Wednesday 21 March 2012

Leak Pie with a meaty twist

Here at Pierate we love a good, pun-heavy and banterous article title, even if it does come at the expense of actual accuracy for the pie it relates to. And this is no different, for I am not in any way promoting the eating of a Leak filled pie, or even a pie with any Leak in, but instead bigging up the very delicious Chicken and Bacon pie I had a while ago at my good friend Mr Leak’s house. It was a well crafted pie packed with Chicken and Bacon goodness, harking back to the good old days of meatilicious meals when we lived together.

As the photo highlights, the pastry was a little crisper in some place than others, but the meat feast inside the pie well and truly made up for it. The chicken and bacon was succulent and was filled to capacity. The gravy was very nice too. A lovely homemade treat!

Score: 4.9/7
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Monday 12 March 2012

“So sweeping in from the west...” – the end of BPW

19 Gales Farmhouse Foods Crusty Steak Pie Review

So another British Pie week draws to a close, but we couldn’t say goodbye without one final pie that was bought in British Pie Week (even though I didn’t quite get round to eating it until today!) And while the weather’s certainly picked up in the last few days, there was more than a strong breeze hitting the farmers market near my workplace last week! For the “19 Gales Farmhouse Foods” steak pie was on sale near where I work and, of course, being British Pie week how could I possibly refuse? The lure of another ‘fresh from the farmhouse’ pie sounded too good to be true, on sale just a stone’s throw from my office window! GIA (Geography in Action) – the pies were coming to me! So you can imagine my disappointment when I heard the words “Yes, it is just a top crust...”


But being the persevering Pierateer that I am, and because there were only more and more top crust pies as an alternative, I felt a sense of duty to still purchase and consume the pie anyways. After all, I’ve had many a top crust pie before, and was bound to have one again. But you could sense the disappointment and lower score it was going to get, even as I was reassured that the meat was really tender and would be delicious.

19 Gales Farmhouse Steak Pie Review
19 Gales Farmhouse Steak Pie

19 Gales Farmhouse Steak Pie Review
19 Gales Farmhouse Steak Pie Cut-through
So the pie itself... the lid was golden brown. Slightly too thick a shortbread pastry lid at points – presumably over doing the fact that there was a pastry shortage elsewhere around the pie! However the steak was really tender and delicious and the gravy was lush too. One down point to only being a top crust was that the gravy had already started leaking out. Highly disappointing, and shouldn’t happen in a real pie. But while disappointing not to have a proper pie with full casing of pastry, it did taste nice and not badly priced at £2.39. And the great thing about 19 Gales farmhouse is that they "specialise in making high quality fruit and savoury pies".

I have no idea where the name of the farmhouse comes from, but if you’re sweeping by and feel blown over into getting a pastry snack, you shouldn’t be (gale) forced into buying one of these, even if it is “just a top crust”!

Score: 4.9/7

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Friday 9 March 2012

Are the Australians fanatical about pies? British Pie Week special investigation!

Here at Pierate we had an inkling that the Australians might be a little crazy about pies, simply because there is an Australian shop called Jumbucks (review 1,2,3) in Shepherds Bush, London, devoted entirely to selling pies. So, in the recent spirit of foreign pie sampling, we really we had to visit Australia to confirm this phenomenon, and the results came as no surprise...

Pie face
What's this? It's Pieface! This photo is of just one of many Pieface shops in Sydney. This chain of shops seems to be substantial indeed, as the Pierateers sometimes spotted multiple Piefaces on some high streets in Sydney (rather akin to the urban coffee shop chain culture in the UK). It seems that Pieface's unique selling point is drawing weird faces on their pies. The faces don't look particularly happy to me (perhaps that's because they know they are destined to be eaten), but the pies certainly taste fantastic. I had a minced beef and tomato chutney pie.

Spicy tuna pie
But the main story of this British Pie Week post is this spiced tuna pie from Rhumbas, in the Crown Food Court in Melbourne. The gentleman behind the counter must have known that he was serving a Pierateer, because he specially selected the largest slice from the communal pie, and even commented "Wow I've given you a very large slice there". Ah, the fame gained from is finally paying off! Soon these pies will start paying for themselves (we can dream). I have never had a tuna pie before (correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it to be a first for Pierate). As you can see from the photo, the pie is dense and filled to capacity. I can feel the pie weighing down my plate, it is heavy. This really is a slab of deliciousness. The pie is not remotely cheap, however, weighing in at $9 (£6), but that's Australia for you. I am pleased to have a decent portion, and perhaps £6 isn't too bad from a food court. The pie tastes of excellent quality though, and the spiciness of the tuna reverbs excitedly in my mouth. The pastry is also a success, with the right crunchiness and a perfect thickness for this pie. I am pleased that the ratio of crust to content lies favourably with the content.

And that concludes our pie tour of Australia. The Australians seem to be fanatical about their pies too, with numerous pie shops (not just Pieface). Pie did always seem to be on the menu somewhere. This was very pleasing to see. The obsession over pies was still no match for the UK, however, but keep it up Australia!

Spicy tuna pie score: 5.8/7

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Thursday 8 March 2012

英國在香港的餡餅週 - British Pie Week in Hong Kong

I know this is British Pie Week but one of the great things about pies is that they are loved by many people all around the world, as we have already shown by some of our reviews of pies in Belgium and New Zealand. However I hadn't quite realised how extensively this love of pie spreads until a recent trip to Hong Kong. As a former British Colony there seems to be a special love of pies in what is dubbed Asia's World City. I was only there a day and had made no special effort to find an establishment selling our favourite pastry based product but I happened to stumble across Pie and Tart Specialists on Chatham South Road near the Hong Kong Museum of History. I have now found out they have quite a big chain of shops in Hong Kong, great to know they share our love of pies!

This was a take-away only type establishment with a street side counter with a long selection of pie and pseudo-pie products. What a great selection of pies they had too, all the typical pies you might expect such as chicken, mushroom and apple with some more unusual ones thrown in such a curry beef, blueberry and ostrich. I knew that I could only eat two pies while they were warm and before I was full (I didn't want to bias the test by being too full and therefore not enjoying the pie, we're professionals here y'know!). Thus I decided to get one 'normal' pie for comparison to its Western counterparts and another more outlandish pie. I settled on killing two bird with one stone by getting a Chicken Pie and an Ostrich Pie. I started with the Ostrich Pie which I was most excited about. This arrived in good condition and if there was a score for artistic presentation of the pie this would score highly. It had a nice crinkled edge and was sprinkled with sesame seeds. The pastry was more of the Chinese style except baked rather than fried or steamed as you would normally expect from Chinese pastry products. This worked well with a nice, thin, flaky texture to the pastry. The filling was a fantastic mixture of flavours. Not knowing the ingredients I tried to guess and what I picked up were green beans, potato, mushroom, onion, ostrich (not that I would know if it wasn't) and plenty of pepper along with some other spices that made it quite hot. There was just the right amount of gravy to make this a good portable snack whilst not being in the least dry. The ostrich itself tasted great, like a cross between beef and chicken. It was slightly chewy but not enough to significantly affect its score.
After this effort I was expecting great things from the chicken pie. However, it did look quite different and upon digging into the crumbly pastry I was to discover that the pastry was in fact sweet! This was despite the fact that the contents was a normal chicken pie. A bit of a culture shock for me, I overcame the weirdness by eating the filling first and then the pastry. I have to say that the filling was nice and gooey, it reminded me of a chicken pie from a fish and chip shop back home. However the pastry did ruin it for me. It might be nice if you are used to it but I can only judge things using my own tasted buds so this has affected the score. Never before have I had such different pies from one place.

These were cheap pies at 10.50 Hong Kong Dollars which weighs in at less than a pound. For the price this was a great value experience, even with the sweet chicken pie. Whilst I might not say it is worth a trip all the way to Hong Kong to get one, if you are changing flights it is very easy to pop and get one at Tung Chung which is a short bus ride from the airport. Hong Kong is also well worth seeing, with rugged mountains and some tranquil countryside. It isn't all skyscrapers as I was expecting.

Ostrich Pie - 6.26

Chicken Pie - 2.71


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Wednesday 7 March 2012

Posh Pie on a Plate – The Urban Pie revolution

Lamb and Rosemary Pie Review from Urban Pie

Day two of British Pie Week 2012 saw me and a friend hit Urban Pie for a bit of a late night pie feast. And with surprisingly no queue at the pie world's answer to McDonalds, even if it was at 7:30pm in the evening, it just meant we could dig in to our meatylicious (or vegelicious, in the case of my friend’s) pies all the sooner! I went for a Lamb and Rosemary pie, which delightfully came on a plate, with a proper metal knife and fork and everything! While this may not sound like groundbreaking news or anything to make a song and dance about, it is the first time that I had experienced the box-less serving of Urban Pie stock. For up until now, they had been serving all pies in their infamous cardboard box/plate contraption (Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a box that turns into a plate... sort of!) And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the box plate – and you can still enjoy one if you order to take away. However it is certainly classier having a nice plate and metal cutlery combo. You certainly don’t get that in McWorld.

So onto the pie itself! The Urban Pie way is a thick short crust pastry all around the pie, which does taste good but can at times like today seem a little too thick and chewy. It does however always have delicious content and a well-filled capacity, and the tender lamb and lovely rich gravy certainly did the trick this time. The fresh herb of Rosemary also added to the flavour and made it a very enjoyable experience. Served up with some nice potato wedges, it was a lovely meal. My friend also enjoyed her seasonal vegetable pie with veg. Slightly pricey, but you have to pay for quality and certainly don’t come away disappointed having had a posh pie on a plate!

Urban Pie Lamb and Rosemary Pie
Score: 5.8/7


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

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Monday 5 March 2012

And the Wine-ner is... Celebrating British Pie Week 2012!

Note: The following pie is no longer being sold by Sainsbury's, so this review has been superseded by the review of the Sainsbury's Deep Fill Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie in October 2013.

So it comes to that all important first full week in March again, and the week all Pierateers savour the most. For it is, once again, British Pie Week! (5th – 11th March 2012)


And yes guys and girls, before you ask, there is such a site as! So get visiting and be inspired about what pies you can make, buy and most importantly eat! But don’t forget to hit to review your own pie and share the wealth of knowledge with our other pie loving friends. In fact, why not go crazy and make a homemade pie this week?!

 But enough of talking about pie week... let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of pie reviewing! For to celebrate the start of British Pie Week, a few of the Pierateers enjoyed a Sainsbury's Chicken and White Wine puff pastry pie, just to get the party started! And while I can confirm I am not under the influence as I write this article (so no threat of bias here!), the white wine sauce of the Sainsbury’s pie was a delight. It really complemented the puff pastry well, and in conjunction with the light, golden puff pastry it was a real winner with the Pierateers and their friend Rosa. And while the Pierateers couldn’t quite pass their genuine passion for pies onto their friend, they certainly loved their pie and devoured a family-sized pie between them! It certainly was a delightful pie, cooked until lightly golden and in great condition, the capacity was very good and the pieces of chicken very tasty. It hardly felt like you were missing out at the lack of any gravy! For the white wine sauce did the trick, and to the delight of the Pierateers, it was this time within the pastry confines of the pie! (see controversial German pie for comparison)

All in all, it was good value and very tasty. Definitely one to have again. And while a supermarket brand rather than a specific expert pie company, it certainly kicks off an encouraging week of mass pie eating!

Sainsbury's Classic Chicken and White Wine Puff Pastry Pie
Score: 5.8/7

As this pie is no longer being sold in store, and has been replaced by a "deep fill" version reviewed in October 2013, this pie is no longer listed in the Pierate Pie Rankings but you can still find other pies of a similar flavour.

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