Friday, 19 September 2014

Pierate celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy there, me hearties! For those who are unaware, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yes, that really does exist! No, I am really not making this up!


For inspiration you can follow the hashtag #TalkLikeAPirateDay on Twitter and find out who's getting involved. Take for example Morrisons, who are not only the only UK supermarket to have their own dedicated pie counter but also got in the Pirate mood by dressing up today!


But as much as we love talking like Pirates on the web's leading pie review blog, what we REALLY love to do is talk like a Pierateer! And that means lots of talk about PIES!!!


So while we don't want to completely pie-jack International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we'd love to share a few pie pearls with you to get you talking! Take for example our 7 Cs we sail - the 7 criteria on which we rate all our pies. Or our pie pun dictionary, which includes some right pearls of punnage. Or even our pie treasure map, which shows you where the best independent pies can be found!

But most of all, we'd love you to find golden treasure of your own - pie treasure, to be more precise! So why not check out our Pie Rankings, which lists over 425 pies that we've rated on our 7 Cs to help you know where you can find the best treasure of all - a top rated pie! And to whet your appetite, check out our current Top 10 below:

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreByInfo
1
Paul's PiesSteak and Guinness
6.73
TJP
2
King's Farm [HP22 6BH]All Steak
6.7
SJL
3
Paul's PiesChicken and Mushroom
6.55
SJL
4
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Venison and Red Wine [Thierry Henry]
6.5
RAS
4
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Lamb and Veg with a hint of mint [Ian Wright]
6.5
RAS
4
JB Christie [ML6 6BU]Minced Beef Scotch
6.5
SJL
7
The Real Pie CompanyPork, Bacon and Parsley
6.46
RAS
8
Jekyll and Hyde Pub [B4 6BJ]Steak
6.45
RAS
9
The Pie KitchenChicken, Chantenay Carrot and Bacon
6.43
SJL
10
Mr KiplingApple
6.42
RAS
V
10
Mr KiplingApple and Blackcurrant
6.42
RAS
V
10
PieministerBeef and Brandy [Kate and Wills]
6.42
TJP


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "Pierate celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day"

Saturday, 13 September 2014

How to have your own PIErty!

A Pie Party with homemade Pie Review


Coming soon – how to have your own PIErty! But for now, a little teaser of the homemade baking part of the full article to come:


Of course no pie party would be complete without some homemade pie baking going on! And while we may have got complimented for the pastry of our Crocodile Pie from none other than Michel Roux Jr, we’re certainly still firm believers that we (apart from the Ship’s Cook) are primarily pie raters, not pie makers! So we’ll leave making pies to the pros and get on with the important job – rating those pies!!!

And what’s even more awesome than asking a friend to make you a pie (or five) is arriving home after a long week at work and finding a pie tin (note: definitely not a cake tin with pies in) on your doorstep! Recently I had the pieleasure of rating Sophie’s Apple and Raspberry mini pies. Now of course you’ll immediately spot that one of them has a crumble lid, which we’ve already discussed at great length and determined does slightly detract from the score, so the following is a review of the fully encased pie, followed by an adjusted score for the crumble lid (even though it tasted just as good – but that doesn’t make it a proper pie!!!)


After heating in the oven for 15 minutes on 180 degrees, the pies were crisp and a nice colour. Not quite golden piefection but I didn’t want to over bake them and ruin the taste and filling. The home grown apple and raspberry content was on the whole very nice, though a fair bit of contrast between the sweetness and sourness of the fruits. There was definitely a bias towards the raspberry in my pies and I personally would have liked to have sampled just an apple pie, as I think the raspberry detracted slightly from the filling.

Being quite small pies, it is always hard to get the pastry:filling ratio quite right, but Sophie did a good job and the pastry was nice and firm, but a little flaky. No soggy bottoms in sight, the pastry was the highlight. A slight downside of the condition though was that the lid didn’t seamlessly merge into the side pastry, with a very clear lid/base distinction. Of course being home grown fruit, this is an ingenious way to score highly on the cheapness (unless you’re using Harrods flour or something!)

Overall, a great little pie, which would have rated higher if a bit more apple content and in a larger version, where the pastry:filling ratio would naturally have improved. Great job!

Sophie’s Homemade Apple and Raspberry Mini Pie
Score: 5.64/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 7, Content 5.5, Total: 5.64/7]

Sophie’s Homemade Apple and Raspberry Mini Crumble Pie
Score: 4.93/7

RAS


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "How to have your own PIErty!"

Friday, 5 September 2014

Michel Roux Jr rates an extra slice of the Pierateer’s Crocodile Pie

In our first ever TV appearance, Michel Roux Jr rated the Pierateer's Crocodile Pie on NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!

If you missed it live, you can watch our TV debut now on BBC Pie-player by visiting:

Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (Episode 5)


In what is one of, if not the most, surreal moments in Pierate history, Pierateer Rob and The Ship’s Cook Emily were complimented for the quality of their pie pastry during an appearance on BBC Two’s Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (we are on between 15 and 17 minutes). Having sampled the Crocodile Pie that Pierateer Rob made, Michel Roux Jr (the acclaimed Michelin Star Chef at Le Gavroche and judge on Masterchef: The Professionals) complemented the quality of the pastry – even if the filling let us down when he found the crocodile meat a little dry. Don't think we'd have got 7/7 on our 7 Cs of pie rating!


Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Set
The Crocodile Pie and Pastry Crocodile on the Extra Slice set
Thanks for favouriting our tweets Michel Roux Jr and Shappi!

But considering we just make and rate pies for "The love of pie", this was a massive coup for Pierateer Rob, who was in fact making his first ever pie pastry completely by hand, rather than using shop bought (it must be remembered that we are primarily Pierateers – raters of other people’s pies – rather than pie makers!) and you can read about how the Crocodile Pie was made in our reci-pie article.

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice
Crocodile
The hit BBC Two show “An Extra Slice” is a spin-off of the hugely popular baking series “Great British Bake Off”, which had just been celebrating their own Pies and Tarts week. In the episode, host Jo Brand showed a range of clips from the tent, interwoven with photos from members of the public who had sent in their baked efforts and a taste of a few pies and tarts brought into the studio.

While we are of course completely biased, it came as no sur-pies that Jo and the celebrity panel were very intrigued by the Crocodile Pie that the Pierateers brought in. No strangers to exotic pie baking on their Pierate pie blog, they had previously made Zebra and Horse Pies, along with Wildebeest and Springbok Pies and a hugely unsuccessful Python Pie (or Pie-thon, as we called it!)

The panel had a mixed reaction to the Crocodile Pie, with the afore mentioned Michel Roux Jr thoroughly enjoying the pastry but Alan Johnson MP and comedian Shappi Khorsandi both refusing to eat the pie, the latter in fact claiming she had turned vegetarian in between finishing the previous meat pie being sampled and the sampling of the Crocodile pie! (Perhaps Shappi should check out our Vegetarian pie reviews page instead!)

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Pies
The Crocodile Pie made for the Extra Slice
Needless to say though, despite the mixed reaction of the panel to eating Crocodile Pie, this was one of – if not the most – exciting days out in Pierate’s near 5 year history! Of course, the bread and butter of what we do on Pierate is rating pies up and down the country and across the world – so that you know what the best pies are near you. With over 425 pies rated in our Pie Rankings we hope there’s a pie there for everybody.

But it sure is nice to get a com-pie-lement from a world renowned celebrity chef of the calibre of Michel Roux Jr every now and then! And who knows - perhaps after sampling our pie Michel will invite us round to his place for a pastry sampling at Le Gavroche sometime?!

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Pierateers
Pierateer Rob and the Pierate Ship's Cook, Emily
Extra Slice - Crocodile Pie Review
"Show us your pies!" - during the TV coverage
(Screenshot from BBC, taken by Shereen)

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

If watching us on the Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice has ins-pie-red you to want to get in touch with the Pierateers, please visit our Contact Us page.

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The Croc is coming... #GBBO

The crocodile pie is coming! Check it out tonight on BBC2's

Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice at 9pm!



Crocodile Pie Review
Crocodile


If you missed it live, you can watch our TV debut now on BBC Pie-player:

Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (Episode 5)


However, due to time pressure, a lot of what we said in the studio was edited out of the show. So once you have watched the programme, don't forget to get the full picture by reading our article on the show!



Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "The Croc is coming... #GBBO"

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Pierate Radio! Pierateers receive 3 radio shout outs!

With great power comes great responsibility. Or so we hear in Spiderman!

And here on the Pierate Ship we’re taking our role as UK Pie Experts (otherwise known as Piefessionals) very seriously. After all, when a breaking news story relating to pies fills your tv screen, the radio airwaves or your twitter feed, you will naturally want to know “What do the Pierateers make of all this?!”


That’s why we’re doing our best to address the key pie news stories that might be keeping you awake at night. Take, for example, our recent article on the Scottish Referendum. No – not that one. The one about whether we should vote yes or vote no to having pies sold in our hospitals, which caused a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your view) debate on BBC Radio Scotland recently. We had our say on twitter, saying:


What they unfortunately forgot to address on the radio debate was (a) that the pastry product they were particularly debating on wasn’t even a pie and (b) that what is most important is whether this pie (or “pie”) rates well on the 7 Cs – otherwise it shouldn’t be sold ANYWHERE!!! You can read more about this in our review of the pie debate.

But we also had a shout out on BBC Radio 2’s The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, as the self-professed pie fan held his annual “Pie Day” on the last Thursday of August. They were of course still debating the previous evening’s controversial episode of the Great British Bake Off, which contained a controversy in the kitchen as some ice cream was taken out of the freezer by another contestant and not put back in!

But alongside Mary Berry on the phone in, we had our text read out on air as “Rob from Birmingham” aka Pierateer RAS said:

“We’ve over achieved this morning – sending in 5 emails and photos to British Bake Off about our pie wins and pie fails for the Extra Slice show!”

This is of course relating to the fact it is Pie Week on Great British Bake Off this week – and we for one thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s episode (so why not catch up on pie-player?!) and look forward to an Extra Slice on Friday! If you didn’t catch it at the time, you can see our summary of the episode by looking at our #PieWeek tweets on our @pierateers twitter feed!

And let's not forget the mentions we got on BCfm Radio in Bristol today too - as Cath and Alex on the Food Show were busy promoting the Grape and Grain Festival with Henry Herbert and Henry mentioned his pie masterclasses! We hope to attend one day!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I'm in the mood for Grumpies of Cornwall pies

Grumpies of Cornwall pie review

Cornwall might be more famous for its pasties, but we're thrilled that Grumpies of Cornwall avoided the obvious and chose to make top Cornish pies instead (well, we're not Pastyrate, after all!) And even more thrilling was that we got our Pierating hands on some of them! Will Grumpies put me in the mood for pie, or just put me in a mood?

pies

This is a selection of 'Chicken Gammon and Leek', 'Steak and Ale', and 'Blue Cheese and Walnut'. The first thing that strikes me is the packaging is pretty cool, with a cartoon of the two grumpies and the transparent window to admire your pie. It's a clever packaging design. 

The proof is in the eating, though - should Grumpies change their name to Grumpasties?

First up is the Grumpies Steak and Ale pie. Neat little touch there with the bull notched into the pastry. I like it. The pie is in great condition and the golden brown colour is spot on. There's no leakage or boil out, and no blemishes or cracks on the surface.

steak pie

Cracking in to the pie, the pastry gives way nicely - it's crisp and not too soft. There is a slight air gap, however - the pie isn't filled completely to capacity. The pie also isn't particularly big - I think you would certainly want this as part of a meal rather than as a meal in itself. However, I see that the filling is of good quality, with lots of nice chunks of steak and some mushrooms too.

steak pie

Eating the pastry, I realise this is some of the best pastry I've had. It has a wonderful crispy layer on the outside, and melts in your mouth as you bite into it. The content also tastes delicious. The ale comes through quite strongly, I feel, which personally I like but others made find it too strong. The steak is not chewy. I really like the taste of this pie, and the pastry is excellent. However it is a little let down by its air-gap and its cost (which, at £3.50 a pie I think is maybe a bit on the expensive side for not a particularly big pie).

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 6.2
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.4
Consistency: 6.2
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Steak and Ale pie
Score: 5.9/7
TJP


Next up is the pie that most intrigues me - the Blue Cheese and Walnut. (Side note: As Matthew over at Food and Geography will no doubt tell you, Stilton is a protected food name so any blue cheese not made in a specific geographical area can't be called Stilton). Just when I was going to suggest that Grumpies use a local Cornish blue cheese, I check their website and see that they do just that! Yes, apparently it's a creamy Cornish blue in this pie - excellent, we love it when companies use local produce.

stilton pie

Again, like the steak and ale pie, this pie is in excellent condition with a perfect colour. On opening up the pie, the creamy contents threaten to spill out over the plate in a tidal wave of yummy goodness before I can get a photo of the contents. As you'll spot, there's an air gap here similar to that in the steak and ale pie. However, the pastry is again sublime, and the filling is also very tasty and deliciously rich! 

stilton pie

I must say, this pie is probably rather an acquired taste - I love blue cheese (and I think everyone should!) but I know many people that would run a mile at the sound of blue cheese and walnut. I might also add that the filling also doesn't look 100% appetising, and was a little runny, I felt.

Nonetheless, I would heartily recommend you give this pie a shot. It's delicious and the pastry is excellent.

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 5.2
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.5
Consistency: 5.2
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Blue Cheese and Walnut Pie
Score: 5.63/7
TJP

And now onto the Chicken, Gammon and Leek.
chicken leek pie
Similar to the other two pies, this pie is of perfect colour and condition. Can't wait to tuck in!
chicken leek pie
This cross-sectional view shows that the filling is of high quality, although there is a slight air-gap again. I felt the pie was a little low on volume of filling, but the filling that was there was a delicious combination of gammon, chicken and leek. The sauce had a nice consistency and the chicken was not at all chewy. Again, the pastry was excellent. This pie would be the perfect accompaniment to a glass of crisp white wine.

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 5.5
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.5
Consistency: 6
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Chicken, Gammon and Leek pie
Score: 5.79/7
TJP

Overall, some very yummy pies from Grumpies of Cornwall! Pierate Recommended. 

continue reading "I'm in the mood for Grumpies of Cornwall pies"

Monday, 1 September 2014

Honourary Pierateers celebrate the 200,000 page views landmark

We continue to be amazed at the volume of hits we are receiving on our little pie blog! After reaching 100,000 views on 15th February 2014, it has taken just over 6 months to jump to 200,000 views by 29th August 2014! And such has been the meteoric rise of the Pierate Ship – and the appeal of our slice of internet pie across the country (and the world) – that it is becoming a nice but increasing problem to fit everything we want to do around our “normal” jobs.

That said, they always say things are better late than never, which is why we are delighted to have finally had the pleasure to once again meet up with and bestow our title of Honourary Pierateers to Ashleigh Auld and Olivia Rust.


Did you know?!


The title of Honourary Pierateer is bestowed by Pierate upon those who show great commitment to pies in general and to the Pierate blog more specifically. They are awarded when we reach a major page view landmark.

Previous Honourary Pierateers are:
tOBy walteR (10,000 page views) – son of a pie-fan family and friends of Pierate, the Senei
Rosa (25,000 page views) – friend of Pierate and pie tax activist
Paul (50,000 page views) – maker of what is still (to date) the best pie we’ve rated on Pierate

Ashleigh and Olivia
Ashleigh and Olivia

Of course we met up with Ashleigh and Olivia over a pie. That won’t take you by surprise! But if you are a relatively new follower of the Pierate Pie Review blog, you may not be aware that we actually have quite a strong bond with the ladies at Ashleigh Auld PR, which is finally being recognised by the award of this Honourary Pierateer title! Here’s a little summary of the great support Ashleigh and Olivia have shown towards our pie blog:

November 2013 – Having been a follower of our pie blog and the @pierateers twitter feed, we were delighted to get contacted by Olivia to do our first ever interview – which formed the basis of this article about how the Pierateers came to be and what International Pierate Day is all about!

December 2013 – Pierateer Rob met up with Ashleigh and Olivia in central London at Canteen London to rate a pie together. This formed the very first “Pierateer in Training” session and led to two pie reviews of Canteen’s Turkey Pie – our own Pierate review and one written by Olivia. These pies also featured in our “12 Pies of Christmas” music video!

February 2014 – Pierate hits 100,000 page views and starts arranging a meet up with Ashleigh and Olivia to award them their honourary title.

July 2014 – Pierateer Rob once again meets up with Ashleigh and Olivia in central London – this time to rate a pie together at The Gun, Docklands. The ladies are awarded “Pierateer in Training” badges, Pierate t-shirts and mugs and two pie reviews of the Goat pie we rated are posted online – our own Pierate review and one written by Olivia.

September 2014 – Ashleigh and Olivia are officially unveiled as Honourary Pierateers after we reach the 200,000 page views landmark!

So a big thank you to Ashleigh and Olivia for the support they have shown to Pierate thus far! And while they are only murmurings at this point in time, we are already discussing our next meet up with our new Honourary Pierateers being a very special pie event in London, to hopefully tie-in with the 5th anniversary of Pierate! Of course, there is just one place you need to check back for more details once this pie-roject gets the go ahead and that’s www.pierate.co.uk!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "Honourary Pierateers celebrate the 200,000 page views landmark"

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Pierate's Crocodile Pie Recipe attempt!

Crocodile Pie Recipe Attempt and Review!


I have to admit, when I woke up a few days ago, I was not expecting to be attempting to make a Crocodile pie this Saturday! But - follow a number of very exciting emails - I have been tasked with making an "exotic pie - like the Pie-thon pie you made before". Now, we all know how badly the Pie-thon (Python meat pie) turned out... so my challenge is to attempt to create a crocodile pie reciPIE that is both presentable and edible - a bit like the homemade Horse and Zebra pies we made last year!

Python Pie Review
Our not so successful Pie-thon (Python Pie)

Regulars to our pie blog will know that we have eaten a whole menagerie of exotic animals in commercially available pies during our time on the Pierate Ship - including Camel, Ostrich, Bison, Kangaroo, Zebra, Horse, Wild Squirrel and a Crocodile Pie! And the last one is kind of the issue... The Nice Pie Crocodile pie was so well rated that I don't think I'll ever be able to match it! At 6.39/7, that is an incredible score for an exotic pie (or pie in general) on our 7 Cs of pie rating! But I'm willing to sink my teeth into the challenge and see if I can make a half-decent crocodile pie for my special guest pie raters!

So here we go then...

The crocodile meat was already purchased from www.exoticmeats.co.uk and came in a frozen state as part of their "African Selection Box" - hence already making a Zebra pie, Springbok pie and Wildebeest pie.

Having defrosted the crocodile meat, the first step I took was to find a suitable recipe to vaguely follow, but as there were no obvious choices of crocodile pie recipes, I decided to head for the BBC Good Food's website and follow this "Creamy chicken, ham and leek pie" recipe - but ditch the ham and substitute the chicken for crocodile meat! Apologies in advance to the Hairy Bikers if I end up ruining their lovely recipe in attempting to adapt chicken to crocodile...

I nipped to my local supermarket to get the items I didn't already have in the house. Sadly when I asked for some crocodile meat juices, they didn't have any in stock... (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

But back at home with my ingredients at hand, I was ready to attempt a first on the Pierate Ship - Crocodile Pie!


Crocodile Steak
Crocodile Steak
Step 1 - Heat the chicken stock in a lidded saucepan and then add the chicken crocodile meat for 10 minutes.

Step 2 - Create the creamy sauce, containing leeks.

Step 3 - Cut up the cooked crocodile meat and add to the sauce. Here's where I then went a bit AWOL and decided to slow cook the pie filling for four hours, just to add a bit more tenderness to the meat.

Step 4 - Make the pastry using flour, butter and egg. Make sure you line the whole dish - we are DEFINITELY not making a top-crust here!

Crocodile Pie Filling
Crocodile Pie Filling
Step 5 - Input the filling into the pastry casing. You will notice that I actually added some additional peas into the mix, just to baulk out the filling slightly (crocodile steaks aren't exactly the biggest!) and add a bit of extra texture plus one of your 5-a-day!

Step 6 - Add the pastry lid and, if you're feeling creative, a pastry crocodile to the top! (Just in case you forget what's inside the pie!) An egg glaze will help improve the colour of the pie.

Step 7 - Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes on Gas Mark 6.

Step 8 - Serve an extra slice to your guests!

Crocodile Pie Review
The finished Crocodile Pie!
RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "Pierate's Crocodile Pie Recipe attempt!"

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Case of the Scotch Pie

In our search to find what makes the best Scotch Pie we have been looking at producers big and small. Today sees the turn of supermarket chain Morrisons to come under our proverbial pie microscope to examine if their take on this classic pie is any good. Given that I am also trying to review every pie on the Morrisons pie counter I thought I would go for a bit of a double header. Morrisons also have a Chicken Curry Pie which uses the classic Scotch Pie case and reinforces the Northern roots of the supermarket chain (see our article on what makes the best Scotch Pie to see what makes these cases different).


The Chicken Curry pie was slightly more expensive at 89p but neither of these pies were going to break the bank, both being relatively cheap. They weren't very big pies but still represented some of the cheapest pies available. They were indeed made in very similar cases with classic, crunchy Scotch Pie pastry. But which would win the much coveted title of 'Best pie in a Scotch Pie case being sold at Morrisons in 2014'????



Scotch Pie Chicken Curry
Condition 3.0 - Excessive boil out had caused the top of this pie to have a burnt effect. A bit too lumpy. 3.2 - The pie had a bit too much boil out to be pretty, but not as bad as the Scotch pie. There was a tinge of yellow where the curry sauce had leaked out.
Colour 4.0 - Other than the boil out there was a great golden colour to this pie. 3.7 - Very similar golden colour to the pastry, a shame about the 'hi-viz' yellow of the curry sauce, only recommended if you are eating your pie in the middle of traffic...
Cheapness 6.5 - At 69p and considering this pie was quite full of meaty content, this was great value.  4.5 - Slightly more expensive, but still quite cheap, however, there seemed to be a lack of meat in this pie which meant it felt mediocre in terms of value.
Capacity 4.2 - Not bad, the rim at the top of the pie wasn't too excessive and there was minimal airgap. 3.2 - The rim did seem to be a bit excessive on the Chicken Curry, the filling was pretty shallow despite a small airgap.
Chewiness 5.5 - A great texture, crunchy pastry coupled with a nice and moist filling, only the rim slightly let this pie down (it was a little too hard). 4.5 - Similar pastry crunch to the Scotch Pie, the filling had a slightly less pleasant texture being a bit too liquid.
Content 3.3 - A standard minced beef filling. The taste of the filling was a little disappointing, it wasn't meaty enough. It had a slightly peppery kick but was a bit bland. 2.3 - Not a filling that I would recommend, the taste of a bland chip shop curry sauce. There wasn't really much in the way of chicken but a vague taste of chicken. 
Consistency 4.0 - Fatty and oily, just like you would expect. A pretty good example of a quintessential Scotch Pie (if not a great Scotch Pie). Have tried this multiple times and it is consistent. 3.0 - This pie doesn't really work, there just isn't enough attention to the filling, I did get another one to check they haven't got better. They haven't.
Total 4.36 out of 7 3.49 out of 7

The classic Scotch pie wins outright! In truth, it wasn't very difficult, the Chicken Curry pie didn't put up much of a fight. But I won't take this away from the Scotch pie. If you are quite into your Scotch pies (like me) it is a pretty good option in terms of supermarket versions. They are also quite often on offer so it is something I would buy again.

Champion!

Beef Scotch Pie (Morrisons Pie Counter)
4.36/7

Chicken Curry (Morrisons Pie Counter)
3.49/7

SJL 


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "The Case of the Scotch Pie"

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Scottish Vote: Should pie be served at a Hospital?

On a wet and miserable Bank Holiday Monday, a debate was rumbling North of the border. It captured the attention of the host and listeners of BBC Radio Scotland and hit the headlines in a number of newspapers and other news outlets. Oh, and I’m not talking about the Scottish Referendum, by the way. (Or the far more important Scottish debate – Should the Scotch Pie be independent?)


The question being debated was in fact a lot closer to our heart… or in fact all our hearts, if you believe this headline from The Telegraph:

Hospital canteen's 'fry-up' pie is 'heart attack on a plate'

Fry Up Breakfast Pie Review
The pie sparking this controversy - Photo: The Telegraph

But here at Pierate we want to look at the pros and cons of making a hospital a hosPIEtal, especially after a healthy(?!) debate on BBC Radio Scotland. We tried to phone in on but sadly weren’t given the op-pie-tunity to share our views, however they did read out our tweet live on air (they just didn't acknowledge it was us):


But first – it appears the most important two questions have not even been asked by anyone! Before we debate whether the product should be sold in the hospital, surely we need to ask:

Is it a pie? - While unfortunately not having had the chance to actually eat and rate this pie yet, having had a look at the photos this does not appear to be a fully encased in pastry product with clearly defined base, sides and lid. It certainly doesn’t meet our definition of a true pie! You can see the egg, bacon and other content – which shouldn’t be so if the pastry lid is doing its job – so I think this is really a tart.

How does the pie or ‘pie’ rate? – Before we discuss if it should be sold in a hospital, surely we should be discussing if it should be sold at all!!! If it doesn’t score strongly on the Pierateer’s 7 Cs of pie rating, then surely it is not worth selling ANYWHERE! And again looking at the photo, it is not fully encased, has a very pale pastry colour and boil out to spoil the condition, so this isn’t looking like a top scoring pie (though for just £1.50, it seems it could score well on cheapness!)


So with those two issues out of the way, we’re going to assume that it is at least worthy of being sold and briefly outline a few points regarding whether this pastry product (and pies in general) should be sold in a hospital. And thanks to some of the callers on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Morning Call” (available to listen back to until Monday 1st September) who helped me think through some of these views:

#VoteYes
  1. Pie brings great joy and hap-pie-ness to all that eat them – so why would you deprive hospital patients, staff and visitors of this chance of a pastry treat as comfort food?!
  2. It’s up to the patient, staff or visitor to decide if they want to eat a pie or a nutritional salad – pie contains a lot of important food substances too, even if this ‘fry up’ pie is not a great example of this.
  3. Have they not read that you can eat 21 pie meals in a week and lose weight?! Incredible findings from Pierateer SJL query all this negativity about the pie being so unhealthy (and we are appalled at pie being labelled “junk food”)
  4. This particular pie was on offer in the hospital shop – not even the hospital canteen or being served up to the patients! So what’s all the fuss about?!

#VoteNo
  1. Well, we’re hardly to going to find many reasons not to eat pie, are we! But what I would say is that it has to be a highly rated pie, well ranked on the 7 Cs of pie rating, otherwise the pie shouldn’t be sold anywhere, let alone in a hospital! But it must be said that breakfast ‘fry up’ pie – at a reported 600-800 calories – is certainly not the most appropriate pie they could offer in a hospital. (Though we know that eating pies as part of a healthy, balanced diet can mean you lose weight.)


We may be pie-ased, but ultimately our view is that pies SHOULD be sold in hospitals – and everywhere else, while we’re at it! – but the pies on sale should be highly rated on the 7 Cs of pie rating. It is ultimately the decision of the patient, staff or visitor to decide what they eat – pie or not! So here’s our 400+ pie rankings list to help you decide which pies you should be enjoying...


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "The Scottish Vote: Should pie be served at a Hospital?"

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Hull Pie - One Hull of a Pie Shop!

The Hull Pie Jerk Chicken and Mutton and Ale Pie Reviews


It has to be said that there are definitely not enough pie shops out there – shops which are built on the quality pies they produce and not just tagging pies onto an already overloaded menu board of non-pie meals. Of course London is famous for its traditional pie and mash shops, but barring a few notable exceptions, pie shops are few and far between. Which is what makes it an absolute delight and pleasure to introduce you to “The Hull Pie” – a modern take on the traditional pie shop with some absolutely quality pies, served in Hull.

The Hull Pie 2
The Hull Pie 2
The Pierateers themselves got to try these pies on a recent road trip to the Humberside area - travelling well over 200 miles on one of their #PieTour visits after a lot of Hull-abaloo about how good these pies were on Twitter - and believe me, we were not disappointed! The following pies were great and the only downside was that we arrived in Hull too late to get to the main The Hull Pie shop in the city centre, instead going to The Hull Pie 2 – their takeaway shop which has extended opening hours including opening on Sundays.

The Hull Pie Workers
Our imPIEression of The Hull Pie 2 was that it was a bustling hive of top quality hand produced pies, which you could actually see being made as you entered the shop. This is a real plus, as you do sometimes wonder what your pie is being filled with as you wait to find out what quality of pie is carried through from the kitchen at the back on your plate. Full marks to The Hull Pie for their openness and transparency in the pie making process.

And I’ve not even got onto the pie menu board, which was packed with a wide range of intriguing flavours – including many which would be making their debut on the Pierate Pie Rankings list! The pies below – Jerk Chicken and Mutton and Ale – are both new pie flavours and again The Hull Pie have excelled themselves in thinking outside of the pie box! But how would these unique flavours rate? Would they work well in a pie? Fortunately we have the 7 Cs of pie rating to determine that!

The Hull Pie Menu
The Hull Pie Menu
Here’s an overview of the thoughts from all the Pierateers:
  • A great range of unique pie flavours
  • At £2.50 for just the pie, packed full of meat, this was an absolute steal!
  • Friendly, welcoming staff in “The Hull Pie 2” takeaway shop
  • A great range of sides to go with your pie – including mash, crisp fries and sweet potato fries

  • Queries however over the lid: These pies were seemingly made from a single piece of pastry, wrapped over the top of the filling, thus fully encasing the filling but not having a clearly definable lid. In their favour, there was a clear side, base and topping, but there was no way of just “lifting the lid” and dunking your chips into the filling. While definitely a pie, they do not quite embodying the quintessential essence of pie-ness that we Pierateers look for.
  • Also, partly because they were cooked and served in a metal case, the base pastry was a bit soggy. Not in an “I can’t eat this” sense, but a slightly firmer, crispier base pastry would have been pie-deal, like the sides and top were.


So onto the specific pie flavours:

Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie


Pierateer SJL had the Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie and it was one of the best pies he had eaten in some time, especially in terms of filling. Here’s what Pierateer SJL had to say:

Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Hull Pie
Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Hull Pie 
I loved the choice of interesting flavours from around the world. What was brilliant for this pie was that it could be accompanied by sweet potato fries which went very well.

Condition - 4.9 out of 7 - Very well presented, this pie really looked the part when in its foil case with a rustic, handmade appearance. There was a minor draw back in that when taken out of its foil case it appeared that the pie was in fact made from one piece of pastry which had been folded over, a bit like a pasty. Not quite embodying the quintessential essence of pie-ness that we look for.
Colour - 6.0 out of 7 - A range of colours taken from the golden sunset brown collection.
Cheapness - 6.7 out of 7 - At just £2.50 for the pie alone, which was jam packed with meat, this was about as good value as you can find anywhere.
Capacity - 6.3 out of 7 - The pie wasn't very large but made up for this by being completely full of meat.
Chewiness - 5.9 out of 7 - The filling for the pie wasn't at all chewy, as you would hope for with a chicken pie. It had a wonderful texture, indicating good quality chicken. The pastry had a bit of a funny texture in places, it was perhaps a little soggy at the base.
Content - 6.9 out of 7 - I lived in Brixton and became quite familiar with jerk chicken while there. The flavours in this jerk chicken were up there with the best. The sweetness of the pepper complemented it perfectly and added an interesting variation to the filling.
Consistency - 6.8 out of 7 - There wasn't a lot of sauce to this pie which perhaps helped them fill it up so well without it boiling out. This didn't stop it being very moist and slipping down very well. It really was a master stroke to put jerk chicken in a pie, it worked very well, although the pastry wasn't quite perfect, the filling was incredible.

The Hull Pie Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie
Score: 6.21
SJL


Mutton and Ale Pie


Here’s what Pierateer RAS had to say when rating the Mutton and Ale pie:

Mutton and Ale Hull Pie
Mutton and Ale Hull Pie

Mutton and Ale Hull Pie
Another incredible pie flavour from The Hull Pie! While you might not think of Mutton as an unusual pie filling, we have not found any previous Mutton pies on our travels – and certainly not Mutton and Ale. The filling was so moist, a slight surprise given there was no specific gravy oozing out of the pie upon biting into it. And yet the meat was so incredibly tender – what a fantastic effort. The ale added such nice flavours to the pie, with a bit of vegetable to compliment it all, again well cooked and melt in your mouth.

The pastry was good – really nice to eat even on its own (not that you got much chance of that with the capacity absolutely ram packed with meat!) The base pastry was a little soggy, but indicates the moisture and tenderness of the meat filled pie. A little firmer base and a proper, separate lid and this pie really would be challenging for the very top of the pie rankings!

The Hull Pie Mutton and Ale Pie
Score: 6.36/7
[Colour 6.25, Capacity 6.75, Consistency 6.75, Condition 5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 6.75, Content 6.75, Total: 6.36/7]
RAS


So The Hull Pie were certainly well worth a road trip for and, while there were a few more The Hull Pies we still have to rate which didn’t quite score as highly, these two pies are certainly worth their Pierate Highly Recommended status and we would certainly love to eat them again!

RAS and SJL

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "The Hull Pie - One Hull of a Pie Shop!"

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pie at Edgbaston? That’s just not cricket!

I’m going to have to start this post off with a disclaimer – I don’t love cricket, I like it. There you go. Not a great marketing campaign slogan, I know, but as you will no doubt realise by now our love lies elsewhere on the Pierate Ship. Which is why I have to say I’m bowled over by decision of the catering management at Edgbaston Cricket Club in Birmingham (home to the Birmingham Bears 20-20 Cricket team) to sell pies in their cricket stadium!

Pie Review at Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Peter's pie at Edgbaston Cricket Ground

Yes, you read that right! Pie at Edgbaston? That’s just not cricket! But while other cricket grounds may be stumped at what food they can sell to keep the cricketing fans happy, Edgbaston’s catering team have got a quick wicket with the catch of catering world – a fully encased pie which no one will want to let slip. You’d be bat-ty not to go for one really.

Of course it is no real surPIEse that cricket is jumping on the bandwagon of football, badminton and the Olympic Games (London 2012) in serving pie at sporting events – something you can see in our article “Pies and sports: the best match ever!

And if you're ever in need of a pie recommendation, we're the ideal umPIEres for that - with tons of pies rated and reviewed for you (over 400 in fact!) You'll no longer have to ask "Howzat?!" when needing a pie - just check out our pie rankings!

So if you’re at Edgbaston today to enjoy the 20-20 finals day, why not check out the pie catering options available (particularly sold in the new main stand, where I bought my pie a few weeks ago for pie friend Caroline’s birthday bash!) Just make sure you get there before they all run out!!!

And if you like your pies sporty, then you'll be pleased to hear of the launch of the PIEremiership - our growing list of all the top half-time football pies around the country.

Pieremiership Football Pie Review League


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pie at Edgbaston? That’s just not cricket!"