Monday, 29 June 2015

The search for more London pie reviews!

The Pierateers are on the search for more London Pie Reviews!


Pierate is a pie review website where we rate pies of all kinds - sweet, meat, even those without the wheat! We rate all the pies, so that you can just eat the best of the best! Combine that with the many people will visit London and wonder where they can get the best pie from and you get the "Best Pies in London Restaurants" article we've regularly updated with the top London pies we've rated. It's even our most viewed article on Pierate now!

London Pie Reviews
The EDF Energy London Pie

Whether it's been the many great pies at Piebury Corner pie deli on Holloway Road - currently top of our London leaderboard - or our recently reviewed Pierate Highly Recommended Steak and Kidney pie at The Windmill, there are plenty of top rated pies in London! So many in fact that we still have so much London pie left to rate!

Which is why we Pierateers, the web's leading pie reviewers and pie experts to the BBC, are looking for some more London pie to rate! Using the rather unimaginative hashtag #LondonPie (to coincide with us turning the London Eye into the London Pie above...) we're on the hunt for more London pies to rate this coming weekend, which will culminate with Pierateers RAS and TJP meeting for a London pie next Monday evening! The question though is where?!

London pie establishments - lend us your pies!

Yes - we're eyeing up the pies and looking to see who wants us to give their pies a rating! Maybe there's a new pie shop or restaurant not yet on our "Best Pies in London Restaurants" list who want to invite us round for a pie rating? Or there might be a pie establishment already on our list who have just released a new pie flavour and want to show it off to the pie eating world, potentially boosting them up the London pie leaderboard? Either way, we're up for some pie and will be looking out for invites to try some pies this coming weekend - and specifically on Monday night!

So if you're a pie seller in London - particularly a restaurant open on Monday night - we'd love to hear from you and come to rate your pies! Just send us a tweet @pierateers!

London Pie-tinery!

Saturday - Not quite sure if there will be pies there or not, but Pierateer RAS is heading to the #USABeerFest at @thegundocklands for a good old 4th of July par-tay, featuring an All-American BBQ! The big question is will there be American pie for dessert?!?! We'll be meeting friend and Honourary Pierateer Ashleigh there too, who is Managing Director of Auld Digital and a big fan of Pierate!
Update: Sadly the American pies desserted us (get it!) but it was still a good BBQ meal and great company!

Sunday - The most likely day for Pierateer RAS to swing by Pierate Highly Recommended pie shop Piebury Corner - looking to rate their sweet pies and get his hands on their British Pie Awards Gold winning Theo Walcott Pie (Jerk Chicken flavour)
Update: Mission accomplished! - I pillaged some great looking pies from Piebury Corner and had a great chat with business owners Paul and Julie. They're closing the shop for a few weeks over July but I can assure you there will be queues out the door when they re-open in time for the Emirates Cup competition! Visit pieburycorner.com for opening hours info.

Monday - It's the big one! Pierateer RAS and TJP are meeting up - and you know that when two Pierateers meet up there is bound to be pie involved! We're planning to visit The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street, where we visited last November and had some top rated pies and gins! Can't wait to try their new pie offerings, including a pastry-based sea food pie and a game pie!
Update: We had two lovely pies from the Punch Tavern - but could they live up to amazingly high standards of last November's offerings? You'll find out soon when we rate them! We also had the two Piebury Corner fruit pies for dessert when we got home.

Tuesday - We've arranged to meet up with pie business owner Dee of Dees Pies fame on Tuesday morning and then shortly after will be meeting pie truck owner (yes, you read that right - PIE TRUCK OWNER) Chris Brumby to find out about his latest pie selling venture - "My Pie". We actually rated one of his pies before the truck had even been bought and he was selling pies to the masses, and that was so good it was Pierate Highly Recommended! Of course it will be rude of us not to try a few more of his pies...
Update: I think I need a bigger suitcase with built in fridge! I was given 10 pies to take home from Dee and Chris, so no pie-rizes for guessing what I'll be eating all this week!!!


On top of all this somehow Pierateer RAS plans to catch up with a few friends and his Goddaughter this weekend too!!! Of course you'll be able to follow our London pie tour using the #LondonPie hashtag all weekend!


You'll see where the pies we end up rating fit in the Pierate Pie Rankings and find other pies of a similar flavour in our Pies Categorised once we have rated them all!

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!

continue reading "The search for more London pie reviews!"

Friday, 26 June 2015

Wigan Pie Week - Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Steak Pie Review

This Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Steak pie review forms part of our #WiganPieWeek set of reviews. This week we are rating 5 pies from Wigan on our 7 Cs of pie rating. Find out more about our quest in our overarching “Wigan Pie Week” article!


Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Pie Review
Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Pie Review
Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to a new pie shop I was taken to by “Life of Pies” author Martin Tarbuck. In the Standish area of north Wigan I was taken to Gents bakery, which is known in the area as the sort of place you need to get to early if you want a pie before they sell out (normally at about midday). They had steak, meat and potato or butter pies still available when Martin and I arrived, all at very reasonable prices. A decent sized individual pie, the capacity of this pie was very strong. However while the gravy was quite nice and the meat that I found in the pie was nice and tender, the filling of this pie was padded out with a lot of onion, thick gravy and non-steak, which left me quite disappointed.

This was in addition to the large gap in the top crust pastry, which had led to the filling becoming very dry and congealed at the point of the air gap and therefore spoilt some of the filling. The pastry was quite nice though, with a good bite to it and holding the filling in quite well. The edges were significantly crisper and more golden than the central pastry, but this did hold together more so than some of the other pies I ate in my Wigan trip.

Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Pie Review
Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Pie Review

While the actual meat I had in this pie was quite nice and tender, as a steak pie I would expect more. I guess this just indicates that a steak pie at just £1.25 is just too good to be true, and that for a truly top rated steak pie you need to be willing to pay more for it.

Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Steak Pie
Score: 4.14/7
[Colour 4, Capacity 4, Consistency 3, Condition 4, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 3.5, Total: 4.14/7]
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.

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continue reading "Wigan Pie Week - Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) Steak Pie Review"

Why I'm NOT voting to #savethepie!

"Why I'm NOT voting to #savethepie!" - Pierateer RAS gives his views on the latest pie news to grab the Scottish newspaper headlines


The following article is a response piece to the latest pie headlines to sweep Scotland, relating to Gregg's decision to controversially stop selling the Macaroni pie. It has prompted the #savethepie campaign and an online petition.

Pierateer SJL last night gave his views on why he personally supports the petition, while trying to look at the silver lining that this decision may bring. However Pierateer RAS is less convinced, and here are a few of his reasons why he doesn't plan to sign the e-petition.



Pierate Pie Reviews
Yes, it may be yet another attention grabbing headline by Pierate Pie Reviews - and we're not short of a few of those, with our Tiger pie review and Pies Don't Make You Fat! article - but it's true! I WON'T be supporting the latest pie e-petition by signing up to bring back the Greggs Macaroni pie, for a number of reasons, which Pierateer SJL has very helpfully touched upon already in his recent Macaroni pie review. Of course you'll never catch me saying I'm anti-pie, but this e-pietition has not grabbed my attention and here's why:

Firstly, is it really a pie? While SJL may have managed to dig out a fully encased version for this review, nearly all Macaroni pies I've seen are not even fully encased. More of a tart, you might argue.

Secondly, should we be promoting corporate chains over local bakeries? I personally hope that this decision by Greggs will actually mean people buy MORE pies - but pies from their local craft bakeries instead, of which we know there are many great ones in Scotland.

Finally, with no disrespect to Greggs per-se but they have hardly set the pie world alight! Despite the TV show based on their bakeries being called "More than meats the pies", I've yet to see a pie sold in any of their stores and the pie rating of their Mince Beef and Onion pies was beyond shocking. Greggs are clearly more interested in maintaining profits than selling pies, so to be quite frank I'm not sure I want them to keep selling Macaroni pies - or any pies for that matter - if that's their attitude towards the pastry beauties!


So... there you go. I'm CERTAINLY not against pies - don't get me wrong on that - and the e-petition by @Biltawulf on banning casserole dishes topped with pastry being called pies is definitely a pie-tition that gets my full support. (I've even given my sixpence on that topic in my recent "Is it Times for a change in pub pie provision?" article.)

But as for Macaroni pies no longer being sold in Greggs? I think that might actually be a blessing in disguise.

RAS



UPDATE:


In a dramatic turn of events, it turns out that the e-petition founder Paul Tonner (@HeavyVoodoo) doesn't even like Macaroni Pies and thus isn't really that bothered about re-instating the pie in Greggs! But there is a very serious message as to why the petition was founded, and you can find out more about that in this short video from Paul himself:


We echo Paul's request for change.
continue reading "Why I'm NOT voting to #savethepie!"

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Save the Macaroni Pie!

The latest headline to hit the world of pie is that the famous macaroni pie is under threat. Gregg's have controversially decided to stop selling this Scottish delicacy saying it is their least popular selling savoury in Scotland. This has prompted a campaign to #savethepie and a online petition. This has even been promoted by some MSPs who are keen to save the macaroni pie.

Whilst I support the petition, we think that Gregg's dropping their Macaroni pie is not necessarily a bad thing. This is yet another reason to visit local bakeries, which will continue to produce macaroni pies. In any case, Gregg's aren't known for consistently producing top quality products and in our experience other versions are better.

Having a look at our pie rankings you might be surprised to see a lack of macaroni pies in the rankings. This is mainly because most of them, like the Gregg's version, do seem to lack a pastry lid which means they don't meet our definition of a proper pie. Also, despite being a cherished savoury product, it is unlikely that any pie containing pasta is going to challenge at the top of our pie rankings. But in order to lend our support to the campaign we thought we needed to find one to review. Fortunately the Bells Macaroni Pie does have a pastry lid and is on offer in Sainsbury's! Here are our thoughts after picking a couple of these up today...




Condition - 3.6 out of 7 - This pie is nothing special to look at, just looking like a standard Scotch pie but with cheese on top. It has the traditional wonky lid of cheaper pies. The sprinkling of cheese on top is the only nice touch.
Colour - 3.4 out of 7 - The cheese and pastry rim had browned up nicely but the rest of the pie was a bit pale.
Cheapness - 3.0 out of 7 - On offer at £1 for 2 (normally £1.25) these pies seem cheap but if you think of how cheap these must be to make (given that they have no meat) they seem quite bad value. Especially given that these version aren't well filled.
Capacity - 1.9 out of 7 - The capacity was pretty poor, at least half of the filling was air which is shocking when the filling is just mac cheese, how expensive is that to make?! Plus there was a pretty small capacity to start with, the lid started to collapse and almost touched the base in places!
Chewiness - 3.2 out of 7 - This pie benefited from having a pastry lid, it kept the filling moist. There was no burnt pasta to make your gums bleed, unlike other versions. The pastry was a little soft so there wasn't really anything to get your teeth into.
Content - 3.3 out of 7 - This pie didn't disappoint on the cheesiness-o-meter. It had a pretty tangy cheesy taste which I guess is what you want with a mac cheese pie! Have to admit though, it isn't my favourite choice of pie filling.
Consistency - 2.6 out of 7 - Soft and stodgy, this is not normally what we look for in a pie but if you are craving a mac cheese pie then you would be disappointed if it was any different! This version is particularly stodgy but does well in some areas.


Macaroni Cheese (Bells)
2.86/7

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.

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Wigan Pie Week - Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie

This Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie review forms part of our #WiganPieWeek set of reviews. This week we are rating 5 pies from Wigan on our 7 Cs of pie rating. Find out more about our quest in our overarching “Wigan Pie Week” article!


Pound Bakery Pie Shop
2 pies for £1!
Pies on sale at Pound Bakery?! I had to stop and rub my eyes to check that I was seeing this right. Could pies really be sold for as little as £1 in the City Centre of Wigan? Was this what had earned Wiganers the name “Pie Eaters”?

But wait – I was wrong! They weren’t selling pies at £1 each in Pound Bakery. They were selling 2 meat and potato pies for £1 in Pound Bakery! Yes – I said TWO pies for ONE pound! Seriously. Could this actually work? Could there really be hot pies on sale for just 50p a pie? How does this make any economic sense?!

Ultimately I had my reservations on how they could possibly be selling 2 meat pies for £1 but as a piefessional, I could only give you a true representation of the quality and rating of the pie having eaten one. It was time to take the 50p pie test!

Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie Review
Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie Review

My first thoughts on the condition of the pie was that it looked in quite a good condition for such a cheap pie, but upon breaking open the pie it did start to crumble somewhat. The filling of this pie – like many meat and potato pies I had eaten in the local Wigan area – was primarily consisting of potato, with quite large pieces of potato in it, and a mix of mincemeat and a little gravy. However the pastry was quite dry and while the meat/potato/gravy content was reasonably moist, it didn’t do enough to balance the dryness of the pastry.

I was surprised by the amount of mincemeat in it for such a cheap pie, but it didn’t taste like particularly high quality meat and ultimately I wouldn’t ever choose to eat another one of these pies unless I was completely strapped for cash one day. But what can you expect? I paid 50p per pie, so I can’t say I was expecting Michelin star food. I would be foolish to say that in these days of austerity I’d turn my nose up at a cheap pie if that was all I could afford. However, given the choice and knowing that pies aren’t exactly the most expensive food item out there anyway, there are many better pies to enjoy for a few pounds more.

Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 3.71/7
[Colour 3, Capacity 3.5, Consistency 2.5, Condition 3, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5, Content 4, Total: 3.71/7]
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 "Wigan Pie Week - Pound Bakery Meat and Potato Pie"

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Wigan Pie Week - Galloways Chunky Steak Pie

Galloways Pie Shop Review
Galloways in central Wigan

This Galloways Chunky Steak Pie review forms part of our #WiganPieWeek set of reviews. This week we are rating 5 pies from Wigan on our 7 Cs of pie rating. Find out more about our quest in our overarching “Wigan Pie Week” article!


The Chunky Steak pie from Galloways was actually a few pence cheaper than their meat and potato pie, at £1.45, but this was quite a bit smaller than the meat and potato version. The pastry was significantly thicker, with no threat of collapsing under the weight of the pie content, and a lot more golden in colour. However in my view this pastry actually wasn’t as appetising – a bit too thick and in a significantly smaller pie the pastry:filling ratio was all wrong on this pie.

Galloways Chunky Steak Pie Review
Galloways Chunky Steak Pie Review

Galloways Chunky Steak Pie Review
Galloways Chunky Steak Pie Review

The content itself was also not that enjoyable, with the meat quite chewy in parts and not the lean meat I would look for in a pie, and the sauce the pie was served in not being overly special either. It wasn’t a typical gravy, seeming to potentially have some flour or potato to thicken out the sauce but removing that lovely gravy taste. Overall, this was not a particularly enjoyable pie and I wouldn’t choose to eat it again.

Galloways Chunky Steak Pie
Score: 2/7
[Colour 3, Capacity 2, Consistency 1, Condition 3, Chewiness 2, Cheapness 2, Content 1, Total: 2/7]
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.

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continue reading "Wigan Pie Week - Galloways Chunky Steak Pie"

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Wigan Pie Week - Galloways Meat and Potato Pie

Galloways Pie Shop Review
Galloways in central Wigan

This Galloways Meat and Potato Pie review forms part of our #WiganPieWeek set of reviews. This week we are rating 5 pies from Wigan on our 7 Cs of pie rating. Find out more about our quest in our overarching “Wigan Pie Week” article!


For a reasonable sized pie, warmed up and sold on the High Street of Wigan, I thought £1.48 was quite reasonable for this meat and potato pie. However the side and base pastry did look rather anaemic, and the colour of the top of the pie was significantly paler than I would hope for in a highly rated pie. Picking up the pie out of its foil tray, the pie was immediately starting to struggle to encase the filling. Within a bite or two, the filling was collapsing all over the place and I was requiring the foil tray to stop me losing the pie all over the floor.

Galloways Meat and Potato Pie Review
Galloways Meat and Potato Pie Review

Galloways Meat and Potato Pie Review
Galloways Meat and Potato Pie Review

However what the structure of this pie lacked, the flavour of the filling certainly made up for. The potato was very small pieces within a mainly mash-like consistency, which combined really well with pieces of mincemeat. The content was well seasoned and flavoursome throughout the pie. Eaten on a plate – rather than trying to eat by hand – I think this pie would have worked quite well, though a slightly firmer pastry would have been ideal. A nice pie that I would eat again, it was the highlight of the afternoon trip pie hunting in Wigan town centre.

Galloways Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 4.36/7
[Colour 3.5, Capacity 4, Consistency 3.5, Condition 3.5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5, Content 6, Total: 4.36/7]
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 "Wigan Pie Week - Galloways Meat and Potato Pie"

Monday, 22 June 2015

Wigan Pie Week - Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie

This Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie review forms part of our #WiganPieWeek set of reviews. This week we are rating 5 pies from Wigan on our 7 Cs of pie rating. Find out more about our quest in our overarching “Wigan Pie Week” article!

Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie review

Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie review

Unfortunately the condition of this pie was not up to scratch. The lid had a clear blemish in it, where you could see that the top layer of crust had risen and over-crisped, compared to the under layer of pastry which was quite soft. That aside, the edge crimping of this pie was also overly crisp, while the side and base pastry was rather anaemic in colour. At least it held together a bit better than some other meat and potato pies I’d eaten, both prior and during eating.

Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie review

Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie review

Inside, the pie content consisted of small pieces of mincemeat interspersed between rather large chunks of potato. I didn’t really enjoy the consistency and the flavours in this meat and potato pie compared to the other meat and potato pies on offer in Wigan. A comparable price at £1.55 for a decent sized pie, but I wouldn’t choose to eat this pie again.

Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 3.43/7
[Colour 3, Capacity 3.5, Consistency 2.5, Condition 2.5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 3.5, Content 4, Total: 3.43/7]
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.

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continue reading "Wigan Pie Week - Greenhalgh’s Meat and Potato Pie"

Pierate's Wigan Pie Week

This week we are dedicating Pierate Pie Reviews to Wigan, and their pies!!!


Wigan – dated back to at least the 7th century and now home to almost 100,000 people in the town itself – has one noticeable characteristic. Not it’s once thriving porcelain manufacture or clock making, nor its milling and coal mining. These things may have built Wigan into the town it is today, but it is PIES that have sustained it! Said to have been linked to the 1926 General Strike, when Wigan coal miners were starved back to work before their local counterparts, and thus eating “humble pie”, the people of Wigan are affectionately known as the “pie-eaters”.

Museum of Wigan Life Pie Review
Information about pies in the Museum of Wigan Life

In fact, while the British Pie Awards are held in Melton Mowbray (home of the pork pie), it is Wigan that plays host to the annual World Pie Eating Championships! They really do love their pies in Wigan, so you may not be surprised to hear that a “Wigan Kebab” is actually several pies on a skewer, rather than the more traditional doner meat.

Wigan Pie Kebab
The Wigan Kebab - aka pies!!!
So central to the pie world is Wigan that the Pierateers have longed to sample the pies Wigan has to offer! The only downside being that we Pierateers predominantly in the South – and of course Wigan is tup North.

But alas, Pierateer RAS finally made his way up to Wigan on a trip to attend the book launch of “Life of Pies” – written by Martin Tarbuck, a fellow pie lover and pie reviewer. It’s a book we have, of course, now reviewed on the 7 Cs of pie rating and it got a fabulous rating of 5.61/7 (that’s Pierate Recommended!) We even rated some very nice Bowen’s pies at the book launch – though it must be clarified that Bowen’s are actually based in nearby Adlington!

Museum of Wigan Life Pie Review
Museum of Wigan Life
Pie Gifts available (we definitely recommend a visit!)
But what you may have noticed is that we actually visited Wigan in October 2014… and yet it is now June 2015! What went wrong?! Well, as piefessional as we try to be, unfortunately having eaten several pies in the square in Wigan Town Centre on Saturday 25th October 2014 and written the reviews up on the train home, Pierateer RAS unfortunately saved his Wigan reviews on his laptop in such an obscure folder that he has only just found it! But hey, late reviews are better than no reviews and the good thing is all these pies were rated and scored back in October – so while they are slightly out of date and the price may have changed slightly, they are the true opinions I had in October 2014, not something I have made up 9 months later!

Of course in one Saturday afternoon in Wigan there was certainly not enough time to try the full range of pies that Wigan has to offer. The Pierateers are therefore looking to return to Wigan at some point in the future, particularly to rate the pies at the DW Stadium, home of Wigan Athletic, and add them to our PIEremiership table! But enough about the future… let’s get onto our Wigan pie reviews!

Monday’s pie review is from Greenhalgh’s and is a classic “Meat and Potato Pie

Tuesdays pie review is from Galloways and is again the classic Meat and Potato Pie

Wednesdays pie review is also from Galloways, but this time their Chunky Steak Pie

Thursdays pie review only cost an astonishingly low 50p, as we visited Pound Bakery and rated their Meat and Potato Pie

Fridays pie review is from Gents (Pepper Lane Pie Shop) in the Standish area of North Wigan, rating their Steak Pie

Note that we actually tried a number of meat and potato pies while in Wigan – both due to this being the pie of choice in these parts (Martin told us so!) and to aid in comparison between stores.


And whether you agree or disagree with our Wigan pie ratings, we want to hear from you! Are you a “pie-eater” from Wigan? Do you have a pie to suggest for our next trip to Wigan? Let us know below or on twitter and follow the #WiganPieWeek hashtag from @pierateers!

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 "Pierate's Wigan Pie Week"

Friday, 19 June 2015

Reci-pie Review: Morrisons Pork and Cider Pies

The Ship's Cook (aka @the_cookworm) is currently on a pie mission - to find the top rated pie recipes from our nations supermarket suggestions. It started with a tweet we were sent by @jimbolimbo9 suggesting we try two pork pastry recipes from the supermarket Morrisons and from this The Ship's Cook decided to select one reci-pie from each supermarket's website or magazine to make and rate. Today is the turn of Morrisons Pork and Cider pie!


Check out all our Supermarket Pie Recipes rated to date by The Ship's Cook right here:


Morrisons - Pork and Cider  |  Tesco - Beef and Stilton  |  Waitrose - Black Pudding 


Hello fellow pie-lovers!

It's been a while since my last pie recipe review - it's all going on in my family at the moment so I've been away from my kitchen and all over the country celebrating weddings, birthdays and babies (not mine, I hasten to add!)

But this weekend I was back home with time to bake, and what could be better than a pie for Sunday lunch?

Morrisons Pork and Cider Pie Review
Morrisons Pork and Cider Pie Review

The recipe:

This week it was the turn of Morrisons' pork and cider pot pies. You can find the recipe here:

http://www.morrisonsmag.co.uk/september_2014/pork_and_cider_pot_pies

If you're going to try out this recipe, I'd advise you to completely ignore the part where it says it serves four people. It might serve four people if they're really hungry and they really REALLY like pie, but I'm pretty sure you could feed eight people easily. I was trying to make one big pie instead of four small ones, and even though I used an absolutely massive pie dish and stuffed it as full of filling as I could, I still ended up having to make a second one.

Still, having more pie than you expected is hardly something to complain about!

You won't be sur-pie-sed to hear we have rated a whole host of Morrisons pies on the web's leading pie review site, especially as they have their own pie counter! So why not check out all our Morrisons Pie Reviews or see where they rate in our Pie Rankings table?


The 7 Cs of pie rating:


Morrisons Pie Review
I definitely should have remembered the egg-wash...
Colour:
Erm...a bit of a confession here...this should have been a nice golden brown, only once I'd made the pie and was about to put it in the oven I realised I didn't have any eggs for the egg-wash. The pastry still came out nice and crispy, but if you make a proper shopping list and add the egg it'll be even better and much more golden!

Consistency:
The cider in this pie makes for a lovely gravy, especially as it mixes with the flour coating the pork which thickens it and stops it being too runny. No extra gravy needed on this pie!

Capacity:
Morrisons failed at the first hurdle here because their original recipe was for a top crust only pie (there are a lot of those about!) However I fixed that by adding a shortcrust pastry base. There was so much filling for this pie that I was struggling to fit it in (despite making two pies!) so this scores really highly because it's absolutely packed full of meat, vegetables and gravy.

Morrisons Pie Review
Absolutely stuffed full of filling!
Chewiness:
Simmering the pork in the cider made the meat in this pie really tender, and the vegetables were nice and soft but still added a bit of texture.

Cheapness:
Morrisons reckons this costs £1.89 per serving, which isn't bad. Seeing as I got twice as much pie as expected, though, that's less than £1 a (massive) portion! Excellent work, Morrisons.

Content:
Pork and cider is a classic combination, and this was pretty tasty. With the addition of the carrots and celery it was a little bit too sweet, so I'd suggest adding a bit more mustard to cut through the sweetness or choosing a dry cider for the gravy. Despite that, it was still very tasty and it was lovely cold with some chutney the next day - it would probably make quite a good picnic pie if you left it to cool before serving it.

Condition:
This pie fell apart a bit when I served it hot, which made it look a bit messy, but the filling looks quite appealing with the green and orange vegetables and the mustard seeds in the sauce, so I don't think that detracted from the pie-eating experience too much. Served cold, however, this pie sliced beautifully and looked amazing, so I really would recommend trying it both ways.

And with that, I'm off to get started on eating that second pie!

The Ship's Cook

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.

Or why not check out the growing list of all the Ship's Cook Pie Recipe Reviews?

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Reci-pie Review: Morrisons Pork and Cider Pies "

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Have a Piecnic for Picnic Week - Just add pie!

Last year we started a brand new campaign, to get more people enjoying pies in their picnics. Of course it's hardly an arduous task... I mean, why wouldn't you pack a pie (or three, or five) in your picnic hamper when you head down to the park? Be it a classic pork pie, a sweet treat for after your main or even a savoury pie you can enjoy cold, pies are a great picnic snack, which is why we're calling on pie fans to:

#MakeAPicnicAPiecnic


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

Of course you won't be surPIEsed to hear we've rated a fair few pies that would be great to eat at a piecnic, with over 500 pies now reviewed on the web's leading pie review website. But did you know that today is not only National Picnic Week in the UK, but also International Picnic Day?! So go on... what better excuse do you need to get out there and make a picnic a piecnic?!

piecnic picnic pie review
Plenty of pies at our piecnic

The World's first ever Piecnic took place on Sunday 3rd August 2014! Read the review of it and watch the campaign video in our article "The world’s first piecnic – we just added pie!"



The Pierateers enjoying an ASDA apple pie at a Piecnic

So when you’re reaching into the fridge for some picnic goodies, just add a pork pie to your hamper. Or if you’d rather something sweet than containing meat, just grab a box of fruit pies to sweeten the meal. It really is that simple! So simple in fact that we’ve boiled it down to two, easy-to-follow steps:

1) Add pie to your picnic
2) You now have a piecnic

All that leaves me to say is – why wouldn’t you?! Especially with it being National Picnic Week this week, plus Father's Day this coming Sunday! So go on... enjoy the sunshine this summer and make your picnic a piecnic. Just add pie!







How to rate a pie
Why not rate your pie at the Piecnic?!

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 "Have a Piecnic for Picnic Week - Just add pie!"

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Pierate is a Top 100 UK Food Blog!

The Pierateers have finally cracked the Foodies100 "Top UK Food Blogs" list, after sharing our 500+ pie reviews with the world for the past five and a half years.


The Pierateers, who sail the 7 Cs of pie rating to rate pies up and down the country, have recently registered on the Foodies100 website and in May 2015 they had a meteoric rise of 318 places to joint 86th in the rankings! That not only makes them a top 100 UK food blog, but more importantly the official best UK pie blog!!!

Since we first entered the Foodies100 charts, the news has just got better and better for the Pierateers! The June 2015 rankings listed Pierate up 5 places to 81st in the rankings, with a further rise of 7 places to 74th place in July 2015!

July 2015 - 74th - 1864 points
June 2015 - 81st - 1826 points
May 2015 - 86th - 1912 points


How to rate a pie 7 Cs
The 7 Cs of pie rating

To find out more, you can directly visit the Foodies100 website by clicking the following link:

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Foodies100


While there is explanation of how the scores are created on their website, including Google links, Instagram followers and Klout score, we have to admit we're not quite sure why we have had such a sudden meteoric rise of 318 places into the top 100, but I'm sure our recent TV appearance on BBC One's hit show "Rip Off Britain" indirectly helped (although sadly "TV appearances" aren't on the list of factors, otherwise we might have been challenging for number 1 based on that! After all, you can't get much more influential than being advisers on the BBC in your chosen field!)

We eagerly await the results of the June rankings and hope we don't have a meteoric plummit back down the rankings again! But regardless of this we'll continue to bring you the pie reviews that have made us such a success, leading to over 300,000 views and highlights such as our TV debut on Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (where our crocodile pie was rated by none other than Michel Roux Jnr!) and appearing on the BBC Sport website in their video on pies related to the Price of Football Survey.


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 "Pierate is a Top 100 UK Food Blog!"

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Are Meltons Mowbray Pork Pies Better?

Pork Farms - Pork Pie Reviews

I often wonder when I buy a Melton Mowbray whether it actually makes for a better pork pie than a 'standard' pork pie. We have already investigated what makes a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie different but does this actually make it any better?! There are a number of criteria that must be met in order to call a pork pie a Melton Mowbray such as a minimum percentage of pork. However, there is no guarantee that the pork is going to be any good...
pork farm pies

An offer on Pork Farms pork pies in Morrisons provided an excellent chance to do a head to head comparison. Packs of both 4 'standard' and 4 Melton Mowbray mini pork pies were only £1. At the same price would the Melton Mowbray be any better? I started by checking out the vital statistics for these pies.

'Standard' Pork Pies: pastry 55%, pork filling 31%, jelly 13%, milk. The pork filling was only 67% pork, plus pork fat. The rest was flour and starch. Jelly is pork gelatine

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie: pastry 53%, pork filling 36%, jelly 10% Pork filling is 95% pork. Jelly is pork gelatine.

So it seems that the Melton Mowbray has much more pork content, it has to meet the minimum Melton Mowbray standard of 30% pork. The standard pie does not meet this requirement given that only 67% of the 'pork filling' is actually pork meat! But it's not all about who is telling porkies regarding their meat content, it is about how good they taste so it is time for a head to head comparison!

pork farm pies
pork farm pies
Melton Mowbray (L) alongside the 'standard' pork pie (R)

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie'Standard' Pork Pie
Condition2.80 - Quite mis-shapen despite coming out of a machine. Some boil out. 2.90 - Looked very much the same as the Melton Mowbray but without the boil out.
Colour3.90 - A decent dark brown colour which is expected from a Melton.3.90 - These are very much the same as the Melton Mowbrays in appearance, perhaps they are made in the same factory.
Cheapness4.00 - This price is pretty good but there wasn't a lot to these pies and they are normally more expensive than this.4.00 - Same as the Melton Mowbrays.
Capacity3.20 - As you would expect from a pie so small, there isn't much filling. They had quite big airgaps, perhaps by making the pie lighter this increases the percentage of meat?4.00 - Also a small pie, but smaller air gaps.
Chewiness3.40 - The pork was in discernible pieces and was fairly firm. Let down by some really chewy pieces. Some of the pastry had a nice bit of crunch but most of it was too soft.3.40 - The filling was just a mush, there was no texture as such. Despite the meat being in such small pieces I did find one chewy bit. The pastry for this pie was very much the same.
Content3.30 - An okay peppery taste but it lacked jelly and was dry.3.50 - The filling just tasted like sausage roll. Cooked (not cured) pork meat which is the same as a Melton Mowbray. It was too salty but wasn't dry.
Consistency3.00 - Overall this pie just didn't work for me, it was soft and a bit soggy in places and dry in others.3.10 - A bit too soft and mushy, this pie was not as good as other mini pork pies we have had, but at least it avoided the dryness and some of the chewiness of the Melton Mowbray.
Total3.37 out of 73.54 out of 7

The first thing this investigation showed was that there was actually quite a lot of difference between the two types of pork pie. However, the normal pork pie managed to beat the Melton Mowbray on this occassion. I think this was because at this price it is difficult to do a good Melton Mowbray, to get the higher meat percentage the quality of the meat will suffer. To maintain the meat percentage in the Melton Mowbray they were less able to bulk the pie up with fat and starch, this meant the pie was more dry.

In this case the Melton Mowbray was not as good, but there certainly are good ones out there! Just have a look at our article on Melton Mowbrays. My conclusion is it is not worth buying a cheap Melton Mowbray, in that case you are better off with a normal pork pie. But if you are paying more then they are worthwhile. I have also concluded that Pork Farms make some pretty bad pork pies. They make Melton Mowbrays for some supermarkets (such as ASDA) and I have found that these tend to be lower quality.

SJL

P.S. Here's a fact for all you pork pie geeks out there. Pork Farms are the only producer of Melton Mowbray Pork Pies who are not a member of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. It's like they want all the benefits of being in the club without having to contribute to the club. Reminds me of the Tory party's view on the European Union.
continue reading "Are Meltons Mowbray Pork Pies Better?"

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Can you find a bargain chicken pie in Sainsbury’s?

Sainsbury’s Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie Review


You may recall a recent Pierate article which questioned whether you could find a decent meat pie for under £1, following a conversation we had had on twitter. We had struggled to recall a decent meat pie for that low price other than a few Scotch pies we had bought on visits to Scotland, and the Aldi pie we had in British Pie Week certainly hadn’t met our expectations for an affordable steak pie, pie rating at just 2.21/7.

Sainsburys Chicken Pie Review
Sainsbury’s Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie Review
But with a price reduction on the Sainsbury’s Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie, down from 70p to just 19p, I simply could not resist the chance to give them a pie rating. Of course while I had the benefit of paying just 19 English pence, as the regular price of this pie is 70p I am judging the pie on that recommended retail price. Still, at significantly less than a pound, could I have found a real bargain or would I be regretting 38p badly spent?

Did you know? If you Google search "Sainsburys pie review" we're the number one result! Check it out by clicking here!

You can also see all our Sainsbury's Pie Reviews in one place!



Firstly, it’s worth noting I just said I spent 38p. These pies certainly weren’t big enough to cope with a man’s hunger on their own. I purchased two of these pies, though in terms of the filling quantity I would probably suggest some people would require three of these pies to fill the hole. It should be noted that with such a large pastry overhang and a shallow pie filling, at least half of the 150g weight of the pie was pastry and therefore to get a decent amount of filling inside you a second or third pie is required (even if you then didn’t eat all the accompanying pastry). This immediately means that, from a very reasonable sounding 70p per pie (for a 150g pie) it really equates to £1.40 or £2.10 to provide you with enough pie to satisfy your hunger cravings.

Sainsburys Chicken Pie Review
Sainsbury's Chicken Pie Review
The filling itself was similar in consistency to chicken and mushroom soup. In effect it was chicken and mushroom soup in pastry. A reasonably crisp and decently holding pastry, but chicken soup in pastry none-the-less. That said, there was more chicken in it that a typical can of soup, with 18% British chicken according to the packaging and some reasonable chunks mixed in with the mushroom and liquid sauce. You could taste the chicken in the bites of pie that contained chicken, but it certainly was a bit hit and miss, and the runny consistency wasn’t ideal. The creamy sauce was pleasant but nothing to write home about. Bear in mind I’ve had plenty of pies recently with a 70% meat content, so 18% really left me lacking in the content department.

The pastry was quite crisp and held together reasonably well considering it was quite a small pie with a puff pastry lid. The sides were however a bit anaemic and slightly soggy on the base. Paul Hollywood would not be pleased! I was also surprised to see this pie called a “puff pastry pie” when actually the sides and base were shortcrust pastry and only the lid was puff pastry, but maybe I’m just being a piefectionist.

All in all this pie really didn’t blow me away, with far too much pastry (known in the trade as a poor pastry:filling ratio) and a very soup like consistency. The meat inside was not chewy and the sauce wasn’t bad, but would I pay 70p for this small, 150g pie again? Probably not. For 19p? Well then you might just persuade me to buy a few again…

Sainsbury’s Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie
Score: 3.04/7
[Colour 3, Capacity 3.25, Consistency 2, Condition 3, Chewiness 3.5, Cheapness 3.5, Content 3, Total: 3.04/7]
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 "Can you find a bargain chicken pie in Sainsbury’s?"

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Writing's on the Wall's


Wall's - Mini Pork Pie Review

wall pork pies

Wall's meat products have been around since Richard Wall opened a market stall in London in 1786. His descendent carried on the business and began to make ice cream in the summer when the demand for their sausages and pies fell, hence how they ended up being in two very different markets. Wall's meat business is now run by Kerry Foods and the observant amongst you may have noticed they also made the Millers Bakery pork pie I reviewed recently. So you might think the writing's on the wall for this one, it will probably be very much the same as the Millers pie. However, this was not the case, the Millers pie did at least get some things right, whereas there wasn't much that was good about this Wall's version.
 
wall pork pieCondition – 3.50 out of 7 - The pies were pretty average in shape but they were pockmarked by burnt on filling which had boiled out.
Colour – 2.50 out of 7 – The Wall's pies were quite literally pale imitations of the Millers version, there was no nice dark brown here, it certainly could not be mistaken for a melton mowbray pork pie. The filling was a mix of pink and grey but with some white fatty bits which you could tell were going to be chewy. I thought it all looked quite unappealing.
Cheapness – 3.20 out of 7 – £1.16 from a local corner shop, this isn't great value as you could get a pack of four mini pies for a similar price in a supermarket.
Capacity – 3.50 out of 7 – These mini pies always suffer with capacity, it is very difficult to get enough filling in. These pies didn't have very big airgaps but this was partly due to quite a thick pastry. To give them some credit, they were slightly bigger than most other 'mini' pork pies on the market.
Chewiness – 1.50 out of 7 – If you like your pies soft, stodgy and chewy then you will not be able to get enough of these pies! I fear that Wall's are targeting quite a niche market with this texture combination. The majority of people with functioning sensory perception will find this quite horrible. The problem mainly lay with the thick and soft pastry which Wall's had somehow made chewy! Combine this with chewy bits in the filling and you are on to winner if you are selling pies to people who only eat pies which have been through a liquidiser.
walls pieContent – 3.00 out of 7 – The actual flavour of the filling was okay. It was seasoned like sausage meat but, as is common with cheaper pork pies, it was overly salty. The meat was at least in chunks and not just a mush like some pork pies.
Consistency – 2.50 out of 7 – They say Wall's well that ends well and at least once I had eaten this pie I was happy enough. I knew I wouldn't have to eat one again. Okay, it was edible, perhaps I have been a bit harsh for comic effect but it was such a low standard for the price, I would avoid it if you can.



Mini Pork Pie (Wall's)
2.81/7

SJL
continue reading "The Writing's on the Wall's"

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Run of the Millers

Millers Bakery - Pork Pie Review

Looking through the list of pies I have eaten this year and not yet reviewed (known on the Pierate Ship as the 'pie backlog') I came across this intriguing specimen from Millers Bakery. This was a special from my corner shop who tend to sell brands that no-one has ever heard of. They were certainly new to me, but reading the back of the packet it seems like Millers are part of the large Kerry Foods company (despite it claiming to be a 'family bakery') and this was almost certainly churned out of some huge factory somewhere. But, there are some pretty good mass produced pies out there so I didn't let this put me off sinking my teeth into the porkie goodness.


Condition – 4.00 out of 7 - Whilst on first appearances it may look like any other pork pie, it almost seemed to call to me from the shelf, I just couldn't resist, so they must be doing something right. Perhaps it was their catchy slogans on the packaging.
Colour – 4.10 out of 7 – A nice dark brown to the pastry, but the filling was a bit of a lurid pink.
Cheapness – 3.70 out of 7 – This was a decent size for an individual pork pie. It certainly wouldn't do for lunch on it's own, but as it is only £1, why not get two?
Capacity – 3.60 out of 7 – Whilst not terrible, there was a sizeable air gap to this pie, more so than suggested in the picture. When will pie companies learn that air adds nothing to the flavour of a pie?!
Chewiness – 4.40 out of 7 – This filling had a nice granular consistency, a bit like a melton mowbray pork pie. The pastry sides had a nice crunch but it was let down by the rest of the pastry being soggy and soft.
Millers BakeryContent – 4.90 out of 7 – It was nice and peppery which added a bit of flavour (like my favourites from Dickinson & Morris) it was seasoned with salt but not too much. This was very nice to find with a pork pie which are too often overly salty. Sadly the jelly had all fallen to the bottom which left it a bit dry in places. 
Consistency – 4.30 out of 7 – At times it soared high like the sails of a windmill (millers, get it?) but at others it plunged to the depths of the soggy bottom that it had. A real mixed bag this one, overall it has ended up with a pretty run of the mill score but despite this I look fondly on my experience with Millers Bakery.



Pork Pie (Millers Bakery)
4.14/7

SJL
continue reading "Run of the Millers"

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Shabby at The Abbey

The Abbey, Gloucester - Steak & Bombardier Ale Pie Review

Having moved to Gloucester less than two years ago I feel I am still getting to grips with the local pie scene. So when Pierateer RAS paid me a visit it seemed pretty much mandatory that we should find a new pie to review in Gloucester. Pierateer ALE said to me ‘but you could get something different to pie…’.
Yes, we COULD get something that isn’t pie, but why would we want to?!

stonegate pub menu

Having a wander around the centre of Gloucester I was already ruling out some of the nicer pubs based on the fact that I have already tried their pies and sadly most of them are top crusts. Other nicer pubs either had run out of pies or just didn’t do them (shocking I know…). There were a couple of ‘Wetherspoon type’ chain pubs serving cheap grub and these seemed to be our only options. I find it hard to resist a bargain. I will often do my weekly shop based on what is in the reduced section or on special offer. Upon discovering that the steak & bombardier ale pie at The Abbey (part of the Stonegate Pub chain) was in the ‘Two meals for £7.95’ section it was tempting to give it a try. But given that not many people will pay the full £7.50 price for one meal on it’s own, this is effectively a pie meal for £4. At such a low price how could the pie be any good? At Pierate, the foremost pie review website, it is our duty to review all pies, expensive and cheap. We never know where we might find excellent value pies which keeps us coming back for more...

How did it score? Sadly this pie was left looking a bit shabby next to it's more upmarket rivals. See the average scores below from myself and Pierateer RAS. We were both very much in agreement that this was not a good pie. It was certainly edible, unlike some we have had, which is perhaps the best that could be hoped for at the price. We realised afterwards that Pierateer RAS has previously reviewed pies from the Stonegate Pub chain at the Sack of Potatoes in Birmingham. There seem to be a number of Stonegate Pubs around and they also own some other pub brands. We have also reviewed some of these such as Yates's and Slug & Lettuce.
 
Steak & Ale pie

Condition – 4.00 out of 7 - It claims to be handmade, but given that this is a slice cut from a larger pie, this detracts from the appearance a little.
Steak & Ale pieColour – 4.25 out of 7 – Decent enough but a bit on the dull side, in general it looked better than it tasted.
Cheapness – 4.50 out of 7 – We slightly disagreed on the value here, I felt for what is effectively a £4 meal (with chips and peas) this was something I could potentially eat again if I was short on cash but RAS said that it just wasn’t good enough to bother with, no matter how cheap.
Capacity – 4.00 out of 7 – Decent amount of filling, it is difficult to discern the size of the airgap with a slice of pie. However, it definitely had too much pastry to filling because some of the pastry was too thick and there was an excessive crimp on top.
Chewiness – 3.00 out of 7 – We both agreed that there was something odd about the texture of this pie, the meat was soft but in more of a soggy way, rather than being nice and tender. A bit like tinned beef. The pastry was spongy and bread-like in places. It was too hard at the top but yet soggy on the bottom, disaster!
Content – 4.25 out of 7 – The content was a bit stronger, for the price there was a good amount of meat. There was a nice, but generic gravy taste with onion and ale both noticeable. However, there just wasn’t enough seasoning and it was too bland. What was somewhat surprising was that Pierateer RAS had a stray bit of carrot in his pie. This does make you worry a little about the cooking process. What kind of mad factory are these pies made in where pieces of carrot are flying about left, right and centre?!
Consistency – 3.25 out of 7 – Some slightly stronger areas but a bad consistency to the pastry really let this pie down.

Steak & Bombardier Ale (The Abbey [GL1 2AJ] – Stonegate pub chain) 
3.89/7 

SJL/RAS
continue reading "Shabby at The Abbey"