Sunday, 28 June 2009

Doreen's 80th

An early start for the pie munchers this week: 10:00, as we had to celebrate Doreen’s 80th Birthday. The Walk Master had chosen a local walk from Newton St. Faiths: parking the three cars on the road that led to Manor House, a dozen pie munchers crossed the A140, Cromer Road and headed west along the wooded Green Lane. The Pie Master having taken on lots of fluids after a pre-walk bike ride, had to “turn his bike around” frequently along this stretch! We headed southwest along Mill Lane to cross the B1149, Holt Road, then a loop around west Horsford and the Activity Centre, by track and road to once again cross the B1149. 700 yards along footpaths brought us to All Saints church and our lunch stop, at just over 4 miles. The church provided shade but no scratch dials and after a short stop we were off again. As the day progressed so did the sun’s intensity, forcing a trip back over the B1149 and stop at the Horsford Dog for a pint of Courage Best at £2.20 a pint. Once more into the baking sun, we again crossed the B1149 and trekked across fields of cereal back to Newton St. Faiths. As we approached the A140 Cromer Road, two deer were spotted crossing our path and then lingered in the tall grass before disappearing into woods. We arrived back at the cars, where tea was available but no pies today. We arrived at Doreen’s do to find King Canape and Don, back from his adventures down the smoke, already there. A superb selection of Canapés had been laid on and the alcohol flowed freely. Great hospitality and a chance to catch up with other Bystanders, celebrating Doreen’s birthday in style - the octogenarian managing to blow out all her candles! Hugo did his best to take centre stage from the birthday girl, but the “wine fight” restored Doreen to the limelight before the celebrations wound up and the rain came.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Topping's Family Pork Pie

A potentially very interesting pork pie this week: Topping's Family Pork Pie - "Finest Yorkshire pork encased in a traditional shortcrust pastry". Interesting, as after I had purchased the two pies in ASDA, I spotted beneath the price ticket "contains 50% Beef and 20% Chicken"! The store assistant was as baffled as I and could not offer any explanation. The ASDA Service Team has confirmed this to be an error that has now been rectified. Before we could sample Yorkshire’s finest pork (or Beef and Chicken) we had six miles to yomp. The Walk Master took us to Morton to enjoy a stroll along the coast towards Stiffkey. This was no stroll for the Pie Master and his mawther as Sabre, who joined us on the 10th May, was in our care! We headed inland and crossed the very pleasant Cockthorpe Common and into the village. We headed for All Saints church, where we ate lunch and Sabre exercised his vocal chords, encouraging all other dogs in the vicinity to do likewise! Lunch consumed and no scratch dials found, we headed back through the village and then towards the coast along the perimeter track of a disused airfield. After pausing to take in the great panoramic views and the dots on Blakeney Point that were seals, we headed east along Love Lane. While walking this track we observed a roe deer hoss across the field to the north, heading for the Common. We followed the track north, spotting a pair of Marsh Harriers hunting, as we turned. We then took a track east, that would lead to Binham Lane, that should have taken us to the pub, but it was now closed. We continued on to Langham Road and an unscheduled visit to All Saints church, Morston. Finding no scratch dials, we headed for the Anchor Inn. Here we had a good scheme of splitting the round into cars: Ricky went in to order and Josie went in to see what beer was available and said to Ricky they have Winter’s Golden, Green King IPA & Speckled Hen and exited to inform me. The over eager barmaid took this to be an order, producing a pint of Winter’s Golden and a pint of Green King IPA. Further confusion and the two rounds merged into one, the barmaid not hearing the repeated requests for shandys to be made with Winter’s Golden and using IPA – obviously on commission from Green King. Most of us enjoyed the Winter’s Golden while Ricky had to make do with a pint of IPA. We then made our way to the cars parked at the National Trust car park. First the Canapé: Oat cake and carrot sticks to dip into lemon & coriander Houmous, sour cream with chives, Guacamole and Vine ripened tomato salsa! Next Topping's Family Pies: slicing revealed a nice pink filling, rather lacking texture, with a good helping of jelly. A faint fresh aroma could be detected if one got in close. The pie disappointed, the pie crust being soft and the filling being very salty. This pie was judged to score 6.15 out of 10 with a standard deviation of 0.91439. To complete the feast, rather warm, dark chocolate & ginger Florentines to supplement the Shortbread. So a normalised 6 for Topping’s pies.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A. H. Butler & Son

The pie munchers ventured over the border to Yaxley in Suffolk to sample a foreign pie from over another border: pies from A. H. Butler & Son of March, Cambridgeshire. Sourced when the Pie Master was at “ Ear Ache”. Parking at the village hall, where later a fete would be held, 13 munchers and a conchie set off on a 6-mile appetiser, first visiting St. Mary’s church, Yaxley with an interesting grave stone and a gem of a scratch dial, with half hour graduations! After a few yards along a road, we followed footpaths eastwards, south, then west for about three and a third miles before a short walk along roads to St. Mary’s Thornham Parva. This small church without a porch, was our lunch stop at just shy of four miles. The church had no scratch dials that we could find, and when everyone had been corralled, we headed north, then east and north again to reach Yaxley. Then despair! As we approached the Cherry Tree – it was closed. Then, carefully reading the sign outside, we found that the pub had relocated to the village hall to support the fete. Returning to the cars, the fete was underway with tug-o-war taking place. The bar was open, selling Adnams Bitter and Mauldons Mid Summer Gold – a pint of this in the hot sunshine could go to your head! After purchasing a cake we retired to the cars for cups of tea and King prawns with a Marie Rose Sauce. Then the two large pies from March: a reasonable appearance and when cut yielded a pleasant aroma and revealed a nice amount of jelly. This found favour with the pie munchers coming in with a score of 8.34615 with a standard deviation of 0.98710. Don then produced a second pie that when sliced revealed a bright pink filling with plenty of seasoning but no jelly. Only some of the munchers sampled this as some had been tucking into the tasty cake and thought their palates were no longer fit for objective tasting. This pie from the King’s Head in Magdalen Street, Norwich scored 7.58333 with a small standard deviation of only 0.37639. So A. H. Butler scored a normalised 8.5 and the King’s Head a normalised 7.5.
      A. H. Butler & Son pies                         remains of the King’s Head pie
All that remained was to have a group photograph of the massed munchers.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Ginsters of Cornwall

Ginsters pies made their debut with the pie munchers on the first Sunday of June. A clockwise walk around Ludham water tower would ready our palates. Parking at Ludham Village hall we headed north to Catfield, along footpaths to All Saints church, Catfield where we had lunch at two and a half miles. The church provided us with shelter from a shower that had just started and also provided scratch dial #150 for our collection. A swift half-mile walk, in light rain, to the welcoming Crown Inn public house, with a splendid map showing U-boats sunk in WWII, for a pint of Humpty Dumpty. Here the Pie Master bumped into an ex-work colleague, “Agent Perez”! Donning waterproofs all, the munchers headed south via roads and tracks to walk yards away from the 1980 wineglass style water tower. We finally joined the A1062 Yarmouth Road with cyclists streaming by, all taking part in the Norfolk 100-mile cycle event. We returned to the village hall, where the Bowling Green had been left unlocked, enabling us to utilise the table and sofa under the veranda for the partaking of tea and pie. No canapés today as Kink Canape was dining at the Artichoke in Broome. Cutting the pie revealed a pink meat filling that was pleasing to the eye, other than the fact that it had only the merest hint of jelly. Munching the pie revealed a pleasant crust and an under spiced meat filling. The scores resulted in an average of 6.1 with a standard deviation of 1.14018. So a normalised score of 6 for Ginsters of Cornwall.