Sunday 28 September 2014

Humble Pie: What is it?

The etymology of  the phrase“to eat humble pie” is very interesting. The phrase comes from either the 14th Century “numble pie” or the 15th Century “umble pie”. These were pies that were eaten by the poorer classes, and contained various miscellaneous animal parts like intestines. "Umble" itself comes from the French word "nombles", referring to deer innards.

The word ‘humble’ is in fact of Latin origin and has a different etymology to ‘umble’ – it is pure coincidence that the two words sound similar.

Umble pie is recorded in the diary of Samuel Pepys wrote about, who declared on 8th July 1663 that: “Mrs Turner came in and did bring us an umble-pie hot out of her oven, extraordinarily good.”

For more pie etymology and fun pie facts, see our ultimate guide to pies!
continue reading "Humble Pie: What is it?"

Friday 26 September 2014

Pieday Friday - 26th September 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!

And what a week it has been. All you pie lovers out there have been extremely busy, and we've loved keeping track of everything that's been happening in the world of pies this week.

Some of our favourite tweets from the week 

Morrisons called us the "best pie blog ever"! What an accolade from a supermarket that really know their pies!

We had a few more recommendations, including this one that warns us that "life may never be the same" after trying this pie. Wow, that's got to be good!! Definitely will have to give that a go!

We got musical and headed to Pie and Vinyl in Portsmouth - and our anonymity got busted!!

All 'ale the Beverley pie

We read with rumbling tummies that the Beverley Real Ale Festival will be hosting the premiere of some ale-inspired pies. According to the Hull Daily Mail, the festival's organisers are keen for more a "foodie feel" at this year's event which runs October 3rd-5th. Luckily for us pie lovers, this means more pies! Andrew Jones Pies and Great Newsome Brewery have teamed up to make two new pies, with Frothingham Best and Sleck Dust ales featuring in the filling. According to the Hull Daily Mail, James Harper, organiser of the third annual ale festival, said:
"Having a pint of ale in one hand and a pie in the other is a match made in heaven."
 We couldn't agree more! I'll have to check the diary!

Pierate Celebrate 'Talk Like A Pirate Day'

Keen to celebrate our pirate-themed roots, we got out the bunting and thoroughly enjoyed International Talk Like A Pirate/Pierate Day on Friday 19th September. Arrrrrrr!

Worst Pies in London
london pie

We may have reviewed some of the best pies in London (and best pies in London restaurants), but we've never gone on the hunt for the worst pies in London. But it turns out we don't need to look any further than New York for some of London's worst pies. Yes, Emma Thompson is starring in Sweeney Todd, and playing the role of Mrs. Lovett she describes why her pies are the worst in all of London. Do they contain cat meat? Are they greasy and gritty? Ermmm, I think I'll pass, thanks...You can watch the video at BBC America.

Another Celebrity Pie Lover

We've found a new self-confessed celebrity pie lover to add to our list! It's none other than TV and radio present Vernon Kay, who professed his love for meat pies in the Express newspaper. Apparently they're one of the 5 things he can't live without! I know where you're coming from, Vernon!

Award-winning 'pie chutney'

Apparently the "world's first pie-dedicated chutney", Pieminister's No. 10 Pie Chutney picked up a gold award at the 2014 Great Taste Awards. Forget about No. 10 Downing Street, I want this No. 10 downin' my stomach! (with a pie too, preferably)
Image: Pieminister

If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at or contact us on Twitter @pierateers
continue reading "Pieday Friday - 26th September 2014"

Thursday 25 September 2014

Oh My, Thai-Pie!

The Real Thai-Pie Company - Pie Reviews

We have eaten a lot of unusual pies in our time sailing the 7 Cs so you would think it might be difficult for us to find something completely new in the pie market. It is even harder for a pie company to come up with something a bit different that still gets a double thumbs up from us in the form of a 'Pierate Highly Recommended' award. Most of the Highly Recommended pies in our pie rankings are traditional British favourites albeit that some of them provide interesting twists to the theme. Okay, there are the stray crocodile or ostrich pies included but these are the exception. Hence I was delighted to find that the pies from The Real Thai-Pie Company not only do something completely new by combining Thai and British cuisine, but they are also REALLY GOOD!

The Thai-Pie company was set up in 2012 when the owners combined their love of Thai food with a family background of running a bakery in the North of England. Up for review are the five flavours of pie available from the Thai-Pie Company. I cooked some from frozen and some after they had defrosted, I would say that the pastry was best when cooked from frozen. They all had some features in common, such as a wonderful buttery pastry. I felt that this pastry showed that they have family experience making traditional pies. It had just the right balance of crunchiness and softness. It was quite thin but still held together well. Overall this meant the pies had a near perfect pastry to filling ratio. I will score all the pies the same for Condition, Colour, Capacity and Cheapness. The scores break down as follows;

Condition – 5.9 out of 7 – They were well presented with pastry shapes such as an elephant or a star to mark the flavour. They had a simple but pleasing appearance. Despite arriving in the post they held together well, probably because they were frozen.
Colour – 5.8 out of 7 – Quite a gradient of golden brown tones across the pie, a bit pale in places, the best colour seemed to come from cooking from frozen. Some of the fillings were of slightly more appealing colours than others but not enough to adjust the scores.
Cheapness – 5.2 out of 7 – The pies retail at £2.00 online (or cheaper if you buy in bulk) and £2.50 if brought from the Thai-Pie stall during an event. At around £2 I thought these pies were good value for something a bit different from a small company. These are quality products. However it is worth noting that they are quite small, only 200g.
Capacity – 6.4 out of 7 – For their size, these pies had a good capacity, they were quite tall and well filled with a small or non-existant airgap, great to see!

Thai Red Chicken Curry

Chewiness – 6.8 out of 7 – Chicken was in small chunks and was quite firm to the bite, which I thought was nice.
Content – 6.9 out of 7 – I love Thai red curry, chili, coconut milk, red pepper, what's not to like? The addition of butternut squash to bulk it up was acceptable, there was enough chicken and the butternut squash tasted nice. Overall this was a flavour sensation.
Consistency – 6.6 out of 7 – For me the spicy flavours for this filling seemed to work really well as a pie. Joint favourite one although I did prefer the less runny consistency of the filling in some of the others.

Overall 6.23/7

Devil Chicken

Chewiness – 6.8 out of 7 – Chicken was in small chunks and was quite firm to the bite, which I thought was nice.
Content – 6.8 out of 7 – This one was quite spicy and hot, I really liked this but I would note that it wouldn't be to everyone's liking. Plenty of chicken in this one. No coconut milk, it had more of a sweet and spicy flavour. A small amount of veg was welcome.
Consistency – 6.7 out of 7 – For me the hot, spicy flavours for this filling seemed to work really well as a pie, it isn't like curry pie is something new but this pie does it better than most. Joint favourite with the Red Curry.

Overall 6.23/7

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Chewiness – 6.2 out of 7 – The small chunks of chicken were again good and there was also the addition of some soft veg to bite into, although for me it was a little bit too soft.
Content – 6.8 out of 7 – Again, I loved the flavour, it tasted as good as any other Thai Green Curry I have had. This one had much more of a coconut taste than the red curry.
Consistency – 5.8 out of 7 – A thicker consistency for the filling worked really well in a pie. However, I liked this one slightly less as I thought the coconut taste was a bit strong and seemed a bit odd in a pie, but still really enjoyed it.

Overall 6.01/7

Beef Massaman Curry

Chewiness – 6.8 out of 7 – Plenty of beef, slow cooked and tender. There was also fair bit of potato which was decent texture.
Content – 5.4 out of 7 – This pie was quite unlike anything that I have ever had before, I don't think I have ever even eaten a Massaman curry. It was beef, onion and potato. It was not very spicy. A mild, coconut-y curry for those of you that like that kind of thing. Quite a strong coconut and nutty taste. Despite the beef, the taste was really about the spices.
Consistency – 5.4 out of 7 – Despite the filing being more akin to a traditional pie, the flavours were very different. For me it didn't quite hit the spot flavour wise, but I would note that this is more down to personal preference. There was nothing wrong with this pie and if you like the sound of it then you may think it should score higher than I did.

Overall 5.84/7


Thai Green Vegetable Curry

Chewiness – 4.0 out of 7 – There was a lot of sweet potato in the filling of this pie and it was all a bit mushy, with not much to get my teeth into.
Content – 4.0 out of 7 – The flavours were again really good with this Green Curry, I thought it was a bit less coconut-y than the Chicken version but I guess the sauce is probably the same. I found the sweet potato got a bit same-y and that there wasn't enough variety in the veg.
Consistency – 3.5 out of 7 – I didn't dislike this pie, but it is the only one I wouldn't go out of my way to eat again. Mushy but tasty.

Overall 4.97/7

Overall a great range of pies, I will be looking to have some more of these in the future. I think they are all pretty good and whilst I have my favourites, I think it is partly just down to my personal preferance and others might have a different favourite. The owner noted to me that everyone seems to like different ones, which I think indicates that the pies are consistently good. They can be really happy to have gained three 'Pierate Highly Recommended' awards and have the highest scoring curry pies in our pie rankings!


PS The Real Thai-Pie Company are not to be confused with The Real Pie Company who we reviewed recently, they are en-Thai-erly different!

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 24 September 2014

The Hull hog

About a month ago we reviewed some top quality pies from the Hull Pie 2, one of two Hull Pie shops in the Yorkshire city of Hull. We rated them in the highest possible Pierate category - "Highly Recommended". However, we did note at the time that "there were a few more The Hull Pies we still have to rate which didn’t quite score as highly". Sadly, this BBQ Pulled Pork pie is one of them. 

hull pie

While this pie had many elements in common with its high scoring counterparts - the pastry, the colour, the capacity and the cheapness - for me, the filling let it down. I found the strands of pulled pork rather chewy, and the sweetness of the BBQ flavour was rather overbearing. I do like pulled pork, and appreciate it's very hipster fashion at the moment, but for me this filling didn't really work in a pie. My Pierate colleagues also agreed that the filling was sweet, and the richness of the filling meant I had to work quite hard to finish it.

I would happily eat and enjoy other pies in the Hull Pie but, in my opinion, I wouldn't be looking to order this pie again (which is what we often use as the litmus test for a bad pie here at Pierate). It's an inventive flavour, certainly, but too sweet, rich and quite chewy.

Colour: 6
Condition: 4.9
Content: 3
Capacity: 6.3
Chewiness: 3.5
Consistency: 4
Cheapness: 6.7 (£2.50)

Hull Pie BBQ Pulled Pork Pie Review
Score: 4.91/7
continue reading "The Hull hog"

Monday 22 September 2014

Pie Up Pompey! What's Up With The Pompey Pie?

Portsmouth Football Club/Phat Pasty Co Pie Review

As a Wycombe fan it is great to see that Gareth Ainsworth's changes have created a team which is performing much better so far this season (after only avoiding relegation on goal difference). I hadn't been to a match yet this season so decided to take myself down to the Portsmouth-Wycombe game to see if the team were playing as well as results suggested. It was a ground that I hadn't been too before. I was keen to see the old stadium and sample the famously loud atmosphere at Fratton Park. Also, I found out that the pies were supplied by the Phat Pasty Co., a relatively new company who haven't yet been added to our Football Pie League which is dubbed the 'PIEremiership'. How could I resist?

Firstly, the match. It was great to see Wycombe playing some attractive football even though they were away. There were too many hopeful, long balls last time out. The defence has completely changed and felt much more solid. It was also great to see Wycombe pressing the Pompey players all over the pitch. Going forward Wycombe seemed to create chances easily in the opening half and dominated the game. They attacked with pace and really should have taken the lead but it was only early on in the second half that Sam Wood scored after good work from Paul Hayes. After that Wycombe seemed to sit back a bit too much, or perhaps tired after an energetic performance. Portmouth began to dominate and eventually scored what felt like a bit of a soft goal from a corner (but watching it on TV it was a great finish). By full time I was happy to take a point as it ended 1-1. I left happy that Wycombe at least looked like they shouldn't struggle this season.

The famously loud Portsmouth fans were really quite quiet for most of the game (despite the amazing attendance of 16,171). They only came alive after they scored with an intimidating chant of 'Who Are Ya?' direct at the Wycombe fans. It seemed like most of the Pompey fans participated in this with thousands of pointing fingers directed at us in the away end. There was also one loud rendition of the Pompey Chimes. Strangely there seemed to be a 'children's stand'; part of the stand which contained the Wycombe fans also contained a mass of children. Their solo rendition of 'Who Are Ya?' directed at the Wycombe fans was met with much amusement and jovial comments of 'Come back when you're older' from some in the away end. They were only separated from us by a thin cordon so they must have been confident the Wycombe fans would be well behaved (or perhaps the children were seen as 'expendable'). Another incident of note saw one Wycombe fan was escorted out after winding up a steward by not giving the ball back. There was also a bit of abuse between the fans as the Wycombe fans queued to get out. This was a shame to see and I don't know who started it. I think it was only because the fans knew they were physically separated from each other by some wire mesh so could throw abuse without fear of a fight.

Now what about the pie? Well, perhaps there is a reason I have focused on the entertaining match, the pie was really disappointing. I went for the Chicken Balti, there was only this or the steak and potato as the other options were pasties, not too surprising given the company's name. Anyway, two options of pie is not too bad at a football ground. The main reason it was disappointing is that it seemed like it hadn't been cooked properly, the pastry was really dry but at the same time tasted a bit undercooked. It was quiet soft and doughy. The filling wasn't too bad in some ways but the pastry did ruin it. I did eat the whole pie but didn't really enjoy it. I will have to try one of these pies somewhere else to see if Portsmouth's caterers had not done it justice. See the score breakdown below.

Condition – 2.8 out of 7 – A bit cracked around the top, a bit mis-shapen, looked like it had been squashed slightly. Nothing special otherwise about the appearance other than some writing printed into the pastry.

Colour – 3.2 out of 7 – Some golden brown in places but I thought it was a bit too pale generally.

Cheapness – 3.1 out of 7 – At £3 this was slightly above average for League Two, but not unusual.

Capacity – 4.5 out of 7 – Quite a large capacity because this was a tall pie. A small airgap considering the size, overall a well filled pie although quite a bit of it was sauce. It is also worth noting it was fairly big, around 250g.

Chewiness – 1.5 out of 7 – Disasterous texture to this pie, as I have said, it seemed like it hadn't been cooked properly but instead left on a low heat for a long time which had dried it out. The pastry tasted a bit like bread and at times I felt like I was eating raw flour. The pastry was also much too thick in places as shown in the pictures above. On the plus side, the filling wasn't chewy at all, the small pieces of chicken had a decent texture but not enough to help the score significantly.

Content – 3.0 out of 7 – The content was okay, there was a bit of chicken, but not much. I liked that there was a bit of variety to the filling which included onion and some other stuff (I can't be entirely sure what it was). The flavour was also okay, it wasn't hot at all but mildly spiced and it tasted slightly sweet. There wasn't much chicken but what there was seemed decent.

Consistency – 2.1 out of 7 – An awful consistency, in addition to the soft dry pastry, the sauce was too thick in my opinion, as you can see from the picture it didn't ooze out all. It is good in some ways for a football pie to have thick sauce to avoid a mess but in this case it meant the whole thing was really stodgy. I made myself finish the pie but afterwards it sat really heavy and I wished I hadn't eaten it all. I am sorry to say that it didn't really work as a package.

Chicken Balti (Portsmouth FC/Phat Pasty Co)


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 "Pie Up Pompey! What's Up With The Pompey Pie?"

Friday 19 September 2014

Pierate celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy there, me hearties! For those who are unaware, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yes, that really does exist! No, I am really not making this up!

For inspiration you can follow the hashtag #TalkLikeAPirateDay on Twitter and find out who's getting involved. Take for example Morrisons, who are not only the only UK supermarket to have their own dedicated pie counter but also got in the Pirate mood by dressing up today!

But as much as we love talking like Pirates on the web's leading pie review blog, what we REALLY love to do is talk like a Pierateer! And that means lots of talk about PIES!!!

So while we don't want to completely pie-jack International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we'd love to share a few pie pearls with you to get you talking! Take for example our 7 Cs we sail - the 7 criteria on which we rate all our pies. Or our pie pun dictionary, which includes some right pearls of punnage. Or even our pie treasure map, which shows you where the best independent pies can be found!

But most of all, we'd love you to find golden treasure of your own - pie treasure, to be more precise! So why not check out our Pie Rankings, which lists over 425 pies that we've rated on our 7 Cs to help you know where you can find the best treasure of all - a top rated pie! And to whet your appetite, check out our current Top 10 below:

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreByInfo
Paul's PiesSteak and Guinness
King's Farm [HP22 6BH]All Steak
Paul's PiesChicken and Mushroom
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Venison and Red Wine [Thierry Henry]
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Lamb and Veg with a hint of mint [Ian Wright]
JB Christie [ML6 6BU]Minced Beef Scotch
The Real Pie CompanyPork, Bacon and Parsley
Jekyll and Hyde Pub [B4 6BJ]Steak
The Pie KitchenChicken, Chantenay Carrot and Bacon
Mr KiplingApple
Mr KiplingApple and Blackcurrant
PieministerBeef and Brandy [Kate and Wills]


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 "Pierate celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day"

Saturday 13 September 2014

How to have your own PIErty!

A Pie Party with homemade Pie Review

Coming soon – how to have your own PIErty! But for now, a little teaser of the homemade baking part of the full article to come:

Of course no pie party would be complete without some homemade pie baking going on! And while we may have got complimented for the pastry of our Crocodile Pie from none other than Michel Roux Jr, we’re certainly still firm believers that we (apart from the Ship’s Cook) are primarily pie raters, not pie makers! So we’ll leave making pies to the pros and get on with the important job – rating those pies!!!

And what’s even more awesome than asking a friend to make you a pie (or five) is arriving home after a long week at work and finding a pie tin (note: definitely not a cake tin with pies in) on your doorstep! Recently I had the pieleasure of rating Sophie’s Apple and Raspberry mini pies. Now of course you’ll immediately spot that one of them has a crumble lid, which we’ve already discussed at great length and determined does slightly detract from the score, so the following is a review of the fully encased pie, followed by an adjusted score for the crumble lid (even though it tasted just as good – but that doesn’t make it a proper pie!!!)

After heating in the oven for 15 minutes on 180 degrees, the pies were crisp and a nice colour. Not quite golden piefection but I didn’t want to over bake them and ruin the taste and filling. The home grown apple and raspberry content was on the whole very nice, though a fair bit of contrast between the sweetness and sourness of the fruits. There was definitely a bias towards the raspberry in my pies and I personally would have liked to have sampled just an apple pie, as I think the raspberry detracted slightly from the filling.

Being quite small pies, it is always hard to get the pastry:filling ratio quite right, but Sophie did a good job and the pastry was nice and firm, but a little flaky. No soggy bottoms in sight, the pastry was the highlight. A slight downside of the condition though was that the lid didn’t seamlessly merge into the side pastry, with a very clear lid/base distinction. Of course being home grown fruit, this is an ingenious way to score highly on the cheapness (unless you’re using Harrods flour or something!)

Overall, a great little pie, which would have rated higher if a bit more apple content and in a larger version, where the pastry:filling ratio would naturally have improved. Great job!

Sophie’s Homemade Apple and Raspberry Mini Pie
Score: 5.64/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 7, Content 5.5, Total: 5.64/7]

Sophie’s Homemade Apple and Raspberry Mini Crumble Pie
Score: 4.93/7


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 "How to have your own PIErty!"

Friday 5 September 2014

Michel Roux Jr rates an extra slice of the Pierateer’s Crocodile Pie

In our first ever TV appearance, Michel Roux Jr rated the Pierateer's Crocodile Pie on NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!

In what is one of, if not the most, surreal moments in Pierate history, Pierateer Rob and The Ship’s Cook Emily were complimented for the quality of their pie pastry during an appearance on BBC Two’s Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice. Having sampled the Crocodile Pie that Pierateer Rob made, Michel Roux Jr (the acclaimed Michelin Star Chef at Le Gavroche and judge on Masterchef: The Professionals) complemented the quality of the pastry – even if the filling let us down when he found the crocodile meat a little dry. Don't think we'd have got 7/7 on our 7 Cs of pie rating!

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Set
The Crocodile Pie and Pastry Crocodile on the Extra Slice set
Thanks for favouriting our tweets Michel Roux Jr and Shappi!

But considering we just make and rate pies for "The love of pie", this was a massive coup for Pierateer Rob, who was in fact making his first ever pie pastry completely by hand, rather than using shop bought (it must be remembered that we are primarily Pierateers – raters of other people’s pies – rather than pie makers!) and you can read about how the Crocodile Pie was made in our reci-pie article.

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice
The hit BBC Two show “An Extra Slice” is a spin-off of the hugely popular baking series “Great British Bake Off”, which had just been celebrating their own Pies and Tarts week. In the episode, host Jo Brand showed a range of clips from the tent, interwoven with photos from members of the public who had sent in their baked efforts and a taste of a few pies and tarts brought into the studio.

While we are of course completely biased, it came as no sur-pies that Jo and the celebrity panel were very intrigued by the Crocodile Pie that the Pierateers brought in. No strangers to exotic pie baking on their Pierate pie blog, they had previously made Zebra and Horse Pies, along with Wildebeest and Springbok Pies and a hugely unsuccessful Python Pie (or Pie-thon, as we called it!)

The panel had a mixed reaction to the Crocodile Pie, with the afore mentioned Michel Roux Jr thoroughly enjoying the pastry but Alan Johnson MP and comedian Shappi Khorsandi both refusing to eat the pie, the latter in fact claiming she had turned vegetarian in between finishing the previous meat pie being sampled and the sampling of the Crocodile pie! (Perhaps Shappi should check out our Vegetarian pie reviews page instead!)

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Pies
The Crocodile Pie made for the Extra Slice
Needless to say though, despite the mixed reaction of the panel to eating Crocodile Pie, this was one of – if not the most – exciting days out in Pierate’s near 5 year history! Of course, the bread and butter of what we do on Pierate is rating pies up and down the country and across the world – so that you know what the best pies are near you. With over 425 pies rated in our Pie Rankings we hope there’s a pie there for everybody.

But it sure is nice to get a com-pie-lement from a world renowned celebrity chef of the calibre of Michel Roux Jr every now and then! And who knows - perhaps after sampling our pie Michel will invite us round to his place for a pastry sampling at Le Gavroche sometime?!

Crocodile Pie Review - Extra Slice Pierateers
Pierateer Rob and the Pierate Ship's Cook, Emily
Extra Slice - Crocodile Pie Review
"Show us your pies!" - during the TV coverage
(Screenshot from BBC, taken by Shereen)


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.

If watching us on the Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice has ins-pie-red you to want to get in touch with the Pierateers, please visit our Contact Us page.

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The Croc is coming... #GBBO

The crocodile pie is coming! Check it out tonight on BBC2's

Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice at 9pm!

Crocodile Pie Review

If you missed it live, you can watch our TV debut now on BBC Pie-player:

Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (Episode 5)

However, due to time pressure, a lot of what we said in the studio was edited out of the show. So once you have watched the programme, don't forget to get the full picture by reading our article on the show!

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 "The Croc is coming... #GBBO"

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Pierate Radio! Pierateers receive 3 radio shout outs!

With great power comes great responsibility. Or so we hear in Spiderman!

And here on the Pierate Ship we’re taking our role as UK Pie Experts (otherwise known as Piefessionals) very seriously. After all, when a breaking news story relating to pies fills your tv screen, the radio airwaves or your twitter feed, you will naturally want to know “What do the Pierateers make of all this?!”

That’s why we’re doing our best to address the key pie news stories that might be keeping you awake at night. Take, for example, our recent article on the Scottish Referendum. No – not that one. The one about whether we should vote yes or vote no to having pies sold in our hospitals, which caused a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your view) debate on BBC Radio Scotland recently. We had our say on twitter, saying:

What they unfortunately forgot to address on the radio debate was (a) that the pastry product they were particularly debating on wasn’t even a pie and (b) that what is most important is whether this pie (or “pie”) rates well on the 7 Cs – otherwise it shouldn’t be sold ANYWHERE!!! You can read more about this in our review of the pie debate.

But we also had a shout out on BBC Radio 2’s The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, as the self-professed pie fan held his annual “Pie Day” on the last Thursday of August. They were of course still debating the previous evening’s controversial episode of the Great British Bake Off, which contained a controversy in the kitchen as some ice cream was taken out of the freezer by another contestant and not put back in!

But alongside Mary Berry on the phone in, we had our text read out on air as “Rob from Birmingham” aka Pierateer RAS said:

“We’ve over achieved this morning – sending in 5 emails and photos to British Bake Off about our pie wins and pie fails for the Extra Slice show!”

This is of course relating to the fact it is Pie Week on Great British Bake Off this week – and we for one thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s episode (so why not catch up on pie-player?!) and look forward to an Extra Slice on Friday! If you didn’t catch it at the time, you can see our summary of the episode by looking at our #PieWeek tweets on our @pierateers twitter feed!

And let's not forget the mentions we got on BCfm Radio in Bristol today too - as Cath and Alex on the Food Show were busy promoting the Grape and Grain Festival with Henry Herbert and Henry mentioned his pie masterclasses! We hope to attend one day!


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 "Pierate Radio! Pierateers receive 3 radio shout outs!"

Tuesday 2 September 2014

I'm in the mood for Grumpies of Cornwall pies

Grumpies of Cornwall pie review

Cornwall might be more famous for its pasties, but we're thrilled that Grumpies of Cornwall avoided the obvious and chose to make top Cornish pies instead (well, we're not Pastyrate, after all!) And even more thrilling was that we got our Pierating hands on some of them! Will Grumpies put me in the mood for pie, or just put me in a mood?


This is a selection of 'Chicken Gammon and Leek', 'Steak and Ale', and 'Blue Cheese and Walnut'. The first thing that strikes me is the packaging is pretty cool, with a cartoon of the two grumpies and the transparent window to admire your pie. It's a clever packaging design. 

The proof is in the eating, though - should Grumpies change their name to Grumpasties?

First up is the Grumpies Steak and Ale pie. Neat little touch there with the bull notched into the pastry. I like it. The pie is in great condition and the golden brown colour is spot on. There's no leakage or boil out, and no blemishes or cracks on the surface.

steak pie

Cracking in to the pie, the pastry gives way nicely - it's crisp and not too soft. There is a slight air gap, however - the pie isn't filled completely to capacity. The pie also isn't particularly big - I think you would certainly want this as part of a meal rather than as a meal in itself. However, I see that the filling is of good quality, with lots of nice chunks of steak and some mushrooms too.

steak pie

Eating the pastry, I realise this is some of the best pastry I've had. It has a wonderful crispy layer on the outside, and melts in your mouth as you bite into it. The content also tastes delicious. The ale comes through quite strongly, I feel, which personally I like but others made find it too strong. The steak is not chewy. I really like the taste of this pie, and the pastry is excellent. However it is a little let down by its air-gap and its cost (which, at £3.50 a pie I think is maybe a bit on the expensive side for not a particularly big pie).

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 6.2
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.4
Consistency: 6.2
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Steak and Ale pie
Score: 5.9/7

Next up is the pie that most intrigues me - the Blue Cheese and Walnut. (Side note: As Matthew over at Food and Geography will no doubt tell you, Stilton is a protected food name so any blue cheese not made in a specific geographical area can't be called Stilton). Just when I was going to suggest that Grumpies use a local Cornish blue cheese, I check their website and see that they do just that! Yes, apparently it's a creamy Cornish blue in this pie - excellent, we love it when companies use local produce.

stilton pie

Again, like the steak and ale pie, this pie is in excellent condition with a perfect colour. On opening up the pie, the creamy contents threaten to spill out over the plate in a tidal wave of yummy goodness before I can get a photo of the contents. As you'll spot, there's an air gap here similar to that in the steak and ale pie. However, the pastry is again sublime, and the filling is also very tasty and deliciously rich! 

stilton pie

I must say, this pie is probably rather an acquired taste - I love blue cheese (and I think everyone should!) but I know many people that would run a mile at the sound of blue cheese and walnut. I might also add that the filling also doesn't look 100% appetising, and was a little runny, I felt.

Nonetheless, I would heartily recommend you give this pie a shot. It's delicious and the pastry is excellent.

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 5.2
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.5
Consistency: 5.2
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Blue Cheese and Walnut Pie
Score: 5.63/7

And now onto the Chicken, Gammon and Leek.
chicken leek pie
Similar to the other two pies, this pie is of perfect colour and condition. Can't wait to tuck in!
chicken leek pie
This cross-sectional view shows that the filling is of high quality, although there is a slight air-gap again. I felt the pie was a little low on volume of filling, but the filling that was there was a delicious combination of gammon, chicken and leek. The sauce had a nice consistency and the chicken was not at all chewy. Again, the pastry was excellent. This pie would be the perfect accompaniment to a glass of crisp white wine.

Colour: 7
Condition: 6.5
Content: 5.5
Capacity: 4
Chewiness: 6.5
Consistency: 6
Cheapness: 5

Grumpies of Cornwall Chicken, Gammon and Leek pie
Score: 5.79/7

Overall, some very yummy pies from Grumpies of Cornwall! Pierate Recommended. 

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Monday 1 September 2014

Honourary Pierateers celebrate the 200,000 page views landmark

We continue to be amazed at the volume of hits we are receiving on our little pie blog! After reaching 100,000 views on 15th February 2014, it has taken just over 6 months to jump to 200,000 views by 29th August 2014! And such has been the meteoric rise of the Pierate Ship – and the appeal of our slice of internet pie across the country (and the world) – that it is becoming a nice but increasing problem to fit everything we want to do around our “normal” jobs.

That said, they always say things are better late than never, which is why we are delighted to have finally had the pleasure to once again meet up with and bestow our title of Honourary Pierateers to Ashleigh Auld and Olivia Rust.

Did you know?!

The title of Honourary Pierateer is bestowed by Pierate upon those who show great commitment to pies in general and to the Pierate blog more specifically. They are awarded when we reach a major page view landmark.

Previous Honourary Pierateers are:
tOBy walteR (10,000 page views) – son of a pie-fan family and friends of Pierate, the Senei
Rosa (25,000 page views) – friend of Pierate and pie tax activist
Paul (50,000 page views) – maker of what is still (to date) the best pie we’ve rated on Pierate

Ashleigh and Olivia
Ashleigh and Olivia

Of course we met up with Ashleigh and Olivia over a pie. That won’t take you by surprise! But if you are a relatively new follower of the Pierate Pie Review blog, you may not be aware that we actually have quite a strong bond with the ladies at Ashleigh Auld PR, which is finally being recognised by the award of this Honourary Pierateer title! Here’s a little summary of the great support Ashleigh and Olivia have shown towards our pie blog:

November 2013 – Having been a follower of our pie blog and the @pierateers twitter feed, we were delighted to get contacted by Olivia to do our first ever interview – which formed the basis of this article about how the Pierateers came to be and what International Pierate Day is all about!

December 2013 – Pierateer Rob met up with Ashleigh and Olivia in central London at Canteen London to rate a pie together. This formed the very first “Pierateer in Training” session and led to two pie reviews of Canteen’s Turkey Pie – our own Pierate review and one written by Olivia. These pies also featured in our “12 Pies of Christmas” music video!

February 2014 – Pierate hits 100,000 page views and starts arranging a meet up with Ashleigh and Olivia to award them their honourary title.

July 2014 – Pierateer Rob once again meets up with Ashleigh and Olivia in central London – this time to rate a pie together at The Gun, Docklands. The ladies are awarded “Pierateer in Training” badges, Pierate t-shirts and mugs and two pie reviews of the Goat pie we rated are posted online – our own Pierate review and one written by Olivia.

September 2014 – Ashleigh and Olivia are officially unveiled as Honourary Pierateers after we reach the 200,000 page views landmark!

So a big thank you to Ashleigh and Olivia for the support they have shown to Pierate thus far! And while they are only murmurings at this point in time, we are already discussing our next meet up with our new Honourary Pierateers being a very special pie event in London, to hopefully tie-in with the 5th anniversary of Pierate! Of course, there is just one place you need to check back for more details once this pie-roject gets the go ahead and that’s!


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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