Saturday, 24 January 2015

Great North Pie: White Bean, Goats Cheese, Orange & Cranberry Pie

White Bean, Goats Cheese, Orange & Cranberry Pie

Third offering from the Great North Pie Co pie deal we tried at the recent market in Deva town. Described by themselves as "Braised White beans, five mile goats cheeese, beetroot cream, dried cranberry, orange juice & zest, oregano and caraway".

Now this pie muncher does like Goats cheese  but it is a taste which is divisive amongst family, friends and the Pie Tribe. A bit like marmite you either love it or loathe it. Also some ingredients, for the younger members of the Pie tribe, immediately make them cautious (beetroot definitely being one of them) when approaching something new. 

This is an exceptional Pie without a shadow of a doubt. It shares the same dedication to some basic high standards that all the others that we have tried have. 

The pastry is just right, enough to taste and enough to hold the contents together (if eating by hand). The topping has attention to detail. Rather than just a glaze they have given each a separate delicate identity which adds to the overall experience. All the pies we have tasted are consistent in shape, depth and filling (to the roof) which we like.

The only problem we had over this pie was "how good" and what score could we give. After much debate we decided on (9.6/10) which ranks it definitely as one of the very best pies we have ever tasted. We cannot wait to try some more from this Artisan pie maker whenever we can.

Great North Pie Co: Classic Lancashire Cheese & Onion


Classic Lancashire Cheese & Onion Pie
The second offering from our introduction the Great North Pie Co was their classic Lancashire cheese & onion. They are based in Wilmslow but have a rolling programme of market appearances in Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire having won "BEST PUB PIE IN BRITAIN 2014" with this offering.

Described in their leaflet as "Dewlay's Tasty Lancashire cheese, caramelised white onion, white pepper, nutmeg & Japanese breadcrumbs" it was the start of a quite fierce debate amongst the pie tribe. As to it's quality there was no doubt but how it ranked with another offering from the Great North Pie Co, did.

This was very tasty and we collectively gave it a 9.5/10 which puts it easily amongst the best pies we have ever tasted.

Great North PIe Co: Spiced Ham, Honey Roast Parsnip and Chestnut

Spiced Ham, Honey Roast Parsnip and Chestnut

Wandering through town on an unrelated errand and stumbled upon the Great North Pie Co stall at local market. Oh happy days, what a selection of mouth watering recipes to tempt the dieting Pie Tribe!! 

First up the Spiced Ham, Honey Roast Parsnip and Chestnut Pie. Their description on the leaflet ( excellent idea pie makers please note) provided was "Slow roast with clove and cinnamon, honey roast parsnip, roast chestnuts, mustard and horseradish cream, lemon,sesame and Paxo stuffing breadcrumbs" If that doesn't get your taste buds salivating I don't know what will. 

The collective Pie tribe gave this a 9/10 without much debate or argument. Pastry just right held together but not thick. Pie full to the brim no air gap whatsoever and a filling that justified the description. Tasty ...oh yes. Not cheap, but easily a meal in itself.

Tesco: Large Melton Mowbray

Tesco: Large Melton Mowbray

One of first pies pf the year . A good price as it was bought from the "povvy" counter. Enough for four to picnic on, lacking in jelly though, pastry a bit thick and meat ok but little by way of taste except salty? Considering the price and size it was ok, just, but nothing to get excited about. Tesco Bargain bin purchase only. (6/10)

Tesco: Large Melton Mowbray

Monday, 24 November 2014

Anchored in Worthing & the Biggest Pie Ever !

Gloria's Glorious Game Pie
One of the many highlights of the Goodwood Revival festival meeting is the opportunity to visit Nigel at the best Micropub in Sussex, if not the world. With a revolving smorgasboard of beers and ciders from across the county what's not to like. With the added touches of host Nigel (and Debs) and fascinating regulars the Anchored in Worthing, is not too be missed.

On this visit Nigel excelled by asking regular Gloria to produce her Game Pie with Rabbit, Pheasant, Venison, Boar ........ A chat with Gloria later revealed  that the moisture within was maybe as a result of the meats being soaked in Brandy for 24 hours prior to cooking!!!!!! This was a big pie, with a big taste and encased in a hot water pastry, which considering the size I'm amazed.

This is certainly the  biggest pie we have come across and one of the tastiest. We brought a slice home and it was devoured very quickly. Once again big thanks to Nigel, Debs, Gloria, regulars and irregulars for a memorable trip!

Festival of Speed, Goodwood - Search for Pie

Big thanks to staff at Pieminster Pies for providing a large enough shirt to fit the average pie muncher before heading off to the wonderful festival of Speed in the search of Pie.

As ever we were dedicated in our search of pie, but to no avail apart from the ones we brought ourselves ( For emergency purposes only) and the delicious offerings provided by the Best MicroPub in Sussex, Anchored In Worthing

Although Pie was difficult to find motor vehicles of shapes and sizes were not, at this glorious dedicated petrolhead convention. Our first visit and mighty impressive it was. Busier than the revival meeting but just as well organised. 

The weather was very kind over the whole event. We were there for all four days which beforehand we had wondered if there would be enough to keep us occupied. How mistaken we were. On the last day walking to the exit we were still finding new displays and cars to see!

There were beautiful, unusual and very fast vehicles to oggle at all over the event. The track action was varied/brilliant and the offroad rally stages were just superb. Sebastien Loeb going up the up hill in his Pikes Peak car was spellbinding.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Steak Pie , Edwards of Conwy

Steak Pie, Edwards of Conwy

"I didn't know Cow could taste so nice" 

The last time we had this pie this comment was freely given within a few moutfuls of tasting this, almost, pie perfection. We are a big fan of Edwards of Conwy and any excuse to visit we take.

Recently returning from Holyhead we stopped in anticipation, eager to see the new shop layout and try some pie perfection. We chose a variety to eat and take home but the Steak Pie was the one we were looking forward to. 

This is good. A very good pie, with great colour, great quality chunks of meat and delicious tasty gravy. But it is no longer almost perfect. Something has changed  and specifically the pastry top. It's become thick and ...sticky? The pastry on top was at some points quite thick, dry and stuck to our teeth. We bought two as the Pie Tribe are not good at sharing !!! Both were the same.

Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad but Edwards of Conwy are way above your average purveyor of Pies. It's still an 8.5/10 but this has changed and it's not close to perfection any more.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Steak & Ale Pie, Valley Butchers...Best Pie Ever?


Possibly the best Pie ever?

The Pie tribe have been lucky this week to spend time on Anglesey one our favourite places and home to master purveyors of all things meat, Valley Butchers.

The weather was not kind, blowing a gale and lashing it down. So back to our accommodation and sit it out with a glorious Steak and Ale Pie to devour. 

What a delight from start to finish. The selection in the shop was poor but only because they were selling out as fast as they can make them. The pastry was excellent, no air gap, great gravy, noticeably ale punch and chunks of meat to savour. It was definitely something to savour leading one Pie tribe member to offer a score of 10/10 for it.

Whilst this is a top Pie, easily in my current top 5, I cannot bring myself to offer 10/10, otherwise I may stop dreaming of pies. So on this occasion we will give it a 9.2/10. To test for consistency we bought two and neither disappointed !!! Service was great in the shop, pies are freshly made on the premises and can't wait to go again.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Basement Light


Just over a week ago I sat alone in the dark of a basement in a house in a residential area of a small town. A low wattage light cast a very low light on the room and with a few minutes of adjustment little was to be seen apart from the embers of a small brazier. 

A dog began to bark in the distance, footsteps, some hurried, are heard and muffled conversations as individuals pass the small rectangular windows above my head at pavement level.  

The lights percolating through from the street outside flickered slightly and unevenly. A dull muffled bass sound could be heard intermittently. The pace of steps outside increased, a low rumble in a slowly gathering crescendo is perceived and the crack of gunfire can be heard as the voices outside begin to shout with some urgency.

The noise overheard gathers pace and the light in the basement imperceptibly twitches in response. At street level vehicles race by and there is a lull in the crescendo briefly but then breaks to be overtaken by a noise I’m not really familiar with. It doesn’t sound like a lorry, more like a steamroller clanging across some cobbles. As it gets closer and eventually passes the house it is obviously a tank. Its massive tracks squeal and vibrate the house causing the light to dance about creating patterns on the ceiling. 

As this thunderous noise begins to abate the rat tat tat of anti-aircraft fire takes over to add to the volume of noise. The level of noise increases as approaching planes and their payload arrive ominously closer.  The basement is loud, dark and vibrating with a deafening roar the like of which I’ve never heard. Then as I wondered what would happen next and ask myself can it get any louder or intense without the walls crashing down, it begins to recede. 

The light in the basement begins to stop swinging gently, as the noise seems to ebb away, the dog isn’t barking anymore and a baby begins to cry………..


I was sitting in the basement of a house in the town of Bastogne in Belgium. The basement was part of a recreation provided by 101st Airborne museum to be found there. I couldn’t help think of the people in the Gaza strip and basements in other conflicts all over the world. I can’t attempt to appreciate the hell they endure but I hope the lights are still tonight in their basements.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Anchored In Worthing: Piefest South

Not Mrs Miggins, but the lovely Debs with Pie
Georgio and I last weekend enjoyed the delights of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We stayed in Worthing about 20 miles away. On our last visit to Sussex we found the delightful Anchored in Worthing, our first micropub and run by the bewhiskered genial host Nigel. Small in size but big on hospitality.

So just before we set off some new pies were purchased from S J Bebbington Butchers, for lunch and also to introduce to Nigel/customers at the Anchored in Worthing

So we had the very new creation, Cheshire Cheese Spring Onion & Chives Pie which was delicious and well received (9/10). The other offering from Bebbingtons was the Pork Pie with jelly. Is there any other? The fact that it stated Jelly with it was slight different to give it a try. Now as with all Bebbingtons tasted so far the meat is of very high quality and the pastry is good. Not too thick and moist. I personally was just a tad disappointed with the jelly content as my anticipation levels were high, hoping it would be oozing with jelly but not so (8/10). However it is still a very good pie and better than the majority. 

Nigel MicroPub Master @Anchored in Worthing
We had arrived in Worthing pretty tired and a bit later than expected but the welcome was fantastic. Nigel and partner Debs had arranged for a fresh delivery of their own favourites from a local bakery/cafe "The Pantry Bakery" in Worthing. Handmade and fresh what a joy. So as well as the two types we had brought we had a huge sausage roll (9/10), a Chicken Wild Mushroom & Tarragon Pie (8.5) and finally  a Lamb Carrot and Thyme pie (8.75/10) to taste.  

Add to this Nigel's current menu of locally sourced beers and ciders.....OH HAPPY DAYS !! We fell in love with the Black Pig Orchards, Perry Cider. Big thanks to Nigel, Debs, regulars and irregulars for some great evenings. Pie, chat, impressions and laughter with no TV, jukebox, bandits or louts !!

Cheshire Cheese Spring Onion & Chive Pie and Pork Pie with Jelly