Thursday 31 May 2012

Start saving for your Olympic Pies!

Would you pay £8 for a pie? Of course it would depend on the context, but the big cheeses at the Olympic Games have announced that pies will cost £8 at the "Greatest Show on Earth" - London 2012.

Check out this article on it:

Let's just hope they're the greatest pies on earth when we come to get our hands on them in July! A gold winning review is hoped for, though the expectation of the British public will be high!

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Tuesday 22 May 2012

Tesco Steak and Red Onion Pie

Tesco Steak and Red Onion Pie Review

Apologies for the unimaginative title but I have a headache. My remedy for the headache was of course pie. As a Pierateer, more unusual fillings catch my eye and this was no different for the steak and red onion pie I had for lunch today. I looked over the traditional 'steak and ale' and 'chicken and mushroom' and settled on this £2 (or 2 for £3 offer which I greedily took up) pie.

Tesco steak red onion pie review

Though cooked for the recommended time, the pie was a little bit burnt on the outside but cold in the middle. However, I think this flaw is very much the fault of my oven rather than the pie. After a quick blast in the microwave to get it hot, the pie turned out to be very tasty. The steak pieces were soft and easy to eat rather than chewy. The gravy was thick and flavourful. The red onion in the pie made a lovely change from the regular white onion, which is often used a a cheap filler in regular pies. The subtle change made the pie a bit sweeter than you might expect but this is really nice. Overall, the pie was not really exciting, but made a fabulous cheap lunch treat.

Tescos Steak and Red Onion Pie
Score: 4.0/7

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

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Saturday 19 May 2012

Crabtree’s Chicken and Rice Speciality Dish – Pie Edition

Word on the street is that Miss Crabtree likes to crack out her chicken and rice speciality dish to all her guests, providing them with a delicious chicken in white wine sauce. Great...but why is this being mentioned on the world’s number one pie blog? Well let me tell you! For it was an absolute delight when recently frequenting said friend’s house for said chicken and rice speciality dish that the chicken dish had been covered in pastry and turned into a pie!* Excellent!

Chicken pie review
Yes, that is rice...

So after a delightful starter provided by Caitlin, the pie main course was served! And while it took a little getting used to seeing a side serving of rice and green beans (rather than the traditional mash/chips and peas), let’s be honest – all you want to know about is how good the pie tasted!

The colour of the pastry was lovely and golden, and there was no doubt that there was plenty of chicken packed into the pie slice I was given. The chicken was succulent and not at all chewy, while the sauce was delicious, creamy and complimented the chicken perfectly (it was clear this was a speciality meal!) The major disappointment was that the pie was, unfortunately, just a top crust. It did therefore lack the ideal ratio of pastry to content. But for a top crust, it was a very nice homemade pie. Full compliments to the chef!

Score: 4.9/7
Chicken Pie

*There are vicious rumours going round that this pastry lid may have in fact fallen accidentally onto the chicken dish before it entered the oven, but we are willing to give Miss Crabtree the benefit of the doubt on this one! J

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Adventures in Pie Wonderland

Fuller's Ale and Pie House Review

With some pubs you are happy to see one or two pies on the menu so when there is a choice of nine, it is like walking into a pie wonderland. This is what happened when the Pierateers visited The Mad Hatter pub in Southwark, London. This is another Fuller's Ale & Pie House like The Jack Horner visited recently.

It is also a bit of a nightmare because you want to try them all. Fortunately the pub had thought of this already by providing a mini pie platter containing five pies. In order to try more pies the Pierateers decided to split all five pies and one full sized pie between them. There were practical problems with this. With such small pies each Pierateer got a tiny amount and so there was not much time to decide a score before the flavour was gone. However the tastebuds of the Pierateers are honed to perfection and hopefully on average the scores are fair. Notes were made by the Pierateers at the time but they are fairly unintelligible now. I will try my best to decipher them. Here goes....

The Mad Hatter House Pie - Chunks of game with an orange zest in a brandy gravy.
The Pierateers were pleased that while the orange zest was very much part of the flavour of this pie it was not overpowering. The balance was good however we felt the game was slightly on the Chewy side.
TJP - 5.59   SJL - 5.56   RAS - 4.60
Overall - 5.25

Broccoli, Spinach & Cheddar
TJP described this pie as 'insipid' however it was noted that it was 'healthy considering the genre'. It must have done something right though as RAS described it as 'not too bad' and he is known for his carnivorous nature.
TJP - 4.72   SJL - 5.07   RAS - 4.30
Overall - 4.70

Steak & Fuller's Ale
'Where's the ale?' were amongst the comments from the Pierateers. The meat was noted as a bit Chewy and the Content lacking, although to be fair this was a very small pie. However special mention was reserved for the mushrooms. The decision overall was that this pie was decidedly 'nothing special'.
TJP - 4.29   SJL - 4.89   RAS - 4.40
Overall - 4.53

Chicken, Thyme & Apricot Stuffing
The comments for this pie focused on the lack of meat. The pie just tasted of onion and stuffing to some of the Pierateers, however the scores show this wasn't necessarily considered to be too bad. The Pierateers were undecided whether they would choose to eat the whole large pie in this flavour.
TJP - 4.50   SJL - 4.99   RAS - 4.90
Overall - 4.80

Gammon, Apple & Potato
Strangely this was the only mini pie not also available as a full size pie. SJL complained that he had no apple. TJP said that he had all the apple. TJP and RAS liked the gammon but controversially there is quite a divergence on scores for this pie. SJL said 'I was very disappointed, it just tasted of potato'.
TJP - 6.03   SJL - 3.56   RAS - 4.80
Overall - 4.80 

Venison, Port & Prune
As this flavour sounded very different and intriguing the Pierateers decided to choose this as the full sized pie. However, it has been said by some that this was the biggest disappointment of their pie eating career. Two out of three Pierateers failed to finish their small share of the pie as they felt 'it was only just edible'. There was however one good comment from SJL that the venison was 'melt in the mouth' but the 'bizarre flavours' let it down. The use of juniper berries was particularly questioned.
TJP - 2.09   SJL - 2.37   RAS - 1.5
Overall - 1.99

So there you go, while it was a disastrous end with, in our view, one of the worst pies ever eaten by the Pierateers, the pie platter scores quite high on average.


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Tuesday 8 May 2012

Sparks Fly with Marks and Sparks pie

Getting people to read your blog posts is all about getting a good title. I think this one is pretty good, I actually came up with it before eating the pie. I then refused to change it despite the fact that the pie didn't really get close to the 'sparks flying' level of a great pie. So I am sorry, I have misled you. Don't get me wrong, this was a good pie, it was clearly premium quality, but if I were to give it a fantastic score I would be forgetting one of the most important 'Cs' that we use to rate our pies here at pierate; cheapness. At pierate we want to let you know about pies that you would want to buy, not just which pies taste better than others. If a pie is expensive it needs to do something a bit special to make me buy it again and sadly this didn't.

Now, I am slightly doing this review backwards, I should tell you what the pie was! A gastropub branded West Country Steak and Cornish IPA Ale from Marks and Spencer. This was an individual pie which cost me £3.15, fairly pricey for a small pie from a supermarket.

The pastry was fantastic, it used the classic, puff pastry lid and short crust sides combo. Despite being oven cooked it was nice and gooey. There was loads of gravy which was certainly above average. However, the steak let it down for me, I didn't feel it was premium standard. It was chewy in places when I was expecting melt in the mouth.


So the pie did score highly in a number of areas but some faults stop it from gaining top Marks.

West Country Steak and Cornish IPA Ale (Marks and Spencer)

P.S. I have just noticed the name of the pie on the box says 'IPA Ale'. As IPA stands for Indian Pale Ale, they have said Indian Pale Ale Ale on the packet. Surely that isn't right???

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