Sunday 30 October 2011

How much pie could a pie chucker chuck....

....if a pie chucker could chuck pies?

Check out this game on the Porters Restaurant website. It is quite simply an amazing opportunity to throw pies at France. Not to be missed! I managed 1328 miles.

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Friday 28 October 2011

You call that a pie? This is a pie. Jumbucks Pie review

Jumbucks - The Kiwi Pie Review

Yet again the Pierateers have gone 'down under', but by no means have lowered their standards, by visiting the Aussie pie makers, Jumbuck's, in Shepherds Bush. Jumbuck's are always worth another visit because they have so many unusual pie flavours to try and with new ones arriving regularly even the Pierateers struggle to keep up. This time I went for a pie called, somewhat controversially for an Aussie pie shop, 'The Kiwi' which was mince and cheese. To me this is emblematic of how the power of pies can really influence people. Here we have two countries, more often caught in rivalry, uniting in spirit to bring a bit of joy encased in pastry to West London. Jumbuck's make their pies in what they call 'Jaffle Irons', which means the pie is encased in a metal mould while being cooked and hence the pastry can't expand so much and is more gooey. This is rather like the pie maker previously reviewed. An upshot of this seems to be that they can get more filling into the pie without risk of it exploding, hence a great capacity. This seems like a good thing although my main bone with it is that the filling taking up this capacity is mostly liquid. Admittedly the gravy was delicious and thick but I felt like I was pretty much drinking this pie rather than eating it. Seriously I bet you could suck it up through a straw and just leave a hollow pastry case. In fact that sounds like a challenge for the Pierateers! Given that the pastry is also gooey, mastication is barely necessary for this pie giving my teeth a well needed break and making it high scoring on the Chewiness-o-meter.

At £2.50 this was slightly pricey for what is essentially a quite small pie. However, for me if I had more of this pie I think the cheesy flavour would have become too much although I enjoyed it in the quantities I had. This pie seemed to have some benefits over the 'Bushranger Deluxe' previously reviewed in that the content wasn't taken up by excessive quantities of mash potato. Jumbuck's have a knack of producing their consistently fab pastry and the condition seems to be great at any time of day. They are open until 1am on Friday and Saturday which gives them a massive plus in my book. As they are open at 7:30am during the week the deliciously unique 'Bacon and Egg' breakfast pie is also well worth a look.

The Kiwi - Meat & Cheese (Jumbucks)

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Sunday 16 October 2011

Killing two birds(eye pies) with one stone

Birdseye Pie Review

So when it came to the crunch and there were two Birdseye pies to choose from in the freezer compartment of the local convenience store, there was only one choice for this pierateer – I was going to have to choose them both and give them a thorough taste test! So with a chicken pie in one hand and a steak and kidney pie in the other, I set back to my friend’s house to heat them up and give them a go. They weren’t the largest pies in Britain, so it was well worth eating them both, although this did ramp up the price a bit and place question marks over the cheapness of the pie.

So onto the eating... As you can see from the picture, they aren’t easy to tell apart from the outside! However the Chicken pie had a lighter, chicken gravy with nice big chunks of chicken and the Steak and kidney pie – rather surprisingly – had a darker, beef gravy with chunks of steak and kidney. (Yes, you do have to have a degree in Rocket Science to do these pie reviews.) The short crust pastry on the pies became a lovely golden colour but was a little dry, so it was good to have a nice gravy filling in both. There was a little bit of carrot filler in the chicken pie but the steak and kidney pie was just meat and gravy. Still, the fillings in both were very nice and the major selling point of the pies. While they are obviously mass produced pies, this does mean they are readily available in many local convenience stores and most bigger stores as well, and the main criticism was the smallness of the pie itself, which is why I’d recommend it is always best to kill two birds(eye pies) with one stone (or at least eat two pies rather than just the one!)

Score: 4.95/7
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Wednesday 12 October 2011

Not sure about Crawshaw? Have a butchers at this then...

After pie loving friends “The Senei” had very kindly brought a John Crawshaw Butcher’s pie all the way back from Sheffield, it didn’t take me long to stick the pie in the oven and have a butchers at it. One of your standard steak pies, the pastry turned a lovely golden colour upon heating up and I was looking forward to a highly recommended pie. And the fact it was straight from the handmade producer, rather than having been caught up in a mass-produced supermarket chain production, only added to the sense of anticipation as I delved in. Would it be worth the mileage to go back and have a butchers at another flavour? Would the pie be a cut above the rest?

Well firstly, there is no doubting the meatylicious content of this pie – it is full to the brim with very nice meaty chunks. Top quality meat comes as no surprise straight from a butcher. The main downside of this pie is that the pastry was a bit dry and there was not really any gravy – certainly no liquid gravy oozing from the pie as you ate it. This may in part be due to heating a pie straight from the butchers stand, but it is a significant downside to the pie as a whole. While I had the facilities to make some additional gravy to go with the pie as I was at home while eating, this is not an ideal situation to find yourself in. It certainly reduces the ‘grab and go’ appeal of this pie. It was however good to know that I wasn’t lining a large supermarket chain’s pocket with the pie purchase (even if, technically speaking, that’s because I didn’t buy the pie in the first place...but good to know the Senei were ‘going local’ in their purchase). For the butcher’s meaty goodness, it gets a good score.

Score = 5.1/7 (RAS)
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Sunday 9 October 2011

These are not pies.

Don't be fooled. What's the definition of a pie? Not this:

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Friday 7 October 2011

I scream, you scream, pie-ce cream?

Cadwalader's Ice Cream Cafe Steak Pie Review

Now before you get over excited by the title I am sorry to say that I haven't made an ice cream pie... although now I think of it that would be an excellent idea for a future pierateer adventure.... This review is actually about a pie I purchased from Cadwalader's Ice Cream Cafe in Criccieth, North Wales. Even without the pies on sale this is a lovely place, perched half way up the hill towards the castle in this picturesque coastal town. They sell the best ice creams which have been made in this location since 1927 to a secret recipe, famously made with 6lbs of "shan't tell you".

But enough with this twaddle about calories that aren't encased in pastry, I hear you cry! Don't take up our time talking about where you went on holiday. What is this, a documented suicidal canter towards pie related heart disease disguised as a pie blog or another tedious travel guide telling us about how everything is so fantastic everywhere that your not? Next we will be telling you the only way to get to Ulaanbaator is by pogo stick and the fermented yak's milk you have when you get there tastes so much better if you stick the straw up your nose.

Anyway, I have digressed far too much, so I will compensate by cutting right to the chase. This is a fantastic pie, especially for the price which came in at something like £1.50. The pastry was solid which made it especially portable. Handy to handle if you want to take it down to the nearby beach. This didn't detract from the taste, which was as golden delicious as it looked. The meat was tender and the gravy had a viscosity nigh on perfection. Cadwalader's pride themselves in making their own products and using local ingredients wherever possible and it shows. Fantastic, I just need them to open up a cafe nearer to home now.

Cadwalader's Ice Cream Cafe Steak Pie
Score: 6.11/7

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