Sunday, 30 August 2009

Dickinson & Morris

Pies return this week: the tried and tested Dickinson & Morris, Melton Mowbray pies last tasted on the 6th April, last year. Reedham was to be the location to verify the pies past credentials. We parked in the car park of the recreation ground. From here, fourteen of us set off west and slightly northwards to Limpenhoe Common, along very minor roads. From here we headed south west along a track, squeezing past a farmer’s truck and trailer being used to unload livestock, to cross the railway line. Shortly after this, Josie spotted a small Grass Snake wriggling off ahead of her. On reaching the river we followed it’s northern bank on its meandering path east, pausing for lunch by Limpenhoe Drainage Mill at about 3½ miles. Sandwiches consumed, Elena distributed plums for dessert, then the mill was inspected internally, by those interested. Continuing along the river bank to the ferry, we found that our way was blocked, so a short diversion along Ferry Road to the Railway Station, and back to the Lord Nelson and the excellent first Reedham Riverside Beer Festival. Various beers provided liquid refreshment, before we made our way north and back to the cars. Smoked Salmon Crescents provided the first course before the pies were cut. Slicing the dull pie crust revealed a pinker than expected, coarse meat filling encased in a small amount of jelly. The filling, well peppered was pleasant, especially with the addition of mustard made up for the rather lardy crust. The munchers agreed giving the pies a spot on 7.5 with a standard deviation of 0.60302. Don then provided us with a portion of Bleu de Gex cheese to be sampled on Oatcakes. This was a powerful portion of cheese! Finally there was Shortbread for those that had room. Now it was time to have a go on the play equipment.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Queso - Spanish Cheese

Again no pies this week – the Pie Master had done his back in, preventing pie procurement. Fortunately something slipped back into place on Saturday afternoon, enabling the Pie Master to march & munch this w/e. A dozen of us headed to Swanton Morley. Parking in the church car park, we headed east to the river Wensum, but before the party had done half a mile, Giant Puffballs were spotted and had to be harvested and packed in bags. After passing Castle Farm, we continued the very picturesque River Walk, following the Wensum for over a mile. The group came to a standstill as a large brown dragonfly landed on a gate with a wasp. It then proceeded to chew its head off and then devoured the rest of the wasp. The Pie Master was at the rear of the group and was not aware of the activity – so no pictures or video for the web site. Leaving the Wensum, we headed south, along by Penny Spot Beck awhile, then leaving it on our right as we made our way uphill to our lunch spot, in the shade of some trees. From here we headed along tracks to Woodgate and then following footpaths to Swanton Morley and Darby’s Free House. This welcoming pub with a good selection of beers provided us with pints of “Reedcutter” from the Humpty Dumpty Brewery, delicious “Afternoon Delight” from the local Beeston Brewery and “Wherry”. In addition two friendly dogs in the bar: Dylan and Boots – of course they wanted a fuss.... The beers slowly supped as we mardled in the garden, we then returned to All Saints, where the Walk Master spotted half a scratch dial high on a buttress. The church being locked, it was out with the tea and this week’s starter course: Adriatic Anchovy fillets and Lemon & coriander Houmous accompanied by nairn’s oatcake and Rick Stein Savoury Oat Biscuits. The Pie Master had brought a lump of Spanish cheese, believed to be a sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque county, in lieu of a pie. This was good and soon got devoured, almost before it could be photographed for the record. Shortbread completed the courses. On the way home, some of us headed to St. Mary’s church, Bylaugh, seen on the walk on the other side of the Wensum. It too was locked and although having a Norman tower, the church was more recent and so no scratch dials.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Hewitt's Medium Pies

Quality pies return this week: medium pies from Hewitt’s of Church Plain, Mattishall. We sampled their small pies on the 8th June last year last year, when they scored a healthy 8.7. To get ourselves ready for the tasting, we headed west and parked by the OS monument – what you or I would call a trig point, at TF 794 201. From here we headed south down the road following Peddars Way until we came to a track that took us east a short distance, before we headed north up a track that became Sandy Lane. This took us to Great Massingham where we made our way to St. Mary’s church. After searching for scratch dials and finding none, we ate our sandwiches in the huge porch. The church was locked and the shop holding the key was closed, so we made our way to the pub, finding a small Giant Puffball in the churchyard, which was harvested and taken home by the Pie Master. “The Dabbling Duck by the village green is a fine pub and provided us with pints of very tasty “Worth The Wait” from the local Beeston Brewery, Wherry and stamps for our Woodforde’s Ale Trail. Also taking refreshment at this establishment was Hugo with his mum and dad, together with cousin Darcey. We left the watering hole and ventured west, along footpaths sampling wild plums on route. Then turning north for a short distance to join the metalled track that took us past the Braithwaite water tower – still in use by Anglian water. We again joined the Peddars Way and followed it south east to return to the cars, walking by fields of porkie pie filling! No canapés this week as King Canape was in London, so straight into the very good-looking pies with their high gloss crust. Slicing the pies revealed a pink filling, nicely jellied and a faint pleasant aroma. A very tasty, non-lardy crust enclosed a lightly spiced filling finding favour with all munchers. These pies tasted equally as good with or without mustard and scored 8.16666 out of 10 with a standard deviation of 0.51640, so a normalised score of 8 for Hewitt’s. Shortbread then accompanied any remaining tea.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Anyone For Pork Pie Ice Cream?

The Pie Master and Josie went to the Norfolk Dog Day, so it was going to be pieless... No one was selling Pork Pie flavour Ice Cream - a delicacy produced Morelli's ice cream parlour at London store Harrods. However we did meet Sarah Pettegree of Bray's Cottage, so we just had to sample one of her "Naked pork pies"! Elsewhere in Norfolk, pie munchers sans pies were working up an appetite for canapés...

The Walk Master reports: Starting from Cley village hall, ten of us made our way west across allotments then up Barn Drift before turning south west across The Hangs with clear panoramic views of the Salthouse Marshes and Cley Nature Reserve. Next westwards along the road, north across Salthouse Heath and down via woodland path and lane to Salthouse Church (St. Nicholas) for a sandwich break in the churchyard. At this stage we were feeling parched, so repaired to the Dun Cow on The Green, both were packed with people and cars respectively. After drinks onwards west over Sarbury and Walsey Hills before turning seawards along the east side of Cley Nature reserve then west along the shingle bank, hard going, and finally back towards Cley along the flood bank to visit the smoke house for various purchases. Tea, canapés and biscuits were enjoyed but the ubiquitous pork pies were nowhere to be seen, alas, as our generous provider had gone to the dogs! A tour of Cley church (St. Margaret) completed a balmy Sunday afternoon before the trek back.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Millers of Dorset

A new pie this week: Millers of Dorset, established 1937 – where do we keep finding them? Somerfield this week, reduced to a pound a pie, down from £1.49! Before we could munch said bargains, the pre-pie yomp had to be completed. 14 of us set off northwards from the church car park at West Somerton and bearing right reached Winterton Ness and Bishy-barney-bee beach! They were crawling all over the sand. Strolling south-east down the coast with many beautiful dogs enjoying the sand and sea, we paused to eat our sandwiches in the dunes, while some elected to go for a swim first and caught site of a seal swimming near to land. Bishy-barney-bees were not the only uninvited guests to our picnic - hundreds of hoverflies had joined them too. Retreating from the beach at Winterton-on-Sea, we sort sanctuary at the Fishermans Return and pints of Wherry and Winter's Revenge. Following footpaths east, we came upon a garden where a lady was taking a bath – a work of art that was one of many, including a tin can sculpture that Don appreciated. Returning to the church of St. Mary, we crossed grass fields with scores of rabbits, all hossing to shelter, when they spotted us. The church was closed due to ongoing refurbishment. The scratch dial, previously photographed was still there, beneath a window. Tea and nairn’s mini oatcakes with Tapenade and supreme taramasalata started this week’s feast. The rather dull looking pies were then cut, releasing no aroma. The pies had a smooth pale pink filling that looked like luncheon meat with no jelly. The tasting proved worse than the aesthetic, the pastry being lardy and the filling worse than tasteless – mustard could not rescue this pie. Surprisingly, some munchers did not find it so bad and it scraped in with a score of 3.95833 with a standard deviation of 0.63246. Thankfully there were better flavours to consume: Chocolate and Cherries, Maple syrup & pecan galettes and shortbread! So a normalised score of 4 for Millers of Dorset.