Sunday, 29 June 2008

Crantock’s West Country pies

A less challenging walk for our pie grazing warm up this week - a pleasant walk through Waveney Forest and then along the edge of Redwings horse Sanctuary to our lunch stop at St. Edmund's church, Fritton after only two miles! This yielded another scratch dial for the collection. The next 2 mile leg had the attraction of beer at the end. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a very indifferent pint served by an indifferent bar man at the Bell at St. Olaves. The final two-mile leg had the prize of a pork pie – supplied by our original Pie Master, Charles. These were star shaped, West Country pies from Crantock’s on Norwich Market. The pastry was not the traditional hot-water crust, more of a flaky pastry, and a little over cooked. The filling was good though, tasty but not heavily spiced. The lack of jelly did not prevent the pie getting a very respectable score, coming in at 8.333 but may have accounted for the high standard deviation of 0.8165. So that’s a normalised score of 8.5 for Crantock’s West Country pies.
Crantock’s West Country pies (Click picture to open in new window)

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Archers Two Pounder

A 2lb monster pie from Archers was our penultimate pie of the month, this was still warm when purchased on Friday and with the high meat to crust ratio, I had high hopes of this pie. We headed to Ludham to sample this pie, first visiting Ludham church then walking away from the water tower, a stroll along a lane with baby ducks by a pond, very pleasant. However, Ricky has a surprise for us – he’d pulled another extreme walk out of the bag! We were to walk along the riverbank to St. Benet’s Abbey – the footpath was on the other side of the river! Our route was two and a half miles through waste-high grass and stinging nettles on very rough ground in a gale force wind. After almost a mile of this, an alternative route that went along the side of a field was followed. It had been hard going, so much so that Giada had to go swimming several times to cool off. From St. Benet’s Abbey we followed footpaths to the King’s Arms for a well-earned pre pie pint. A short drive to Ludham village hall to sample the pie, but first instead of Canapés, Charles presented a Pancetta & Gruyère Flamé and a Polenta Cake. Then this weeks huge pie, similar in appearance to Mrs. King’s. This pie had a very tasty and crisp pie crust, but unfortunately lacked jelly and flavour, needing more seasoning, so this pie came in with a respectable, but not prize winning 7.1666 with quite a high standard deviation of 0.71774. So that’s a normalised score of 7 for Archers, a repeat of their scores from Reedham on 21/10/07 and West Harling Heath on 17/2/08 for their smaller pies. Just in case we were still hungry, Ricky brought out some Shortbread!
The mighty two pounder from Archers
The coplete feast: Pancetta & Gruyère Flamé, Polenta Cake, Pie and Shortbread

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Oakvale pork pies

Oakvale pies from Thorpe Family Butchers, Yarmouth Road - our eighth new pie in a row - was the object of the appetite creating walk on Sunday 16th. Ten of us plus Giada headed south to Weeting for the event. We walked through Thetford forest, finding strange plastic objects on the tracks (evidence of an alien visit?). Lunch was taken at the church of St. Mary’s, Weeting, our first visit but no scratch dials, onward to Weeting castle and then a short walk to our pre-pie pint at the Saxon. The “Rusty Bucket”, brewed over the boarder in Brandon went down well, while the storm clouds gathered. Two miles back to the cars revealed a venerable feast to accompany our cup of tea: First off, instead of Canapés, Charles presented a Pissaladiere! This is a puff pastry tart topped with sautéed onions, sliced green olives and anchovies fillets – yum! Next the main event, the hand raised pork pies had a glossy crisp pastry with a very small amount of jelly and obviously hitting the spot with a score of 8.2 with a standard deviation of 0.67495. We finished with a cheese course, Picón Bejes Tresviso, that José had brought back from his holiday with the Führer in Spain, a strong blue cheese. Giada was oblivious to all this food as she had been provided with large marrow bone by Don. We drove home through torrential rain, making us appreciate the talents of our Walk Master & Weather Wizard. So that’s a normalised 8 for Oakvale 6oz pies.
      Oakvale Pork Pies                            Pissaladiere and Cheese video
Pie munchers                                       Bone muncher Click on images to enlarge

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Hewitt's, Mattishall

Yet another new pie to sample on our second week of June! Our Walk Master & Weather Wizard took us to Sheringham Park to enjoy the Rhododendrons in bloom and the cool sea breeze this hot Sunday. Parking at Beeston Regis where a car boot sale was in progress and parking was at a premium, we headed south to Sheringwood eventually ending up in the park and walking paths we had not previously used. The assembled elected not to climb the viewing platform “Gazebo” and Ricky didn’t enforce a march to the top and an abseil down! I ventured half way up the platform to spot the Sheringham Park water tower after a tip off. Venturing through the Rhododendrons to the tower, I managed to photograph it with a wide-angle lens – another one for the collection. We returned to Sheringham along the beach for a relaxed pint at the Lobster before tackling the 3/4 of a mile route back to the pork pies. This week we were sampling small hand raised pork pies from Hewitt's of church plain, Mattishall. A crisp pastry enclosed a very tasty, not overly spiced, smoothish meat filling that pleased, resulting in a score of 8.7 and a standard deviation of 0.44721, so that’s a normalised 8.5 for Hewitt's smalls.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Icarus Hines

We headed to Swaffham for our first pie appetising walk of the month – a loop round the countryside north of Swaffham - not that extreme as we hadn’t been issued with jungle kit, so had no machetes to hack a path through the proposed route! A half-mile detour along the side of the A1065 had to be substituted. We arrived back at Swaffham at the church of St Peter & St Paul, unfortunately with no scratch dial and all locked up. We had a poor pint of Tom Wood’s at the Red Lion after visiting the Italian market then returned to the car to sample another new pie – the sixth new pie in a row. These were small hand raised pies from Icarus Hines of Sheringham. The meat filling was dark, slightly pink and had a fine texture. The pie was tasty with pleasant light crust, though Charles thought it a bit lardy, the filling was tasty with a definite presence of sage in the seasoning. The pies were well liked resulting in a score of 8.1 with a low standard deviation of 0.22361, so a normalised 8 for Icarus Hines small pies.