Friday, 18 March 2016

Pie-oneering into the Dragon's Den...

Alf Turner's Dragon Pork Pie Review - Dare we take on the Dragon?!


We Pierateers are still amazed at how many unique flavours of pies we still come across considering we've been rating pies for over 6 years now - and eating them for much longer than that! How many flavours of pies are out there?! We may never find out! But our job is made that much easier when we get sent some interesting new flavours to try out, like this Dragon's Pork Pie from family butcher Alf Turner.

Established in 1956, Alf Turner and Sons Ltd have been a family butchers for three generations now but the pork pie they've just released is certainly something a bit different! Containing hot chilli, this is a pork pie that is designed to give a real kick to each bite! Having worked with BBC TV's Dragon's Den entrepreneur Peter Jones, they have a new Dragon Pork Pie and Sausage Roll out, to follow on from their Dragon Egg previously released.

And boy does it pack a punch! But not only does it give you a taste sensation like very few other pies available, by purchasing these pies you'll be contributing to the money being raised for charity Help for Heroes! An enjoyable pie and giving back to charity - what's not to like! Especially as the Dragon's range has helped contribute to over £100,000 being donated to Help for Heroes. What a great achievement - and we're sure sales of these pork pies will help even more!

chili pork pie
The pork pies looked simple but effective. A deep brown colour hinted at a lovely crunch to the pastry. Jelly oozing out the top indicated it was moist. I am pleased to say that both these things it delivered to a standard within the upper echelons of the pork pie market. Indeed it could have been a Melton Mowbray with the good quality pork meat used. In terms of flavour, the first bite was not unlike the competition, it didn't taste a world away from a standard pork pie. However after a few bites the tongue began to tingle as the chili announced its presence. I then realised it had been there all along, increasing the flavour of the pork filling in a subtle, but important, way. Without the chili the flavour might have been bland. Other pork pies rely on salt and pepper, which can work, but it was nice that this pie beat blandness in a slightly unusual way. Often pork pies can be too salty but this one was not. There wasn't much to criticise, the top pastry was a bit soft given the jelly on top and perhaps the pie could have been bigger. Maybe the chili could have kicked in sooner but then it may have become too hot for some people. However these are minor flaws and this is definitely a pork pie I would be happy to recommend.

We have been told that these have an RRP of £1.85-1.95 which is comparable other premium pork pies, if slightly more expensive than some. But it is cheaper than a similar chili pie I had and a darn sight cheaper than the top end of the market). These pies are mainly being sold in convenience stores where the price is always going to be that bit higher. They are certainly in a different league compared to the usual fare in convenience stores such as Walls and Millers so we would expect to pay a little more.  We mustn't forget that in addition to the warm feeling that the chili leave, there is also the warm feeling from knowing that the pies are supporting
charity! Great work guys!

Pork Pie with Chili (Alf Turner)
Score: 5.37/7
[Condition 4.50, Colour 5.00, Cheapness 4.50, Capacity 5.20, Chewiness 6.20, Content 6.20, Consistency 6.00]

dragon's pork pie
With such a large number of pork pies and sausage rolls sent to the Pierateers, in addition to Pierateer SJL a number of workers at Minster Logistics Software company also gave the pork pie a try and these were their comments:

Neil - Very good indeed (Dragon's Pork Pie); Amazing, insPIErational, highly recommended (Dragon's Sausage Roll)

Brendan - At first bite, tastes like a nice traditional Pork Pie, with a slightly crisp pastry with a good texture. Then you get a wave of satisfyingly hot chilli. Makes your taste buds tingle! (Dragon's Pork Pie); Really liked it! A very tasty snack! (Dragon's Sausage Roll)

Peter - Nice frim crispy pastry, very well filled with just a smidge of jelly. Taste is very good, a very subtle heat which grows the more you eat but it is very mild. A decent quality pie not quite as tasty as the sausage roll but still very good. (Dragon's Pork Pie); Nice crumbly pastry and an excellent, very tasty filling which is warming thanks to the chillies but not overbearing. Recommended. (Dragon's Sausage Roll)

Tony - The heat kicked in after I had finished eating it, enjoyed it but preferred the sausage roll. (Dragon's Pork Pie); Very nice, meaty and just a nice amount of heat too in that didn’t burn your mouth. (Dragon's Sausage Roll)


Thanks to Paul at Alf Turners Butchers for sending us the Dragon's Pork Pie and Sausage Rolls to sample. We wish them well in raising lots more money for charity and all the views above are genuinely what we and our friends thought of the products.

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 "Pie-oneering into the Dragon's Den..."

Thursday, 17 March 2016

British Pie Week 2016 - Day Seven

Pierate Pie Review
The Ship's Cook Pierate Pie

As Pierateer SJL had stayed over on Saturday night following our pie rating of the Scotch Pie and Apple Pie from none-other than the 2014 and 2016 Scotch Pie World Champion The Kandy Bar Bakery, it would have seemed rude not to kick off Day Seven of British Pie Week with a pie or two for breakfast! It was also a busy day for pie making, with both the Ship's Cook and Pierateer ARL cooking up a storm in their respective kitchens to nicely round off another packed British Pie Week!


While Pierateer RAS went for the more standard sweet pie option on Sunday morning, finishing off where he started the week with a sweet Mr Kipling pie (this time a cherry pie), Pierateer SJL went for the more exotic choice. We'd been sent over a selection of pies from Chunk of Devon, whose pies we've rated highly in the past, and Sam went for their new "Ricardo's Pie", a hot chili vegetarian pie option. While the top of this Ricardo's Pie was not pastry, so will lose some marks from the Pierateers, it was an enjoyable pie and will be reviewed soon. The other Chunk pies - while we didn't quite manage to squeeze eating them in British Pie Week - will also be reviewed soon too!


You also may recall that on day four of British Pie Week Pierateer RAS completed the final stage of his #TriPie pie pledge. He headed up to Scotland for the first time to visit the home of the World Scotch Pie Champion for 2014 and 2016, The Kandy Bar Bakery in Saltcoats, on the West Coast about 40 minutes train journey from Glasgow. Well having pie rated the Scotch pie and apple pie together with Pierateer RAS on Saturday evening, Pierateer SJL finished off British Pie Week by eating the Onion pie (a variant of the Scotch pie, which also contains onion - not just a 100% onion filling!) The reviews of all of these pies will be coming soon!

Kandy Bar Bakery Pie Review
The Kandy Bar Bakery, Saltcoats, Scotland
Day seven of British Pie Week however really belonged to our home bakers, with the Ship's Cook and Pierateer ARL both creating their own unique pies in their kitchens. You can read how the Ship's Cook made and rated her Pierate Ship Pie - including how she created a ship shaped pie crust - in her reci-pie review, which all aboard the Pierate Ship thought looked amazing!

Pierateer ARL, our vegetarian pie reviewer who earlier in the week rated the brand new Pieminister vegetarian pie they released this British Pie Week, also made a quirky pie on Sunday. She used the 7 Cs theme to include only veggie ingredients beginning with C, which are listed below the photos! Would you have guessed any of these? What 7 Cs would you have used in your pie - veggie or not?!

7 Cs pie review7 Cs pie review

The 7 Cs veggie pie contained:

Cannelli beans
Courgette
Chili
Cumin
Cocoa
Coriander
Cayenne pepper


Thanks to everyone who has followed our adventures this British Pie Week! It's been full of shocks, surprises and of course plenty of pies! Of course every week is effectively British Pie Week to us aboard the Pierate Ship and we hope you'll come back for more pie reviews soon!

See what the Pierateers have been up to this British Pie Week in our daily Pie Diary articles:


Day One – Monday 7th March 2016
Day Two – Tuesday 8th March 2016
Day Three – Wednesday 9th March 2016
Day Four - Thursday 10th March 2016
Day Five - Friday 11th March 2016
Day Six - Saturday 12th March 2016
Day Seven - Sunday 13th March 2016


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 "British Pie Week 2016 - Day Seven"

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Pie v Pasty debate rumbles on post Pie Awards

I'm sure we've all now had a chance to hear and reflect on the news emulating from Melton Mowbray last Friday regarding the results of the British Pie Awards. The top awards in pie, this year having been held in none other than British Pie Week itself, sent shock waves around the pie world when a pasty was announced as the Supreme Champion at the Award's Lunch on Friday 11th March.


Having been a judge at the British Pie Awards this year, last year and in 2014, plus volunteer helpers at the awards in 2013 and rated well over 500 pies on our pie blog, we know pies - and a pasty most certainly is NOT a pie!

Pierateer RAS British Pie Awards
Pierateer RAS judging the PIES at the British Pie Awards

As stated in our pie dictionary, we define a true pie as "filling fully encased in pastry with clearly defined base, sides and lid." Even putting the fully encased in pastry v top crust issue to one side for a moment, a pasty quite simply does not conform to this or any correct definition of a pie, as it is just one piece of pastry folded over the filling.

British Pie Awards
British Pie Awards 2016
The British Pie Awards themselves even recognise this fact, stating that for the Pasty Class "For the purpose of these Awards a pasty is a single piece of pastry folded over and sealed along its edges to contain either savoury or sweet ingredients (occasionally both) and then baked."

This is not how you would make a pie, and it seems odd to us that such a specific definition of how the pastry should be folded and sealed is necessary in this one particular class if they are in fact just pies like all the other classes. The Telegraph newspaper on Saturday also helpfully indicated there were differences between pasties and pies that covered casing, shape, filling and cooking methods, highlighting the distinction between the two food products.

Having rated over 500 pies on Pierate, there are very few pie experts they could call on with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to the pie-fect pie judge! This makes it all the more difficult to accept why there was a pasty category there at all, let alone having a pasty win the whole thing. What next? Sausage Rolls? Slices? Beef Wellingtons? With a Pasty World Championships now set up and doing well, surely it's time for the pasty class at the British Pie Awards to be dropped?

I'm afraid we would have to completely disagree with Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the British Pie Awards and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, who has gone on record as saying "the definition of a pie is a filling totally encased in pastry" as we believe this is not an accurate enough definition and query why - if this was the British Pie Awards' unusual view - there was not a slice category or beef wellington category available. Pies do come in all shapes and sizes, but still maintain a clearly defined base, sides and lid. Once again, a pasty is NOT a pie.

Nice Pie, a pie maker based near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire that we have rated many top pies from and who did well with the pies they entered into the Awards, have even further added to the debate with an entertaining pastry creation they've named the "Nice Piesty", which is an interesting combination that looks like two pasties combined and is filled with classic pasty filling but is made with a base and lid of pastry (rather than one piece of pastry as the British Pie Awards would require) that makes it more pie by definition! It still looks a bit too similar to a pasty for our liking though!!!

Nice Pie's Piesty
Nice Pie's Piesty!

Nice Pie's Piesty
Nice Pie's Piesty cross-section

Many thanks to the Metro and Telegraph for including some of our quotes in their articles on this controversial British Pie Awards decision. Interestingly it was a debate between fully encased and top crust pies that started off this British Pie Week, but it is the pasty v pie debate that has concluded it.

Out of respect to all the genuine pies that were entered into the competition we will be providing a fuller analysis of the British Pie Awards 2016 at a later date, but for now you can re-live the winning pies from previous years in our articles below and our live blogging at the British Pie Awards 2016.


This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013


For any media enquiries relating to this article please contact pierateship@yahoo.co.uk

RAS

The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pie v Pasty debate rumbles on post Pie Awards"

British Pie Week 2016 - Day Six

With the British Pie Awards judging having been completed and the results of the competition still sending shock waves around the world of pie - you can see our article on the controversial winner here - Day Six of British Pie Week saw Pierateers RAS and SJL meet up to (surprise, surprise) eat some pies together. However these weren't any pies - they were the Scotch Pie and Apple Pie from none-other than the 2014 and 2016 Scotch Pie World Champion The Kandy Bar Bakery!



You may recall that on day four of British Pie Week Pierateer RAS completed the final stage of his #TriPie pie pledge. He headed up to Scotland for the first time to visit the home of the World Scotch Pie Champion for 2014 and 2016, The Kandy Bar Bakery in Saltcoats, on the West Coast about 40 minutes train journey from Glasgow.


Kandy Bar Bakery Pie Review
The Kandy Bar Bakery, Saltcoats, Scotland
Pie in the Sky
Pie in the Sky!
On Thursday Rob had been made to feel very welcome by Stephen and the team, having a tour around the bakery and then a long chat of about 90 minutes or so in the café, which of course included getting his hands on one of their famous Scotch Pies! Needless to say it was fantastic to chat for so long with Stephen and his wife Rona, who gave a great insight into Team Kandy Bar! Rob even had "pie in the sky" on the plane journey home - just, well, because I could!


But Saturday was the day Pierateer SJL had planned to come up to Birmingham to join Rob in giving the Scotch pie and apple pie from The Kandy Bar Bakery a proper pie rating! We don't want to give it all away until the full review coming later this week, but needless to say that the Scotch pie was one of the best we'd ever tasted and the apple pie was very good as well, even if it was a bit shallow. The apple pie contained nice chunks of apple in a crisp but buttery pastry - something Pierateer RAS particularly enjoyed! If only the Kandy Bar Bakery was fractionally nearer to the Pierateers!!!

Pierateer SJL was going to take the Onion Pie home with him to try the next day (an Onion Pie, by the way, is just a Scotch pie with added onion, rather than literally a pie with 100% onion filling!) We'll be reviewing all three pies and telling you a bit more about our trip to meet Stephen, Rona and Team Kandy Bar (which employs 83 people at present) later this week!

However earlier in the day we were very excited to see that the Pierateers had not only had a mention in the online Telegraph article about the British Pie Awards, but had also made the printed version too! Under the headline "Put a lid on it!" the Pierateers were mentioned as saying the decision to award a pasty the Supreme Winner of the British Pie Awards was "a sad day for pie fans" and that for the first time we would not be rating the winner of the awards. It's one thing to be quoted online but to make the print copy was particularly exciting! The article also included a number of differences between pies and pasties, which it seems everyone bar the British Pie Awards themselves clearly understand are two distinct food items!




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 "British Pie Week 2016 - Day Six"

Monday, 14 March 2016

British Pie Week 2016 - Day Five

The major results of the British Pie Awards 2016 were announced Friday, Day Five of British Pie Week. And what a shock it was! For the first time in the award's history the Supreme Champion was not a pie at all, but a pasty! Unsurprisingly we were completely outraged - writing an article in response to the result - and spent most of the afternoon in shock, responding to various tweets and reading news articles about it.

But the most exciting thing was that we at Pierate Pie Reviews were forming the news, with a number of our tweets and info being featured in the following publications:

Controversy as a pasty triumphs at the British Pie Awards - The Telegraph

The winner of the 2016 British Pie Awards is…a pasty - The Metro


Here are a few of the pie-lights from our Twitter feed on Friday:




Pierateer SJL responded to the day's news by creating a pasty related video for his "Unique Ways to Eat a Pie" series of videos and Pierateer RAS polished off the last remaining Lewis Pies, as well as getting his review from the Lewis pies he'd rated earlier in the week ready to post!


Lewis Pies
Wilfreds Pie Range from Lewis Pies



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 "British Pie Week 2016 - Day Five"

Sunday, 13 March 2016

British Pie Week Reci-pie: The Great British Pierate Ship

British Pie Week is drawing to a close, and what an eventful week it was! The Pierateers have travelled round the UK, eaten pies in a variety of ways, taken on pie challenges and seen some serious pie drama as a PASTY won the British Pie Awards. After hearing about all their adventures, I needed a pretty good #PiePledge to keep up with them. And so, I am very proud to present....the Great British Pierate Ship!


The Recipe:

Not only did I want to bake a Pierate Ship, I wanted it to be a Great British Pierate Ship, so I chose ingredients from around Britain. Herefordshire beef from England, neeps and tatties from Scotland (there was some debate about whether neeps were swedes or turnips so I used both), leeks from Wales and cider from Ireland (Magners is actually made in the Rebublic of Ireland which really makes this a British Isles pie, but that was the only Irish cider I could get so I hope nobody will mind). What makes this recipe even more exciting is that a beef and cider pie is sometimes known as a Smugglers' Pie - what better filling for a Pierate ship?


I browned the beef with some salt, pepper and plain flour, then set it aside and cooked the leeks, neeps and tatties. Then it all went back in the pan with the cider for an hour and a half of very slow cooking. I also had some mushrooms lying around, so I added them for the last half hour even though I hadn't originally planned on using them.



I made the whole pie out of shortcrust pastry - a good pastry for structural integrity! I used an enamel pie dish, some baking parchment and lots of baking beans to support the hull of the ship.


Then it was time to fill the hull and put the lid on...


And finally, once it was golden brown, add a sail and the Pierateers' flag!


The Seven Cs:

Colour: 
You can't really tell from the photos, but this was a lovely golden colour and very crispy, especially around the edges.

Consistency:
This pie had a really nice consistency - the cider cooked down to make a lovely thick, smooth sauce.

Capacity:
The capacity of this pie wasn't quite as good as it could be because of the unusual shape - if you ate the bow you go a lot of pastry. Still, I think it was worth it, and there was still quite a lot of filling packed in there.



Chewiness:
Cooking the filling for so long meant the beef was really tender and the leeks were lovely and soft. The neeps, tatties and mushrooms still had a little bit of bite left so they were soft but not too mushy.

Content:
This tasted really really good - the cider and leeks added a nice sweetness to the meaty beef flavour, and the neeps and tatties reminded me a bit of a Cornish pasty (although it might be best if I don't say that too loudly after the British Pie Awards!) The last minute addition of mushrooms turned out to be a good idea, as they added a nice earthy flavour. 

Cheapness:
This is a great value pie - root vegetables and stewing beef are cheap ingredients that taste great, and cider isn't too expensive either. I ended up with loads of spare filling as well, which means I can make another pie sometime!

Condition:
I have to give myself full marks here - look at that pie! The shape definitely makes an impression and the pie held together when it came out of the tin!

I'm incredibly pleased with the results of my #PiePledge -  although now I'm a bit worried about trying to beat it next year!

The Ship's Cook




The Ship's Cook wasn't the only one cooking up a storm on the final day of British Pie Week! Our very own Pierateer ARL cooked a 7 Cs veggie pie especially for Pie Week! Check it out and find out the 7 ingredients in our Day Seven summary article!
continue reading "British Pie Week Reci-pie: The Great British Pierate Ship"

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Will I enjoy Wilfreds Pies?

Lewis Pies “Wilfreds Pie Range” Reviews


One of the delights of British Pie Week is getting a whole host of pie deliveries throughout the course of the week, and I was eagerly looking forward to the delivery of the new premium range of Lewis Pies, known as the “Wilfreds Pie Range”. Based in Swansea, Lewis Pies are one of the largest pie manufacturers in the UK with over 100 full time staff and have been trading for 80 years now. They have found the Fiery Chicken (Cajun Chicken and Collier’s Welsh Cheese) and Saucy Cow (Steak and Gower Ale) are their best sellers but how would they all rate on the 7 Cs of pie rating?


Wilfreds Pie Review
Wilfreds Pie Review
Firstly an overall impression of the pies. Upon opening the box I was delighted to see a nice range of flavours and local welsh ingredients being used in the pies, including welsh cheese and Gower ale. They’re made with hot water crust pastry, which makes them stand out from the typical shortcrust and puff pastry used in a lot of pies. It was in general a nice pastry to eat, a little thick in places for the size of pie but holding together well and easily hand held. There was naturally some crumbling when cut through but this is to be expected from a crisper pastry casing.

It’s also worth noting that while the pies retail individually at between £2 and £2.50 at the various butchers and cafes they are sold at, you can get the box of 6 pies for just £7.50, which means an incredible £1.25 per pie! Bargain!

It was noticeable from all the pies that they weren’t as big and packed with filling as I’d hoped, which meant there wasn’t the perfect filling:pastry ratio I’d love to have. However considering the price of these pies I couldn’t expect much more filling in them to still be financially viable as a business! For a premium range I would personally prefer to pay a bit more for the pies and get them a bit better filled, like the majority of our highest rated pies on Pierate. But for the price they are retailing at, they are a very good option.

There are six new pies in the Wilfreds pie range, which I’ll be splitting over a couple of reviews. The first few I tried were the lamb, steak and potato and chicken and vegetable pies:


Wilfreds Lamb Pie Review
Wilfreds Lamb Pie Review
The Lamb of my Fathers
(Welsh Lamb and vegetables with mint, faggots and a dash of local laverbread)


The filling in this pie was nice, with a good tender lamb filling and complimentary gravy, lightly minted rather than being particularly strong, however I was surprised at the lack of any noticeable vegetable. While the veg in the chicken pie was clear and apparent, it wasn’t so much in the lamb pie. With most lamb pies being quite strongly flavoured with mint (some over-minted to their detriment!) they have perhaps been a little too cautious with their flavouring to the point of it not being quite noticeable enough, particularly with one of the two lamb pies I had not being very minty at all. A bit more lamb and boost of flavour from the other ingredients would promote this pie even more but I’d still recommend it.

Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5.75/7; Capacity 5.25/7]



Wilfreds Meat and Potato Pie Review
Wilfreds Meat and Potato Pie Review

The Steak and Tatws
(Tender pieces of Welsh Beef Steak in a rich gravy with chunks of British Potatoes)


The meat in the steak and potato pie was very nice and tender, complimenting the delicious potato and gravy content and working well with the crisp hot water crust pastry. The potato couldn’t have been more spot on – neither mushy and indiscernible or too hard and chunky. It was just right! The main downside was a slight lack of meat and potato filling, which would have made the filling:pastry ratio ideal. My favourite of the three and would certainly enjoy again.

Score: 5.89/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 6.25/7; Capacity 5.25/7]



Wilfreds Chicken and Vegetable Pie Review
Wilfreds Chicken and Vegetable Pie Review

The Clucking Valleys
(Succulent British chicken and vegetables in gravy)


The chicken was lovely and tender in this pie and the vegetables – peas and carrots – added a nice texture and flavour to the mix. While I quite enjoyed the gravy it was slightly over seasoned, dominating the flavour somewhat but providing a nice moist pie filling. Once again the pie could have done with a bit more filling to balance out the crisp hot water pastry casing but in all another pie I’d recommend.

Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5.75/7; Capacity 5.25/7]



Overall, while at the time I was eating them I admit I was slightly disappointed with the lack of content (especially compared to some of the other pies I’d had recently that were packed to the lid) to subsequently find out these pies can be bought for just £1.25 each in a box of six has made me more sympathetic to their slight lack of filling. As said earlier, I’d personally rather pay nearer £3 for a premium pie and get it packed with filling but overall and for the price they are sold at this is a very impressive new range from Lewis Pies, with 3 more reviews to come. Thanks for sending them!

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 "Will I enjoy Wilfreds Pies?"

Friday, 11 March 2016

British Pie Week 2016 - Day Four

With the British Pie Awards judging having been completed and the results not out until Friday, Day Four of British Pie Week saw Pierateers SJL and TJP return to work but Pierateer RAS attempt to complete another of his #PiePledge commitments by using his day off to visit the 2014 and 2016 Scotch Pie World Champion The Kandy Bar Bakery!



Pierateer RAS


After spending day one of British Pie Week away in Cardiff to pick up some Clark's Pies from their shop and day three being the English leg (which consisted of judging for the first time at the British Pie Awards, followed by taking on the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge at Tipton's very own Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory pub), day four would be the final stage of my #TriPie pie pledge. I was heading up to Scotland for the first time to visit the home of the World Scotch Pie Champion for 2014 and 2016, The Kandy Bar Bakery in Saltcoats, on the West Coast about 40 minutes train journey from Glasgow.


Kandy Bar Bakery Pie Review
The Kandy Bar Bakery, Saltcoats, Scotland
Planning to do the trip in a day meant a reasonably early start up on the train to Glasgow, followed by a flight back to Birmingham that evening. The four hour train journey on Virgin Trains gave a decent amount of time to get a few pie reviews written up, ready to arrive in Glasgow and travel out to Saltcoats. Upon walking up to the main Kandy Bar Bakery shop I actually ended up following owner Stephen the last part of the way as he carried a batch of scotch pies from the shop further down the high street. Upon arriving at the shop I was made to feel very welcome by Stephen and the team, having a tour around the bakery and then a long chat of about 90 minutes or so in the café, which of course included getting my hands on one of their famous Scotch Pies! I'll be going into more depth in my review, but needless to say it was fantastic to chat for so long with Stephen and his wife Rona, who gave a great insight into Team Kandy Bar!


Pie in the Sky
Pie in the Sky!
After my visit and loaded up with Kandy Bar Bakery pie goodies, I headed back to Glasgow to take a little look round the city and popped into Beer Café, in the Merchant City area. This bar specialises in selling Pieminister pies (of which we've pie rated many) and was recommended by fellow blogger @thingssarahloves. While I didn't have enough time to get a pie this time and didn't feel hungry enough to eat there anyway, I had a nice drink and brief chat about pies to the staff there!

I then headed to Glasgow International Airport for my flight back to Birmingham, where on the plane home I had "pie in the sky" - just, well, because I could! Thanks to the Kandy Bar Bakery for supplying the hot pie for me to eat on my way home too, even if it had cooled down by the time I ate it! I'll be pie rating the cold Scotch pies I brought back from The Kandy Bar Bakery with Pierateer SJL on Saturday!

Pierateer SJL

On Day Four of British Pie Week Pierateer Sam continued his unique ways to eat pie series by doing a pie review... in bed! What pie could he possibly get hold of for just 23.2p?! This followed yesterday's pie review in the middle of the British Pie Awards, Tuesday's Pie Kebab and Sam drinking a pie in Monday's pie-nt challenge, which you can watch the video of here.




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 "British Pie Week 2016 - Day Four"

Ways2EatPie #5 - Different Pie-spective

Today sees Pierateer SJL with a homemade pie coming hot out of the oven. See the video below.



See the rest of the videos from SJL's Ways2EatPie British Pie Week challenge.
Ways2EatPie #1 - Pie-nt
Ways2EatPie #2 - Pie Kebab
Ways2EatPie #3 - British Pie Awards
Ways2EatPie #4 - Pie at Night
Ways2EatPie #5 - Different Pie-spective


SJL
continue reading "Ways2EatPie #5 - Different Pie-spective"

Potential boycotts planned after pasty wins British Pie Awards 2016

British Pie Awards 2014 - Church
The home of the British Pie Awards

Warning: This post contains controversial and potentially upsetting news regarding the winner of the British Pie Awards 2016. If you are of a sensitive nature regarding the true definition of a pie, you will almost certainly find the content of this post upsetting.




For several years now the British Pie Awards have been firmly etched into our pie calendar. Held in St Mary’s Church in the heart of Melton Mowbray, it is a spectacular setting in the home of the pork pie. And this year was supposed to be extra special, as the top awards in pie have been held in none other than British Pie Week itself, with the judging having taken place on Wednesday 9th March and the Award's Lunch on Friday 11th March.


But our decision to attend the 2017 British Pie Awards has been put in doubt after over 100 judges (including two of our very own Pierateers) rated 786 pies and 30 pasties from across Britain and beyond, and awarded the Supreme Champion Award to a pasty at the British Pie Awards 2016. And no, I'm not even joking. Having been a judge at the British Pie Awards last year and in 2014, plus volunteer helpers at the awards in 2013 and rated well over 500 pies on our pie blog we know pies - and a pasty most certainly is NOT a pie!


As stated in our pie dictionary, we define a true pie as "filling fully encased in pastry with clearly defined base, sides and lid." Even putting the fully encased in pastry v top crust issue to one side for a moment, a pasty quite simply does not conform to this or any correct definition of a pie, as it is just one piece of pastry folded over the filling.

Having rated over 500 pies on Pierate, there are very few pie experts they could call on with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to the pie-fect pie judge! This makes it all the more difficult to accept why there was a pasty category there at all, let alone having a pasty win the whole thing. What next? Sausage Rolls? Slices? Beef Wellingtons?

What frustrates me most is that the British Pie Awards are supposed to be a celebration of Britain's best pies, but now all everyone will talk about is how a pasty won in 2016! It's therefore all the genuine pie winners I feel most sorry for.

While the final decision will need to be made in the cold light of day, we Pierateers are certainly up in arms about it and are seriously considering a boycott of the Pie/Pasty/Pastry Awards next year. With all due respect to the pasty company that won the award, which I am sure was a very well made and enjoyable pasty, they should have been entering the pasty world championships instead. It would be a real shame if this pasty win was just a publicity stunt and severely puts into question whether the organisers are really trying to promote the classic British PIE. Perhaps it should be renamed the British Pastry Awards if this is their passion? Certainly some pie makers have suggested boycotting the awards next year over this decision.

I'm afraid we would have to completely disagree with Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the British Pie Awards and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, who has gone on record as saying "the definition of a pie is a filling totally encased in pastry" as we believe this is not an accurate enough definition and query why - if this was the British Pie Awards' unusual view - there was not a slice category or beef wellington category available. Pies do come in all shapes and sizes, but still maintain a clearly defined base, sides and lid. Once again, a pasty is NOT a pie.

Many thanks to the Metro and Telegraph for including some of our quotes in their articles on this controversial British Pie Awards decision. Interestingly it was a debate between fully encased and top crust pies that started off this British Pie Week, but it is the pasty v pie debate that has concluded it.

Out of respect to all the genuine pies that were entered into the competition we will be providing a fuller analysis of the British Pie Awards 2016 at a later date, but for now you can re-live the winning pies from previous years in our articles below and our live blogging at the British Pie Awards 2016.


This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013




British Pie Awards 2015 Judges
Judges at the British Pie Awards 2015, including Pierateer Sam

It is also worthy of note that while we were previously very excited to hear that the British Pie Awards had teamed up with Roast Restaurant in London, who were on board as sponsors of the Supreme Champion Award and had agreed to have one of the winning pies listed on their menu. However we will now have to see what pastry product is chosen before determining whether we can visit and sample it in London when the winner is on their menu.

For any media enquiries relating to this article please contact pierateship@yahoo.co.uk

RAS

The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

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Pieminister Saag Pie-neer


Pieminister were kind enough to send me a box of six of their veggie pies, including their new Saag-Pie-neer.



I was rather excited to try this pie, as when I have a curry I often opt for a paneer dish. It's rather tasty stuff.  If you don't know what it is, its essentially cheese, though I personally think it is more similar to tofu, but creamier. It has a bland flavour which makes it perfect with curry spices as it absorbs the flavours nicely, just like tofu.


As you can see the pie has a really nice golden colour. I decided to have onion bhaji and chutney on the side, which was a very good choice and I highly recommend it. The chutneys in particular complemented the dry pastry well.



The pie was absolutely packed with filling- lovely soft chunks of paneer, small cubes of potato, spinach, peas and a little bit of tomato. All were soft and not at all chewy. It had a mildly spicy flavour, the sort that keeps your mouth warm after you have swallowed without burning any of your taste buds off. It is advertised as containing mango, but I didn't taste any.

As the pasty, though thin was crispy, and the sauce was thick, this pie is possible to eat by hand. Yes, I did try it! But it was also lovely breaking off bits of pastry and dipping them in the chutney. It had a really nice authentic curry taste too it. I really enjoyed it. I was sent two of these and it is such a shame that GHH can't have one as it contains potato (and he is intolerant!) so I guess I will just have to eat the second one myself. Shame.

5.9/7 ARL

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Pierateers desperate to beat the Pie Factory challenge!

Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory (Tipton) Desperate Dan Cow Pie Review


Some pubs just have a token pie on their menu. Real pubs have token ‘other food’ on their menu! And Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory in Tipton, Birmingham is a fine example of the latter!

Desperate Dan Cow Pie Review
Desperate Dan Cow Pie (Steak and Kidney)
It was great to chat to owner Peter, who with his wife has run the pie pub for about 20 years now. And there’s no denying they are well known in the West Midlands – to the point where people travel from across the Midlands to visit and try one of their pies. Peter even mentioned there’s no real need for them to advertise, as word of mouth does the job for them! And it’s quite true – there have been plenty of work colleagues and others in Birmingham who have questioned why the Pierate Ship hadn’t yet set sail to Tipton to rate the pies there and, more specifically, to take on the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge!

So on day three of British Pie Week 2016, with Pierateers Sam and Tim in tow, I set off to attempt the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge. Put simply, this is a mega pie eating challenge! It’s a 4lb pie consisting of steak and kidney and a variety of seasonal vegetables, slow cooked in their famous gravy. Mine contained whole pieces of potato, slices of carrot and I believe a bit of butternut squash alongside the steak and kidney, though I’d be lying to say this wasn’t a pie absolutely dominated by the pieces of steak in the pie! Oh, and did I mention the pastry horns?!


Desperate Dan Cow Pie Review
Pierateer RAS and the Cow Pie
Topped with a puff pastry lid, this pie is absolutely full to the brim. Enough filling to fill at least 3 normal sized pies! And so much of it was the steak – I was shocked to find myself saying “There could be a bit more vegetable in this pie!” At £10.99 for the pie, which containing potato and other veg is in fact a meal in itself, I was surprised how much meat they packed into the pie! It had to be noted however that while nice, the meat was a little chewy and fatty in places, and boy were you chewing for a while to get through all the pieces of meat in the pie! After one and half hours of eating, I finally had to throw in the towel, with about a third to a quarter of the pie filling remaining. I have to admit that while I enjoyed the flavour to begin with, eating that much of the same filling finally got to me, which is why I think this pie is really a novelty, rather than a practical option, on a pie menu. It’s not a luxury pie filling but that’s not what it’s there for. And there’s nothing wrong with a novelty pie!

I had sadly failed my cow pie challenge, and got the certificate to prove it. But at least I can say I attempted The Pie Factory’s Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge! And if it’s any excuse, I had been judging about 12-15 pies at the British Pie Awards earlier in the day – perhaps not the best plan before eating a massive pie!

We love that the kids menu at Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory is called the "Little Pierates Menu" and that you get a certificate for completing, or in my case failing, the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge!

Desperate Dan Cow Pie Certificate
You get a certificate if you complete it or not


Desperate Dan Cow Pie Review
"X" marks the spot! The remains of the Cow Pie
The main downside of this pie is that it is a top-crust pie, which does lose it some points on our pie rating scale for not being fully encased. That said, it still manages to achieve Pierate Recommended status. And just to note, the pastry horns are very thick (to stay standing upright) and served cold, so not really to be eaten. That said, I didn’t even manage to complete it as a top-crust meal, so that extra side and base pastry would surely have been the end of me!!! All the pies served in the pub are top-crusts or contain no pastry (like the Andy Murray Curry “Pie” topped with naan bread!), but there are fully encased pies available to take home with you for just £2 each, which Pierateer SJL will review separately.

However in-spite of the pies being top-crusts and me being defeated in the pie eating challenge, there is something very endearing about this pub and its love of pies. The fact that people far and wide come to try their pies and take in the pie factory memorabilia which adorns the walls is testament to their long-lasting commitment to pie. And for that alone, I commend you to visit and give their pies a try sometime! You may even beat me to getting the Pie Challenge winners certificate!

The score below commends the fact the pie was packed with steak at a very reasonable price for such a large pie (4lbs worth!) It is hard to fully compare it to other, normal sized pies due to it being such a large volume pie, eaten in a competitive way and just a top crust, but I’ve pie-d my best!

The Pie Factory (Tipton) “Desperate Dan Cow Pie” - Steak and Kidney
Score: 5.21/7
[Colour 5.5/7; Consistency 5.5/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 4/7; Condition 5/7; Content 4.5/7; Capacity 6/7]

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 "Pierateers desperate to beat the Pie Factory challenge!"

Thursday, 10 March 2016

British Pie Week 2016 - Day Three

Day Three of British Pie Week saw Pierateers RAS, SJL and TJP complete one of their #PiePledge commitments by taking the day off work to go to the British Pie Awards, followed by a trip to Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory pub in Tipton, Birmingham - something they've planned to do for years!




Pierateer RAS

Pierateer RAS and Cow Pie
Pierateer RAS and the Cow Pie!
After spending day one away in Cardiff, picking up some Clark's Pies direct from their shop in South Cardiff as part of his #TriPie pie pledge, day three of British Pie Week saw the English leg of the pledge. In two parts, it consisted of judging for the first time at the British Pie Awards, followed by taking on the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge at Tipton's very own Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory pub.

Hosted once again in St Mary's Church in the centre of Melton Mowbray, the British Pie Awards saw over 100 judges rate just under 800 pies this year. Pierateers Rob and Tim were both on the "Speciality Meats" category and we'll be writing up a review of the day soon, once results are out on Friday! In the meantime, you can catch up on our live blogging of the British Pie Awards, which includes a number of videos taken by Pierateer Sam.

In the evening we made our way over to Tipton, just north of Birmingham, for a long awaited visit to Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory. While Sam and Tim went for other pies, Rob took on the 4lb Desperate Dan Cow Pie Challenge, which you can read more about in our review tomorrow!

Pierateer SJL

On Day Three of British Pie Week Pierateer Sam continued his unique ways to eat pie series by doing a pie review in the middle of the British Pie Awards! With the awards only being held once a year, this immediately reduces the chances of being able to complete this particular way of eating a pie! This follows on from yesterday's Pie Kebab and Sam drinking a pie in Monday's pie-nt challenge, which you can watch the video of here.




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 "British Pie Week 2016 - Day Three"

Ways2EatPie #4 - Pie at Night

It is getting late but this hasn't stopped Pierateer SJL from meeting his #PiePledge to bring you a pie review every day of British Pie Week 2016. However, as it is late we find that SJL has already gone to bed. The pie he has chosen to review is a Scotch Pie from a quality frozen food specialist, see the video below.



At the incredible price of only 23.2p each these pies are punching above their weight, but only just. If you are really short on cash it is better than any other similarly priced pies I have had but don't expect too much, Scotch pies are normally cheap anyway and these are quite small.

See the rest of the videos from SJL's Ways2EatPie British Pie Week challenge:

Ways2EatPie #1 - Pie-nt
Ways2EatPie #2 - Pie Kebab
Ways2EatPie #3 - British Pie Awards
Ways2EatPie #4 - Pie at Night
Ways2EatPie #5 - Different Pie-spective


Beef Scotch Pie (Duncan McGregor)
Score: 3.79/7
[Condition 3.10, Colour 3.00, Cheapness 6.10, Capacity 3.60, Chewiness 4.00, Content 3.20, Consistency 3.50] 


SJL
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