Sunday 28 November 2010

So what is a Scotch pie?

If you have ever wondered what a Scotch Pie actually is, then you may be interested to read this post. We also have a more detailed description of what a Scotch Pie is and where you can find the best ones.

A Scotch pie is believed to originate from Scotland and is a small pie that contains just minced meat. They are fully encased in pastry and have a tight encasement, meaning their capacity is strong. They are made with hot water pastry which makes the pastry more solid. In Scotland you can obtain these for as little as £1 or less, which goes someway to explaining why Scotch pies are such a success story and are being eaten around the World!

Scotch pie
I particularly liked the crustiness of the pastry, and the slightly spicy character of the meat. However, I felt the density of the pie detracted somewhat from its overall enjoyable factor - in fact, towards the end of the second pie I felt it was becoming more of a struggle and less of a pleasure. But in any case, it would be unfair to let this trivial negative point overshadow what was otherwise an excellent first experience eating a Scotch pie. I would not hesistate to have one again (although maybe not two in one go).

Scotch pies we've eaten and rated include a 5.96/7 rated Scotch Pie brought down from west Scotland and sold in London at Piebury Corner.

You can see where Scotch pies have rated in our Pierate Pie Rankings or find the range of Scotch pies we've reviewed.

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This Rose is certainly blooming

Imagine this scenario: you're soaking up the sun on the longest pier in the world at 1.34 miles in Southend-on-Sea and you suddenly fancy a pie. Well, you'd be in luck. Simply head back to the mainland and head over the Rose Restaurant on the seafront. For a fiver and a bit of loose change (if you haven't already spent that on the 2p machines!) you can grab a pie and vegetables with gravy!

This dish could be seen as a cheaper cousin to Dino's, given the similarities with the 3 vegetables, pie and gravy. However, unlike at Dino's, both the carrots and the peas were not dissimilar to the tinned variety.

Let's not get carried away with the vegetables though, we're here to review the pies. And what a pie! This quarter pie packed all the required punches for one to munch on a lunch that oozed not only meatylicious gravy but also quality.


Score: 5/7
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Saturday 27 November 2010

Pie at the Museum

One of the main reasons you would want to go to a museum is to find out more about the rich history of pie making in many ancient and modern civilizations across the world...but the second main reason would be to visit their canteen and have a pie yourself. So, weary laden from having already walked round a number of floors in Liverpool’s World Museum (which is highly recommended if you’ve got a few hours to spend in Liverpool having just been at the Ward’s great wedding in Birkenhead), it was an obvious choice to stop off at the canteen and check the produce on offer. And on the day’s menu was a lovely steak pie, with chips and carrots.

So I guess the first thing to say was that this pie probably emulated from the late morning oven baking session that was widespread across the Liverpool museum canteen, during a dramatic ‘era’ in food production (most commonly known as “lunchtime”). James and I decided to hit the food stall and I was delighted to see a very meaty-licious looking Steak pie on the specials for that day. So with food ordered I tucked in. And there was certainly nothing fishy about the pie I ate. In fact, there was no prehistoric gone-off meat from the time of the dinosaurs or any need to send my dinner into space.

The pie itself was rich in big chunks of steak, well cooked and which went down a treat. The mix of meat to pastry was pretty good (considering it was a slice of pie, and therefore lacking a surrounding of pastry on all sides) and the gravy was good too. The only downside for this reviewer was the large pieces of onion in it, but hey, you can’t please everyone! The chips were fine, though not out of this world, and the carrots were nice too. All in all, a nice meal for a slightly expensive price (but hey, the museum was free to look round) and well worth a stop at while exploring the rest of the exhibits.

Score: 5/7
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Friday 26 November 2010

A pie-fect ending to a wonderful day!

With all the thought and fore planning put into any wedding, you want to know that the wedding reception venue will sort out the food and remove any food-related worries from the to-do list come the big day. So what better to know than that the lovely wedding venue of Birmingham Botanical Gardens had apple pie and custard on the menu, which would surely go down a treat! For the last thing you’d want when the wedding bells were ringing would be the alarm bells ringing too, over whether the dessert would be top notch or not! The wedding cake was certainly in tiers, but the guests wouldn’t have been over the quality of pudding (unless the great taste overwhelmed them with emotion!) My only criticism would be, why bother having cheesecake as an alternative?!

So may I start by congratulating the new Mr and Mrs Rogers not only on their marriage (most importantly) but on their dessert choice (second most important thing). So...onto the reviewing!

As you can see, the pie slice was lavishly topped with lovely runny custard which really brought out the tasty apple chunks and complemented the crisp shortbread pastry encasing the pie contents. The pie was a good mix of apple chunks and apple-y flavouring and was in great proportion to the pastry, making it one of the best dessert pies I’ve ever eaten (and believe me, I’ve not held back on my apple pies!) Well worth eating there again...maybe I’ll have to consider it as a wedding venue if I’m ever fortunate enough to need one!

Score: 6/7
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Monday 22 November 2010

An air of disappointment...

Delissia Apple Pie Review

After bubbling with excitement after snapping up 8 pies for £1 from a shop in Uxbridge notorious for a good bargain, the Pierateers were deflated to discover that this promise of great value seemed to be just hot air. We noted a stark contrast between the advertised pie and the actual pie (lid removed):

delissia poundland apple pie
Delissia Apple Pie Box
delissia poundland apple pie
Delissia Apple Pie

Sunny Southend-on-Sea!
The juicy chunks of Bramley apple seemed to have been replaced by a lone smear of apple-y syrup on the base. Perhaps we should have saved the money for £1 worth of 2ps for the amusement arcades in Southend-on-Sea!

There should be nothing upsetting about eating pie, but the air of disappointment in the car after the discovery of the "air-pie" could not be ignored. A cross-sectional view of the pie reveals how these apple pies failed to live up to our expectations:

delissia poundland apple pie
An air of disappointment...

Quite dismal, in our view! The only use for these pies I can think of is perhaps if someone was only able to absorb oxygen through their stomach, in which case these pies could double-up as a sophisticated breathing apparatus.

Delissia Apple Pie
Score: 1/7

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

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Is Dino's still serving up great pies?

The Pierateers are back in town, so it's time to assess whether Dino's of Southend-on-Sea is still serving up the same fine pies in 2010 as it was in 2008.

I'll be the first to admit that this homemade steak pie isn't the cheapest on the market, but when you've made it all the way along the seafront down to Dino's you'll be willing to pay almost anything just to avoid having to walk all the way back to the car with fulminent APD (absent pie disappointment). So at the end of the day, £8.50 is relatively bargainous (plus it's homemade, large, and comes with 3 different types of vegetable). Joking aside, stop being such a skinflint - you're on holiday!

Now, let us all take a moment to admire the colour of this pie:


Look at it there, that beautiful matted Tuscany peach pastry sleeping dormant beneath a glistening volcanic torrent of gravylicious lava. One feels afraid to disturb this sleeping beast with a fork, as if cautious of alerting catastrophic seismic ramifications. But to get to the gold beneath the dragon, one must be courageous - and the Pirateers were exactly thus.

After disturbing the excellent condition in which the pie arrived, one is met by a pie that has merits on both content and character. This pie excels itself in term of capacity, packing in a whopping 17 megaMules per standard unit (mM/U), certainly giving the consumer something to write home about. The chewiness factor was let down purely on the basis of the pastry being too much musty and not enough crusty. The meat itself was actually melt-in-the-mouth perfect. One could even remark that the gravy lent the pie an unusual yet pleasurable consistency.

The vegetable (see above) were an unnecessary but welcome addition to this dish. However, these were of course responsible for increasing the price of the pie. Perhaps in future, Dino's could offer a solo-pie version, where the vegetables are usurped by a lower price? We shall wait and see.

Overall, an excellent pie experience!

  1. Colour - 5.9
  2. Consistency - 4.8
  3. Capacity - 6
  4. Chewiness - 4.5
  5. Cheapness - 3.1
  6. Content - 5.5
  7. Condition - 5.3
  • Total: 35.1
  • Average (mean): 5.0
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