Monday 12 November 2018

International Pierate Day 2018

We Pierateers of pie review website are today celebrating our 9th Birthday, and we'd love you to join us by simply eating a pie and rating it!

That’s why we’ve designated
12th November as International Pierate Day!

Turner's Apple Pie Review
Our ninth birthday pie from Turner's Pies!
It follows in the footsteps of the very first International Pierate Day in 2013, which has been celebrated on 12th November every year since! But we don’t want you – pie lovers worldwide – to just sit at home and watch as we eat all the pies! Oh no! Pie eating and pie rating is something we can all enjoy. Something that can bring friends, family and communities together. Pies are celebrated and eaten in so many countries worldwide and so today – marking our ninth birthday – we would love you to join us in eating and rating pies this week to celebrate!

This year our main highlight was the birthday pie night we had, to celebrate with a number of friends of the blog, where we finally got to pie rate the British Pie Awards 2018 winners Turner's Pies! We rated their Steak and Ale pie recently, which was the pie that won the British Pie Awards this year, and will be writing up our reviews of some of their other pie flavours soon!

Our pie eating friends enjoyed using the illustrated guide below on how to rate a pie, based on our 7 Cs of pie rating, which we commissioned fellow food blogger and amazing illustrator Emily from to create for us for our 6th birthday! And in a slightly surreal moment, people spontaneously started singing hap-pie birthday to our pie blog when they saw the pie with the "9" candle in (pictured above!) Possibly the first time anyone has ever sung happy birthday to a pie blog before!!

An illustrated guide on how to rate a pie by @emily_etc

So here’s the deal... in six simple words: Eat a pie and rate it!

It doesn’t matter whether it’s savoury or sweet, or whether you prefer your pies without the wheat or meat! We really do rate anything and everything that is a true pie and sometimes a number of interesting things that try to be pies to! But the important thing is we love to eat pie and rate it – for we are, after all, the Pierateers!

So once you’ve found a pie to eat – whether in the local bakery, butchers, supermarket or your favourite pie shop or one you have made in the luxury of your own home – why not rate your pie using the Seven Cs of pie rating in our lovely illustrated guide above?

We very much enjoyed eating and rating the British Pie Awards 2018 winning pies from Turner's Pies this year at our annual birthday pie-rty!

 We've already rated the Steak and Ale Pie and will be posting our reviews of some of the other pie flavours we tried from the Turner's Pie range this week!

So what do you need to do now?

Well, first things first - you need a pie (or two!) For insPIEration you might find our Pie Rankings helpful, with over 650 pies we've rated and reviewed over the past 9 years! Or perhaps you want to make one of the pies our Ship's Cook has made, following her reci-pies here.

You can even watch us on the BBC website advising what to look for in a pie!

Most of all, we hope you enjoy eating and rating pies this week! We sure will and will be posting about more of the pies we ate for our birthday Pie Night this week!!!

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 "International Pierate Day 2018"

Friday 9 November 2018

British Pie Awards winning Turner's Pies Steak Review

Turners Steak and Ale Pie Review
Celebrating our 9th birthday with a Turner's Pie or two!!

Turner's Pies Steak and Ale Pie Review

You may recall that back in March of this year the British Pie Awards Supreme Champion 2018 was none other than Turner's Pies, who had done very well previously and even been sold in Harrods food market, but had never previously scooped the big prize! Well as with all the pie winners since we started helping at the British Pie Awards in 2014, we wanted to get our hands on the Supreme Champion, and what better place to pie rate it that at the birthday pie-rty to celebrate our 9th anniversary?!

The company are a traditional bakers based down on the South coast in West Sussex. Starting out making pies for a hotel in Bognor Regis in 1933, Turner's Pies have a long history down three generations as a family run business and it is great to see they have expanded in recent years to having a pie shop in Bognor Regis, Rustington, Chichester and now Worthing too! But having won the British Pie Awards back in March 2018, perhaps the most exciting addition is the availability to now order their pies online, with their "Pies by Post" service!

The "Pies by Post" service really is as simple and obvious as it sounds, with orders placed on their website getting delivered by courier a few days after ordering. Simple really! And there are a selection of pie boxes you can get delivered too, with free delivery on your first order, so what are you waiting for?! Ah yes - why not read our review below first of the Steak and Ale pie!!!

If you missed it, here's the tweet they sent out when they won the British Pie Awards back in March!

And after their win, Turner's Pies immediately set their eyes on another award - this time becoming the number 1 pie on Pierate!

Turners Steak and Ale Pie Review
Turner's Steak and Ale Pie
So onto the pie review itself! The pastry was golden on top, slightly more pale on the sides, but it held together well even when cut in half. It was crisp on the outside and slightly gooey on the inside, a real art form in pastry circles! While the pastry did crumble a bit upon cutting, the fact you could enjoy the pastry so much even on its own was a great testament to this pie, even if there was no need to do so with such a meaty filling to the pie itself! And when cut into halves, you could still pick up this pie, which is a good sign of a firm, well baked pastry.

Turners Steak and Ale Pie Review
A cut-through of the Turner's Steak and Ale Pie
The pie was well filled, with a good capacity of meaty chunks. Overall they were generally very nice, even if a few pieces in several of the pies were a little chewy. The filling was moist but could have had a little more gravy in it, but the ale gravy was a nice compliment to the meaty pieces. At £3.50 per pie this was about the price I would be happy to pay for this sized pie if it was well filled and flavoursome, as this pie was.

Overall, I can certainly see why the Turner's Pies Steak and Ale got a glowing report from the British Pie Awards, and it comfortably enters our "Pierate Highly Recommended" category! I look forward to rating some more of their pies soon!

Turner's Pies Steak and Ale Pie
Score: 6.39/7
[Colour 6.5, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 6.5, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 6, Content 6.5]

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 Awards winning Turner's Pies Steak Review"

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Billy's Bakehouse Got Bigger

If you are a regular reader of Pierate, you may remember our review of the pies produced by Billy's Bakehouse. They particularly stick in the mind because these are classic Australian pies but they are produced in the Netherlands. They are also unusual because, despite being frozen and at a low market price point, these pies are genuinely tasty. The mastermind behind these pies is Darren Handley, a Aussie ex-pat who missed the pies he used to be able to get back home so decided to make them himself.

During my honeymoon in the Netherlands this Summer I happened to visit Leiden, the home city of Billy's Bakehouse. Pierateer ALE and myself met up with Darren at one of the many canal side bars and got an update with how he is getting on.

Pierateer SJL and Darren Handley
We discussed how Darren has built a new production bakery which they have moved into this year. This has increased their pie making capacity. They recently took 12,000 pies to the Lowlands Festival. Now that is a lot of pies! Darren enjoys doing the festivals and the fact the pies are frozen is perfect because they can meet whatever demand there is without wastage. With the extra capacity they are now looking to supply more supermarkets, restaurants and sporting events. With the pie being frozen it is very flexible for meeting demand. Darren says the UK market is still one that he would like to break into which, once established, would ideally see Billy's Bakehouse set up in some form in the UK. This is something we would love to see happen, despite there being a lot of pies on the market, Billy's Bakehouse could certainly fill a gap. As we said in our review, because these pies cook quickly from frozen, they are perfect for organisations which will see strong peaks in demand, such as during half time at a football match. We are often disappointed by the pies on offer at football matches. This would be much improved if Billy's Bakehouse pies were adopted by some football clubs in the UK.

We also discussed the article about Billy's Bakehouse which featured in the Discover Benelux in-flight magazine (see page 56). The article in entitled 'Taking on the big boys of pie production'.  Darren kindly include a mention of Pierate saying that we 'wrote the review Billy's Bakehouse had been waiting for, leading the way to export to the UK'! We certainly do hope that our favourable review helps Darren in this mission.

Fortunately, all the hard work hasn't put Darren off, he still enjoys his pies, with the Meat Pie in particular what he will eat away at festivals. There are a couple of new flavours in development including a Mexican-style flavour. We will be keeping an eye on progress and hope to try some more Billy's Bakehouse pies in the future.


continue reading "Billy's Bakehouse Got Bigger"

Thursday 18 October 2018

MyPie in the sky - as London’s finest pies hit John Lewis!

They say nothing comes easy in this life – and you get your reward from hard graft and what you put into it. That epitomises the hard work that chef Chris Brumby has put into his pie making business “MyPie” – which has taken the London street food markets and the Pierate Pie Rankings by storm! And we were delighted to attend the media opening of his new pop up restaurant last night on the roof terrace of John Lewis, Oxford Street (one of the most famous roads in the world!)

MyPie John Lewis Restaurant
The MyPie Restaurant on the rooftop of John Lewis, Oxford Street
MyPie John Lewis Restaurant
to the MyPie Restaurant!
We first met Chris in March 2014, when Pierateer Tim met him for a chat and of course a pie down in South London. Chris had recently just won the Red Lion Barnes Great Sausage Roll Off a few months earlier, but we were glad his passion lied more in pies than just sausage rolls. And despite a little boil out, we could tell that Chris was on a winning trail when he let us pie rate his Beef and Red wine pie, which was Pierate Highly Recommended at 6/7 on the seven Cs of pie rating. Not bad for a first effort!!

It didn’t take Chris long to get a pie near the top of our pie rankings, with his Chicken, Smoked Ham and Tarragon pie rating in at a whopping 6.39/7 in July 2015, swiftly followed by several other MyPie offerings making the top 10 of the rankings. But the most im-pie-ressive of them all was the Steak and Ale pie, which rated at a phenomenal 6.61/7.

There's even a skating rink!
While at the time this score ranked at number 3 on the pie rankings list, the sad demise of a fellow pie maker meant that in October 2016 the pie rankings were updated and the Steak and Ale pie became our number 1 rated pie on Pierate, a position it has held on to for over two years now!

Since then, the Steak and Ale pie has been joined in the top ten by MyPie’s Venison, Chilli and Cheese (6.57/7 in 2nd place) and Mince, Bacon and Cheese (6.46/7 in 7th place). MyPie really do set the bar high for pie making in London and the rest of the country! And we’re delighted to see the company providing the food at the skyline rooftop terrace for John Lewis’ winter wonderland!

One of the lovely hideaways you can book up to eat your pie in!
During our visit last night we were treated to a number of starters from the MyPie range, including scotch eggs and sausage rolls, but what we were there for was of course the pies! Being a launch event we were served some smaller pies than will be available when the restaurant opens on Saturday but believe me, these were still delicious and up to the usual MyPie standard! And being smaller, it meant we felt less guilty trying a couple each!!

The Hampshire Steak, Mushroom and Truffle Oil pie
Click here to view all the MyPie pies we have reviewed.
Pierateer Tim went for the Sweet Potato, Green Chilli and Feta pie (which interestingly was flavoured really well with the chilli but not spicy – something that again highlights Chris’ chef background!) and the Free Range Chicken, Ownton’s Butchers bacon and sweetcorn pie. Pierateer Rob went for the Hampshire Steak, Mushroom and Truffle Oil pie, followed by the Venison, Chestnut Mushrooms and Juniper pie (which is in collaboration with Sipsmith Gin London, who are running the bar on the roof terrace).

Pierate and Chris MyPie
Pierateer Tim, MyPie owner Chris and Pierateer Rob
Unsurprisingly all the pies were well filled, flavoursome and left us wanting more! We can see this being a great success for the three month residency MyPie have on the rooftop terrace and hope that customers to John Lewis from near and far will very much enjoy the best pies in London as they have pie in the sky!

To book your seat at the rooftop terrace restaurant just click 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.

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Monday 1 October 2018

The Best Sunday meal you could ask for?!

Pieminister “Moodog” British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale Pie Review

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
You could be forgiven for thinking that top pie maker Pieminister – from whom we have rated nineteen pies previously, the majority of whom have been Pierate Recommended or Pierate Highly Recommended – must be running out of new inventions for the humble pie! After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they dug deep into the reci-pie book to create a Cricket, Chipotle Chilli and Black Bean pie (yes, that’s crickets the insect!) to spice up British Pie Week 2017! But even though we have eaten through the majority of the menu, we still keep going back for more, especially now they have opened a pie shop in Birmingham City Centre that is not far from Pierateer Rob’s humble abode!

We did however still manage to find a new pie flavour we hadn’t rated before in the form of the Moodog pie, a British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale pie.

However, that wasn’t exactly the reason we were there this time round! For while our pie blog naturally focuses on the pie itself, it can’t be ignored that the sides you get with your pie contribute significantly to the enjoyment of said pie. Serve it with cold mash, overcooked chips or a thin, water-like gravy and you’re certainly not going to please pie connoisseurs like us! Which is why we couldn’t turn down an invite to try the new “Sunday Best” option from Pieminister, which hit their pie shops recently, for a new meal ex-pie-rience!

Pieminister Pie Review
Pieminister Pie Menu

Compare all our Pieminister Pie Reviews - and we've reviewed a fair few in our Pie Rating careers - on our Pieminister Pie Reviews Page!

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
The idea is simple – take all that is good about the trimmings of a classic Sunday Roast, add them on top of or around a top rated Pieminister pie, and *poof* you have a magical Sunday lunchtime treat for the whole family to enjoy! It’s a wonder no-one thought of this before!!! As you can see from the graphic, the “Sunday Best” option is any of Pieminister's award winning pies on a pile of delicious mash, topped with a Yorkshire Pudding filled with swede mash, roast garlic & rosemary potatoes and finished with free range British Pork crackling and a pig-in-blanket. All served-up with a brimming boat of gravy on the side. And all this for less than 10 of your English Pounds at £9.95!

The crackling was crisp and delicious, the swede mash, potato mash and roast garlic and rosemary potatoes (though sounding perhaps a little carb heavy) complimented the pie and other sides well and there was even a pig in blanket for a little more meatilicious content! All sat in a Yorkshire Pudding, the bedrock of a classic Sunday Roast!

And for the main course, there was the pie, naturally! The beauty of this meal option was that you could have any of their Pieminister pies on sale in the middle of this Sunday trimmings sandwich! So whether you preferred a pie with vegetables, meat or without the wheat, Pieminister could provide you a Sunday dinner experience for all taste buds. You could even go Vegan with “Kevin”, their new vegan pie, if you so desired! As mentioned, I went for the Moodog pie, which was one of the few meat pies on the menu yet to be rated on the Pierate Ship!

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review

As you can see from the pictures, the pie came stacked with all the “Sunday Best” trimmings, but this didn’t detract from the quality of the pie itself. It was lovely and golden on top, though certainly a lot more pale and gravy-stained on the sides. However the sides and base were quite crisp too, alongside the golden top. The lovely Pieminister pastry one again surrounded a well filled content, with a definite focus on meaty steak chunks with a few tasters of bacon to vary the flavour. The balance between crisp pastry and a moist, meaty filling was delightful and I’ll definitely look to have another one soon!

Looking at the pie alone, Pieminister have once again produced a Pierate Highly Recommended pie. And I for one am delighted they’ve decided to sell it as part of a delicious roast trimming dinner in my local Pieminister pie shop! It’s a great idea to offer the additional trimmings while keeping the pie choice flexible, and I will certainly bear it in mind when I next want the best pie meal possible on a Sunday afternoon!

Pieminister “Moodog” British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale Pie
Score: 6.07/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 6, Condition 6, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5]

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 "The Best Sunday meal you could ask for?!"

Friday 28 September 2018

New York Pie Review: Meat pies need a Dub-ble take!

Dubs Pie Review - Steak and Ale in Brooklyn, New York

Dubs Pies shop in Brooklyn
Pierateer Rob in the Dubs Pies shop in Brooklyn
For a city that never sleeps, there is one main draw back to life in the Big Apple. Sure, they have plenty of fruit pies on the market, but where are the meat pies??? As a Briton looking for an ex-pie-rience in what American pie can offer, I took a subway into Brooklyn to try out the pie shop at Windsor Terrace, next to Prospect Park, called Dub Pies.

You may well have a vague memory of the name Dub Pies if you read our live blog of the British Pie Awards 2018, as we actually met the owner Gareth at the Awards! He had come over to the UK and timed his trip to include a visit to the awards and to sample some pies. His background is the meat pies of New Zealand, but you can never sample too many pies now, can you!!

Dubs Pies Shop in Brooklyn, New York
Dubs Pies Shop in Brooklyn, New York

The store itself is a bit out of Downtown Brooklyn but still very accessible, just a minutes walk from the subway line on the west side of Prospect Park. While it was a shame they didn't do sides to go with the pie in store, I was there for the pie and this allowed me to focus on it! (To note: They do sometimes do sides when selling from their pie truck or at catered events, just no longer in the shop.)

You could choose to have your pie hot or take it away cold, but I was in the market for a hot pie for lunch! As you can see from the menu board in the photo they have quite an extensive range of pies, from the traditional beef mince and cheese pies common in New Zealand and Australia, to Chicken and Veggie options.

Dubs Pies - Steak and Ale Pie Review
Dubs Pies - Steak and Ale Pie
However my eyes were set when I saw they had a steak and ale pie on the menu, which I felt would be a good benchmark to compare to the regular UK pies I regularly have. The content was pieces of steak in Fifth Hammer/Rockaways Blockaway Barleywine. At $6 this seemed very reasonable for a hot pie in such a location as central New York. The pie was reasonably flat, reminding me a bit of the Piebury Corner pies that aren't the deepest but are full to the brim of filling. These were the same.

The pie wasn't the most golden I have ever seen, but the colour and condition was pretty good. The lid of the pie undulated slightly, teasing the large chunks of steak below. However when bitten into it held together very well. As you can see from the cross-section you could hold the half-eaten pie without it crumbling everywhere. It seems it would be the ideal pie for a sports event!

Dubs Pies - Steak and Ale Pie Review
Dubs Pies - Steak and Ale Pie
The capacity was very strong, filled to the brim with meaty chunks. The meat itself was nicely cooked and tender, with the main criticism of this pie being that it was rather dry inside. I do come from a land of gravy filled pies - legend has it I would bleed gravy, not blood - but even so, the dry pastry and dry filling did take the edge off this pie.

However the filling was very nice and I would certainly suggest that with a little more moisture inside this would really be challenging for a top pie rating! All in all I would certainly recommend giving Dub pies a look in and trying their traditional flavours - the Steak Mince and Cheese pie and the Thai Chicken Curry pie.

Score: 5.57/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5, Condition 6, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 4.5, Content 5.5]

It's as if they could read my thoughts or something! Just days after I had visited their Brooklyn shop, the owner Gareth messaged me on twitter to say that the low gravy content in their steak and ale pie had been noted before, and that they had now in fact created a new version which addressed the lack of moisture! You can check out the photo of their new steak and ale pie below and I for one would love to give this new version a pie rating! I wouldn't be surprised if it got Pierate Highly Recommended! Next time!!!

The new Dubs Pies Steak and Ale Pie!
Photo provided by Dubs Pies

This isn't the first time we've been over the Pond to New York! Check out our other New York pie reviews!

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 "New York Pie Review: Meat pies need a Dub-ble take!"

Friday 14 September 2018

Pieday Friday - 14th September 2018 - Pie votes, pie shops and pie delivery!

It's Friday! It's Pieday!

After a busy summer period, including a couple of Pierateer weddings (check out the wedding pie we had!!), it's high time we set sail on some more pie related adventures! But before we do, we thought it would be rude not to fill you in on some exciting pie news we've come across these last few weeks. Check them out below!

Fellow Pie rater needs your Pukka vote!

Regular viewers of our @pierateers twitter feed will know that we follow and regularly chat with fellow pie blogger and football fan Katie Peal, who came to one of our Birmingham Pie Nights and has been a fellow pie judge at the British Pie Awards with us.

She supports Telford United and travels around rating pies at the lower league football grounds they play in. She's created her own special persona - @awaydaypiegirl - and has even got her own branded pie fork that features regularly on her Twitter! This lady is dedicated to pie!! And it's for that reason we're backing her in the com-pie-tition Pukka Pies have set up to find the biggest Pukka Pies superfan! Check out the tweet below:
You can vote by either retweeting (for Katie) or liking (for Jim) the post above on the Pukka Pies Twitter account or voting on the Pukka Pies Facebook page until Monday 17th September. All the best Katie!!

See all the Pukka Pies we've rated here on Pierate right here: Pukka Pie Reviews

Pierateers heading back to Pieminister for their Sunday Best!

You may recall back in March of this year during British Pie Week 2018 we hosted a Birmingham Pie Night at the Pieminister pie shop in Birmingham City Centre. If not, you can read all about our Pie Night here - especially to whet your a-pie-tite as we'll be planning another for British Pie Week 2019!

But before all that, we're excited to be going back to Waterloo Street this coming Sunday to try out Pieminister's new "Sunday Best" pie meal option. If you've ever thought "What would happen if you combined an award winning pie with a roast dinner?" then think no more - you can try it out at your local Pieminister shop each Sunday starting this very Sunday 16th September!

To whet our a-pie-tite Pieminister sent us a preview description and it sounds e-pie-c!!!

"The Sunday Best is any of Pieminister's award winning pies on a pile of delicious mash, topped with a Yorkshire Pudding filled with swede mash, roast garlic & rosemary potatoes and finished with free range British Pork crackling and a pig-in-blanket. All served-up with a brimming boat of gravy on the side."

If that doesn't sound amazing, I don't know what does! Look out for the pie rating next week!!

British Pie Week Pieminister Pie Night
British Pie Week Pieminister Pie Night
See all the Pieminister Pies we've rated here on Pierate right here: Pieminister Pie Reviews

MyPie is set to open a London pie shop!!

Pierateers with number 1 pie maker - Chris!
(L to R - Chris, SJL, TJP, RAS)

Possibly the best pie news we've heard all year:

MyPie London, who make our number 1 rated pie out of over 600 have shared on Twitter that they're planning to open a pie shop in central London next month! We'll be sure to check out the MyPie website for updates from Chris about the details, but the plan is to open 20th October in Zone 1 for a three month period. We for one cannot wait to visit!!

British Pie Awards Winner Turner's Pies are now available for postal delivery!

Check out this great news from Turner's Pies, who were the Supreme Champions at the British Pie Awards 2018. They are now available for postal delivery!! We look forward to placing an order soon so we can get them on our pie rankings page. Act quick if you want to enter their com-pie-tition, which closes at 6pm today!!

If you have a story you think would be good to feature on the web's leading pie review site, send us an email at or contact us on Twitter @pierateers
continue reading "Pieday Friday - 14th September 2018 - Pie votes, pie shops and pie delivery!"

Monday 3 September 2018

Football Pie: Stick a Pie in your Plymouth

Plymouth Football Club - Ginsters Peppered Steak Pie

On the Pierate Ship we can be a bit cautious about the South West. It is the pasty heartlands and whilst there are many decent pasty products, we maintain that a pasty is not a pie. But of course, everyone agrees with us on this point, it is not like a pasty would ever win the British Pie Awards.....

Often, because of the dominance of pasties, our beloved pie can be squeezed out. Hence I had a bit of trepidation about heading South to Plymouth Argyle for the match against Wycombe Wanderers. Would they even sell any pies to add to the Pierate Football Pie League?

Entering the ground I started to worry, there were a lot of Ginster's adverts (they are even Argyle's main shirt sponsor). We have reviewed some Ginster's pies but they tend to be rare, with their fame mostly associated with the Cornish pasty. I needn't have worried, as well as a range of pasties they also had Ginster's Peppered Steak and Chicken Balti pies; a very wide range of pastry products. I opted for the Peppered Steak for £3.50, slightly more pricey than average for the size of pie (which was a bit smaller than a Pukka). It was presented well in an eco-friendly paper bag. This not only prevents adding to the mountain of plastic in our environment but also seemed to have allowed the pie to breath whereas football pies in plastic/polystyrene can often be soggy. It had been sat on a warm counter which had kept it hot. The good Condition that this pie was served in was the biggest success for the Plymouth pie. It seems like they have a well organised catering team, making sure the food is cooked at just the right time rather than sitting around for ages and becoming dried out which is often the case for other football pies. Taking the pie out of the bag it looked pretty good, although it had sagged in the middle. It also looked a bit 'top heavy' with the pastry lid extending wider than the rest of the pie to make it look bigger than it actually was. It looked quite different to the supermarket Ginster's steak pie that TJP previously reviewed and I was certainly hoping for a better score than the dismal 2.32 out of 7 which that version picked up!

Delving into the pie it was immediately obvious to me that it was better than TJP's version. The pastry was perfectly cooked, quite rare for a football pie and quite difficult when you are cooking hundreds at once. Hats off to the Plymouth catering team for that. The lid had a nice crunch to it with a slight biscuit taste. The sides were softer, but not too soft, having also been properly cooked. There were identifiable pieces of steak, although they were perhaps a bit small compared to other 'steak' pies. There were also unexpected pieces of potato, which were fine and added some variety although I did initially think they were massive pieces of fat. There was a nice thick sauce, enough to keep it moist but not an excessive amount like you get in a Pukka pie. This was good because it meant the pie could be eaten by hand without making a mess, ideal for a football pie. The pastry also held together well. However, there was a lack of filling given the small capacity and the fact that the lid had sagged.

My main note of caution was that when they say 'peppered steak' they mean PEPPERED Steak. There really was a big hit of pepper. I love pepper but I think it might be a bit much for some people. You could actually see the big pieces of pepper within the pie. The peppery taste in combination with the potato reminded me of that classic Cornish pasty taste! Perhaps no surprise when it is Ginster's making the pie. It was a really nice change and I did enjoy this pie, but it is not something I would be looking to eat regularly outside of the football. Given how well it was cooked, this pie claims a reasonable mid-table position in the Pierate Football Pie League.

Plymouth/Ginsters (Peppered Steak)

continue reading "Football Pie: Stick a Pie in your Plymouth"

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Football Pie: Nott a Bad Effort

Notts County Football Club - Pukka Meat & Potato Pie Review

Three of the Pierateers made their way to Meadow Lane for the clash between high flying Notts County and Wycombe Wanderers at the end of last season. Not having been before I was surprised at how the ground is almost right next to the home of their city rivals, Nottingham Forest. The fairly modern ground provided a reasonable fan experience. An entertaining 0-0 draw helped Wycombe on their way to promotion (and a whole new set of away day pies). Despite our campaigning for more choice, this is yet another ground serving Pukka pies. At £3 the price was about average for League Two. There was a healthy choice of 3 pies, I went for a Meat & Potato which is generally not available in Southern football grounds with it being commonly associated with the North. I guess Nottingham probably sits on the Meat & Potato and Steak & Ale divide between North & South. I normally prefer a Steak pie but it was actually a nice change to have a Meat & Potato, the thick creamy texture is something you don’t get in the Steak pie. This was a typical example of a Meat & Potato, it did a good job of capturing the classic peppery flavour. I am often a bit scathing about the potato element which we often regard as ‘filler’. But in this case I enjoyed it. When you have potato as a ‘filler’ you expect the pie will be well filled. In this regard I think they could have done a bit better, it wasn’t exactly exploding with filling, the lid had sagged down a little. I have had a lot of badly cooked pies at football matches recently but fortunately this one was cooked okay. Having said that the pastry base was dried and a little burnt although not too badly; it was still worth eating. The reasonable condition has helped give it a respectable score, especially for a Meat & Potato pie. It did still fall apart on eating and I continue to question why so many football clubs choose to serve Pukka pies when they are not really suitable for eating by hand at a football match. The score sees a lower mid-table position in the Pieremiership, the Pierate Football Pie League.

Meat & Potato (Notts County Football Club/Pukka) 

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Saturday 11 August 2018

Wedding Bells on the Pierate Ship!

You might think it has been quiet recently on Pierate and it is true that we have made less posts than usual over the Summer. This is mainly because we have been busy with weddings. It has been 5 years since the last Pierate wedding but we have recently celebrated two more Pierate weddings. After all this wait they then occured on consecutive weekends at the end of June! First Pierateer TJP tied the knot in Cheshire. Next Pierateer SJL married Pierateer ALE in Gloucestershire. It was great to get all the members of the Pierate Ship together for both weddings with Pierateers RAS, ARL and The Ship's Cook also in attendance. Pierateer RAS has been busy as well because he was the best man for SJL and organised a great stag do which involved pies from our number one pie supplier, MyPie and inevitably saw Sam dressed up as a pie. Many thanks to Chris of MyPie and Pierateer Rob for arranging the delicious stag do pie lunch.

You might expect that for a Pierate wedding there also has to be a pie involved at the wedding itself! If you are an avid reader of Pierate you may know that Pierateer ALE is the Gluten Free reviewer for Pierate. Fortunately this didn't prevent there being a top quality pie, with Voakes Free From providing a tiered wedding pie for the wedding of ALE and SJL! We have previously scored their pies very highly so we were delighted to be able to have them at the wedding. It was really quite spectacular, we are very grateful to them for arranging it and for sending samples to review beforehand, thanks so much to the team at Voakes Free From. They even did a pastry lid to the pork and chicken pie on our request (it normally comes with a stuffing lid). The pies went down very well with the guests. There was very little pie left over at the end, the two smaller layers had completely disappeared before we even tried them! The pies arrived by courier the day before in excellent condition. We cannot recommend them enough. You can see from the photo how happy we were to be cutting our wedding pie! We didn't think it would be possible to have such a tasty free from pie that everyone could enjoy (it was dairy and gluten free with some smaller Voakes pies on the side for the vegetarians).

We will finish this article with a quote from Sam's stag do "Marriage is like a pie, it is what you fill it with that really matters".

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Tuesday 8 May 2018

Football Pie Review: Mad Hatters? Luton Disaster

Luton Town/Pukka Pies - Cheese & Onion Disaster Review

Sometimes it can take a while to be able to talk about a traumatic experience and the delay in providing this review is one of those occasions. In a bid to boost the number of clubs in our football pie league (the Pieremiership) I made the trek from my home in Gloucester over to Luton for the top of the table clash with Wycombe on a Tuesday night in February. Despite arriving in Luton quite early I delayed going into the stadium which is an absolute school boy error when it comes to pie reviewing. Getting in early you should get the best choice of pies and they are less likely to have dehydrated in the hot locker. The reason for my delay is that I am a minor public transport geek these days. Luton has a bus on rails (busway) which I wanted to see. (Yes, such a thing does exist!) I enjoyed my trip on the busway and I can't really explain why. I know that I am so far from cool that I am probably contributing to melting of the polar ice caps, but I don't care!

In this case my trip on the busway wasn't worth it. Although I was still about 15 minutes before kick-off the away end was packed. All the Wycombe tickets had sold out because this was a tasty top of the table clash. But the food wasn't tasty. In fact it didn't really taste of anything, the food kiosk having completely sold out of hot food. This was very worrying, especially as I had arrived hungry! They pointed me in the direction of the bar which might have more food. I desperately hoped they would have something, having come all this way, to go home pie-less would have been heartbreaking. My spirits lifted when I eventually got into the crowded bar and saw what looked like a pie in the hot locker. They told me it was cheese and onion, really not my favourite but I wasn't going to be fussy as it was apparently the last pie available in the whole ground and they weren't going to get any more (or any other hot food), even at half-time! This seemed like a bizarre situation to be missing out on much needed revenue. I wondered whether there was perhaps some food in the home end and away fans were being treated worse (again).

Anyway, back to the pie. To be fair they did warn me it wasn't in a great condition (which is why it was left til last). But what they hadn't warned me about was that it wasn't actually a pie! Absolute disaster! It took the form of something I would describe as a 'slice' as sold en masse by companies such as Ginsters. Unfortunately this was not the first time that I have ended up with a slice instead of a pie and I have developed a bit of a reputation on the Pierate Ship! In my defence this has mainly been down to lack of clear advertising, although I don't think this excuse will wash with the rest of the crew. If you are familiar with Pierate you will know that this doesn't meet our definition of a pie because it doesn't have a lid. Therefore we are unable to give it a score, which is perhaps a let off for Luton because this was one of the worst products I have had the misfortune to come across whilst sailing the 7 Cs.

But you might be wondering why this was so bad. Not only was this not a pie, it was also the most disgusting pastry product I have had the misfortune to eat at a football ground. Even worse than the ASDA smart price pie I was sold at Cheltenham. I like the occasional bit of puff pastry but this was so dry and flakey it disintegrated to nothing. Then there was the burnt bottom which was practically inedible. But this wasn't the worst bit about this pie. The filling was absolutely vile. I have to admit, I don't often go for a Cheese & Onion pie, but I have had some that I liked as long as the right cheese is used. But this one was just full of liquid cheese the type of which you might find in a burger. I tend to refer to this as 'plastic cheese' and I am not convinced it is actually made of cheese at all. That said, I am quite happy to eat a little bit on a burger, BUT NOT THE WHOLE CONTENT OF A PIE! Who ever thought this congealed mess of cheesiness was a good idea?  The soft onion provided some respite but was also a bit overpowering. There was nothing to get your teeth into at all with this pie. It felt like eating a soggy bag of cheese & onion crisps.

Overall, you might gather than I wasn't impressed. But rather than not enter Luton into our the Pierate Football Pie League (The Pieremiership) I have decided to enter them on zero points, given that they failed completely with their pie delivery. Not entering them feels like letting them off the hook. Hopefully this will act as a warning to others who might think about going to a match at Luton!

This slice was advertised as a Pukka. I didn't want to believe it but having reviewed photos it looks identical to what they have called a Cheese & Onion 'pasty'. Clearly it is not a pasty either, I really think Pukka need to work on their understanding of different pastry products, a shame when they are one of the biggest pie producers in the country!

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Friday 13 April 2018

Voakes Free From Pie Reviews

Voakes Free From Pork Pie Reviews

We came across the company Voakes during last year's #LeedsPieTour. Whilst not actually from Leeds itself, Voakes produced a proper Yorkshire pork pie and they narrowly beat the local boys Wilson's in producing the top pork pie of the #LeedsPieTour. Having already enjoyed the gluten version of the pie, we were excited by the prospect of getting our hands on the Voakes Gluten Free range for our coeliac reviewer, Pierateer ALE. They have a great choice of pies available for delivery from the Voakes Free From website with most of them also being dairy free (with some egg free vegan options). We were delighted to be sent a whole box of pies, including pies which were best eaten hot but with their reputation for pork pies we asled Pierateer ALE to review these first. All were eaten cold but of course, if you are from more Northern climes you might need to warm them up a tad.

See below the reviews from Pierateer ALE, interestingly the free from pork pie scored almost exactly the same as the gluten version we reviewed last year.

Pork Pie (Voakes)
5.57 out of 7 (Pierate Recommended)

voakes free from pork pie

Condition - 5 out of 7 - I was really impressed with how good all of these pies looked. Given that Gluten Free pastry can be so crumbly these pies did well to survive travel in the post. This pork pie was a little bit broken but none of the others were. Despite being free from gluten and dairy, this pie looked pleasingly 'normal'. In fact it had a classic pie shape with a satisfying crimp around the edge and a vent hole. From the outside you might not realise it was a pork pie as it looked like regular pastry rather than the hot water crust pastry you often get with a pork pie.
Colour - 6 out of 7 - For a gluten free pie I thought this looked really appealing. There was some glaze to the pastry although the colour was paler than many other pies.

Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - This was the smallest 'individual' sized pie priced at £2.10 each. When you consider the premium that you often have to pay for free from products, this is excellent value. You can pay more than this for an up market regular pork pie!
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Most of the pie was filled with meat, there wasn't a lot of jelly but this suited me. There was hardly any air gap.
Chewiness - 6 out of 7 - Compared to your average pork pie this had a great texture. Rather than being in one lump of ham, the filling had more granularity and bite. It tasted like pieces of gammon rather than ham. There were some small pieces which were perhaps a bit too chewy but you do expect a bit of fat with a pork pie. Sometime a pork pie can feel dense but this one didn't. I felt I could slightly tell that from the texture of the pastry that it was free from because it was a bit more crumbly but it was pretty amazing considering it had no gluten OR dairy.

Content - 5 out of 7 - The flavours were subtle and what you would expect from a pork pie. But it was seasoned enough to keep it interesting and it was nice that it wasn't too salty like some pork pies with less good quality meat can be. 
Consistency - 5 out of 7 - Whilst it was an excellent pork pie, it was somewhat overshadowed by the other excellent versions which had more variety to the filling!

Pork & Black Pudding (Voakes)
6.07 out of 7 (Pierate Highly Recommended)

voakes free from black pudding pie

Condition - 5 out of 7 - This pie was similar in appearance to the pork pie and so scores equally highly.
Colour - 6 out of 7
Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - This pie was the bigger 'large' size which retails at £5.80. It was enough for two people to share with lunch and again represented excellent value for a free from pie of this quality. It is worth noting that this was a pie that Pierateer SJL could eat in one go so it depends on your appetite!
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Another pie crammed with filling.
Chewiness - 6.5 out of 7 - This pie was anything but chewy, as you would expect, the black pudding was soft and made the whole thing wonderfully moist. It slipped down really well.
Content - 6.5 out of 7 - Wow, the tangy flavour from the black pudding really made this pie stand out. It is not the kind of thing you can normally get hold of as a free from product so this was a nice treat. The mixed up nature of the pieces of pork and black pudding kept the pie interesting from beginning to end. The flavours seem to have seeped into the pastry too, giving this pie an extra edge.
Consistency - 6.5 out of 7 - I would say that the pastry and filling of this pie were friends, happy to be in each other's company which made for a brilliant final product.

Pork & Chili (Voakes)
6.01 out of 7 (Pierate Highly Recommended)

voakes free from chili pork

Condition - 4.7 out of 7 - Whilst it again looks good enough to get my tastebuds going, it loses out slightly on condition compared to the other two because of the jelly boiling out on top.
Colour - 6 out of 7
Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - Another up-market large pie for £5.80.
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Again this pie was well filled, perhaps too well filled because the jelly boiled out!
Chewiness - 6.5 out of 7 - The texture was like the pork pie but perhaps a bit more moist due to the chili.
Content - 6.5 out of 7 - The chili added plenty of flavour and made the normal pork version look a bit boring. There was a sweetness to the chili and it wasn't very spicy but full of flavour. For me it wasn't quite as good as the black pudding version but I would choose this over the pork any day.
Consistency - 6.4 out of 7 - The flavours of this pie worked really well. The chili flavour permeated through the whole pie so it didn't have to rely on an intense pork and salt flavour like many pork pies do.

Overall these were excellent gluten free pies, in fact I would go as far as to say these were the best gluten free pies I have ever had! I would agree with their adverts that these pies are all of the flavour, none of the gluten. It is so nice that these pies are available and it doesn't feel like you have to compromise, they are better than the majority of the gluten equivalents. I would recommend them to anyone with allergies, you could even get the large ones to share and the great thing is people would never know they are free from!


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Wednesday 28 March 2018

Burying our teeth into Stanbury Wild Game Pies

Stanbury Wild Game Pie Reviews

So a couple of weeks back we had the small matter of British Pie Week to enjoy, and unsur-pie-singly we had a few pies to celebrate this momentous occasion! And while we managed to document the pies we got our teeth into via our daily diary articles (see the bottom of this article), now comes the time to write up all our new pies on the world’s leading pie review blog!

Stanbury's Squirrel and Rabbit Pie and Mixed Game Pie Review
Stanbury's Squirrel and Rabbit Pie and Mixed Game Pie
A pie-light at the end of British Pie Week, enjoyed on Day Six and Day Seven, were the wild game pies that we had from Stanbury Wild Game Pie Company. This is a relatively new husband and wife team producing – you’ve guessed it! – wild game pies. They’ve been making wild game pies for about 3 years now, selling mainly at local farmers markets and food festivals near Exeter in Devon. However this has recently changed with a new online delivery option via their website, so now more people can get hold of their pies!

Venison and Pheasant Stanbury Wild Game Pie Review
Venison and Pheasant Pies from Stanbury Wild Game Pies
To mark British Pie Week, the owners of Stanbury Wild Game Pie Company arranged to send us six of their game pies – 4 of which we ate in British Pie Week and review below and 2 of which we froze to eat soon. The pies we review below are the Venison and Mushroom, Mixed Game, Pheasant and Cider and Rabbit and Squirrel pies. Each of them sell for £3 on market stalls or £3.50 online (apart from the Rabbit and Squirrel pie, which is £3.50/£4).

As with any wild game pie, you’ve got to be careful to look out for small bones or leftover shot, but I’m pleased to say all four were fine in this regard, with no fat left on the meat either. This is a great sign of a company who take care of their produce and only want to provide the best pies to their consumers. The pastry was good – especially the crisp golden pastry on top of the pie, even if the side and base were a little paler and less crisp on them all. But all in all, not bad at all.

Stanbury Pheasant and Cider Pie Review
Pheasant and Cider Pie
Pheasant and Cider Pie
Certainly a combo I’d not tried before – I think I had only consumed Pheasant within a mixed game pie before this one! And there was a good amount of meat too, with no criticism there! The cider added an interesting flavour to the mix, fortunately not making it too sweet in the process but acting as a nice balance to the pheasant’s meat flavour. I’d certainly recommend this pie. The pastry, as with all of them, was lovely and crisp on top and looked beautifully golden. Besides the meat the filling was more thick sauce than gravy, an interesting consistency, but balanced the pie well.

Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6]

Stanbury Venison Pie Review
Venison Pie
Venison and Mushroom Pie
Venison pies, understandably, are a lot more common nationwide than some of the other wild game pies on their menu, however they have done a good job of providing a lovely venison pie here. While I personally wouldn’t go for a venison and mushroom option over a straight out venison pie – and also would prefer a gravy rather than a thick sauce – when putting my personal preferences aside this was a nice pie and I still enjoyed it. The pastry (especially the lid) was nice and crisp and complemented the meaty content well. While I have to admit I was more excited by the other (more unusual) flavours, it’s encouraging to see them doing the slightly more regular flavours well too!

Score: 5.54/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 5]

Stanbury Mixed Game Pie Review
Mixed Game Pie
Mixed Game Pie
Like London buses, you have your first pie with pheasant in for a long while, and then a second comes along slightly after! This time the pheasant was in a mixed game pie also containing venison, partridge and pigeon! And we also found out on the Friday before we ate it that this pie was the Class winner at the British Pie Awards for best speciality meats and game pie 2018!

As for the pie itself, it was crammed full of lovely, tender meat. The moist succulent filling balanced well with the crisp pastry and it was an unusual mix of flavours rarely seen all in one pie. I can see why this rated well with the judges at the British Pie Awards!

Score: 6.07/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.75, Condition 6.25, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5]

Stanbury Rabbit and Squirrel Pie Review
Rabbit and Squirrel Pie
Rabbit and Squirrel Pie
Of course both rabbit and squirrel pies are pretty unique (although we have tried both individually), this was the first time we were rating them in combination. And I certainly enjoyed the meat mix! Not your usual combo but one for your dinner guests to talk about! Personally I’m not sure I’d choose to pay more to have a rabbit and squirrel pie over the rest of their wild pie range but interesting flavour mix to give people the option if needed.

Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6]

All in all, some unique meat flavours in there and some top rated scores, particularly the mixed game pie which backs up its British Pie Awards class win with a Pierate Highly Recommended pie score! Our thanks to Nel from Stanbury Wild Game Pie Company for supplying us with these lovely Pierate Recommended pies. I certainly commend them to you if you fancy something a bit different from your standard beef or chicken pie!!


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