Sunday, 26 April 2009

G. Morris & Sons' Mega pie

A Mega pie from G. Morris & Sons this week, weighing in at a mighty 1 lb 12oz – we’ve already had their pies this year, on the 11th January, but not on this scale! We headed to the pie tasting ground of Castle Acre with the intention of avoiding the rain, but we were to be wrong footed, three times on this outing. The Walk Master & Weather Wizard had planned a walk in the west to avoid the rain that was predicted to come from the east, on Saturday evening, but the weather front was now coming in from the west. However, we set off from the remains of the castle in good weather, along the Nar Valley Way in a northeasterly direction. Passing fields of happy outdoor reared pie filling, we arrived in West Lexham. Here we headed to the church of St. Nicholas where after a fruitless search for a scratch dial, we had lunch – the boys in the porch and girls sitting outside in the sun. After lunch we retraced our footsteps south, then has a game of Poohsticks as we crossed the River Nar. A second crossing of the Nar provided a return match of Poohsticks before we eventually arrived at Newton-by-Castle-Acre. We were once again wrong footed: choosing to visit the church before the boozer. St. Mary and All Saints church was interesting but dial-less, we then headed to the George and Dragon just before 15:00, where were refused service as they were about to close! Soberly we made our way back towards the cars, passing the porky pie filling again, when we picked up the Nar Valley Way. Our third mistake was when we elected to head into Castle Acre for a pint of Directors in the Albert Victor, before sampling our pie. We left the pub and the wet weather had arrived! We moved the cars under the shelter of some nearby trees for the tasting... Tea by Liz and Smoked Salmon crescents prepared us for the mega pie. Slicing revealed the marbled pink interior with no jelly and not releasing much aroma. However the munching was good - the pastry tasty and crisp, the filling satisfying and even more so with a dab of mustard, giving the pie a healthy score of spot on 8.5, with a small standard deviation of 0.53452. Ricky’s posh Scottish Shortbread was then consumed. So G. Morris’ mega pie, not quite beating the first pie of the month.
The 1 lb 15 oz Mega pie from G. Morris & Sons

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Greens butchers and Chapmans butchers

After a humiliating pie procurement last week, the pie master was able to present two pies: One from Essex and a new Norfolk pie. The Essex pie was made by Greens family butchers of Town Street, Thaxted, kindly supplied by Duncan Donaldson-Davidson. The Norfolk pie was from Chapmans family butchers of The Green Martham, just by the pond. The Walk Master had a bracing walk lined up for us to ensure we had an appetite for two pies! Parking on the cliffs of Mundesley, we headed east pausing to inspect the church of All Saints, noting its scratch dial and Norman slit window. We continued eastwards along the coast passing over the River Mun, or Mundesley Beck, where it headed into the sea and past the Mundesley inshore lifeboat station, where the RIB was having a wash. We continued as far as the Mundesley Holiday Village with its 1933 water tower, where we turned inland to Stow Mill. We headed back into Mundesley, passing the water works, from where the Walk Master had laid an 8” main to the water tower for Anglian Water. We headed up Heath lane, passing close to the 125,000-gallon water tower and past the Golf course to Gimingham. Here we turned south, passing the old diesel engine that provided power to the mill and onto Gimingham church of All Saints for our lunch stop. After consuming our sandwiches and looking around the church, photographing its scratch dial, we retraced our steps northward to the coast. Here were “bird men” floating in the sky, suspended from kites. We followed the cliff top eastwards back to the car accompanied at one point by a yellow Sea King helicopter. Back at the extremely windy car-parking venue, we decided that it would be best to relocate to the shoppers’ car park in town, for pie tasting and tea. First we sampled Quails eggs with celery salt then the pies: first was Greens outdoor reared Gloucester Old Spot pie, this was small on aroma but big on taste, the meaty filling had a good texture and was well seasoned, predominately with sage then pepper. The pastry did not find favour with all and this pie came in with a score of 8.1875 with a standard deviation of 0.84251. The second offering was pies made on the premises of Chapmans butchers: Three good-looking 8oz pies were sliced into thirds and released a wonderful aroma... The nice marbled pink filling was surrounded by air and not a hint of jelly. Unfortunately these pies had little flavour and needed mustard. The pastry too, was bland so a poor score of 4.9375 with a standard deviation of 1.02. Thankfully we had the Shortcake to rejuvenate the taste buds. So Greens outdoor reared Gloucester Old Spot pie scores a normalised 8, Chapmans scores a normalised 5.
      Greens of Thaxted                                     Chapmans of Marthham

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday Disaster!

Josie, the Pie Master’s mawther, had visited the establishment of the renowned butcher, H. Blake on Great Yarmouth market on Wednesday, to source two large pork pies for this week. The venue selected for this weeks sampling was Holkham, after a stroll around the park. The Walk Master led 6 pie munchers around the park in a clockwise direction, observing a barn owl, hares and deer. We passed a barn with an iron wheel mounted on one wall – we assume this was for transferring power from a transaction engine parked by the barn to machinery inside. We continued along Great Barn road to The Avenue, where we turned right and walked eight tenths of a mile to the 80 ft high obelisk, erected in 1730. Continuing to the lake where we found seating, with fabulous views of Holkham Hall. Here we paused for lunch with very noisy ducks and ducklings skimming across the surface of the lake for entertainment. We then set off towards St. Withburga church, high on its grass mound. The church, much restored in the 1860’s, was open and after an internal inspection and a look round the exterior for scratch dials, we headed east after finding none. Walking around the north end of the lake, spotting a harnser and more deer, we returned to the car. No canapés today – King Canapé was on his annual pilgrimage down the smoke. Josie was tea lady in the absence of Margaret and Liz. The pies were sliced and DISASTER! The pies looked off! The marbled pink interior had turned brown in the centre! We’d not seen anything like this before and it didn’t smell good either. Well, as they say "every man has his day" and I assume every butcher has his off day, and we were just unlucky. Tesco chocolate mint biscuits and Shortcake had to suffice. We left the park via the south gate, driving through the park and visiting the temple, missed by the mardling munchers as they passed it by, earlier. We then headed home via Melton Constable, to photograph the water tower. On route, we called in at the welcoming “Bell” public house in Little Walsingham for a pint of “Blond Witch”. We had visited this establishment on the 9th March last year, for a fortifying beverage while on one of Ricky’s extreme walks! So nil points for H. Blake family butchers on this outing. We hope to try one of their OK pies in the near future.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Andrew Jones (Pies) Ltd.

The Pork Pie news has to report the sad loss of an award winning pork pie producer: A gas explosion at the Huddersfield pie factory of Andrew Jones (Pies) Ltd., at about 05:00 this morning, claimed the life of a pie baker and another was seriously injured. The BBC news covered the story and that can be viewed by clicking here. Apparently the Pork Pie Appreciation Society had rated them as a master pie maker.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Butlers Choice pork pies

A new pie for the pie munchers: Medium size Butlers Choice pork pies, homemade by award winning Mrs. Leeks! Purchased from R. A. Cawdron & Son in Stalham. The Walk Master, inspired by the recent Boldero walk, had us heading out to Great Ryburgh to sample the pies. This walk started as the last walk left off... We headed south down a muddy bridle way, the majority following the Walk Master down the left hand side. The Führer led a small party down the right-hand side! They all had to turn back, other than Don, who climbing through the bushes, managed to climb the embankment. Walking along the top of the embankment, passing obstacles on the way, he then met up with the main party via a decent through more bushes! We all eventually regrouped and continued south, observing a buzzard riding the thermals and passing the west gatehouse of Sennowe Hall, we arrived at the church of St. Helen, Gately - this was our lunch stop. Having consumed sandwiches and looked around the church, finding no scratch dials, we made our way back to Great Ryburgh along footpaths that followed the road. In the distance we observed a barn owl hunting and then later rabbits scurrying in the undergrowth, close to our path. We had a quick look around the exterior of St. Andrew’s as it sounded a service was under way. We crossed the road for pints of Adnams in very good condition at the Blue Boar Inn. We returned to the cars parked in front of the village hall, to sample Vintage Houmous with Celery prior to sampling the pies...These good-looking pies with good chunky meat filling and little jelly, released a beautiful aroma when sliced. The meat filling was very tasty and not really enhanced by mustard. The attractive pastry looked better than it tasted. However, these pies were a hit with the massed pie munchers; they were judged to be the best pies this year, with a score of 8.58333 and a standard deviation of 0.79296. The last pie to beat this was Hewitt's small pies sampled on 8th June, when the Führer was absent. The Walk Master then produced Shortcake to complete proceedings! So a normalised score of 8.5 for Butlers Choice pork pies.
Massed Pie Munchers at Great Ryburgh