Monday 30 September 2013

Pukka Pies save time with microwaveable pie - but at what cost?

Pukka Pies Microwaveable Pie Reviews: Chicken Balti Pie and Potato, Cheese and Onion Pie

The Earth spins on its axis. The sun rises. The moon falls. The sun falls. The moon rises. We're machines of perpetual motion, working hard all day, on and on and on to make money. Pounds. Dollars. Yen. Euros. Rupees. Stock market news wraps itself round shimmering buildings dressed in glass. Suited men and women hurry up escalators, down escalators, up flights of stairs, down flights of stairs. We rush to get to work. We rush to get out of work. We rush to make money, then we rush to spend it.

But the one currency we don't make enough of, is time. We fail to see money for what it really is, what it is really for - as a tool for trade. Money is not our lifeblood. It is not our soul. We cannot swallow it for health. We can't inject it for love. We can't breathe it for passion, or creativity, or contentment. 

Time, on the other hand, is the strongest currency of them all. Time can give us health - after all, it is often the greatest healer. We need time to fall in love. Over time, our passion can grow and our creativity can develop. And with time on our hands, like the Buddha reaching enlightenment, we can enter nirvana.

Now I'm not saying that Pukka Pies' new microwaveable 3 and half minute chicken balti pie will give you enough time to reach a complete stillness of mind atop a mountain, but you'll have a bit more time on your hands to watch Breaking Bad or play GTA V at least.

Pukka Pies' 3 1/2 minute pie
Pukka Pies' 3 1/2 minute pie
With a normal pie, the packaging often states that the pie can be microwaved but for the best results the pie should be oven cooked. This is not the case with this pie - these rules are reversed. The packaging says that while similar results can be achieved through oven cooking, microwaving this pie will save time. The pie pastry is specially designed to withstand the 'chewiness' which a microwave often transposes onto pastry during radiation cookery. 

I must point out at this moment that this isn't the first microwaveable Pukka Pie we've tried at Pierate. I ate the chicken pie version of this pie back in 2011, and I was quite a fan of the convenience back then, although I questioned the utility of a pie that cooked so quickly relative to the chips that you're inevitably going to eat this with. Now, consistency is one of the Seven Cs that we deliberate over when rating pies out of 7 here at Pierate. So let's see whether Pukka Pies have been consistent with their quality across their brands and throughout the years.

One quick zap at 4 minutes 10 seconds in a 700W microwave, and this chicken balti is apparently ready to eat!
Pukka Pies' 3 1/2 minute pie
Chicken Balti cross-section
First thing that strikes me is, in my opinion, how dry this pie is. I need to wash each mouthful down with water. The pastry is dry (and deliberately so, I imagine, so that it doesn't go chewy and soggy in the microwave). The lack of gravylicious gravy makes the meat dry, and I find the bottom of the pie has a tinge of burn to it so that the pastry is a bit crispy and...dry. The chicken is actually fine otherwise - not too chewy - but I feel that there's significant compromises being made here so that the pie is microwaveable. I'm really not convinced that a microwaveable pie is what the people want, and certainly not if this is the end result. The balti tasted alright, I suppose. But there wasn't any richness to it, or any smoothness. I wanted to melt away with this pie, into exotic far-away lands. Instead, I had to keep sipping at my glass of water while desperately trying to find some gravy to dip my chips in.

Incidentally, I also found this Pukka Pies 3 and half minute microwaveable Potato, Cheese and Onion pie, also in the frozen section of the supermarket.

Pukka Pies Potato, Cheese and Onion microwaveable pie
The problem with this pie turned out to be quite the opposite to the chicken balti pie reviewed above. The end result of the microwaving process was quite a soggy pie. Examining the base of this specimen, however, it seems that I've managed to burn it. It seems quite odd to me how the crispiness of the pie differs throughout its various sections.

The overall taste of the pie was, in my opinion, quite strong in it's cheese and oniony-ness, to which my personal palate isn't suited. Perhaps you need to give this pie a go if you are a fan of cheese and onion, but since in my household the cheese and onion crisps are the last to go from the multipack, I'm not convinced that fans of cheese and onion do actually exist.

These microwaveable pies are certainly convenient, but I am personally finding it difficult to nail the cooking process. I have had a pie that's too dry, one that was a bit soggy, and one that was really quite soggy. Am I doing something wrong? Or should we all just stick to oven cooking pies in the future?

Pukka Pies Microwaveable Chicken Balti Pie
Score: 3.2/7

Pukka Pies Microwaveable Potato, Cheese and Onion Pie
Score 3.1/7

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Sunday 29 September 2013

Unmis-steak-ably steak and stilton pie from Higgidy

Higgidy British Beef, Stilton and Ale pie review

Ah, Higgidy. We had a Higgidy celebration back in July, in aid of our 200th pie review. Back then we tried the Slow Cooked Steak & Red Wine pie, the Sweet Potato, Feta Cheese and Pumpkin Seed pie, and the Chicken Pot Pie with Ham and Leek. Today I'll be reviewing the British Beef, Stilton and Ale pie from the Shoreham-by-Sea company.

Higgidy British Beef, Stilton and Ale
Higgidy Beef, Stilton and Ale Pie
I had always thought of Higgidy as being a primarily vegetarian company, but here they are delving deep into the domain of hardy meat fans. Beef, blue cheese and ale is a pretty butch combination. I'm desperate to know - can the quirky, cute, family-business Higgidy pull it off?

So the pastry is short crust, but doesn't totally encase the whole filling (much like other pie offerings from Higgidy). Instead, the pastry lid is replaced with potato mash. That's not good! Why not opt for a pastry lid?

This is a very British affair - not only is it made by a British company, but the beef is British, the stilton is British, and I imagine the ale is probably British. I like that. 
higgidy pie
The pie has no pastry lid
The lack of pastry lid to this pie is my immediate concern. We strongly favour pies that have a filling totally and wholly encased in pastry (have we ever mentioned that before...?), so the omission of a lid here is guaranteed to lower the final score. This also detracts from the colour of the pie, as I often assess the pastry lid for a rich pine colour. Here, despite cooking the pie for the allotted time at the allotted temperature, I appear to have burnt the potato topping slightly. However, the condition of the pie is good.

higgidy pie
The inside of the pie
 Moving on to content now - and this is where this Higgidy offering starts losing points rapidly. As I cut the pie open, I noticed something very strange about the filling. Therefore I separated out all the pastry and mash from the steak, ale and stilton filling, and was very disappointed with what I found. Have a look at this close up of the filling:
higgidy pie
This was all the filling
This photograph - apart from a few bits of gravy still stuck to the pastry which I couldn't scrape off - is the entire filling of this pie. I haven't included the potato mash here, because that is technically the lid. As you can see (or perhaps not quite so clearly), the chunks of beef are few and far between. Most of what you see here is gravy with some fibres of beef swimming around in it - there are a couple of small chunks of beef at the top of the photograph. This was extremely disappointing and not what I would expect from a premium beef pie. If you're expecting a big meat feast with this pie, then think again. For those who like their meat pies with meat in, this might not be for you. I could have probably eaten the entire filling here in one large spoonful. Is this a sign that Higgidy isn't ready yet to compete with the big carnivorous players?

That fact aside, the filling was actually delicious. There was definitely a fairly strong taste of stilton. I know for some people this will be a big negative, but for use fans of blue cheese, this is definitely a 'plus' point. Good on you Higgidy! Be brave with the stilton taste! Big flavours. Just need to be bigger on the chunks of meat.

Overall, at about £3.50, this was priced at the premium end of the supermarket pie spectrum - but the quality is clear. The meat (when it was there) was not chewy, and the pastry was great quality. It loses points for no pastry lid, a lack of filling and a lack of beef in the filling, and also it is slightly expensive.

Higgidy British Beef, Stilton and Ale pie
Score: 5.17/7

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Saturday 28 September 2013

Pie before you can buy! Mr Kipling World Exclusive

Pie Review of Mr Kipling Lattice Apple Pies

It comes as a great privilege to be able to review a pie that has not even hit the shops yet! So while Mr Kipling stockists are busy awaiting their deliveries of Lattice Apple pies, Pierateer RAS was busy chomping away at the Lattice Apple pie that had arrived during the post earlier that day!

Now it has to be said that the condition of some of the pies were worst for ware following the postal delivery (even with the “Fragile” and “handle with care” notices on the packaging!) However from the pie in the photo you can see the lattice structure and the apple filling inside.

Mr Kipling Lattice Apple Pies
Mr Kipling Lattice Apple Pies
As for the taste itself, you won’t probably find it a surprise to hear that the apple lattice pie was very similar in taste to the Mr Kipling Apple Pie reviewed before. However the lattice lid was a bit lighter in taste than the full short crust topping. The apple was not at all chewy and very flavoursome, complementing the short crust pastry well. While it was disappointing to see Mr Kipling pies turn away from the full pastry encasement of their filling – something we at are strong advocates of – it was still a very nice pie and the slight lack of top crust pastry did little to put me off buying this pie again (not that I had to buy it this time!)

Once again an exceedingly good pie from the premier portable snack sized fruit pie manufacturers!

Mr Kipling Lattice Apple Pie
Score: 6.14/7


Special thanks to Mr Kipling for taking the time out of his busy pie making schedule to send me some of their new pies before they even reach the shops and to Jeremy, Jonathan, Rebekah, Rob and Steve for sharing this world exclusive with me!

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Tuesday 24 September 2013

Stars And Their Pies - Celebrities Who Love Pies

There's no better endorsement than a celebrity endorsement - and we're sure there are loads of celebrities out there who endorse the greatness of a pie! So here we aim to list self-confessed celebrity pie-lovers - and those famous names who we have reason to suspect enjoy a pie (or two!) Do let us know if you spot any more celebs munching on pies (on Twitter, the web or in person!)

Self-confessed celebrity pie fans

Barack Obama - After watching this video you won't be debating whether he loves pie - you'll be debating whether he can stop talking about pie. However, it seems that Obama has an affection for sweet dessert pies - many of which aren't actual pies, like pecan pie or sweet potato pie. Does Obama also share the same love for fully encased pies?

Warwick Davis - We're not sure if Ewok's are into pies, but delighted that Warwick Davis is! He was making a pie on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch and tweeted us about his love of pies:

Miranda Hart - Miranda posted a message on her Twitter account stating her love for Higgidy pies. We enjoy them too, Miranda!

David Beckham - Rumour has it that this footballer is about to kick-off a pie-and-mash venture with Gordon Ramsey. And here's some more proof of Beckham's love of pie-and-mash.

Chris Evans - looks very happy to be around these pies (BBC), and more evidence of Chris eating pies (BBC). Also his blog post here confirms his love of apple pie (BBC). Evidence enough for us!

In July 2015 Chris was seen munching on Dee's Pies while planning the scripts for Top Gear!

Keri-Anne Payne - Keri-Anne tweeted us to tell us she loves a good pie! Fortunately the Team GB Olympic Silver Medallist in the 10k Open Water event has found the right blog to help with her pie selection!

Jonathan Ross - Apparently Wossy likes a good Fray Bentos Pie!

Celine Dion - The biggest selling female artist of all time loves...PIE! Here's what Celine said in the Metro Newspaper recently - and she didn't even have to "Think Twice"...

Graeme Swann and Toni Duggan - It appears there was pie banter a plenty going on between England cricketer Graeme Swann and women's footballer Toni Duggan recently. No shame in being a pie eater! That definitely deserves a place on the #CelebrityPieQuest!

Zara Dampney - following on from a number of other Team GB Olympians, it's great to hear Zara loves a good pie too!

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee - once again following in the footsteps (and swimming strokes and cycle tracks) of a number of other Team GB Olympians, it's great to hear the Triathlon superstars love a good pie too! Wonder if they'll ever do a Pieathlon one day?!
Dan Walker - Having spoken to the man himself, when he's not got his focus on the football, Dan's got his eyes on the pies! He pie rates the pies at Kidderminster and Forest Green Rovers!

Suspected celebrity pie fans

John Cleese - ordered a batch of Pieminister pies during a visit to Bristol (

Julie Walters - enjoys the Chicken of Aragon pie from Pieminister (

Keira Knightley - enjoys the Chicken of Aragon pie from Pieminister (

Dannii Minogue - enjoys the Heidi pie from Pieminister (

Kate Moss - seems to be quite a pie fan considering her waifish figure. Pieminister claim she loves their pies ( and also Square Pie say that their spinach, sweet potato and goats cheese is her favourite (

Moby - is a judge of the vegan category at 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest (

Damon Hill - says regarding Mayfair's Windmill Pub: "I had the world champion steak and kidney pie and (as one to another) it was well worthy of the title"

Do you know any others? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Twitter using #StarsAndTheirPies.

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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Monday 23 September 2013

Best Pies in London Restaurants

London Pie Reviews - The search for the best pies in London

Pierate is a pie review website where we rate pies of all kinds: sweet, meat - we aren't fussy! See our best pie rankings for the full list!

Many people will visit our nation's capital and wonder: what's the best pie in London? Never fear, we have eaten all the pies already (well, nearly) and can point you in the right direction. By London restaurant pies we mean anywhere that serves a pie which you can eat on the premises. Of course there are also countless take-away options.

The EDF Energy London Pie

Our top recommendations for the best pies in London are below, so click on the pie flavour to see our review. 

You'll note that Piebury Corner is the current top recommendation for their pie deli on Holloway Road. But there are also plenty of fantastic options in central London. If you are taking a stroll along the South Bank why not grab a pie from Pieminister at Gabriel's Wharf? Their pies are now available all over the country but this fantastic setting only adds to the enjoyment.

For an old fashioned pie and mash experience in a relaxed restaurant setting, Mother Mash and Battersea Pie Station are highly recommended. These provide a modern take on the timeless classic. Or why not try the original thing? L. Manze in Walthamstow have been serving traditional pie and mash since 1929 and little has changed since then.

For a more formal meal then the The Windmill, Punch Tavern, Newman Arms and Porters all have very good ranges of pies in 'gastropub' type settings. The Windmill and Newman Arms both have dedicated 'pie rooms' in their restaurants. Particularly recommended for its obsession with the pastry product is Porters English Restaurant. If you are looking to celebrate, you can push the boat out with Bob Bob Ricard who offer the most extravagant pies we have come across, one of which contains Champagne!

Of course, London is also full of a wide variety of pubs. A number of the Fuller's Ale and Pie Houses have been visited and they do an impressive variety of pies in addition to a unique house pie in each establishment.

There are also fantastic pies available throughout the rest of the UK and we recommend you check out our full pie rankings page to see the list of every pie we've ever reviewed!

Best Pies in London Restaurants

List updated: 2nd May 2015

RankPie ProducerRecommended Flavours
1Piebury CornerVenison and Red Wine or Lamb and Veg
2The WindmillSteak & Kidney
3Pieminister Chicken, Ham, Leek and Cheddar
4Mother MashChicken and Mushroom or Steak and Ale or Chicken, Leek and Ham
5Punch TavernsChicken, Tarragon, White Wine and Wild Mushroom
6Battersea Pie StationSteak and Kidney
7L. ManzeTraditional Minced Beef
8CanteenCeleriac, Mushroom and Leek
9Bob Bob RicardChicken, Mushroom and Champagne
10Porters English RestaurantMinced Beef, Pea & Red Wine
11Square PieChicken, Leek and Wiltshire Ham
12Fuller's Ale and Pie HousesSteak and Fuller's Ale
13Young's PubsSteak and Young's Ale
14M. ManzeTraditional Minced Beef
15Putney PiesBeef Bourguignon

Pie ProducerLocation
Piebury CornerIslington, N7 8DL
The WindmillMayfair, W1S 2AZ
Pieminister South Bank, SE1 9PP or Farringdon, EC1N 7TS
Mother MashNr Oxford Circus, W1F 7QZ or The City, EC3A 4AA
Punch Tavern99 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1DE
Battersea Pie StationCovent Garden, WC2E 8RA
L. ManzeWalthamstow, E17 7LD
CanteenBaker St, W1U 8EW or Spitalfields, E1 6DW
Bob Bob RicardSoho, W1F 9DF
Porters English RestaurantCovent Garden, WC2E 8QH
Square PieSpitalfields, E1 6BG, Westfield (White City & Stratford)
Fuller's Ale and Pie HousesVarious inc. The Melton Mowbray, Holborn, EC1N 2LE
Young's PubsVarious inc. The Old Ship, Hammersmith, W6 9TD
M. ManzeTower Bridge Road, SE1 4TW
Putney PiesPutney High St, SW15 1SL

Please note, whilst it was a pie favourite due to having a pie room, the Newman Arms is under new ownership and no longer serve pies.

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Pies and sports: the best match ever!

Many people hold the common misconception that pies and athleticism don't go hand in hand. But nothing could be further from the truth! What sports are good to watch with a pie in hand?

Football and pie. That's the obvious one:

Pukka Pie at Half Time

But we also tried the match of pie with tennis:

Sainsbury's Pork Pie

And a shot at badminton and pie:

NIA Apple Pie

And were served up a pie while watching Olympic table tennis:

In June 2014, Pierateer RAS was also able to add pie at the cricket to the list of pie and sport matches on a visit to Edgbaston Cricket Club!

Pie at the Cricket

So it's clear that sports and pies really are the best match. What other sports do you love to watch while eating pie? Lacrosse? Curling? Canoeing? Let us know!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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Thursday 19 September 2013

Co-operative attack on the Chicken, Bacon and Leek Lattice Pie

Chicken, Bacon and Leek Lattice Pie Review by Co-op

With a discount on the Chicken, Bacon and Leek lattice pie in Co-op, it was too good an offer to miss! So my friends James and Claire picked the pie up for me and a review was in order! It didn’t take long for me to find an excuse to crack out the pie and heat it in the oven. So with a few friends to share pie with – going into “co-operative mode” with Jeremy and Stu – the pie was served up and ready to rate.

Co-op Chicken, Bacon and Leek Lattice Pie
Co-op Chicken, Bacon and Leek Lattice Pie
The first thoughts were that this pie wasn’t very deep and content therefore could have been better. Sure, the pie was filled to the top (though that’s not particularly hard in such a shallow pie) and the lattice pastry on top looked pretty and was nicely crisp, however there wasn’t much filling to go with it. This did leave the pie tasting a bit dry, particularly the base pastry, as there wasn’t very much sauce to compliment it. The dry pastry was highlighted when some of the base pastry rather crumbled as I took the pie out of the tin foil it was cooked in, diminishing the condition score, but the pastry was generally crisp and nice.

Co-op PieHowever the filling that was there was very good. The chicken and bacon were very nice and tender, spread out throughout the pie. The meat wasn’t chewy at all and was flavoursome. I’d have liked a bit more substance to the pie, with more meat and sauce in the pie to boost the taste. However the pie filling was very nice and the creamy & light sauce complemented the meat well.

The pie at normal price is £3 for a family sized pie, which is quite reasonable. I’d happily eat this pie again, though would prefer more filling to bulk the capacity of the pie up!

Co-op Chicken, Bacon and Leek Lattice Pie
Score: 5.4/7


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Monday 16 September 2013

Hunting down a Farndon Fields Huntsman Pork Pie

Huntsman Pork Pie Review by Farndon Fields Farm Shop

It's clear your friends know you well when they invite you out for a pie meal, buy you a pie book for your birthday or turn up at your door with a pie they’ve just bought for you! Or maybe that’s just me... Anyways, a Farndon Fields Huntsman Pork Pie was greatly received from housemate Jeremy on Saturday, following his scouting mission in the fields near Hothorpe Hall, Leicestershire, for our Church’s weekend away. Bought at nearby Farndon Fields Farm Shop, I was intrigued as to what this pie would have to offer. The thought of a chicken and pork pie excited me (I had previously had a chicken and ham pork pie which had good potential), and while reasonably costly at £4.25 it was a decent sized pork pie. The question though was how would it rate?

Cutting into the pie, it was clearly split into layers of pastry (base), pork (lower middle), chicken (upper middle) and stuffing (top). This, of course, leads any avid Pierateer fan to mention “you’ve forgotten to mention the pastry lid...” until you see the photo...
Farndon Fields Huntsman Chicken and Pork Pie
Farndon Fields Huntsman Chicken and Pork Pie

Yep, that’s right – it’s an onion and sage stuffing lid. Hmm... As we all know, Pierateers demand a pie to be filling fully encased in pastry with a clearly defined side, base and lid. Sure, the sides, base and lid were there, but lacking full encasement in pastry was disappointing as soon as the pie had been pulled from the packaging. Of course I avidly sliced through the pie to check, in case the stuffing was some sort of layer above the pastry lid... but to no avail. A lack of full encasement in pastry means a significant negative scoring unfortunately in our search for pie perfection.

Farndon Fields Huntsman Chicken and Pork PieBut let’s move on to the rest of the pie. The pastry that was there was quite thick and firm, but not overly chewy. It held the content in well and provided a definite firmness to each bite. The pork and chicken were both tasty and complimented each other well. Described as “succulent chicken breast”, the chicken was tender and tasty, but still a little dry compared to a standard meat pie. The meat was predominantly very good but a little gristly in places. The stuffing complemented the meat well but left disappointment due to it being in place of a pastry lid. And the jelly content was quite over-the-top, both being on the inside of the pastry (as expected) but also a rather thick layer between the chicken and stuffing lid, forming quite a strong, overpowering layer of jelly. This detracted from the more enjoyable meat content, and the whole pie suffered from a lack of pastry lid.

All in all, while this wasn’t a bad effort, and the chicken and pork pie filling does definitely work as a combination, I’d certainly want to hunt round for a stronger candidate.

Farndon Fields Farm Shop Huntsman Pork Pie (Chicken, pork and stuffing)
Score: 4/7

[Colour 4/7; Consistency 3/7; Cheapness 4/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 5/7; Content 3/7; Capacity 4/7; Total: 4/7]


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Wednesday 11 September 2013

Is Your Pie Half Full Or Half Empty?

Barmies - Potato & Mince Beef Pie Review

I thought I may have run out of small pie producers in Suffolk to review. Fortunately I found this Barmies Pie in a newsagent in Leiston. It was the only pie in the shop and I had some reservations initially as it was Potato & Mince Beef flavour. I am generally a bit sceptical about the displacement of meat in a pie by potato. It generally indicates a cheaper pie. Mince also tends to indicates worse quality meat otherwise surely it is preferable to use whole pieces of steak. Also, I cannot find anything online about Barmies pie company, I am not sure they exist!

Barmies - Potato and Mince Beef Pie Review

I was glad that my prejudices were proved (mostly) wrong on this occasion. The pie overall tasted delicious. The outside was soft and melty, pastry perfection. It quite reminded me of the soft, gooey pastry of a Pukka Pie. The whole pie, including the potato, was so soft that you barely needed to chew this pie at all, I felt I could have probably drunk the filling through a straw. There was a lovely thick, peppery sauce inside the pie which was really what made it taste so good. The meat wasn’t too bad either, the pieces of mince were plentiful and big enough to know they were there. At just £1.25 this pie was also quite Cheap so you might think I was onto a winner here until you see the cross section photo....

Barmies - Potato and Mince Beef Pie Review

Now for the criticism which stops it getting into the upper echelons of our pie rankings. There was quite a big Capacity as this was a tall pie, however, as can be seen there was a sizable air gap in the top of the pie. Call me a pessimist but I would say my pie was half empty rather than half full on this occasion. Also, while the meat tasted good, it wasn’t great quality and would have been overly chewy had it not been minced up.

So, a decent pie but I feel I would be letting standards slip if I endorsed a pie with such a big air gap, hence there is a glass celling on the score. You don't have to be Barmy to buy a Barmies pie, it is a solid little performer, but you might feel an air of disappointment.

P.S. I have just realised that the company is actually called 'Barnies' not 'Barmies' as I thought. They do actually exist and have a website, guess this explains why I couldn't find them! The logo isn't very clear!

Potato & Mince Beef (Barnies Foods)

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Sunday 8 September 2013

Cooking Up a Storm in The Pie Kitchen

The Pie Kitchen - Chicken, Chantenay Carrot & Bacon Pie Review

So here it is, the Pierate review of the Pie which won the title of Supreme Champion at the 2013 British Pie Awards. This means it was the best pie in the whole competition, which included a staggering 983 pies. Understandably I was therefore quite excited to be trying this pie after it has achieved so much. Would this pie top our list of the best pies in Suffolk? Could this be the best pie I have ever tasted? Have a look at the review in action in the following video.

So now the moment of truth! What did I think?

Colour - 7 out of 7 - A real winner against the colour criteria. I think this pie had a perfect golden colour even before being cooked. Despite the pastry being all hand made it showed quite an amazing uniformity, but not too much so as to lose it's handmade character. The filling also looked great, with the carrot adding a splash of colour.

Consistency - 7 out of 7 - The pie had a fantastic consistency, with a lovely thick sauce, but not too thick as to be stodgy. I love the way it slowly oozed out although the filling generally stayed put inside the pie. A pie which would be great to serve to guests as it stayed together very well.

Capacity - 7 out of 7 - Whist this pie was certainly not the tallest pie it was big enough to fit a lot in. I think this pie could serve about 3 people with mash and veg. It had an excellent filling to pastry ratio.

Chewiness - 5 out of 7 - I tend to use chewiness to score the texture of the pie. The filling had a marvellous texture. The meat was tender but still firm to the bite. It really showed that this was not mass produced chicken which can often be mushy and watery. The carrot added another dimension to the texture and retained a nice crunch. Quite an achievement in a pie. However, as much as I loved the taste of the pastry the texture was too crumbly for me. My ideal pastry has a smoother mouthfeel.

Cheapness - 5 out of 7 - This is the most expensive pie that The Pie Kitchen make. It cost £7.50 if purchased from one of the farmers markets they attend. Okay, this is a lot more than most of us normally pay for a pie. However, you get a lot for your money. The pie is quite big and the amount of filling is fantastic. I reckon this pie has about twice as much chicken as an equivalent mass produced pie. Good quality, locally sourced produce does cost more and hence I don't think this was bad value.

Content - 7 out of 7 - If I could give this pie 8 out of 7 for content then I would. The flavours did everything you would expect from a top quality traditional British pie and did it brilliantly. However, there was just a hint of some unusual flavours that made it stand out from the crowd. I can't quite say what spices and herbs might have been used, but it tasted slightly Christmasy to me, perhaps it was nutmeg or some other seasonal spice. There was also a delicious meaty taste to the pie, something we love on The Pierate Ship! This was aided by the big chunks of chicken and more than a hint of bacon. The carrot also had a superb, sweet flavour. I am going to have to buy more Chantenay carrots in the future if they taste this good. Below, you can see a section of the pie where I have removed the lid to show it is packed with content as you would expect for a pie at this price.

Condition - 7 out of 7 - Beautifully formed, hand made pastry, this pie looked like a premium product. It arrived with me in perfect condition and didn't have any soggy bottom syndrome or leaking filling after time in the oven.

So there it is, a pie which might not quite take top spot in our Pie Rankings but is comfortably inside the top ten. It certainly lost some score because of the high price but I would buy it again and this shows through in the very high score. Without doubt one of the best pies I have ever eaten. My compliments to Sally and Carol at The Pie Kitchen. They are refusing to compromise their ideals of local ingredients and using the best quality available. The care that goes into making these pies shows through in how good they taste.

I urge you to try one of these pies, if you can. The Pie Kitchen visit a range of different farmers markets during the month, the list of which can be found on their website These are mainly in the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk areas. They can also be found in the Depden Farm Shop near Bury St. Edmunds. Best of luck to The Pie Kitchen at the British Pie Awards 2014!

Chicken, Chantenay Carrot & Bacon (The Pie Kitchen)


See where this pie ended up on our Suffolk Pie Rankings, the overall Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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