Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wymondham Farm Foods

This week, when the clocks went forward, was very topsy-turvy: The Pie Master did the walk, King Canapé provided the pies and the Walk Master returned with his Shortcake. This week, to warm up for the pies that Charles had sourced from Wymondham Farm Foods on Thursday, we did a 6-mile Boldero walk from Salhouse. We did it in the reverse direction; from All Saints church we headed east and then south by footpath to the centre of Salhouse. From here we ventured west to Rackheath industrial estate taking in views of the Horstead water tower in the distance and passing a collection of car front spoilers! From the industrial estate we headed north west to All Saints church, Rackheath – our lunch stop at about two thirds distance. This not only had a porch for the partaking of sandwiches, but a scratch dial too! We continued our reverse Boldero walk, deviating to take in the “Green Man” on the Wroxham road, for a pint of Adnams or Wherry in good condition. Continuing our walk back to Salhouse church, along Stonehouse road, we again deviated, taking the footpath at the bend in the road, rather than continuing along to the railway bridge. Then, less than a third of a mile from the cars, the Führer led a breakaway group on an extended route in order to avoid walking 70 yards along a lay-by, by the road. When we had all eventually arrived at the cars, the pies were presented. Rather odd looking with the pie top detached from the case. Slicing the pies released a good aroma and revealed a coarse pink filling, with no jelly. These pies were severely let down by poor pastry. The crust was soft, probably due to it being more like short crust than hot water crust pastry. The coarse filling was quite tasty and even better with a touch of mustard. The pies scored a 6.71429 with a standard deviation of 0.95119. Ricky’s Shortcake was then eagerly consumed. So a normalised score of 6.5 for Wymondham Farm Foods.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Don’s Pheasant Pâté

No pies today due to a lack of pie munchers and this being Mothering Sunday, we bowed to Margaret’s wish of a non-pie day. In the absence of the Walk Master, King Canapé and the Pie Master managed to navigate, a poorly signposted, Boldero walk around Brome, Suffolk. Parking near to the Swan Inn, we set off towards Brome church, but just prior to reaching it, headed south to Mustardpot Hall, then picking up the Mid-Suffolk Path, headed to Brome Street, passing Brome Hall. On reaching The Street, Brome Street, we headed west, back towards Brome. Noticing the ideal lunch stop, a covered seating area in front of the village hall – a memorial to the 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy) stationed nearby at Eye - we had our lunch early. Continuing our journey along The Street, full of beautiful thatched cottages, we came to Brome and the church of St. Mary - much reconstructed rather than restored in the 1860’s - although the south porch and south side were much left intact, there were no scratch dials to be found. After inspecting the church interior and admiring its stained glass windows we departed. Retracing our steps a short distance, we then headed north via a footpath towards Warren Hills and shortly before reaching the B1118, turned west and followed a footpath across the A140. Our passage to the church at Stuston via the un-signposted footpath across a field, was blocked by deep furrows across our path, forcing us to follow the perimeter of the field. As can be seen on Google Earth, previously crops blocked this right of way. We eventually reached the Victorianised All Saints church, Stuston. This too had no scratch dials, so we left the church and headed south down a track zigzagging back up Stuston Lane and then south again, down Grove Lane, turning east under a crackling high-voltage pylon and heading to the A140. Walking the short distance down the A140 to the Swan Inn for refreshment, unfortunately it had closed at 15:00! We crossed the A140 to the car. Smoked salmon mousse crescents formed the entrée prior to sampling Don’s Pheasant Pâté on nairns Oatcakes. I really enjoyed this and thought it better than the Venison pâté sampled on the 8th February. Finally, dial-less, we headed for St. Nicholas church, Oakley by car on the way home. This church did not yield any scratch dials either but had some good Victorian stained glass.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

P. & S. Butchers, Holt

Pies from Paul Reed & Simon Wade’s butchers in Holt make a welcome return, since last being tasted on the 12th August 2007, when they scored a stonking 8.75. Our venue for today’s tasting was St. Bartholomew’s church at Corton, near the cliff top in Suffolk. We started our six-mile pre-pie warm up walk with a visit to the church, finding one scratch dial in the porch. We then headed east to the cliff-top and walked north along the cliff passing a very secure bungalow with barbed wire around the perimeter and machine gun posts! Obviously an ex MoD site. Heading inland across a pleasant grass field, we crossed the A12, dual carriageway and then via footpaths, we zigzagged in a southwesterly direction to Blunderston, where we came across a ‘sleeping’ Red Wing. We then made for the church of St. Mary the Virgin for our lunch stop. After refreshments, viewing the church and recording its two scratch dials, we headed to The Plough. No Adnams was available on this visit, so a pint of London Pride refreshed us and got our palates ready for pie. We headed east along footpaths crossing the A12 again and then picking up the old railway line, followed it north back to the car. A Chorizo, potato & sweet pepper tortilla was the starter course, prior to assessing the pies. The good-looking pies revealed a dark, smooth, meat filling when sliced, nicely jellied but had little aroma. Munching the pies revealed a strange tasting filling which some enjoyed but others didn’t, reflected in reasonably high standard deviation of 0.95743. The pies were disappointing, mustard not helping to lift the score and the pastry was unremarkable, resulting in a low score of a spot on 6.5. The customary Shortcake completed the munching.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Lynton Manor, Melton Mowbray pies

The Führer provided new pies for us to sample this week: Lynton Manor’s individual Melton Mowbray pies from Lidl. Unsure of the number of munchers, Margaret brought two 6 packs and just as well she did – the Walk Master had forgotten his sandwiches, so had two pies for lunch! A windy 5.6 miles of very picturesque walking preceded the pie munching for most of us. Parking on some hard-standing in a field near Shelton, we left the cars, heading west along Blacksmith’s Lane and then making use of footpaths, we circled around Shelton arriving at St. Margaret’s church, Hardwick, after about three and a quarter miles. This provided a good lunch stop where the Walk Master tucked into his first two pies. The church had no dials and on completion of lunch, we continued west, passing Shetland ponies and horses that would have delighted the girls, had they been with us. Turning north past chicken sheds, we then headed northwest into Shelton itself and the large church of St. Mary. There were no scratch dials, but Ricky made use of the rood loft stairs to address us. A half-mile brisk walk north, back to the cars ensured we didn’t get caught in the forecast rain – the Weather Wizard had pulled it off again! However the rain had just started and it looked like getting worse, so Ricky offered his abode for the pie munching. Back at chez Ricky, we sampled king prawns with Bay Tree Seafood sauce or green Tabasco sauce. Then the pies, just like the last ‘Melton Mowbray’ pies, these too had been baked in moulds rather than free standing. Slicing revealed a pale filling with no jelly nor aroma. Tasting the pie was disappointing as the expected texture was not present and the flavour seemed to come solely from the seasoning. The saving feature of this pie was its crust – tasty and non lardy. Mustard did not enhance this pie, though the Walk Master munched another pie and a half. Despite this, the pies scored 5.83333 a standard deviation of 0.68313. Shortcake completed the munching. So a normalized score of 6 for Lynton Manor Melton Mowbray pies.

Monday, 2 March 2009

British Pie Week: 2nd - 8th March 2009

Today is the start of British Pie Week 2009, so what better excuse to have a pork pie! It is believed that the humble pie dates back to the Egyptian period of around 2000 B.C. The Egyptians passed the goodness and knowledge of pie onto the Greeks between 1400 B.C. and 600 B.C. sometime during the decline of Egypt and the Greek settlements. From Greece the pie spread to Rome in around 100 B.C. The first known pie recipe came from the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. Pies appeared in England in the 12th century and were predominantly meat pies – a tradition that remains today! The crust of the pie was referred to as the “coffyn” and there was generally more crust than filling. Over 4,000 years on, today the pie remains the most popular pastry in Britain with 57% of us choosing to eat it over any other pastry dish.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Fynn Valley Foods improved pies

Another sampling of Fynn Valley Foods’ 5.5oz pies to follow our walk today. When we last sampled these on the 19th October, the filling was very salty. I wrote to Fynn Valley Foods and told them that we deemed their pies to be too salt. They replied that they had a similar complaint and were going to halve the salt content. Only 6 pie munchers set off from Stalham towards Brumstead, as Margaret was nursing a hangover. The going was good and we soon reached St. Peter’s church, which was unfortunately locked and also had no scratch dials. We then headed south, down Parker’s lane and then eastwards to Ingham and the huge Holy Trinity church, this was our lunch stop. We photographed both the scratch dials in the porch, as we’d only photographed one before. After perusing the interior of the church and admiring the green and red purbeck marble columns supporting the font, we headed back towards Stalham and the squat church of St. Mary. Here we found a further two scratch dials.
The two scratch dials at St. Mary - the one on the left is in the porch!
The church was open and we admired the beautifully preserved font and tried unsuccessfully to identify each of the 12 apostles. This was all too taxing and called for a beer! We headed off for liquid refreshment in the form of a nice pint of Adnams in the Swan Inn. Rejuvenated and with our palates in prime condition, we had a short walk to the car to sample the pies: When cut they had a good aroma, though not prolific and revealed a coarse pink filling, with a little jelly. The pastry was no more than OK, but had a very pleasant taste. The filling, tasty and nicely seasoned. It was good that Fynn Valley Foods had taken onboard the pie munchers comments, as they were now judged to have a score of 7.75 with a standard deviation of only 0.27386. The Walk Master, not only produced a good interesting walk, he stood in as ‘Tea lady’ and also produced Shortcake to complete proceedings! The Pheasant Pâté was kept for the return of the Führer, so Fynn Valley Food’s new recipe pies score a normalised 8.