the first distillery to open in London within the past 200 years.

Equally important is Sipsmith’s willingness to innovate and experiment. The shelves lining the walls are heaving with the weight of hundreds of glass bottles containing smoked venison vodka, mustard-infused gins and other crazy creations, some of which have worked brilliantly and some of which will never see the light of day. But every now and again their spirit of discovery has created a winner – their master distiller invented the utterly delicious Summer Cup (a stronger, punchier, tastier version of Pimm’s No.1) simply because one hot summer’s day, he wanted to see if he could come up with a better recipe. In short, he succeeded.

Although you’d think a proliferation of craft distilleries would be the next logical step after the recent and welcome explosion in the microbrewing trade, Sipsmith are really the only significant small venture of this nature currently operating in London. It’s a wonder that more haven’t followed in their footsteps, but few would show the level of dedication, persistence and sheer honest hard work that the Fairfaxes and their colleagues have put into setting up this business. If you haven’t sampled their wares, come down the Ship and we’ll have you converted within minutes.

Jo Ellery


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A Sunday night announcement.

Exciting times here at the Ship. We’ve got some news to share with you, and we hope it’s the news you’ve all been waiting for.

On Sunday 1st September, Levi Roots a.k.a. Mr Reggae Reggae Sauce himself will be playing live acoustic music from his new album here at the Ship. It’s going to be a Caribbean-themed day, with our barbecue given over to fantastic grilled food inspired by his recipes. Expect spicy flavours and plenty of jerk chicken. Levi will be here all day to hang out so swing by and say hello; he might even give a cooking demo, and there will certainly be lots of his famous sauce knocking around. No tickets, entry fee or bookings, just a laid-back day of great food, drink, music and company.

If that isn’t reason enough to head down here, 1st September will also see the return of the Sunday night band. We’ll have one of our much-loved duos playing in the bar from 8.30pm. What’s more, they’ll be playing here every Sunday night from that date onwards.

We hope you’re as thrilled about this as we are. There will be more information to follow, but we just couldn’t wait to tell you all.

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