Friday, 24 October 2014

Pie Theft! - Pieday Friday - October 24 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!

Hi pie people! Another week has gone by, blimey. Here's some interesting stuff that happened in the past week.

PIERACY!

Now I know we're all keen to get our hands on pies, but there is absolutely no excuse for the events that occurred in the last week in Brookwood, Surrey. In a disgraceful act of pieracy, good-for-nothing thieves let themselves into the Baker's Dozen store and stole pies and pasties from the bakery area. Surrey Police have released a description of the two suspects, who remain at XX-large.


Worcester source of great football pies

£4.50 for a football pie? You've got to be Kidderminstering me! At least, that's what we were all saying last week, when the Worcestershire town's football club topped the BBC's list of most expensive football pie. But it seems that our shock of the price is misplaced, as the club's fans have leapt to defend the pies that they say are "worth every penny". Even Football Focus presenter Dan Walker loves them! The pies apparently weigh in at 700g, and are adored by fans on either end of the pitch. However, there is a SHOCKING twist. These are cottage pies - i.e. they're not actually even true pies!

Of course you don't need us to remind you that we were pie advisers to the BBC last week, featuring in a BBC video on football pies!


Pie Tweet of the Week!

We always love to see photos of pies you've made, especially when they look this good. You can read about The Ship's Cook attempt at making an Indian Hot Water Crust pie using one of Chetna's recipes.

Life of Pies

Huge congratulations go to our friend and fellow pie-fanatic Martin, who loves eating pies so much he's written a whole book about it. The Life of Pies book launch is this Friday October 24th, and there will apparently be FREE PIES! Of course, the earliest mention of the words FREE and PIE in the sentence (specifically in that order, not the other way round!) and Pierateer RAS cancelled all previous plans for his Friday and booked a ticket to Wigan. It should be a great evening.


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Pie Theft! - Pieday Friday - October 24 2014"

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Reci-pie Review: Indian Hot Water Crust Pie

It seems that Pierateer TJP had an unfortunate experience with a meat free 'pork pie' the other day. I have to say I quite agree with his review - if you want to eat a pork pie, eat one. If you don't, well, I might just have the perfect pie recipe for you.



The Recipe:

Weeks after the event I'm still ridiculously over excited about our brief appearance on 'Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice' (did we mention that?!) and even though the show is over for another year I've still got Bake Off on the brain. Chetna was one of my favourite bakers this year and I've been dying to try her Indian hot water crust pies, and this weekend I finally got round to it.

No weird fake 'pork' here - just potatoes, vegetables and lots of delicious spices! You can find the recipe here along with Chetna's chicken pie: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/indian_hot-water_crust_81459

Re-live the pielights of British Bake Off 2013's finale with their Picnic Pie Challenge! See all the pies and our Pierate analysis in our article "Great British Bake Off - The Final: Pie Review Tweets"

Or see how we got on baking a Paul and Mary reci-pie!

Winner Frances Quinn's Picnic Pie - Screenshot from BBC



The Seven Cs:

Colour:
This pastry turns a lovely golden brown - just make sure your egg wash is even (unlike mine!)

Consistency:
There's not a lot of liquid in this pie, and the recipe gives you the quantity of potatoes by number rather than weight, so you're probably best keeping an eye on the filling as you make it and adjusting how much potato and tomato you put in. I used quite large potatoes and the filling was a tiny bit dry, so I probably should have added an extra tomato. That being said, the consistency wasn't unpleasant at all, and I always think that hot water crust pies need to have a fairly solid filling, so keep an eye on how much potato you use and I think this will come out perfectly.


Capacity:
This pie is lovely and big with plenty of filling, and no air gaps because you fit the lid tightly on top of the filling. A very high score.


Chewiness:
Nothing chewy here, but there were some lovely textures. Fluffy potatoes, nice soft onions, a bit of bite from the lentils and some liquid from the tomatoes. Yum.

Cheapness:
As with all pies, the cheapness of this recipe will vary according to the contents of your cupboard. If you have to buy all the spices it might set you back a bit, but I only had to buy the curry leaves and a few other ingredients, which meant it was very cheap indeed. Plus the pie is massive - we're going to get at least three dinners out of it and it doesn't need any accompaniments (except maybe some Indian pickles or chutneys).

Content:
I wasn't sure how well potatoes would work as the main component of a pie, but I needn't have worried. This is an unusual filling with lots of delicious flavours, and is just spicy enough to have a bit of a kick. This is definitely a good choice if you're baking something special for vegetarian friends, or if you fancy something a bit different from the usual pork or Scotch hot water crust pies. Top marks.

Condition:
One of the things I love about hot water crust pies is how robust they are, and this pie is no different. It's solid, slices well, and it looks and smells amazing. I couldn't wait to dive into this one and I'm looking forward to my second helping!


The Ship's Cook

P.S. Since writing this review I've had a chance to eat some of the leftover pie. It's even better after it's had a day to sit and soak up all the lovely flavours!

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.

You can also check out all the Ship's Cook reci-pies here!


Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Reci-pie Review: Indian Hot Water Crust Pie"

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Pies of Football - Pieday Friday - 17th October 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!


Pierate become pie advisers to BBC Sport

Unsurpiesingly our headlines this week are dominated by the BBC's Price of Football study, in which we featured. Having already spoken on BBC Local Radio and appeared with our homemade Crocodile Pie on the Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, it was great to be called upon by BBC Sport in the last few weeks as their pie advisers for the BBC Price of Football Survey. As reported in last week's Pieday Friday, having travelled up to Morecambe FC last week for filming with BBC Sport's news presenter Azi Farni, we were delighted to make the cut on the BBC's "What makes the perfect football pie?" video in this year's study.

BBC Sport filming Graham's Pies Review
BBC Sport presenter Azi Farni chatting to Morecambe FC chef Graham

It was great to be involved in the filming and grab the opPIEtunity of eating a few more pies from Morecambe FC’s award winning pie kitchen while we were there, including their new Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli pie! While it certainly is a unique pie flavour, it rated quite well and complements the range of pies on offer at the Globe Arena.

For those not familiar, you can read our review of their meat pies from our VIP trip back in January 2014, alongside our review of their Apple pie which we ate at half-time. We rated it very highly, especially for a dessert pie, but little did we know the apple pie would go on to win best pie at the British Pie Awards 2014, where we judged.




Further to the appearance in the "What makes the perfect football pie?" video, we also attended the BBC Radio 5 Live debate on the survey, at which we met Frank Lampard and were very grateful to Football Focus presenter Dan Walker for spending a couple of minutes telling us what he makes of the half time pie!

As you can imagine, we are delighted to have finally made it as pie experts, just under 5 years since we began sailing the 7 Cs in search of the perfect pie!


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "The Pies of Football - Pieday Friday - 17th October 2014"

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Dan Walker’s Football Pie Focus

Pierate in attendance at the BBC Radio 5 Live Price of Football Debate


With a selection of Football Club directors, an ex-player in Kevin Kilbane and current one in Frank Lampard, some passionate fans and Pierateer Rob in attendance, BBC Radio 5 Live hosted a debate on the Price of Football Survey in Etihad Stadium, Manchester. While the main debate focused on the price of the actual match day ticket, there were a few brief mentions of pies and a chance for Pierateer Rob to give his view (as a Wycombe Wanderers fan) on the cost of a ticket, rather than the price of pies.

Pierateer RAS and fellow football pie fan Dan Walker
Pierateer RAS and fellow football pie fan Dan Walker
It was also an opportunity for Rob to meet Kieran Maguire who is an expert in Football Finances and a keen supporter and pie eater at Brighton and Hove Albion FC. He rates Brighton’s pies – supplied by British Pie Awards winners Piglets Pantry – as the best in football, so we will definitely have to take up their kind offer of going to rate their pies sometime soon! We hope to get Kieran’s opinions on the price of football pies in the near future too!

However, alongside meeting Frank Lampard and Danny Wilson (Sales Director at Manchester City), the pielight of the trip was talking football pies with presenter Dan Walker after the show.

Radio 5 Live Pie Review at Etihad Stadium
Pierateer RAS joined guests at the Etihad Stadium
Dan, for the few who don’t know, is presenter on BBC’s Football Focus and is a big fan of the half time pie. Like us, he sees eating a half time pie as part of the football match day package. He specifically recommended the pie at Kidderminster, which does come with quite a hefty price tag in the latest BBC Price of Football Survey as the most expensive pie in football (though Harriers fans defend this tag by arguing it is more of a meal than just a pie). Unfortunately the half time snack at Kidderminster doesn’t meet our strict Pierate requirements for a pie, as it is really a potato bake and has no pastry.

He also highlighted the vegetarian pies at Forest Green Rovers as ones to try – which I know for a fact is already on the pie hit list of Pierateer SJL. However only in exceptional circumstances would Dan be willing to pay £4 or more for a match day pie, agreeing with us that it is more the quality of the pie that is important, rather than the price per se.

Dan joins celebrities such as David Beckham and Barack Obama as celebrities who love pie!

You can find out what we believe makes the piefect football pie in our article “The Pies of Football”, which looks at the results of the BBC Price of Football survey and also includes our review of the new Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli pie at Morecambe FC!

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 "Dan Walker’s Football Pie Focus"

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Pies of Football – Featuring Morecambe FC

As the BBC Price of Football Survey launches, we give our opinion and go to the home of the homemade football pie to rate Morecambe FC’s Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli Pie.


Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
When you think football, you think half time pie. What better during those cold, winter evenings to warm the heart, as well as the hands, during the half time interval as you watch your local team? But is that actually what people do? Or has the price of football pies put off the regular football fan? Do the caterers even have enough pies to go round? And if fans do buy a pie, is it piefection or are football fans being held to ransom?

We joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

We at www.pierate.co.uk will readily admit we are first and foremost a pie rating website, rather than specifically a football pie rating website, but we’re looking to delve further into the provision of football pies as we develop our Pieremiership of football’s best half time pies.

We've rated over 425 pies, including a number of football pies

But while we realise we haven’t eaten anywhere near enough pies in different football grounds yet – despite having over 425 pies rated in our Pie Rankings from many of the regular football pie manufacturers like Pukka Pies, Holland’s Pies and Peter’s Pies – we have always been a fan of eating a golden pastry product in the football stadiums we’ve visited. And in our minds what’s more important than simply the price of the pie is how the pie rates. Is it a soggy disappointment, overly dry or lacking in content or does it meet the 7 criteria we Pierateers look for in a pie?

One of the pielights of the #PriceOfFootball survey is the article entitled "How many pies pay for Falcao's wage?" - which we might add only matches together the sale of the pie at face value with his estimated weekly wage, rather than looking at how many pies they would have to sell at Old Trafford to cover all the costs of the ingredients, staff and the baking process AND then his reported £260,000 a week wage!


In our view, it’s all about a great tasting pie – filling and pastry - which is value for money. You can find out more about what makes a great rated pie by reading about the 7 Cs of pie rating. However what makes a great football pie?

Here are a few specific pointers for making the perfect football pie:


Firstly, it’s got to be cooked properly. Sadly, in the rush to serve so many customers in such a short space of time, food at football grounds can be undercooked or left sat in a hot locker for far too long, making the pie taste bad or even be pretty much inedible. We have unfortunately fallen foul to a few pies being served to us either undercooked or over baked. Naturally, the rating of such pies is badly affected.

Secondly, the football pie has got to be something you can pick up in your hands and bite into, without it crumbling all over the place. Quite a few football pies can be too soft to pick up or crumble all over the place when bitten into, so a firm but crisp pastry casing is key.

Finally, the consistency of the pie filling has got to be just right. Naturally we want a meat pie to be filled to capacity with nice, tender meaty chunks, but we also expect the viscosity of the gravy or sauce to be well thought through so that it is flavoursome but not too runny, as the last thing you want is gravy down your football shirt!

Once again the #PriceOfFootball survey highlights in its "How many pies pay for Falcao's wage?" article that Kidderminster is the most expensive half time pie at £4.50. While some Kidderminister fans have already taken to Twitter to criticise the BBC for not pointing out it is more of a meal than just a pie, what they fail to point out is a far more important issue - they are selling a Potato bake and not a fully encased in pastry pie!


One football ground has seemingly found the perfect reci-pie for the half time pastry snack, producing some of the highest rated pies on Pierate, let alone best football pies! Head chef Graham Aimson at Morecambe FC has won several titles at the British Pie Awards for the quality of his pies, including being British Pie Awards Supreme Champion 2014, where unsurprisingly we were there as one of the judges.

The latest addition to his football emPIEre is his Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli pie, which as such a unique flavour has split opinion a bit amongst supporters but has got many an intriguing review. During our filming with BBC Sport last week we got to rate the new pie and you can read the Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli pie review here.

It seems the BBC are laying down a challenge to us in their #PriceOfFootball survey article about the most expensive and cheapest pies by stating "The cheapest pies can be bought at Braintree and Sunderland Ladies. Can anyone rate their £1 offerings for us?"

Well, you know, it is pretty much our day job... (kind of)


In summary, we think there’s nothing better than a warm, hearty pie to get you through half time. But the key thing is that they have got to be top rated pies! Too often the pies are not only overly expensive but are just not up to scratch, either too dry or undercooked. So as well as checking out the price of pies this season, we’ll be making sure we rate as many as possible on our 7 Cs of pie rating so that you know what pies to purchase!

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 "The Pies of Football – Featuring Morecambe FC"

Pork, Irn-Bru & Chili Pie Review

Morecambe Football Club - Pork, Irn Bru & Chili Pie Review

A second visit to Morecambe FC's Globe Arena gave us the chance to review their new pie flavour! The Irn-Bru pie was very much the same in size, shape and cost to the other table-topping pies at Morecambe so it received similar scores for some criteria as in our last review. Overall it is the fantastic value that stands out with Morecambe pies. Other football clubs take advantage of the 'captive audience' and charge a higher price for pies which could be bought more cheaply elsewhere. The pies at Morecambe FC would be great value anywhere, were they sold in a football ground or on the high street.

Pork Irn-Bru Chili Pie

Condition – 6.63 out of 7 – As it was previously, the appearance was simple but effective. I can verify that it is hand-made having seen the magic happening in the kitchen.

Colour – 6.00 out of 7 – Similar to last time, but this pie also had some added flecks of red from the chili. It seemed that the chili was embedded in the pastry.

Cheapness – 6.75 out of 7 – The prices at Morecambe are unbelievable considering the pies are handmade. 

Capacity – 4.75 out of 7 – Quite tall, this pie had a decent capacity. It scored less than the previous ones however as there was a bit of an airgap. I saw this in a couple of the Irn-Bru pies which was strange as I have not had the same problem with the other Morecambe pies. Because of the strong flavours this air gap was not a problem.<

Chewiness – 4.90 out of 7 – As for previous Morecambe pies the meat was not at all chewy. There was a bit of a difference in texture to the pie as a whole though. For some reason this pie seemed to fall apart whilst being eaten. I would speculate that the pastry is slightly different. It did seem to have chili within the pastry itself. Despite the pie falling apart, there was a good mouthfeel when consuming the pie.

Content – 4.90 out of 7 – I knew this was going to be an unusual flavour of pie but I was blown away by the impact it made on my senses. The smell emanating from this pie is incredible! The first thing that hits you is the smell of the Irn-Bru. The smell is not subtle and is indistinguishable from the popular fizzy drink. Then when you take a bite the Irn-Bru takes a back seat, it is all about the sweet pork taste which blends in well to the Irn-Bru. Mixed with the sweet taste of the pork is the bready taste of the pastry. After the initial flavours comes the kick of the chili. The first couple of bites, I found this quite strange and wasn't sure if I really liked it. But as you get stuck in the smells and tastes start to blend together and I became convinced that the balance of flavours did actually work. It was however quite intense.

Consistency – 5.20 out of 7 – Despite taking a bit of a risk Graham, the head chef at Morecambe, has shown he can still consistently produce fantastic pies. Sometimes unusual fillings taste great but don't seem to work in a pie, that wasn't the case here. I ate this after having already eaten one of his chicken and ham pies. This meant I wasn't at all hungry, but I still liked it which is always a good sign. It did reinforce to me though that I preferred the Chicken & Ham (and some of the other flavours now I think of it....). Nine times out of ten I think I would still choose the Chicken and Ham but is great to have an option on the substitutes bench which offers something different to the regular line-up.

Pork Irn-Bru Chili Pie

This pie has no effect on our Football Pie League as Morecambe are already top of the league!

Pork, Irn-Bru & Chili (Morecambe FC)
5.59/7

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 ourPie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under  Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you Follow @pierateers
and let us know your thoughts!

continue reading "Pork, Irn-Bru & Chili Pie Review"

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Our new addition to Pierate...

As you may know, here at Pierate HQ we hold a yearly AGM (less organised than it sounds) where we discuss all of our dreams about the future of pie reviewing. Alongside piesuing worldwide pie domination and eating pies in every country, one idea that has come up repeatedly is an interactive pie rankings table.

Wouldn't it be great, we fantasized, if you could filter the table results according to whatever category of pie you were hankering for right now? Ah, that would be living the dream. And for several years, this has remained just that - simply a piepe-dream...

But not any more.

After several frustrating weeks of staring at various bits of code, we're thrilled to present to you a beta-version of our interactive pie rankings table! You'll note it's not much to look at yet (there's still many more frustrating weeks to go), but we hope it offers some useful functionality for now! Go and check it out now! And do let us know if it works.

Yours in pie,

The Pierateers
continue reading "Our new addition to Pierate..."

Monday, 13 October 2014

Celebrating 60 years of Dicksons pies

Dicksons Steak, Minced Beef and Onion and Pork Pies


Dicksons Chunky Steak Pie Review
Dicksons Chunky Steak Pie Review
It is great to hear when pie sellers such as butchers and bakeries celebrate important milestones, like the recent 60th anniversary of Dicksons family butchers last year. It is a sign of great quality that a local company – in this case from a family of pie makers – is still going strong so many years after founding, and now even has an online pie shop! With the recent upsurge in artisan pie makers, it is good to see that there are also the old hands still banging out good quality pie produce week in, week out.

So having celebrated their 60th birthday last year in 2013, we wanted to give Dicksons pies a rating. We were sent 6 pies – a double pack of Steak pies, Minced Beef and Onion pies and Pork pies. They were very nicely packaged, immediately catching your eye as being a traditional product with a great wealth of history to the company. Surprisingly though, there was no indication of any cooking instructions, which I think most general members of the pie eating public would find a little strange. Fortunately, being the piefessionals that we are, we heated the Steak and Minced Beef and Onion pies for about 20 minutes in the oven at Gas Mark 6, by which point the pastry started getting all crisp and golden. We ate the Pork Pies cold.

So how did the pies rate?

Chunky Steak Pie

Dicksons Chunky Steak Pie Review
Dicksons Chunky Steak Pie Review
Steak pies with a luscious meaty gravy are traditionally my personal favourite when it comes to pies, so I was expecting good things from the Dicksons steak pie. Arriving in decent condition, when it came to cutting through the pastry shell there was a reasonable moisture to the pie innards, though unfortunately the content of the pie lacked a reasonable gravy to really complement the meaty taste and was a bit too seasoned for me. There was a bit of gristly meat, which was disappointing, but in general the meat was of a reasonable standard. Unfortunately when looking for piefection, top quality tender meat is a given. With a bit more gravy to moisten the filling, this would have been a nicer filling and stronger scoring pie.

The pastry was crisp and flaky, getting quite golden through the cooking process. It did taste a little dry in patches and I don’t think I would have wanted to eat all the pastry of two pies in a row. Also the filling to pastry ratio for this size of pie wasn’t quite right, being a bit too pastry heavy, but I did enjoy eating these steak pies (gristle aside).

Dicksons Steak Pie
Score: 5.18/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5, Chewiness 4.5, Cheapness 5, Content 5.75, Total: 5.18/7]



Minced Beef and Onion


Dicksons Minced Beef and Onion Pie Review
Dicksons Minced Beef and Onion Pie Review
Often a minced beef pie can suffer from having a minced meat filling that doesn’t quite hit the spot as much as tender chunks of steak (or other meat). It can have the negative stereotype of being a lesser pie as a result, possibly even the poor man’s pie. Which is why I was so delighted that Dicksons have clearly used a quality mincemeat in their pie and developed a very nice sauce to make this Minced Beef and Onion pie really stand out.


It really reminded me of a delicious minced meat pie that a friend of mine (with many years of plate pie making experience) had made me just a few months earlier. The meat was lovely and tender, flavoursome and leaving me wanting more. The pastry was again crisp and flaky, occasionally a little dry but on the whole balance well with the moist filling. The filling to pastry ratio could again have been slightly improved ideally, as it was a rather shallow pie, but on the whole this really did stand out as a top mincemeat based pie. And at just £1.89 for 2 pies, this is a bargain! It’s not often I would rate a mincemeat pie higher than a steak pie, but in this instance I have to give it to the Minced Beef and Onion Dicksons pie!


Dicksons Minced Beef and Onion Pie
Score: 5.64/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 6, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6, Total: 5.64/7]



Pork Pie


Dicksons Pork Pie Review
Dicksons Pork Pie Review
The pork pies were quite reasonable as pork pies go, with nice meat but a bit lacking in filling. There was a clear air gap between the filling and pastry, with no jelly. The pastry was fine, though it wasn’t very crisp and didn’t really blow me away. They weren’t that big either, but it was a reasonable pork pie, even though with such a great gourmet pork pie market out there I wouldn’t rush out to buy another.

Dicksons Pork Pie
Score: 5/7
[Colour 4.5, Capacity 5, Consistency 5, Condition 4.5, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5, Content 5.5, Total: 5/7]




Dicksons Pork Pie Review
Dicksons Pork Pie Review

With pies being produced for over 60 years and a real heart of the business being family run, it’s great to see that the north-east are being well looked after. Here’s hoping they are still producing Pierate Recommended pies in another 60 years!

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 "Celebrating 60 years of Dicksons pies"

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pierate filming with the BBC - Pieday Friday - 10th October 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!


Pierate Filming Special!

Without wanting to blow our own trumpets too loudly, having rated and reviewed over 440 pies on the web’s premier pie review blog it’s almost surprising that no-one thought to seek the opinions of the piefessionals behind www.pierate.co.uk sooner! But we were delighted to be contacted by BBC Sport recently to film our pie insights on what makes a good football pie.

BBC Sport filming Graham's Pies Review
BBC Sport presenter Azi Farni chatting to Morecambe FC chef Graham

Of course we’re not going to spoil the surPIEs just yet – you’ll have to wait and see what makes the edit when the “BBC Price of Football” survey comes out on Wednesday 15th October – but what we can say is that we were delighted to be involved and grabbed the opPIEtunity of eating a few more pies from Morecambe FC’s award winning pie kitchen while we were there, including their new Pork, Irn Bru and Chilli pie (review to come soon)!

For those not familiar, you can read our review of their meat pies from our VIP trip back in January 2014, alongside our review of their Apple pie which we ate at half-time. We rated it very highly, especially for a dessert pie, but little did we know the apple pie would go on to win best pie at the British Pie Awards 2014, where we judged.

We’ll share more with you after Wednesday’s findings are released but are delighted to have finally made it as pie experts, just under 5 years since we began sailing the 7 Cs in search of the perfect pie!


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Pierate filming with the BBC - Pieday Friday - 10th October 2014"

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Ark pies went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah!

The Ark Steak and Black Cat Ale and Meat and Potato Pie Reviews


Having already rated a pie from “The Ark” catering company in Burnley during British Pie Week, owner Jonny sent a couple more pies for us to rate recently. Having already reviewed the Steak and Ale pie (using Guinness) sent over previously, they had now started producing a steak and ale pie in conjunction with the local Moorhouse’s brewery, using their Black Cat Ale.

The Ark Steak and Meat and Potato Pie Review
The Ark Steak and Ale (left) and Meat and Potato (right) Pies

It was great to see that, despite still being relatively new to pie catering, Jonny had been seeking ways to improve his Steak and Ale pie recipe with this alteration and the latest pie was delicious. The pie was made with baked Suet pastry, which was a lovely golden colour and crisp to eat, while the steak is locally reared from a farm butcher and was lovely and tender.


The Ark Steak and Ale Pie Review
The Ark Steak and Ale Pie Review
With this Steak and Ale pie being sold on the market at £2.30 this is a good value pie for a quite filling, strong capacity pie. The flavours were very good and I certainly enjoyed this pie and the pastry very much.

Once again, the pastry held together well (you could pick up this pie and eat in your fingers) and the meat was very good. I would have liked a bit more gravy, as while the content was not dry it did lack a little in level and consistency of gravy, but in general this was an improvement on the previous Steak and Ale pie but also cheaper!

The Ark Steak and Black Cat Ale Pie
Score: 5.96/7

[Colour 5.5, Capacity 6, Consistency 6, Condition 6, Chewiness 5.75, Cheapness 6, Content 6.5, Total: 5.96/7]


The Ark Meat and Potato Pie Review
The Ark Meat and Potato Pie Review
Being sold at just £2.00, the Meat & Potato pie is even cheaper to buy and consists of mincemeat, sourced from the same butcher, and potato in a short crust pastry. It is mixed with a homemade gravy which has a little bit of English Mustard in it. Simple, but effective!

It is hard for a mincemeat pie to compete with a steak pie, just because the chunky pieces of steak will generally always be more appealing, but this pie does still hold its own. Again the pie did lack a bit on the gravy front, which did limit the flavour rather too much, though the filling was quite moist. The short crust pastry used did seem to suffer as well, being rather too dry and therefore quite crumbly. This is evidenced in the photo of the two pies side by side after cooking.

The combination of dry, crumbly pastry and a lack of gravy meant this pie did not appeal to me as strongly, which made me wonder whether this pie would be better suited to also being served in the same suet pastry as the Steak and Ale pie. However the capacity was still good and once the pastry is worked on a bit more, I would certainly eat this pie again.

The Ark Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 4.5/7
[Colour 4, Capacity 4.5, Consistency 5.5, Condition 3.5, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 4.5, Content 4, Total: 4.5/7]



It is encouraging to see that Jonny at The Ark Caterers has taken feedback from us and others on his pies and is now producing an even better Steak and Ale pie, which pushes him ever closer to Pierate Recommended status! He can be assured that he is safely sailing the Seven Cs of pie rating with a top quality pie and with a bit more work I am sure his short crust pastry will match it!

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 "The Ark pies went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah!"

Monday, 6 October 2014

Paul's Pies Now Sold in ASDA!

You can already buy Paul's Pies in a number of shops but to date these have mainly been independent stores such as farm shops. In the latest exciting development you can now find Paul's Pies in select Asda stores, they have hit the big time! Naturally I was hugely excited by this (they have scored very well previously) and so rushed down to my local Asda in Gloucester to see if they were stocking them. I was not convinced that they would be, but to my delight, this is the sight that greeted me....
ASDA Pie shelf

To be honest, it was slightly jarring to see Paul's beautifully boxed premium pies in such close proximety to Asda smart price minced beef pasties. We have found Asda a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to pies (including some absolute shockers) so the choice of supermarket might be a bit surprising but credit to Asda for giving shelf space to some (relatively) local products. At £3.35 the pie was slightly cheaper than the £3.50 I have paid elsewhere.

As an early indication that the pies are proving popular the Chicken & Mushroom had completely sold out! Oh well.... I guess that means I will just have to settle for the NUMBER ONE RANKED PIE ON PIERATE in the form of the legendary Steak & Guinness.

Upon getting it home my excitement started to mix with a little trepidation. What is actually happening here it that Paul must be making a lot more pies in order to supply a big supermarket chain. They must be making them in new facilities and really scaling things up. Will they be able to maintain their high standards with the product? 

Pauls Pies - steak and guinness

After taking it out the oven you will notice that it still has the same exquistly golden brown colour but there has been a change! Instead of being marked with a pastry 'S' shape, the pie is now etched with a 'G'. I don't know why the letter has changed but I can imagine that the pastry shapes were hard to get to stay in place on the pies, so the new approach is better suited to mass production. I don't mind the change, the pie still looks good. It is perhaps now more uniform and less 'hand-made' in appearance. But the real question is, what will it be like inside?

Pauls Pies Steak & Guinness cross-section

It is great to see that the pie is still well filled, in this one there is a bit of an airgap which wasn't present when we did our first review of the Steak & Guinness, but in that case we were reviewing the large version which will of course have more filling.

I was delighted and relieved when I took a bite of this pie. They have still managed to capture the same flavours. The sauce is still rich and meaty. The pastry has a wonderful crunch and the taste of the suet crust permeates throughout each mouthful. Paul's Pies have still got it....

Lastly, have a look at this interview with Paul where he is nice enough to give us a sneaky mention!

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 "Paul's Pies Now Sold in ASDA!"

Pie Graffiti Takes Unexpected Twist

After the Pierateers had to confirm that they are not responsible for "The Pies" motorway graffiti  it seems that graffiti artists may be now trying to send a message to the Pierateers themselves. The graffiti "PIE PIGS" has emerged near to SJL's workplace in Gloucester. For us, it seems too much of a coincidence to dismiss, after all, we are well known for eating a lot of pies. If you have any information please let us know.
Pie Pigs Graffiti

We have also investigated further the origins of "The Pies" graffiti. It seems like the incident near Chester is not the only occurance of "The Pies" graffiti. It appears to be something of a meme which has occurred around the Liverpool area for a number of years. The original on the railway bridge over the M57 repetitively stated "The Pies The Pies", just to emphasis the point. Some have speculated that "The Pies" are in fact a band and do the graffiti themselves. There is a band who have been playing in Liverpool called "The Pies". They have been playing in Liverpool since 2005 but only released their first single in 2010, it all seems a bit suspect. Perhaps the band have named themselves because of the graffiti or it is purely coincidental. They have released an album 'This is your time' which has also appeared alongside the graffti which adds weight that theory.

The Pies The Pies Graffiti

The Pies Graffiti This is your time
Pies Graffiti Liverpool
Pies Graffiti

Whatever the cause, many have stated that they like the graffiti and it reassures them that they are in the Northern pie heartlands.
continue reading "Pie Graffiti Takes Unexpected Twist"