Wednesday 28 July 2010

A crumble pie?! Can you really get the best of both worlds?

With 50% off the food at the Slug and Lettuce on a Monday, there’s certainly no better opportunity to go for back-to-back pie action! And with a “Crumble Pie” on the menu, I certainly couldn’t go without giving it a try! How would this work? How would the crumble and pie mix? Would it really be classified as a pie?!

Well here’s the scientific part... concentrate!

slug and lettuce crumble pie So as you can see, it definitely is a pie, but with the added bonus of it also having a lovely crumble topping to the pie! And coming with a nice serving of custard, it really did the trick. The caramel and apple mixed well – the apple being nicely crunchy but mixing well with the apple filling and nice pastry. The crumble topping added some nice crunch to the pie, and made a fitting lid to the pie. The only question is... why have I not had a crumble pie before?!! A great pudding, well worth saving a bit of space from the pie first course for.

Score: 5.5/7
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No slug or lettuce in my pie!

Once again the bright lights of Birmingham provide the perfect opportunity for a pie with a mate. And what better plan than to head to one of the canal side pubs which provides 50% off all food on a Monday – the Slug and Lettuce! But don’t let the name put you off – neither of the afore mentioned foodstuffs were getting anywhere near my pie!

So I went for the Steak and Mushroom Pie, the only real meatylicious pie on the menu (as, let’s face it, the cottage and fish pie aren’t really pies – see “Grab a slice of the action”). The pie came in its own little dish, with a great mound of light puff pastry. Inside were some decent chunks of steak, as well as a mix of mushroom and onion gravy. Those who know me well will no doubt be unsurprised that I would rather have forgone the onionisation, but fortunately it didn’t bring the pie down too much. The meat was pretty good and the light puff pastry certainly tasted good. You could however argue that the pie wasn’t the biggest I’d ever seen. At half the normal price, this made up for the lack of size, and it was swiftly followed by...

Score: 4.6/7
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Tuesday 27 July 2010

A taste of Ireland...the Steak and Guinness pie

O'neills pie O'neills pie When you go into an Irish pub, you expect a good Irish pint. But what better than to see that the local Irish pub, O’Neills, also provides a special taste of Ireland when they add good old Guinness to their Steak pie! The Guinness did add a bit of a different flavour to the standard ale or non-ale gravy of its Steak-y rivals. Certainly worth a visit and the pie was good (although the pastry was slightly dry and I didn’t quite manage it all.) The added bonus was that you could also watch the Brazil-Chile world cup game while you finished off your pie!

O'neills pieThe pub owners had also painted the ingredients list to the wall, so that you can see what was in the pie and potentially give it a go yourself! The only problem was that the ingredients did not actually match the contents of the pie, for there were no raisins and certainly no bacon in the steak pie! But I’m pretty sure all the rest of the ingredients were in there, and the pie was still pretty good. Well worth a visit for the taste of Ireland – and who knows, maybe you’ll find a lil leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... oh, sorry, got carried away there.

Score: 5.0/7
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Monday 19 July 2010

Another one from Morrisons.

morrisons pie
Making the most of my free time and local Morrisons, I picked up another pair of pies today for lunch, this time chicken and gravy. From the 'wedge' category, these pies are slightly pricer at 2 for £2.50. However, I was prepared to pay the little bit extra over the traditional round pies for the slightly larger size and the cute little chicken on the pastry so you know just what meat is in your pie (the steak pies in the same category have little pastry cows on top).
I was overall a bit disappointed by this pie. Whether it was because it was chicken or because it was a wedge, it wasn't quite as nice as the previously reviewed round steak pie. The pastry tasted nice, but while I was heating the pie, it had dried out and so was quite hard. Inside, while the quality of meat was alright, with only a few small pieces of fat, you could tell that they were cheap cuts of meat. For the size of the pie, I felt that there could have been a bit more content to it.

Score: 4/7

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Saturday 17 July 2010

Morrisons give you More.

Most Morrisons that I've come across have a pie counter, making them the best supermarket as voted by The Pierateers.
However, if you are going to have a pie counter, you need to have good pies. So just how good are Morrisons pies?
Morrisons' pie counter has a wide selection of both sweet and savoury pies, most of which come in an offer - 2 for £1 or something like that. So you can get one to share with a fellow Pierateer, or just have them yourself if you are hungry. These particular pies (steak) cost £1.50 for 2.
Morrisons pie
The benefit of pies brought from the pie counter is that they are pre-cooked which means you only have to heat them up when you get home!! Though they don't come with heating instructions, it isn't too hard to bung them in the microwave or oven until they are steaming, or you can eat them cold if you prefer! For 75p each, these pies weren't half bad. Though I would have preferred slightly more gravy, it did give more room for meat. My only disappointment was the hunk of fat that I mistook for a piece of juicy steak on my last mouthful. Sadface.
However, for the price, I was surprised there wasn't more hunks of fat. All in all, a brilliant lunch time treat.

Score: 5/7
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So what are Urban Pies like?

Chicken and Ham and Steak and Mushroom Pie Reviews from Urban Pie

Last month, Pierateer RAS told us all about the great fast food bar that is Urban Pie. Two reviewers went to the Birmingham branch yesterday to grab a tasty lunch bite! It was our first time at Urban Pie, and due to all the great reviews we were expecting the best. We were not disappointed. At just under £4 for any pie, the cost of these pies is not the lowest, but for the quality and at a restaurant, the price was actually quite decent. You can choose many extras with these pies including, mash, cheese, gravy and curry sauce. Mash costs an extra £1.75 but you get such a large helping, these two reviewers shared a portion (with some yummy cheddar cheese on top!) I was a first taken aback by the large selection of pies and didn't know what to choose, but settled on a lovely chicken and ham number. My fellow reviewer choose a steak and mushroom, though he wanted plain steak they had sold out because they were so popular. While none of these reviewers are vegetarian, I was surprised at the choice one had if one was so inclined.

Urban pie So, the chicken and ham. Firstly, I was pleased that chicken was teamed up with something other than mushroom. While I will have mushroom in a pie if there is little other choice, I prefer the slimy fungus to be absent from my delicious pie. At first glance, I could tell that this pie was professional, the lovely crispy pasty was the warm golden colour you expect from a high quality pie, and it was in a great condition. These pies are all made the same, round, small but quite a deep fill giving them a large capacity. Inside, was was a good content of gravy and lots of good quality meaty chunks, making the pie slip easily down the throat (so low chewiness - which I like). This pie was good right down to the last bite - so very consistent.

Urban pie The steak and mushroom was also spectacular: great, creamy gravy with very high quality steak chunks.

Overall, Urban Pie scores very highly. While some might say the pies are on the slightly small size, with a nice large dollop of mash, this meal will fill you right up. Additionally, the pies themselves were still a little pricey for someone on a tight budget, so it might be best to visit at the end of the day to get a reduced price! Also there is that bonus of INSTANT PIE!

Urban Pie Chicken and Ham
Score: 6/7

Urban Pie Steak and Mushroom
Score: 6/7


See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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Monday 5 July 2010

Chick, chick, chick, chick, chicken – lay a lil pie for me...

Sainsbury's Chicken in Gravy Pie

So the lads were visiting a Saino’s store tup north the other week and happened to spot a Chicken in gravy pie which would look good with a few cheeky crispy fries. So they thought “why not?!” and bagged a golden, crisp pie with nice pastry, filled with a decent amount of chicken chunks and a great complimentary gravy. Well worth a repeat purchase, although it was slightly small so you may want to think about getting a couple!

Sainsbury's Chicken in Gravy Pie
Score: 4.8/7

See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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and let us know your thoughts!
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Sunday 4 July 2010

Grab a slice of the action - putting alternative pastry products to the sword

There's been a lot of chit-chat recently about alternative pastry products. These include such things such as slices, pasties and tarts among many others. We have even been discussing the mythical Piezza. The question often comes back to why are these not pies? Well when you look at slices and pasties in particular they definitely do fulfil one of the major attributes of a pie, as stipulated by the British Pie Awards which says 'A pie is deemed to be a filling totally encased in pastry'. HOWEVER this is an incomplete definition, there are many who would lead you astray in the world of pies but here at we are going to set the record straight once and for all. Let me break it down for you.

1. A pie is deemed to be a filling totally encased in pastry.
2. A pie must have sides, a base and a discernible lid made from a separate piece of pastry.

Why is the lid so important I hear you ask? There are many reasons that the lid means so much to people all around the world. It adds a plethora of ways to eat your pie. Some like to take the lid off and eat the filling first. Others love to dip chips in. Who doesn't love that moment the knife first cuts into the lid of a freshly cooked pie? Some psychologists have speculated that the round golden pastry lid subconsciously reminds us of the Sun, hence we think we are eating something large and consequently find it more fulfilling.

However, the importance of sides to a pie is often overlooked. This gives the pie a height lacked by other pastry products. Hence a pie will generally have a better height to width ratio and thus more filling to pastry compared to alternative pastry products. The sides also help contain the filling much more effectively than can be found elsewhere.

Don't even get me started on products that are not fully encased in pastry, these tend to be lacking in enough pastry, especially those so called 'top-crust' pies. Basically a stew with a paltry pastry lid.

Remember, if you are going to grab a slice of the action make sure you grab a slice of pie!
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