Sunday, 29 June 2014

Grecian Formula Pies

Exeter City FC - Chicken Balti Pie Review

I decided to take myself down to Exeter for the rearranged midweek evening match between Exeter and Wycombe Wanderers. I had in my mind that Exeter wasn't all that far from where I live in Gloucestershire. I did however change my mind after the long drive. That said, it wasn't as far as for the fans coming from Wycombe. As I entered the stadium there was a sign thanking the Wycombe fans for the miles they had travelled to be there.


I walked into the stadium slightly late because I had no idea where to park, there didn't seem to be a main carpark for the ground and resident parking permits were everywhere. I do much prefer grounds that are in the town but out of town is certainly easier for driving too! Also, as usual, I didn't have any cash and forgot that some football grounds haven't entered the 21st century and don't take cards :-/

This error fortunately didn't mean I was too late for the pies. There was just a handful of fans in the Wycombe end hence demand wasn't very high. They had chicken balti or steak & kidney for £2.60. The guy at the kiosk was friendly and quite interested in our pie quest. He did try and claim that these pies were from a local bakery called 'Shauls'. But the packaging said otherwise, they appeared to be none other than Shire's Famous Pies as we have reviewed before at Walsall.

I stood and ate my pie in the inspiring away terrace. Basically this is a few concrete steps with no roof, thankfully the weather was okay. I normally really like the atmosphere at away games but the terrace was a bit sparsely populated for my liking. The game was entertaining though with Wycombe getting three points thanks to a spectacular effort from Max Kretschamer. Those 3 points proved to be vital to Wycombe as they stayed up on the final day of the season.

I was glad I went to the game. I had a strange feeling that I had to see more Wycombe games last season. After having been a season ticket holder for many years I find it harder to get to Wycombe games these day. I generally haven't minded being a fan from afar. But with Wycombe battling against relegation out of the football league I felt it was a sense of duty for me to get to more games. It was as if I felt that my presence would somehow help them stay up. It was true that out of the six games I went to, I didn't see them lose. Not bad for a team which only survived on the last day of the season on goal difference! There was also another motivation, it was another football ground to add to our football pie league. Currently, it is only a small league of 7 clubs. At this rate we will have done a Tom Dickinson and visited all the grounds by the time we are 81 so stay tuned to pierate.co.uk! But where did this pie end up in our league. See the breakdown of the score below.

Just one final note, both Wycombe and Exeter are just a handful of fan owned clubs in the football league. Such a shame both of them are struggling with falling attendances. I am not sure what the solution to this problem is, I guess it comes down to loyalty of supporters, whether they are prepared to watch a team that isn't splashing the cash. One thing is for sure, the Pierate ship will continue to set sail to see the Blues whenever it can!


Condition - 4.2 out of 7 - This really was a pie of two halves, from the top the condition looked decent, but the bottom was unappealingly burnt.
Colour - 3.1 out of 7 - As with the condition, the burnt bottom of the pie let down the colour score, I thought the top could have also been more appealing, a bit dull.
Cheapness - 4.5 out of 7 - £2.60 is decent for a League 2 match, see the BBC's price of football analysis.
Capacity - 4.0 out of 7 - This pie had a good capacity for its height but the shallow shape and overhanging pastry lid meant it didn't have as good a capacity as some of the competition. However, it was well filled.
Chewiness - 6.0 out of 7 - Slipped down an absolute treat, the pastry was nice and crumbly and crisp, despite being burnt. This didn't seem to be a problem when it came to actually eating the pie. Almost slipped down too easily if anything.
Content - 5.5 out of 7 - There were some chunks of meat and a sauce which tingled the tasted buds rather than burnt them. I would have preferred something with a little more kick to it, such as the Pukka version. It also lacked the meaty chunks of the Peter's chicken curry.
Consistency - 5.5 out of 7 - Had it not been burnt, I think this pie was more consistently good than the Peter or Pukka versions in that it didn't have a weakness (Peter's was a bit bland and the Pukka lacked meat). Shame about the condition or it could have score well. In terms of football curry pies, it is easy to see why Shire are so popular, this was great to eat in your hands whilst standing on the terrace and held together okay. A safe, middle of the road option.


Chicken Balti (Exeter City/Shire's)
4.69/7

SJL



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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Grecian Formula Pies"

Saturday, 28 June 2014

150 Years of Pie Making: Celebrating with Robinsons Bakery

A celebratory visit to pie makers Robinsons Bakery in their 150th year


Robinsons Bakery Pie Review
Robinsons Bakery in Failsworth, Manchester
One of the pie-lights of being a Pierateer is sailing the Pierate Ship up and down the country to meet pie producers who really do care about their pies. A fine example of this is Robinson’s Bakery in Failsworth, north Manchester. They run the oldest craft bakery in Manchester, which has this year celebrated a milestone 150 years producing pies and baked goods. It’s an excePIEtional achievement for anyone, producing pies through highs and lows, recessions and booms - even 2 world wars!

So what’s the key to the sustained success of Robinson’s Bakery?

Well it’s clear from the moment you arrive that you get a friendly, local feel to the whole place. Providing baked goods to the local community and an increasing number of businesses and customers across the city via their city centre market stall, people are clearly wanting a good quality of product and service, from a bakery that buys and sells local. In the past they have sold baked products off a horse and cart (see photo below) and now they sell from two shops and a weekend market stall – with all the products baked in the Failsworth shop.

Robinsons Bakery Pie Review - Ovens
Robinsons Bakery Pie Review - Pie Press














A tour of the bakery includes a giant pie press, casing hundreds of pies a day, and ovens which can cook hundreds of pies at once if necessary!

I asked Grace, who looks after the Robinsons Bakery twitter and facebook account among other duties, what they have been doing to celebrate their 150th anniversary. Were there any more comPIEtitions in the PIEpeline? Again her answer highlighted the strong links they have with the local community in which they sell their baked goods, with many food promotions and giveaways – including their celebratory 150th anniversary bags – aimed at their regular customers. But there were promotions continuing to happen at various points online across their 150th year.

Regarding the pies, it’s hard to argue with a pie maker who’s been in the trade for well over 50 years, let alone 150 years. That’s plenty of time to PIEfect their reciPIES! So how often do they change their pies? Not often, it turns out! The manager David explained the current recipes they use are from his mother. They do have some more seasonal pies on sale, but in general most of their pies are sold all year round.

Robinsons Bakery Pie Review
Robinsons Bakery Historic Photo
Their best-selling pies are the potato and meat pies, with their various meat and gravy pie sales totalling about 2,000 a week and around 500 pork pies sold a week on top of that. We bought and rated three Robinsons meat pies - the Steak and Guinness, Steak and Kidney and Apple Topped Pork Pie. Two of them received Pierate Recommended status and you can read about that in their full pie review.

Interestingly their mince pies sales continue all year round, with a minimum 60 sold a week all year round, peaking at around 2,000 mince pies sold a week around Christmas! Of course we’ve already been to Robinson’s Bakery before, picking up these delightful mince pies which were one of the highest scoring pies in our '12 Pies of Christmas' music video!

Robinson’s Bakery can be found at 69/71 Ashton Rd East, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 9PW, with a second store at 164 Nuthurst Rd, New Moston, Manchester, M40 3WG plus a weekend stall at Piccadilly Market in the city centre. They sell a range of pies, bread and other baked goods.

Robinsons Bakery Market Stall
Robinsons Bakery Market Stall

RAS

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.

Make sure you 
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continue reading "150 Years of Pie Making: Celebrating with Robinsons Bakery"

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Hopping mad for a rabbit and cider pie from Bakerie Pie and Ale?

Bakerie Pie and Ale Rabbit And Cider Pie Review


It comes as no surprise that the savoury pie range on offer at most pubs and restaurants focuses on steak, chicken and pork pies. They are of course the staple of the British pie scene and make up the majority of our rated pies. But at Pierate we are always on the lookout for something a bit different. It doesn’t always have to be an exotic meat such as zebra or crocodile – we’d settle for rating the more unusual domestic meat flavours like rabbit or venison. But to our delight, Pie and Ale from Bakerie, situated in the centre of Manchester, combines them all. Be it traditional, unusual or exotic (on a rotated specials board) – Pie and Ale cover them all! They therefore clearly talk a good pie game, but the big question is how do they rate?
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie Review
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie

On a recent trip to Manchester, as part of a Manchester #PieTour, Pierateeer RAS decided to give Pie and Ale a rating. If possible, we like to rate more than one pie from a producer before submitting our review, to ensure consistency in the provision of pies, so having previously eaten a horse pie in Pie and Ale, you will see that review soon too. But first things first…

How did the rabbit and cider pie rate?

It’s worth noting that the presentation of this pie is very good, with a delightful rabbit figurine on top of the pie and mash to highlight the pie you’re eating (in case you can’t remember!) A delightful touch, although as we are pie raters rather than pie and mash raters (it’s pierate – not pieandmashrate!) we do feel the addition of mash potato on top – rather than at the side – of a pie does detract from the pie a bit. Similar to pouring additional gravy on top of the pie (a no-no in our opinion – as the pie should firstly not need additional gravy and secondly we are very capable of adding our own!), the mash on top of the pie does mean the lid of the pie is not as crisp as it might well have been and you don’t get full sight of the beauty that is the pie!

Fortunately, having scraped the mash off the top of the pie to analyse the lid of the pie too, I can confirm it is fully encased and the lid was reasonably golden. Not as golden as the crisp outer crimped pie edge, which was crisp but a tad dry as a result, however it was important to be fully encased in pastry. The base of the pie was a little soft, still holding its structure when a slice of the pie was picked up but rather too soft for my liking. Again this probably wasn’t helped by the ample gravy provided with the pie. In all, I felt there was a bit too much pastry with this pie, so the pie:filling ratio could be improved slightly.

Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie Review
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie

The pie contents itself was on the whole very nice and flavoursome. It was not clearly noticeable to me that it was a cider sauce, however the filling was moist and enjoyable. Needed when the pastry was a bit crisp in places and complimenting the lovely, tender meat and soft vegetable and fruit filling.

The black pudding was rather focused in one corner of the pie and therefore the consistency of this pie was not ideal, with some mouthfuls of meat and others just of black pudding, but in general the rest of the flavours worked. The apple and parsnips added some mix to the flavour without being over burdening. The bacon was clearly evident, without being a rival to the main meaty chunks of rabbit. I would have preferred a content of slightly more rabbit, but it was still a decent proportion of the pie content. The capacity was strong, though a little bit more rabbit would certainly improve it.

At £9.95 for rabbit pie, mash and gravy, served in a restaurant in the heart of Manchester, I feel this is a very reasonable price for a decent sized pie. It was certainly filling and the flavours were good. I would certainly happily eat pie at Pie and Ale again, and look forward to trying some more unusual pies again in the future. This pie achieves Pierate Recommended status for scoring over 5/7.

Bakerie Pie and Ale Rabbit And Cider Pie
Score: 5.68/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 5.75, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 5.75, Total: 5.68/7]
RAS


Interestingly the Pie and Ale menu also includes a number of “Summer Gourmet Dishes” which are marketed as a “bottom crust dish for a lighter dining option”. While obviously we are biased to pies and would prefer just pies on the menu, we understand the business logic of a ‘lighter’ food option during the summer months. However we respect the fact that Pie and Ale haven’t gone for the sadly all too common approach of labelling a non-pie a pie on their menu. “Bottom crust dish” is a much more apt name for these pastry light options. Sadly many pubs fall foul of calling similar pastry-light dishes – in effect casseroles with a pastry lid – a pie. They are not a pie and there is currently an e-petition calling for criminal charges against such false labelling. Respect to Pie and Ale for not falling for this poor food labelling.

Thanks also to Pie and Ale for their free "Pi-fi" which allowed this review to be written and posted while still in the restaurant!

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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Hopping mad for a rabbit and cider pie from Bakerie Pie and Ale?"

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

World Cup Pie-Off - Australia v Netherlands

With Australia against Netherlands in the Group Stage of the World Cup 2014, it's not just the players on the pitch getting a rating. Oh no! We couldn't let these two heavyweights battle it out without some reference to their pie line ups! So off the back of our England v Italy World Cup Pie-Off, here's our second match up!


The World Cup Pie-Off idea is simple – a straight head-to-head between the top rated pie from Australia and The Netherlands.

Enjoying the World Cup? Love Pie? Then our World Cup 2014 Pie Blog is the place to be! Being updated regularly throughout the Football World Cup with pie links and info!


Australia Pie Review
Australia Pie Review
Aussie Aussie Aussie - Pie Pie Pie! You won't be surprised to know that Australia is pretty fanatical about their pies! After all, their city centres are filled with pie shops in the same way our British cities are filled with coffee shops! Check out our special Australian Pie investigation and our review of the top pie we rated there.

Also, we've actually found the Australian Pierate!!! It's called piefinder and sadly it appears they only lasted about 9 months before giving up (May 2012 to February 2013). Of course, we've rated far more pies! We’ve rated over 370 pies so far and, while the vast majority of them have been from England, there are pies rated from a whole host of countries - something we celebrate on our World Cup Pie Blog International Rankings Table!

Netherlands Pie Review
Netherlands Pie Review
The Netherlands, on the other hand, was surprisingly lacking in pies when I visited a number of cities there a few years ago. Despite seeing quite a bit of pastry, there was a distinct lack of pie. I did however find a pie eventually, spotting an apple pie as I passed a McDonald's store in the centre of Amsterdam. It wasn't really what I was hoping to find as a summary of the pie production by the Dutch but at least this was not the shocking "pie" that is sold in England's McDonald's stores - oh no! This was an actual pie! Check it out in our full review.



So onto the pie-off and here are the results of the top pie from each country (click on the pie for the full review):


InfoAustralia PieScorevsScoreNetherlands Pie
Flavour
Spicy Tuna Pie
5.8
-
4.94
Apple Pie
Company
Rhumbas
McDonalds
Where
Crown Food Court, Melbourne
Amsterdam

So there we have it - Australia take the win on our Seven Cs. Whether that is the case on the football field, we will see on 18th June!

And it seems that we're not the only guys having a World Cup food contest! For alongside our Pie-Offs, the Great British BBQ website are having their own World Cup Sausage contest called "El Sausageo 2014". To see which sizzling sausage wins in their World Cup match offs, visit the El Sausageo website!

RAS

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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "World Cup Pie-Off - Australia v Netherlands"

Saturday, 14 June 2014

World Cup Pie-Off - England v Italy

With England playing Italy in the Group Stage of the World Cup 2014, it's not just the players on the pitch getting a rating. Oh no! We couldn't let these two European heavyweights battle it out without some reference to their pie line ups! So here it is: our first World Cup Pie-Off!


The World Cup Pie-Off idea is simple – a straight head-to-head between the top rated pies from England and Italy.

Enjoying the World Cup? Love Pie? Then our World Cup 2014 Pie Blog is the place to be! Being updated regularly throughout the Football World Cup with pie links and info!


Pierate Team Italy Pie Review
But before we start, one thing that may surprise you is that Italy even make pies! After all, they’re better known for their pizza and pasta dishes. But when taking a recent holiday to Italy, Pierateer RAS did a “When in Rome” pie hunt and found some fruit pies. That was added to when he moved on to Milan and found a Milanese Apple Pie, before rounding off his pie hunt with a Ham and Cheese pie in Bergamo.




Pierate Team England Pie Review
England, on the other hand, need no pie introductions! After all, we made the pie famous. Think England and you think pie! One of the nation’s top dishes, pies are of course also synonymous when it comes to football. Who can resist the half time pie?!

We’ve rated over 370 pies so far, and the vast majority of them have been from England. And while there are sadly a few there that have let the side down, there are some pies with world class talent too, including our number one rated pie – Pauls’ Pies Steak and Guinness Pie.



So onto the pie-off and here are the results of the top 3 pies from each country (click on the pies for the full review):



RankEngland PieScorevsScoreItaly Pie
1
Paul's Pies Steak and Guinness
6.73
-
4.94
Salumeria Gastronomia Angelo Mangili “Torta Valdostana” (Ham and Cheese Pie)
2
King's Farm All Steak
6.7
-
4.43
Il Forno dei Navigli “Charlotte” (Apple Pie)
3
Paul's Pies Chicken and Mushroom
6.55
-
4
Zucchero e Farina Strawberry (Fragola) Crostatine

As expected, England take a clean sweep, with all three of their pies scoring significantly higher than Italy’s top efforts on our Seven Cs. Whether that is the case on the football field, we will see in the early hours of 15th June!

And it seems that we're not the only guys having a World Cup food contest! For alongside our Pie-Offs, the Great British BBQ website are having their own World Cup Sausage contest called "El Sausageo 2014". To see which sizzling sausage wins in their World Cup match offs, visit the El Sausageo website!

RAS

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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "World Cup Pie-Off - England v Italy"

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Football World Cup Pie Review Blog - Brazil 2014

Football and Pies - a match made in Heaven! Well, that's obvious! So we thought we'd get into the Samba spirit by writing about pies and football throughout the World Cup 2014. After all, us not talking about pies during a Football World Cup would be like a World Cup without Brazil! So check back here regularly for our latest news about football and pie during World Cup 2014!!!



Click to jump straight to the country's pie:
Australia  |  Belgium  |  England  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Mexico  |  Netherlands


20th July 2014

After all the fun, the thrills and the pie spills of the last 5 weeks at the 2014 World Cup, we could hardly round off the most popular World Cup pie blog on Google this summer without a final hurrah - just to keep you occuPIEd for the next 4 years! So bring on the reciPIE for these Brazilliant Chicken Brazilian pies!

Yep, you can still have a taste of Brazil in your living room, even if the football action has long gone. So why not have a go at making these Brazilian Chicken pies, which were created by Andy Bates for the Food Network UK website and lovingly produced and rated by our very own Ship's Cook! And you can always catch up on anything you missed below when you were too busy watching the football!

So just a note of thanks to the hundreds of readers of our World Cup 2014 Pie Blog! I'll leave you with my image of the tournament. Oh... and bring on World Cup 2018!!!

Pie Reviews out of 7 Scolari
That's right Scolari - we rate pies out of 7!
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

13th July 2014

World Cup Pie Review
The Final Line Ups
One of the pinnacles of sport - the FIFA Football World Cup Final - has taken place and Germany are champions of the world!

We thoroughly enjoyed eating 24 Holland's Steak and Guinness pies, new to their range, as we watched the World Cup Final with friends from City Church, including a number of international students for whom this was a new experience in half-time football pie eating! Having already rated them on the 7 Cs of pie rating while watching the Holland v Argentina match - which you can read the full review of here - people seemed to thoroughly enjoy the pies and it certainly livened up a largely uninsPIEring first 45 minutes!

While the pie we ate in Germany certainly wasn't a world beater, the football team delivered when they needed to and you've Gotze had it to them. It was a stunning strike to win the game and the Germans can now enjoy the sweet success of apple pie!

12th July 2014

Holland's Pie Review
Holland's probable World Cup line up
In what's believed to be a world exclusive, Pierate can unveil a leaked copy of Holland's team sheet for tonight.

As you can see from the image, Holland seem to be filling the midfield, going for a 3-5-2 formation that served them well against Argentina but just didn't quite give them the edge. There's a lot of consistency in the team, it has to be said, with all the comPIEtitors quite evenly matched. It will become apparent whether they have the bite needed to be victors tonight and take the 3rd place playoff win but we certainly look forward to seeing how they score tonight!

Joking aside, the Holland's Steak and Guinness pie is new to their range and has been perfectly timed to be enjoyed over the World Cup period. We enjoyed rating it on the 7 Cs of pie rating while watching the Holland v Argentina match and you can read the full review here.

Alternatively, if you want to see how the top pie bought in Holland rated, why not read our Netherlands pie review or see how their pie got on when they competed in a World Cup Pie Off with Australia earlier in the tournament?

9th July 2014

So let's face it - I don't think anyone could see that 7-1 thumping by Germany over Brazil coming and Twitter was full of comments about the match - summarised well by The Week online - but we at Pierate couldn't resist having a bit of banter about it too.

After all, 7?! Seven?! That's what you rate a pie out of, not a football scoreline!

Pie Reviews out of 7 Scolari
That's right Scolari - we rate pies out of 7!
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images


Pie Review - How to rate a pie
Pie Review made easy with our 7 Cs
We've been rating pies on the 7 Cs of pie rating for over four and a half years, so we know all about the number 7! The top German pie we've rated got a very respectable 5.7/7 but couldn't score as highly as the German football team! And while we have yet to find a perfect 7/7 pie among our 370+ pie rankings, we're charting a course to find the ultimate pie!

But what of Brazil v Germany then? Well you can see our 7 Cs of pie rating on our Pierate Infographic, and while not all of them really relate to a football performance, if Brazil and Germany were to be rated on our unique rating system you'd have to query the consistency of Brazil's defending and appreciate the content and condition of Germany's attacking threat. Ultimately Brazil were Mullered and it should have been Klose but I have know Khedira what happened really. They'll Schurrley be needing a big plate of pie to get over this - but I guess you win some, you Kroos some...

4th July 2014 - France and Germany

The Quarter Final match up between France and Germany gives us a chance to compare more pies with our third World Cup pie-off! Can the French flair continue? Will the Germans prove too efficient? Find out in our pie head-to-head!


France v Germany Pie Off Pie Review
France v Germany Pie Off

2nd July 2014

While our Pierate blog is very much focused on bringing you our view on the pies we've eaten up and down the country, we can't deny there is a bit of a football pie bias! After all, there's nothing better during a football match than a half-time pie! So while this is a World Cup football pie blog, we thought we'd make you aware of a few domestic British pies we've rated too!
92 Pies Review
92 Pies Review

The first place to head for info on our England football pie reviews is our Football Pie League, highlighting the pies and lows of eating half time pastry snacks at the nation's football grounds. It is no surprise to find Morecambe FC currently top of the list with their homemade gourmet pies made by pie legend Graham Aimson. This is relatively rare, with most grounds selling mass produced brands such as Shire, Pukka or Peters. See the full leaderboard as we rate more of England's Football league pies!

However one of the things that insPIEred us to write about football pies (and pies in general) was the book "92 Pies" by Tom Dickinson and we're delighted to announce that we have just reviewed the book on our infamous 7 Cs - which makes it the first non-pie to be officially rated on the 7 Cs! Check out the review of the book and see how it rated on our "92 Pies" review page!

29th June 2014

It turns out that Pierate isn’t the only website promoting national cuisine during the World Cup in Brazil. While we have had a number of pie offs, featuring comparisons between our top rated pies in England v Italy and Australia v Netherlands, this summer the Great British BBQ launched El Sausageo 2014. It’s a tournament to mirror the football, pitting sausages from around the world against other competing sausages in a football style tournament. It’s a highly impressive undertaking, with the national sausages from each country being pitted against one another in a series of taste tests conducted by the Great British BBQ.

The group stage has been completed, mimicking the World Cup group matches being completed, and there are already a number of surprises and certainly some different results to the actual football score lines! Who got out of the groups? Who will be crowned El Sausageo Champion 2014? Keep an eye on the El Sausageo 2014 website to find out!

25th June 2014

So Luis Suarez eh?! Way to make your MARK on the World Cup! Not that he's likely to be biting into the trophy come the middle of July if he gets the expected significant ban from FIFA. Of course Twitter was going wild following the supposed bite. And to avoid being long in the tooth, let's just get to the point. Tootie Pie Company have summed up what we were all thinking with this witty tweet:
We imagine there would be loads of people who would bite their arm off to be representing their country at the World Cup. It appears Suarez was keen on biting someone elses...

22nd June 2014

I'm sure we all know that feeling of having extra sticker swaps and no-one with the stickers we need. Be it Premier League or Pokemon stickers back in the day, or the current Panini World Cup sticker album, it's always great to get a helping hand in finding those final swaps to complete your collection.

Well that got the guys at BadMan Media thinking - and on 22nd June they organised "Want Got Need" - a sticker swapping event during the World Cup. While we sadly couldn't attend, lots of money was raised for Macmillan Cancer support charity and plenty of swaps were made to! We were happy to support the event - of which you can see some more info and photos on the BadMan Media website - by providing a Pierate mug for one raffle winner, so congratulations to whoever won it!

The whole "want, got, need" philosophy behind the sticker swapping event really struck a chord with us - particularly when we were at the British Pie Awards back in April. "Want, got, need" were pretty much our thoughts when looking at the vast array of pies on show - some of which we have already rated but many of which we want to add to the 370+ pies on our pie rankings list! We look forward to rating many more of the winning pies from the British Pie Awards in the coming months!

21st June 2014

With an ITV Fever Pitch Ticket to watch the World Cup football in the bag and a number of pie stop offs on the list, Pierateer RAS headed to Manchester on Saturday 21st June. You can follow all the comings and goings of the day on Twitter by searching the twitter hashtag #PieTour but in summary:
ITV Fever Pitch World Cup Football
ITV Fever Pitch World Cup Football

- The day kicked off with a visit to Robinsons Bakery in Failsworth, north Manchester. Having rated Highly Recommended mince pies from there back in November 2013, Pierateer RAS enjoyed a tour of the bakery as part of their 150 year celebrations. That's a lot of pies baked in that time! The Steak and Pork pies rated well too!
- For lunch Pierateer RAS headed back into the City Centre to eat a Rabbit and Cider pie from Bakerie's Pie and Ale
- From there Pierateer RAS enjoyed watching the Argentina v Iran match at the ITV Fever Pitch Fan Park, complete with beach football pitch and giant TV screen - but controversially no pies!!!
- The evening was rounded off with a Great North Meat Pie (Beef) from Tib St Tavern. (Pie Review to come soon)

18th June 2014 - Australia and Netherlands

The match up between Australia and the Netherlands gives us a chance to compare more pies with our second World Cup pie-off! Are the Socceroos as adventurous with their pies as they are on the pitch? Will the Dutch turn in a masterclass? Find out in our pie head-to-head!


Australia v Netherlands Pie Review
Australia v Netherlands Pie Off


17th June 2014 - Belgium

Belgium Pie Review
Belgium Pie Review
While Belgium may be famous for it's chocolate, we've rated pie there too you know! But while the Belgium football team have been labelled Dark Horses of the Fifa World Cup by numerous pundits, can the same be said for their pie?!

We found and rated a "Warme AppelTaarte" when in Brugges, which we were assured translated as Warm Apple Pie - not a dreaded tart! It was quite a firm, crisp base with a softer lattice lid but it did taste reasonably good. The apple filling was quite saucy and enjoyable. Find out how we rate it's chances by reading our Belgium Pie Review!


14th June 2014 - England and Italy

With the big match of the day being the England v Italy tie, we couldn't help but have a World Cup Pie-Off! Find out who won between Team England and Team Italy in the first ever World Cup Pie-Off, with the top 3 pies that we've rated from each country compared.


Football World Cup Pie Review England v Italy




13th June 2014 - Mexico

Mexican Pie Review
Mexican Pie Review
Arriba Arriba! Perhaps you will want to give a Mexican pie a try, to celebrate Mexico kicking off their World Cup campaign with Cameroon at 5pm UK time today?! Well fortunately we've found and rated one!
See our review of the Mexican Beef Pie from Asda. And if you're insPIEred to go and buy one - why not check out all our Asda pie reviews here?!

Have a good look, say hello, give it a Mexican wave. This Mexican pie promises “Tasty chilli beef with black eyed beans and jalapeno peppers, wrapped in tomato and coriander pastry finished with a tasty monterey jack and tortilla crumb”. So find out how it rated on the 7 Cs - whether it hit the back of the net or deserved a red card - by reading our Asda Mexican Beef Pie Review! Ole!!!


12th June 2014

I thought we'd kick off this World Cup pie blog by looking at the pies we've reviewed around the world - in particular the rankings of those who have qualified and not qualified for Brazil 2014. We've sadly not yet tried pies in all the competing countries - in fact, some may not have a clue what a pie is! - but here's the best of what we've rated so far:

Top score per country of the pies we've rated from around the World!


RankPie ProducerWorld Cup StatusPie FlavourScoreBy
1
EnglandQualifiedSteak and Guinness
6.73
TJP
2
ScotlandDid Not QualifyScotch
6.50
TJP
3
New ZealandDid Not QualifyChicken and Vegetable
6.41
TJP
4
Hong KongDid Not QualifyOstrich
6.26
SJL
5
WalesDid Not QualifySteak
6.11
SJL
6
FranceQualifiedDuck and Fig
6.00
ARL
7
AustraliaQualifiedSpicy Tuna
5.80
TJP
8
GermanyQualifiedApple
5.70
RAS
9
ItalyQualifiedHam and Cheese
4.93
RAS
10
BelgiumQualifiedApple
4.30
RAS
11
NetherlandsQualifiedApple
4.00
RAS
12
BorneoDid Not QualifyBeef and Onion
3.86
SJL
13
VietnamDid Not QualifyCoconut
3.46
SJL
Note: This table simply shows the highest rated pie we have eaten and reviewed in each country, therefore countries we have not yet visited cannot be listed yet! It does not provide a representative sample of the full range and quality of pies in each country but we hope one day to add to this list!





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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continue reading "Football World Cup Pie Review Blog - Brazil 2014"

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Another Not-So-Big Big Pie from Heinz

Heinz/Peters Pies Chicken And Bacon Big Pie Review

You may recall that recently we reviewed three Heinz Big Pies, and now I'm going to review a fourth pie from Heinz: the chicken and bacon.
You'll note that this pie promises to be "Big on flavour" - sounds promising!
Out of the oven, this pie is a nice colour but has cracked around the edges. The lid of the pie is lifting away from the sides, which will unfortunately lose this pie a few marks for condition.
Cutting open the pie for the cross-sectional view, you can see that the lid has held its domed shape well. The filling is nice and creamy, and the gravy is very smooth. The chicken is not chewy, and the filling tastes nice. The pie is underfilled, but its not terrible. This isn't a bad pie by any means, but its not particularly exciting, and doesn't have that hand-crafted wholesomeness that I love in pies. But lets be honest here, this pie was £1. That is a bargain for this sort of quality. However, for something called a "Big Pie", this pie is surprisingly small, and I finished it wanting more.

Heinz Chicken and Bacon Big Pie
Score: 4.6/7
TJP

continue reading "Another Not-So-Big Big Pie from Heinz"

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Pieminister keep their Pie Pledge!

You may remember that at Pierate we love a #PiePledge - after all we made a whole host of them in the lead up to British Pie Week back in March this year! But we'd spotted another Pie Pledge - a promise made involving pie - from our good friends at Pieminister back in February.

Pieminister Pie Review Jenny Jones
A Bronze Medal and a Golden Pie!
via Pieminister Twitter

Remember Sochi 2014? Well following the great news of Jenny Jones winning Team GB’s first medal of the Games, with a fantastic performance in the slopestyle event, it was great to see that the Bristol-based athlete had not only won a bronze Olympic medal but an offer of a nice warm pie or two awaiting her return to her home town!



Yes, Bristol-based pie company Pieminister got caught up in the Olympic spirit and offered Jenny a free pie or two to toast her success! And we knew that if she jumped at the chance, she wouldn't be left filling disappointed! We’ve rated plenty of the pies from Pieminister already and you can read about those on our Pieminister pie review page!

And so it was great to see that the moment finally arrived - better late than never! - on 8th June 2014! That's PIEseverance right there! All we want to know is... was it free?!?!?!



Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. We've already rated a number of Pieminister pies.

For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pieminister keep their Pie Pledge!"

Monday, 9 June 2014

With a Lidl bit of luck, this will be a great pie

Lidl Deluxe Steak and Stilton Pie Review


This is a steak and stilton pie from Lidl's own brand Deluxe range. This is a finalist from The Grocer Own Label Food and Drink Awards 2014, so let's hope for some Lidl surprises!

lidl pie

Colour: The pies come frozen, and straight out of the packet they look very pale from the raw dough. Thankfully, after a spell in the oven they come out golden brown, although the lid surface doesn't look quite glossy enough for me - needs more glaze.

Condition: The condition of the pie is good, with no cracks, boil out or breakages.

Cheapness: The pie was fairly cheap. For 2 pies, the price was something like £2.80 (unfortunately I can't remember the exact figure), so at about £1.40 each these pies are at the lower end of supermarket prices.

lidl pie

Content: There are some good chunks of steak, and quite a strong flavour of stilton. Certainly not a pie for those who don't like blue cheese (I do). The pastry was crispy and flaky.

Capacity: Most of the inside of the pie does seem to be taken up by pastry, leaving not much room for filling. These pies are therefore not very filling as they have poor capacity.

Chewiness: The steak is tender and not chewy. It's good!

Consistency: There was a decent amount of gravy in this pie, but I still could have done with a little bit more.

Overall, this was a good pie with good quality pastry and tasty filling, although this pie's capacity let it down. Strong flavour of stilton.

Lidl Deluxe Steak and Stilton Pie
Score: 5.17/7
TJP


We've rated lots of pies from Lidl and other supermarkets. See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "With a Lidl bit of luck, this will be a great pie"

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Britain’s Got Pie Talent - Finding Britain's Best Pie

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. Being based in Britain, we've mainly rated pies in the UK. And it’s no surprise to know that Britain really does have pie talent! See our Pie Treasure Map for proof!


Whether it’s down at your local farmers market – like our top rated pie from Paul’s Pies – or a top pie and mash shop like Piebury Corner, it’s clear you don’t need to leave Britain’s fine shores to find a top rated pie. We should know – we’ve rated over 370 pies now on www.pierate.co.uk!

Currently Britain's Best Pie - Paul's Pies
Currently Britain's Best Pie - Paul's Pies

Our top pies as at the start of June 2014 are all British and as follows:

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreByFrom
1
Paul's PiesSteak and Guinness
6.73
TJP
ENG
2
King's Farm [HP22 6BH]All Steak
6.7
SJL
ENG
3
Paul's PiesChicken and Mushroom
6.55
SJL
ENG
4
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Venison and Red Wine [Thierry Henry]
6.5
RAS
ENG
=
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Lamb and Veg with a hint of mint [Ian Wright]
6.5
RAS
ENG
=
JB Christie [ML6 6BU]Minced Beef Scotch
6.5
SJL
SCO


And whether you want a meat, sweet, or one-without-any-wheat pie, we’ve got them covered on our Pies: Categorised page. That gives you our top 3 pies in lots of flavours and from many supermarkets and leading pie brands.

So what are you waiting for? Enjoy your pies and celebrate that Britain really has got pie talent!


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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Britain’s Got Pie Talent - Finding Britain's Best Pie"

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Farmers Boy Inn Pie Paradise

The Farmers Boy Inn - Steak & Stout Pie Review

An undoubted highlight of my pie for every meal challenge during British Pie Week was the trip to The Farmers Boy Inn in Longhope, Gloucestershire. For a Farmer's Boy like me (I grew up on a dairy farm) I was in pie paradise at the pub which is also where the Mad About Pies retail pie range originated. The proprietor, Phil Kiernan, was kind enough to give us an interview. Watch the video below from Day Six of my British Pie Week to see the interview. We are pleased that he shares our view in what makes a proper pie! We have tried some of the Mad About Pies before from the Phil Vickery and Martin Blunos ranges. These pies were excellent so I had high hope for the pie from The Farmers Boy Inn. They are made to the same recipes but they are made fresh at the pub.


The first thing that hit me was the huge array of pies that were available. So much so that The Farmers Boy Inn had a separate pie menu. I decided to play it safe and go for the 'Emerald Pie' which was Steak & Stout. What impressed me was that you could chose your pie in any of three sizes from 240g to 454g. You could also, if you are that way inclined, choose from two sizes of 'pie in a dish' top crust version, although if you are a follower of Pierate you would know we would never recommend that! I chose the 280g 'Bistro' option as a balance between calories and pie fulfillment. Watch the video from 7:55 to see the review. I will cut right to the chase and say that this was an excellent pie. I have in my mind an idea of what a quintessential British pie should look like, how the pastry should be and the consistency of the filling. The at pie at The Farmers Boy Inn came very close to fulfilling this stereotype for me. There really wasn't much that could have been improved about it, see below for a breakdown of the score.


Condition - 7.0 out of 7 - This pie really looked the part. It had a good structure and the fact that it arrived wrapped in paper was a nice touch. It looked so good that I forgot to start filming until part way through. Slightly plain compared to some pies we have had but it was simple and effective.
Colour - 6.0 out of 7 - A great graduation of colours on the lid, from sunset yellow in the middle to crispy, golden brown at the edge. The sides were a bit pale.
Cheapness - 4.5 out of 7 - The 'Bistro' option cost £10.95 for a 280g pie, more expensive than some pub pies which can come in under £10 but this kind of price is pretty average for a nice countryside setting like this. Plus the pies are made on the premises, with local Aberdeen Angus or Hereford meat which will cost more. Overall, not bad for a gourmet pie, but it wasn't the biggest.
Capacity - 6.1 out of 7 - This pie had a good height and the capacity was packed with content. The pastry to filling ratio was nigh on perfect.
Chewiness - 6.2 out of 7 - The slow cooked meat was melt in the mouth, mastication was barely required. The pastry had a perfect contrast in texture from crunchy on the outside to gooey in the middle, exactly what I look for. Probably the only criticism about this pie is that some of the pastry was too thick at the base, a bit too much to chew through.
Content - 6.9 out of 7 - Wow, what a flavour, the meaty taste was supplemented by a sour kick from the stout, there was plenty of flavour going on inside this pie. There was no attempt to do anything unusual with the taste, they just did the steak and stout flavour very, very well. The meat came in nice big chunks which were satisfying to eat and let's not forget it was local British beef!
Consistency - 6.8 out of 7 - The ample amount of thick gravy really delighted me. The pie was consistently good from beginning to end and worked really well as a package.

Overall, I was really glad that I paid a visit to The Farmers Boy Inn and have found another 'Pierate Highly Recommended' pie. All too often pubs serve casseroles with a pastry lid and call it a pie. When I have spoken to proprietors they say that it is 'too hard' to cook a proper pie from scratch. The Farmers Boy Inn show it can be done whilst still having a pie packed with content with a rich and thick sauce. If you add the large variety of pies on offer I know I will be visiting again and I would recommend it to anyone else who is fanatical about pies.


Steak & Stout (The Farmers Boy Inn [GL17 0LP])
6.21/7

SJL


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.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Farmers Boy Inn Pie Paradise"