Saturday 30 August 2014

Pierate's Crocodile Pie Recipe attempt!

Crocodile Pie Recipe Attempt and Review!

I have to admit, when I woke up a few days ago, I was not expecting to be attempting to make a Crocodile pie this Saturday! But - follow a number of very exciting emails - I have been tasked with making an "exotic pie - like the Pie-thon pie you made before". Now, we all know how badly the Pie-thon (Python meat pie) turned out... so my challenge is to attempt to create a crocodile pie reciPIE that is both presentable and edible - a bit like the homemade Horse and Zebra pies we made last year!

Python Pie Review
Our not so successful Pie-thon (Python Pie)

Regulars to our pie blog will know that we have eaten a whole menagerie of exotic animals in commercially available pies during our time on the Pierate Ship - including Camel, Ostrich, Bison, Kangaroo, Zebra, Horse, Wild Squirrel and a Crocodile Pie! And the last one is kind of the issue... The Nice Pie Crocodile pie was so well rated that I don't think I'll ever be able to match it! At 6.39/7, that is an incredible score for an exotic pie (or pie in general) on our 7 Cs of pie rating! But I'm willing to sink my teeth into the challenge and see if I can make a half-decent crocodile pie for my special guest pie raters!

So here we go then...

The crocodile meat was already purchased from and came in a frozen state as part of their "African Selection Box" - hence already making a Zebra pie, Springbok pie and Wildebeest pie.

Having defrosted the crocodile meat, the first step I took was to find a suitable recipe to vaguely follow, but as there were no obvious choices of crocodile pie recipes, I decided to head for the BBC Good Food's website and follow this "Creamy chicken, ham and leek pie" recipe - but ditch the ham and substitute the chicken for crocodile meat! Apologies in advance to the Hairy Bikers if I end up ruining their lovely recipe in attempting to adapt chicken to crocodile...

I nipped to my local supermarket to get the items I didn't already have in the house. Sadly when I asked for some crocodile meat juices, they didn't have any in stock... (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

But back at home with my ingredients at hand, I was ready to attempt a first on the Pierate Ship - Crocodile Pie!

Crocodile Steak
Crocodile Steak
Step 1 - Heat the chicken stock in a lidded saucepan and then add the chicken crocodile meat for 10 minutes.

Step 2 - Create the creamy sauce, containing leeks.

Step 3 - Cut up the cooked crocodile meat and add to the sauce. Here's where I then went a bit AWOL and decided to slow cook the pie filling for four hours, just to add a bit more tenderness to the meat.

Step 4 - Make the pastry using flour, butter and egg. Make sure you line the whole dish - we are DEFINITELY not making a top-crust here!

Crocodile Pie Filling
Crocodile Pie Filling
Step 5 - Input the filling into the pastry casing. You will notice that I actually added some additional peas into the mix, just to baulk out the filling slightly (crocodile steaks aren't exactly the biggest!) and add a bit of extra texture plus one of your 5-a-day!

Step 6 - Add the pastry lid and, if you're feeling creative, a pastry crocodile to the top! (Just in case you forget what's inside the pie!) An egg glaze will help improve the colour of the pie.

Step 7 - Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes on Gas Mark 6.

Step 8 - Serve an extra slice to your guests!

Crocodile Pie Review
The finished Crocodile Pie!

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Thursday 28 August 2014

The Case of the Scotch Pie

In our search to find what makes the best Scotch Pie we have been looking at producers big and small. Today sees the turn of supermarket chain Morrisons to come under our proverbial pie microscope to examine if their take on this classic pie is any good. Given that I am also trying to review every pie on the Morrisons pie counter I thought I would go for a bit of a double header. Morrisons also have a Chicken Curry Pie which uses the classic Scotch Pie case and reinforces the Northern roots of the supermarket chain (see our article on what makes the best Scotch Pie to see what makes these cases different).

The Chicken Curry pie was slightly more expensive at 89p but neither of these pies were going to break the bank, both being relatively cheap. They weren't very big pies but still represented some of the cheapest pies available. They were indeed made in very similar cases with classic, crunchy Scotch Pie pastry. But which would win the much coveted title of 'Best pie in a Scotch Pie case being sold at Morrisons in 2014'????

Scotch Pie Chicken Curry
Condition 3.0 - Excessive boil out had caused the top of this pie to have a burnt effect. A bit too lumpy. 3.2 - The pie had a bit too much boil out to be pretty, but not as bad as the Scotch pie. There was a tinge of yellow where the curry sauce had leaked out.
Colour 4.0 - Other than the boil out there was a great golden colour to this pie. 3.7 - Very similar golden colour to the pastry, a shame about the 'hi-viz' yellow of the curry sauce, only recommended if you are eating your pie in the middle of traffic...
Cheapness 6.5 - At 69p and considering this pie was quite full of meaty content, this was great value.  4.5 - Slightly more expensive, but still quite cheap, however, there seemed to be a lack of meat in this pie which meant it felt mediocre in terms of value.
Capacity 4.2 - Not bad, the rim at the top of the pie wasn't too excessive and there was minimal airgap. 3.2 - The rim did seem to be a bit excessive on the Chicken Curry, the filling was pretty shallow despite a small airgap.
Chewiness 5.5 - A great texture, crunchy pastry coupled with a nice and moist filling, only the rim slightly let this pie down (it was a little too hard). 4.5 - Similar pastry crunch to the Scotch Pie, the filling had a slightly less pleasant texture being a bit too liquid.
Content 3.3 - A standard minced beef filling. The taste of the filling was a little disappointing, it wasn't meaty enough. It had a slightly peppery kick but was a bit bland. 2.3 - Not a filling that I would recommend, the taste of a bland chip shop curry sauce. There wasn't really much in the way of chicken but a vague taste of chicken. 
Consistency 4.0 - Fatty and oily, just like you would expect. A pretty good example of a quintessential Scotch Pie (if not a great Scotch Pie). Have tried this multiple times and it is consistent. 3.0 - This pie doesn't really work, there just isn't enough attention to the filling, I did get another one to check they haven't got better. They haven't.
Total 4.36 out of 7 3.49 out of 7

The classic Scotch pie wins outright! In truth, it wasn't very difficult, the Chicken Curry pie didn't put up much of a fight. But I won't take this away from the Scotch pie. If you are quite into your Scotch pies (like me) it is a pretty good option in terms of supermarket versions. They are also quite often on offer so it is something I would buy again.


Beef Scotch Pie (Morrisons Pie Counter)

Chicken Curry (Morrisons Pie Counter)


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Tuesday 26 August 2014

The Scottish Vote: Should pie be served at a Hospital?

On a wet and miserable Bank Holiday Monday, a debate was rumbling North of the border. It captured the attention of the host and listeners of BBC Radio Scotland and hit the headlines in a number of newspapers and other news outlets. Oh, and I’m not talking about the Scottish Referendum, by the way. (Or the far more important Scottish debate – Should the Scotch Pie be independent?)

The question being debated was in fact a lot closer to our heart… or in fact all our hearts, if you believe this headline from The Telegraph:

Hospital canteen's 'fry-up' pie is 'heart attack on a plate'

Fry Up Breakfast Pie Review
The pie sparking this controversy - Photo: The Telegraph

But here at Pierate we want to look at the pros and cons of making a hospital a hosPIEtal, especially after a healthy(?!) debate on BBC Radio Scotland. We tried to phone in on but sadly weren’t given the op-pie-tunity to share our views, however they did read out our tweet live on air (they just didn't acknowledge it was us):

But first – it appears the most important two questions have not even been asked by anyone! Before we debate whether the product should be sold in the hospital, surely we need to ask:

Is it a pie? - While unfortunately not having had the chance to actually eat and rate this pie yet, having had a look at the photos this does not appear to be a fully encased in pastry product with clearly defined base, sides and lid. It certainly doesn’t meet our definition of a true pie! You can see the egg, bacon and other content – which shouldn’t be so if the pastry lid is doing its job – so I think this is really a tart.

How does the pie or ‘pie’ rate? – Before we discuss if it should be sold in a hospital, surely we should be discussing if it should be sold at all!!! If it doesn’t score strongly on the Pierateer’s 7 Cs of pie rating, then surely it is not worth selling ANYWHERE! And again looking at the photo, it is not fully encased, has a very pale pastry colour and boil out to spoil the condition, so this isn’t looking like a top scoring pie (though for just £1.50, it seems it could score well on cheapness!)

So with those two issues out of the way, we’re going to assume that it is at least worthy of being sold and briefly outline a few points regarding whether this pastry product (and pies in general) should be sold in a hospital. And thanks to some of the callers on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Morning Call” (available to listen back to until Monday 1st September) who helped me think through some of these views:

  1. Pie brings great joy and hap-pie-ness to all that eat them – so why would you deprive hospital patients, staff and visitors of this chance of a pastry treat as comfort food?!
  2. It’s up to the patient, staff or visitor to decide if they want to eat a pie or a nutritional salad – pie contains a lot of important food substances too, even if this ‘fry up’ pie is not a great example of this.
  3. Have they not read that you can eat 21 pie meals in a week and lose weight?! Incredible findings from Pierateer SJL query all this negativity about the pie being so unhealthy (and we are appalled at pie being labelled “junk food”)
  4. This particular pie was on offer in the hospital shop – not even the hospital canteen or being served up to the patients! So what’s all the fuss about?!

  1. Well, we’re hardly to going to find many reasons not to eat pie, are we! But what I would say is that it has to be a highly rated pie, well ranked on the 7 Cs of pie rating, otherwise the pie shouldn’t be sold anywhere, let alone in a hospital! But it must be said that breakfast ‘fry up’ pie – at a reported 600-800 calories – is certainly not the most appropriate pie they could offer in a hospital. (Though we know that eating pies as part of a healthy, balanced diet can mean you lose weight.)

We may be pie-ased, but ultimately our view is that pies SHOULD be sold in hospitals – and everywhere else, while we’re at it! – but the pies on sale should be highly rated on the 7 Cs of pie rating. It is ultimately the decision of the patient, staff or visitor to decide what they eat – pie or not! So here’s our 400+ pie rankings list to help you decide which pies you should be enjoying...


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Monday 25 August 2014

The Hull Pie - One Hull of a Pie Shop!

The Hull Pie Jerk Chicken and Mutton and Ale Pie Reviews

It has to be said that there are definitely not enough pie shops out there – shops which are built on the quality pies they produce and not just tagging pies onto an already overloaded menu board of non-pie meals. Of course London is famous for its traditional pie and mash shops, but barring a few notable exceptions, pie shops are few and far between. Which is what makes it an absolute delight and pleasure to introduce you to “The Hull Pie” – a modern take on the traditional pie shop with some absolutely quality pies, served in Hull.

The Hull Pie 2
The Hull Pie 2
The Pierateers themselves got to try these pies on a recent road trip to the Humberside area - travelling well over 200 miles on one of their #PieTour visits after a lot of Hull-abaloo about how good these pies were on Twitter - and believe me, we were not disappointed! The following pies were great and the only downside was that we arrived in Hull too late to get to the main The Hull Pie shop in the city centre, instead going to The Hull Pie 2 – their takeaway shop which has extended opening hours including opening on Sundays.

The Hull Pie Workers
Our imPIEression of The Hull Pie 2 was that it was a bustling hive of top quality hand produced pies, which you could actually see being made as you entered the shop. This is a real plus, as you do sometimes wonder what your pie is being filled with as you wait to find out what quality of pie is carried through from the kitchen at the back on your plate. Full marks to The Hull Pie for their openness and transparency in the pie making process.

And I’ve not even got onto the pie menu board, which was packed with a wide range of intriguing flavours – including many which would be making their debut on the Pierate Pie Rankings list! The pies below – Jerk Chicken and Mutton and Ale – are both new pie flavours and again The Hull Pie have excelled themselves in thinking outside of the pie box! But how would these unique flavours rate? Would they work well in a pie? Fortunately we have the 7 Cs of pie rating to determine that!

The Hull Pie Menu
The Hull Pie Menu
Here’s an overview of the thoughts from all the Pierateers:
  • A great range of unique pie flavours
  • At £2.50 for just the pie, packed full of meat, this was an absolute steal!
  • Friendly, welcoming staff in “The Hull Pie 2” takeaway shop
  • A great range of sides to go with your pie – including mash, crisp fries and sweet potato fries

  • Queries however over the lid: These pies were seemingly made from a single piece of pastry, wrapped over the top of the filling, thus fully encasing the filling but not having a clearly definable lid. In their favour, there was a clear side, base and topping, but there was no way of just “lifting the lid” and dunking your chips into the filling. While definitely a pie, they do not quite embodying the quintessential essence of pie-ness that we Pierateers look for.
  • Also, partly because they were cooked and served in a metal case, the base pastry was a bit soggy. Not in an “I can’t eat this” sense, but a slightly firmer, crispier base pastry would have been pie-deal, like the sides and top were.

So onto the specific pie flavours:

Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie

Pierateer SJL had the Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie and it was one of the best pies he had eaten in some time, especially in terms of filling. Here’s what Pierateer SJL had to say:

Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Hull Pie
Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Hull Pie 
I loved the choice of interesting flavours from around the world. What was brilliant for this pie was that it could be accompanied by sweet potato fries which went very well.

Condition - 4.9 out of 7 - Very well presented, this pie really looked the part when in its foil case with a rustic, handmade appearance. There was a minor draw back in that when taken out of its foil case it appeared that the pie was in fact made from one piece of pastry which had been folded over, a bit like a pasty. Not quite embodying the quintessential essence of pie-ness that we look for.
Colour - 6.0 out of 7 - A range of colours taken from the golden sunset brown collection.
Cheapness - 6.7 out of 7 - At just £2.50 for the pie alone, which was jam packed with meat, this was about as good value as you can find anywhere.
Capacity - 6.3 out of 7 - The pie wasn't very large but made up for this by being completely full of meat.
Chewiness - 5.9 out of 7 - The filling for the pie wasn't at all chewy, as you would hope for with a chicken pie. It had a wonderful texture, indicating good quality chicken. The pastry had a bit of a funny texture in places, it was perhaps a little soggy at the base.
Content - 6.9 out of 7 - I lived in Brixton and became quite familiar with jerk chicken while there. The flavours in this jerk chicken were up there with the best. The sweetness of the pepper complemented it perfectly and added an interesting variation to the filling.
Consistency - 6.8 out of 7 - There wasn't a lot of sauce to this pie which perhaps helped them fill it up so well without it boiling out. This didn't stop it being very moist and slipping down very well. It really was a master stroke to put jerk chicken in a pie, it worked very well, although the pastry wasn't quite perfect, the filling was incredible.

The Hull Pie Jerk Chicken and Sweet Pepper Pie
Score: 6.21

Mutton and Ale Pie

Here’s what Pierateer RAS had to say when rating the Mutton and Ale pie:

Mutton and Ale Hull Pie
Mutton and Ale Hull Pie

Mutton and Ale Hull Pie
Another incredible pie flavour from The Hull Pie! While you might not think of Mutton as an unusual pie filling, we have not found any previous Mutton pies on our travels – and certainly not Mutton and Ale. The filling was so moist, a slight surprise given there was no specific gravy oozing out of the pie upon biting into it. And yet the meat was so incredibly tender – what a fantastic effort. The ale added such nice flavours to the pie, with a bit of vegetable to compliment it all, again well cooked and melt in your mouth.

The pastry was good – really nice to eat even on its own (not that you got much chance of that with the capacity absolutely ram packed with meat!) The base pastry was a little soggy, but indicates the moisture and tenderness of the meat filled pie. A little firmer base and a proper, separate lid and this pie really would be challenging for the very top of the pie rankings!

The Hull Pie Mutton and Ale Pie
Score: 6.36/7
[Colour 6.25, Capacity 6.75, Consistency 6.75, Condition 5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 6.75, Content 6.75, Total: 6.36/7]

So The Hull Pie were certainly well worth a road trip for and, while there were a few more The Hull Pies we still have to rate which didn’t quite score as highly, these two pies are certainly worth their Pierate Highly Recommended status and we would certainly love to eat them again!


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Saturday 23 August 2014

Pie at Edgbaston? That’s just not cricket!

I’m going to have to start this post off with a disclaimer – I don’t love cricket, I like it. There you go. Not a great marketing campaign slogan, I know, but as you will no doubt realise by now our love lies elsewhere on the Pierate Ship. Which is why I have to say I’m bowled over by decision of the catering management at Edgbaston Cricket Club in Birmingham (home to the Birmingham Bears 20-20 Cricket team) to sell pies in their cricket stadium!

Pie Review at Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Peter's pie at Edgbaston Cricket Ground

Yes, you read that right! Pie at Edgbaston? That’s just not cricket! But while other cricket grounds may be stumped at what food they can sell to keep the cricketing fans happy, Edgbaston’s catering team have got a quick wicket with the catch of catering world – a fully encased pie which no one will want to let slip. You’d be bat-ty not to go for one really.

Of course it is no real surPIEse that cricket is jumping on the bandwagon of football, badminton and the Olympic Games (London 2012) in serving pie at sporting events – something you can see in our article “Pies and sports: the best match ever!

And if you're ever in need of a pie recommendation, we're the ideal umPIEres for that - with tons of pies rated and reviewed for you (over 400 in fact!) You'll no longer have to ask "Howzat?!" when needing a pie - just check out our pie rankings!

So if you’re at Edgbaston today to enjoy the 20-20 finals day, why not check out the pie catering options available (particularly sold in the new main stand, where I bought my pie a few weeks ago for pie friend Caroline’s birthday bash!) Just make sure you get there before they all run out!!!

And if you like your pies sporty, then you'll be pleased to hear of the launch of the PIEremiership - our growing list of all the top half-time football pies around the country.

Pieremiership Football Pie Review League


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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Friday 22 August 2014

Are The Real Pie Company the real deal?!

The Real Pie Company Steak, Chicken and Pork Pie Reviews

Forget the 7 colours of the rainbow or the 7 dwarves. We have a far more important “7” to tell you about on the web’s leading pie review blog – and for once it’s not actually the 7 Cs! (Though let’s face it, they’re going to get a mention or two!)

For a box of pies arrived on my desk recently that were not just any old pies – these were the real deal! Or at least that’s what the pie packaging indicated – but we’ll be the judge of whether these are real-ly good pies or not when they get an official pie rating on the 7 Cs!

The Real Pie Company Pie Review
The pie packaging was a real pielight

The Real Pie Company Pie Review
The Real Pie Company packaging
I think the first thing to mention is that these were some of the most nicely packaged pies I have ever seen – and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of pie packaging in my time! While the pie packaging is not specifically part of the actual pie review, it certainly gave a great first imPIEression – and quite unique in offering a cross-section of the inside of the pie. This is something pie companies often don’t show, perhaps because they are scared that their lack of filling will be exposed, resorting to hiding their poor air:filling ratio inside the pastry parcel.

Well at you will not be surPIEsed to hear that we are loving the “Crammed to the Crust” slogan that adorns the pie packaging on these “The Real Pie Company” products. After all, with capacity one of the famous 7 Cs, we certainly think highly of a strong filling! And these The Real Pie Company pies had a really good capacity throughout their range.

But before we get down to the specific flavours, a word on these hand crafted pies in general…
The Real Pie Company Pie Review
Some of the golden cooked pies

The pies had a good pastry – golden and crisp – nice eaten cold but preferred hot. They had the classic shortcrust base and sides, with golden puff pastry lid. As mentioned previously, the pies scored very well on the 7 Cs for capacity - packed to capacity with lots of meat! The meat was in general very nice and tender, though in some of the pies the pieces of meat were rather big and the flavours might have mixed better had the meat been chopped up slightly finer and mixed better within the sauce/gravy. Also there was some nice gravy and sauces, in the steak and pork pie in particular.

At £2.95 each for a pie so packed with meat, this represents a good price, though they aren’t the biggest pies and thus aren’t quite the perfect value pies. But you can buy in bulk on The Real Pie Company website to get your pies cheaper.

The Real Pie Company Pie Review
The Steak and Mushroom Pie at our Piecnic
Steak and Mushroom
This pie was eaten cold at the world’s first ever Piecnic, which you can read about and see in our video here. The meat was lovely and tender, with a nice thick gravy which complemented the steak really well. Would happily eat this pie hot or cold, a real bonus on the 7 Cs to rate so well as a pie eaten cold.

The Real Pie Company Steak and Mushroom Pie
Score: 6.21/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 6.25, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5, Total: 6.21/7]

Steak and Guinness
A nice Guinness flavour to this pie’s gravy added to the nice tender steak. The pie was packed with steak and the flavours worked well.

The Real Pie Company Steak and Guinness Pie
Score: 6.21/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 6.25, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5, Total: 6.21/7]

Steak and Kidney
The pie was a good balance of steak and kidney – slightly more weighted towards the steak (as we believe steak and kidney pies should be!) The flavours worked well together.

The Real Pie Company Steak and Kidney Pie
Score: 6.04/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.5, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6, Total: 6.04/7]

Meat and Potato
The Meat and Potato pie had the same good quality pastry and was packed to the crust with filling, though the minced beef and potato struggled to live up to the amazing standards of the other meat pies. The flavours in the pie were quite strong and while the mince and potato tasted nice, they didn’t blow me away. A decent pie but never going to challenge the others on the 7 Cs.

The Real Pie Company Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 5.29/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 4, Content 5, Total: 5.29/7]

The Real Pie Company Chicken Pie Review
The Real Pie Company's Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Chicken and Ham
Chicken and Mushroom

Ironically their ‘packed to capacity’ philosophy was almost slightly to the detriment of the chicken pies we rated, with a bit too overpowering a chicken flavour (overly large chunks of chicken) and a sauce that was nice but didn’t blow me away. The two chicken pies almost had a bit too much chicken in them and not enough other flavourings to get the perfect content on the 7 Cs, so while not bad pies it didn’t quite reach the heights of the pork and steak pies.

The Real Pie Company Chicken and Ham Pie and Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Score: 5.57/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 5, Content 5.5, Total: 5.57/7]

The Real Pie Company Pork Pie Review
The Pork and Chicken pies from The Real Pie Company
Pork, Bacon and Parsley
Wow! The main criticism of this pie is that one just wasn’t enough - it was just too nice! Flavoursome and with a nice thick sauce, with great tender pies of actual pork (not the cured pork you would often find in a traditional pork pie) and bacon. I could probably have eaten 3 or 4 in one sitting – they were just so tasty. The sauce was really nice, complementing the meat well. I just wish there were more pork meat and sauce pies out on the market, with this one surely being the pork and sauce pie to beat! A great scoring pie!

The Real Pie Company Pork, Bacon and Parsley Pie
Score: 6.46/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 7, Consistency 6.75, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.75, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.75, Total: 6.46/7]

So there we have it: they real-ly have done a great job with these pies – all scoring at least Pierate Recommended status but with 4 Pierate Highly Recommended pies! But the stand out pie for me was the Pork, Bacon and Parsley Pie. A great job by The Real Pie Company and I eagerly await their fruit pie offerings too!

(And yes, for those counting, there were actually 7 mentions of the 7 Cs in this article – not including this last one! It’s as if I planned it that way…)


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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Saturday 16 August 2014

PIEremiership - Pierate's Football Pie League kicks off!

Football Pie League Pieremiership
Our new logo to celebrate the re-launch of our football pie article!

It will be of no sur-pies to our regular pie blog readers that we have eaten a pie or two at football grounds up and down the country! In fact, we were delighted to be invited as VIPs (Very Important Pie Eaters) to Morecambe FC in January 2014 to rate their pies (and do a 5 minute interview for their website!) and also got special treatment and a free pie at The Emirates Stadium with Delaware North Companies UK. But really, we've only just started!

That's why the Pierateers are making a new #PiePledge to visit even more football grounds this season - and quite obviously eat and rate a pie at each one we do!

Sure, you may be thinking hasn't someone already done the 'pie at every ground' thing? - and in part, you would be right. But while Tom Dickinson had a lot of success and press coverage for his "92 pies" idea - including a book which we have rated on the 7 Cs - he will be the first to admit he didn't actually rate the pies very much. In fact, they hardly get rated or even mentioned at all in the book! We at Pierate consider this a missed opPIEtunity and are set to put the pies to the 7 Cs test - attempting to rate as many football pies as we can!

It may take a while to rate them all - we certainly can't manage it in a season (unless someone sponsors us enough to mean we can quit our day jobs!) - but we hope to rate as many football pies as we can!

Football Pie League - Barnet
A Pukka Pie at the very last football league match at Underhill (Barnet FC)

You'll be able to see the results of our football pie endevours by visiting our "PIEremiership: Pierate's Football Pie League" article, which is now available as a clickable link on the right hand side of the site if you're viewing Pierate on your desktop or selecting the menu on your mobile phone view!

And of course we'd love to hear from you - the pie fans - who have no doubt also enjoyed (or detested) a pie at football grounds up and down the country! Leave a comment in the box below if you have a pie to suggest we rate or avoid!

Here's to a great 2014/15 season, both on the pitch and (more importantly) in the pie kitchen!


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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Wednesday 13 August 2014

Should the Scotch Pie be Independent?

The debate about whether Scotland should be independent from the UK rages on, but the politicians just don't seem able to give the answers that people are looking for. For instance, absolutely no one has addressed what the impact could be on the Scotch Pie, an icon of Scottishness and all-round fantastic creation. Well never fear... we have carried out thorough investigations into what makes the best Scotch Pies, even having judged at the Scotch Pie Awards. This has put us in a good position to analyse whether the Scotch Pie should be independent. Here are our thoughts...


It is true that Scotch pies are easily found across the UK in most supermarkets. However, at the risk of being accused of applying a personality to an inanimate pastry case with minced animal filling, I would say that the Scotch Pie doesn't give a damn about England, Wales or Northern Ireland. It is only there because it has to be. The Scotch Pie is undoubtedly Scottish (not like that imposter the Scotch Egg!) and seems to be at home in its natural habitat of Scotland. Scotch pies are everywhere across Scotland and also the Scotch pie case is commonly used for many other Scottish pies such as the Macaroni Pie. The Scotch Pie has similarities to other British pies but certainly has its own unique flavour and identity. It is very Scottish, but this of course isn't enough, it can be Scottish and perhaps still benefit from being in the Union.

The first question is; can the Scotch Pie be independent? I would argue that of course the Scotch Pie can be a successful small pie if it was independent. The Scotch Pie Awards have been running since 2002, much longer than their equivalent British Pie Awards. We observed the professional nature of these awards when we judged. The Scotch Pie Club have even provided guidance to the British Pie Awards. The Scotch Pie Awards have proved to be an excellent way of promoting the Scotch Pie and raising standards. There is no reason to think success would not continue if the Scotch Pie was independent.

The next question is whether the Scotch Pie would gain any advantages if it were independent? There may be benefits to the 'Scottish Brand' if independence were gained, which would also benefit the Scotch Pie. This argument doesn't seem very strong because the brand already seems to market itself well.


The Scotch pie benefits from promotion across the UK via the media. For instance, the Scotch Pie Awards were headline news on the BBC website in 2014, receiving much publicity. The SNP have said that independence would see the creation of a Scottish Broadcasting Service and presumably the remainder of the BBC would then focus attention on the rest of the UK, losing this publicity. This would probably apply to other media also.

There is also the question of whether the Scotch Pie would still be able to compete at the British Pie Awards.  These have provided good publicity for Scottish pies, with Boghall Butchers doing particularly well this year. Presumably Scotch pies and Scottish Pie companies would still be able to compete as they would still be 'British' but this is uncertain. There might be a bit of resentment from the rest of the UK towards Scotland for leaving.

Scotch Pie
Should I be independent? Such a difficult decision!


Maintaining the Union would bring certainty to the Scotch Pie, no change means no risk. Only one thing is for certain with Independence, Scotland would undoubtedly get custody of the Scotch pie, even if the divorce is a bit messy. I don't think anyone can really say whether the Scotch Pie would be better off if it was independent, there is too much that we won't know unless independence goes ahead. A bit like slicing into a pie, you don't know whether the filling is going to be great, or disappointing, until you have gone past the point of no return. The question really comes down to a gut feeling of whether the Scotch Pie should be independence and, if you believe it should be, then the risk might be worth taking.

At least when it is all over, there will be less talking about polictics and more time to eat pie #lesspolicticsmorepies


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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Tuesday 12 August 2014

Should you pocket a Pocklington's Steak Pie?

Pocklington’s Bakery Steak Pie Review

[Note, we have tried this pie more recently in 2016 but didn't change the score.]

You could be forgiven for thinking that when you've rated well over 400 pies on the web’s leading pie review website, there can’t be many new ways to review a pie?! Well, prepare to be amazed as we rate the Pocklington's Bakery Steak Pie and find out if you should pocket a Pocklington's!

For this is not one pie review, or two, but a triple review of the same pie! InsPIEred somewhat by the packaging saying this pie was delicious eaten hot or cold, we thought we’d put that to the pie rating test! How would it rate on the Seven Cs? Interestingly though, this happens to be the first time we've ever rated the same pie cold, microwaved and oven cooked, to give this pie a proper grilling!*

(*Okay, so admittedly grilling was one thing we didn't do to this pie… but you get the idea!)

So… in reverse order:

Pocklington's Steak Pie - Cold Edition Pie Review
Pocklington's Steak Pie - Cold Edition
Cold - It did say that it was delicious eaten hot or cold but we would strongly dispute that it was “delicious” cold. The pastry was just too hard and thick; there wasn't enough sauce to help it go down. This wasn't helped by the fact that the pie we ate cold had a large air gap. However, the pie did well in some of the other criteria. It was quite big for £1.55 and there were some sizeable meaty chunks. It was nice in a way that there was this option for eating cold but I would not recommend it unless you were really desperate. If I was scoring it at this temperature alone I would score it 4.25 out of 7. Not bad, but not something I would recommend.

Pocklington's Steak Pie - Microwaved Edition
Pocklington's Steak Pie - Microwaved Edition
Microwaved - This pie seemed to undergo a radical transformation after a short time being bombarded by electromagnetic radiation. The pastry became soft and tasty, it seemed to lose the greasy taste it had before. Despite this, the pie retained its tall structure very well; often pies will collapse upon being microwave cooked. The pie we used for microwave cooking also benefited from being very well filled. The packed content of meaty chunks was great value at £1.55. Overall, the pie did remind me slightly of a Pukka steak pie from a fish and chip shop, perhaps as they are often reheated in a microwave. It had the same delightfully thick sauce. However, it did better than a standard Pukka, it wasn't so stodgy and had more flavours going for it. There was a nice oniony taste which wasn't overpowered by salt. For this price it was great value and we would score it 5.70 out of 7 if we were scoring at this temperature alone.

Pocklington's Steak Pie - Oven Cooked Edition Pie Review
Pocklington's Steak Pie - Oven Cooked Edition

Oven Cooked – As mentioned previously, the pie underwent significant transformation upon the addition of heat – and the oven cooking piped the microwaved version slightly, as the pastry maintained a bit more crispiness than the microwaved version. Again the pie was well filled with nice big steak chunks, particularly impressive for a pie costing just one English pound and 55 English pennies. The gravy tasted so much better warmed up and oozing out of the pie, compared to the unheated version. A definite winner if you can hold out longer than it takes to microwave a pie! We would score it 5.90 out of 7 if we were scoring this pie oven cooked.

The reviewing of this pie over three different cooking/non-cooking levels does leave us with a slight quandary – which score should make it into the Pierate Pie Rankings?! We’ve decided that the oven cooked version should be the nominated score, as this reflects the best way to eat this pie – which is something we are always looking for on board the Pierate Ship. Sure, if a pie box says it’s a microwavable pie, we should score it microwaved, but for this pie we prefer it oven cooked. Still, it is a Pierate Recommended pie eaten microwaved or oven cooked.

Well done to Pocklington’s Bakery! We enjoyed our little search around the North Lincolnshire area to find a store selling your pies (just remember to look for the Lincolnshire Co-ops – not just all the Co-ops in Lincolnshire!) and – while we only found the steak pie on sale in the shops we visited – we sure hope to pocket another Pocklington’s pie in the near future!

Pocklington’s Bakery Steak Pie
Score: 5.90/7

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 "Should you pocket a Pocklington's Steak Pie?"

Monday 11 August 2014

Man buys entire store's worth of Burger King apple pies

Image: flickr / Mike Mozart

Reports are circulating that a man bought the entire stock of apple pies in a branch of Burger King in a bid to spite an "out of control" child and his mother behind him in the queue.

Explaining his whopper of a pie purchase, the man wrote on reddit "‘This kid was out of control, screaming, punching his mother, throwing around a gameboy whenever something didn’t go right in the game." After the child started screaming for apple pie, the man asked the mother to settle the child down. However, he was ignored and told to mind his own business. 

'I then decide to ruin their day', writes the man, as he proceeded to buy all of the 23 remaining apple pies in the store.

The official Pierate statement is: it wasn't us (although we did recently have 28 Holland's Steak and Guinness pies).

We hope he thoroughly enjoys his pies - he deserves them. Mr Burger King pie man - we salute you.
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Pieminister Lighter pies under the knife

Pieminister have added 'Lighter Pies' to their range - seemingly in response to a growing consumer trend towards lower calorie options. The range includes "light as a feta" - a butternut squash, feta and sundried tomato pie, "kooky chook" - a free range British chicken, sweet potato, coconut and chilli pie, and "chickalito" - a free range British chicken and dry cured ham pie. But what happens when a "lighter" pie is literally lighter, yet still costs the same?

Pieminister Pie Review - Chickalito

Today, and also previously, under the Pierate knife is the Chickalito pie. It's a pie that is (literally) surrounded with controversy. With these new lighter pies, Pieminister have made the significant decision to do away with the pastry lid, instead opting for a herb and seed crumb topping. For instance, here the chickalito's chicken, ham, courgette and celeriac filling is topped off with a pine nut, sunflower seed, basil and Parmesan crumb.

pieminister pie review

pieminister pie review

Pierateer RAS has already done the service of rating this Pieminister chickalito pie, but since I've eaten it myself I thought I'd weigh in with a few views of my own. I won't go through the details of how the pie tasted because I agree very much with what RAS has already said, but what confuses me about this pie is that, despite weighing only 240g, it costs the same as a regular 270g pie (prices checked on Ocado 05/06/2014: moo pie £3.50, chickalito pie £3.50). 

So these Pieminister Lighter pie are literally lighter than their regular counterparts, and hence cost more per gram of pie. But not only that, the Lighter pies are billed as the lower calorie choice. But how much lower calorie are they compared to Pieminister's classic offering? I did a bit of number crunching and  munching on the calorie contents of the pies, and it seems that while the Lighter pies do indeed have fewer calories than the classic pies, the difference isn't as great as you might think. For instance, the lighter kooky chook pie has 182 kcal per 100g. In contrast, the classic wildshroom pie has 190 kcal, the moo pie has 200 kcal, and the deerstalker has 204 kcal. The big question is, then, is it really worth sacrificing the pastry lid just to cut out a few calories? 

The above thoughts, however, are far less important than the actual question of whether these Pieminister pies are any good. And to find out, I just had to try another pie from the range (I know!). This one is a vegetarian pie called Light As A Fetaand it is a butternut squash, feta and sun-dried tomato pie. 

pieminister pie review

Pieminister Pie Review - Light as a Feta

Retailing at £3.50, this is at the more premium end of the supermarket pie spectrum, and as already discussed, there is some controversy over pricing this 240g pie the same as a regular 270g pie. I bought this pie from a stall, and spooned only a little gravy on the top.

pieminister pie review
Slicing open the pie, you can see the yummy looking contents complete with a few chunks of feta cheese. However it's impossible to comment on an air-gap since this pie has no lid. Regardless of this, it seems this pie is filled nearly up to the level of the brim of the pastry. The lack of depth to this pie makes is more akin to a quiche that a pie. If the pastry were a little softer, you would be calling this a quiche, really. 

That said, the filling was delicious, it really was. It tasted fresh like summer and didn't leave me longing for meat (like some vegetarian options can do!). I really enjoyed the filling - certainly the best part of this pie. The feta cheese was delicious and complemented the butternut squash delightfully.

The addition of poppy seeds to the pastry was a nice touch. However, I felt the pastry was a bit dry for my liking and required gravy for softening. If the pie had a proper lid, I think the filling could have been more moist without the need for additional gravy. In the case of this pie, I think the lack of lid really held this pie back. In my opinion, it's worth sticking a lid on the top to make it a proper pie.

Pieminister "Light As A Feta" pie review
Score: 4.4/7

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.

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and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pieminister Lighter pies under the knife"

Saturday 9 August 2014

500 Pierate posts celebrated with Piecnic video!

Just over a week ago, the pie review experts at Pierate started their latest campaign, which coincides with celebrating 500 posts on their pie website, inviting you to add pie to your picnic and:


Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds! As the strapline goes – “Just add pie!”

You can find out more about the campaign by visiting our "Make a Picnic a Piecnic" article, but on Sunday 3rd August the campaign became a reality, as we held the World's first ever official Piecnic! So without further ado, here's the short video PIElights for you to enjoy and insPIEre you to have your own piecnic soon!

Of course we'd love to hear from you if you "just added pie" to your picnic and made it a piecnic! Do leave a comment below, tweet us at @pierateers (ideally using #MakeAPicnicAPiecnic) or contact us. We'll happily add photos of other piecnics happening up and down the country, so if you email us then we can give you your 5 seconds of pie fame!

Of course with any production of this nature, it takes a whole group of people to make it happen, so thanks particularly go to our pieduction man ("BH") - yes, he was paid in pies! - and all who starred in the video - particularly our first ever Honourary Pierateer Toby, who kindly took time out of growing his curly hair to be with us (and yes, he did eventually say "PIE!!!!" - Good lad, Toby!)

Thanks also to The Real Pie Company for providing some free pies, to Gill and Helen for providing homemade pies and Rach for bringing a highly sought after Bray’s Cottage Pork Pie all the way from Norfolk!

All it really remains for me to say is: When you're planning your picnics this summer, make a picnic a piecnic and just add pie!!!

Make a Picnic a Piecnic Review
Pies at the World's first ever Piecnic!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. And yes - incredibly this is post number 500 on the web's leading pie review website! Thanks to all the pie fans out there who have shown us so much great support!

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 "500 Pierate posts celebrated with Piecnic video!"