Sunday, 25 October 2009

G. F. White

Pies from G. F. Whites in Aylsham – “Butcher of the Year” in the Eastern Daily Press, Norfolk Food Awards 2008. We had tasted their pies on the 18th February 2007, when they didn’t fair particularly well. After 6 miles of walking up an appetite around Worsted, we would find out if they had improved. Parking at the Weavers’ Way car park near Briggate Bridge, we headed east for about a mile, following the Weavers' Way along a former railway cutting, passing under the attractive iron bridge. Then going south, we crossed the disused lock on the Dilham canal. The “boys” Bert & Harris were walking with us and soon found a new friend: Max - a black Labrador who then decided to join us on our walk! After a little way, Max would not leave us and return home, so he was put on a lead and returned to the house from where he originated. We regrouped and the boys had now made another friend Bertie: a Border Terrier – thankfully this one was attached to his owner. Dilham church of St. Nicolas was visited at just over 2 miles – no scratch dials here as it was completely rebuilt in 1931. Now heading west, with Don trailing, attacking brambles with his secateurs, we sampled the last Blackberries of the season. Lunch was taken in the large porch of the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Worstead. This large church has two scratch dials, already in our collection, and after perusing the interior; we headed for the comfort of the New Inn. Here we where all made welcome and served pints of Adnams and Wherry. Even “Bisto” the pub dog came down to welcome us, but Bert and Harris were not that impressed. From Worsted, we headed north to once again join the Weavers’ Way path along the railway cutting that we followed east back to the cars. Prawns with mayonnaise were again the starter course, prior to the pies. The pies, unique in appearance with lose fitting tops, looked promising. Cutting revealed a pink filling with good texture. Aroma and jelly were both lacking, but the real disappointment was the munching. The crust was soft and bland and the filling not really tasting of anything. The pie did score 5.83333 with a standard deviation of 0.93095 so normalised to 6 – just below the 6.5 on the previous outing. Yummy Chocolate slab cake was slipped in before Shortbread that concluded our post walk munching.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Aberdeen Angus & Stilton pie!

With the anticipated absence of the Walk Master, King Canape had dug out a Boldero walk and the Pie Master had plotted it on a map. No pie had been purchased due to lack of munchers. At the eleventh hour, the Walk Master declared his availability, so four pie munchers set off for Sisland – the forth being King Can. On arriving at the small car park and finding it full, it was decided to head into Loddon and park in the larger car park in front of the church. The Walk Master deemed that starting from here, it would be preferable to do the walk the reverse direction. Following his lead, we followed and not having gone 100 yards, we came to “Select Meats” - a butcher’s shop that was open. Don popped in to see if they had any pork pies – they had sold out, so one to try in the future. An Aberdeen Angus and Stilton pie was purchased and a jar of horseradish sauce. After returning the pie to the cool bag in the car, we continued our journey through Loddon and crossed the A146 to Stubbs Green, noting three abandoned footballs in as many locations.Heading south west we crossed Stubbs Green, continued down a short length of road and then by footpath towards Loddon Ingloss water tower in the distance. We spotted the first of many hares that we would see during this walk, as we approached Manor farm. We then met a group of walkers doing the same walk, anti-clockwise, having their sandwiches – they had taken the last space in the car park! Crossing Ingloss Lane, we went through an enclosure containing two friendly horses and then made our way north to Mundham, meeting another two groups doing the same walk. Then heading east, to the walk’s start point, the church of St. Mary the virgin, Sisland. Here we had our sandwiches. The church was too new to have a scratch dial, being rebuilt in 1761 after the original church was struck by lighting during a service! From here we headed back to Loddon following the route we had previously driven, with the exception of a footpath across the corner of a field. Returning to Loddon High Street, we ventured up Bridge Street to see what refreshment the Kings Head could offer. Beers from Timothy Taylor were on offer: Landlord and Golden Best - a golden mild. Refreshed we walked the short distance to the car. The Pie Master served the tea while King Canape dished up prawns with mayonnaise. The Aberdeen Angus and Stilton pie was next on the menu with an accompaniment of either horseradish sauce or English mustard. Not being proficient at scoring beef pies, we estimated that this very good pie, with tender beef chunks, would come in at about 8 out of 10. Sausage, bacon and cheese wraps, purchased as a substitute for pork pie, were next consumed before the Shortbread finale.

  Don Warman then made a presentation of Bystanders Foundation Material to Charles – sand excavated from beneath the beer cellar at 5, Thorpe Road!


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Sunday, 11 October 2009

"Naked" pork pie from Bray’s Cottage

A new pie for us this week, from Bray’s Cottage, their “Naked pork pie”, first tasted in small format by the Pie Master at Norfolk Dog Day. The Walk Master had chosen Clippesby as the tasting location and had devised a 6-mile walk to work up an appetite. On arrival at the car park, the walk master spotted a concessionary footpath and a map detailing the route. In his masterly way, he produced a more interesting 6-mile walk in a couple of minutes! So the pie munchers set off south, down the concessionary path seeing both a Marsh Harrier and a Kestrel. The path then swung west and took us to the River Bure. Here we joined Weavers’ Way, walking north by river, we observed a couple of swans landing then, passing Upton Dyke, a pair of Cormorants flew west above us. We passed Wiseman’s Oby Drainage Mill in poor condition, and came by a field with a fine mix of beautiful bovine examples - especially a woolly white bullock. We headed further north and then northeast by Oby South Dyke, after getting great views of the river with the low sun reflecting on the water. We followed Weavers’ Way to Thurne Church of St. Edmund the King Martyr. Here we consumed our sandwiches and found a scratch dial. From here we headed to the Lion Inn and were supplied with Old Speckled Hen and Wherry. On the return leg, our route back along the river was diverted due to vegetation clearage. The diversion took us by a house with grotesques on the wall, and a concrete porker in the garden. We eventually returned to the waters edge before heading east back to the cars. Prawns with mayonnaise were this week’s starter course. The Naked pie, obviously baked in a foil container, looked good with a glossy top. Cutting the pie released a little aroma, not much, but boy did it smell good! The filling was pink and nicely textured though not much evidence of jelly. The taste was very good prompting the comments "Hit the spot" and "Best pie for a long while”. This pie was much better than the small naked previously tried. The recent small recipe amendment, helped this pie to romp home with a score of 8.875 with a standard deviation of 0.64087 – so a normalised score of 9 for Bray’s Cottage “Naked”. Shortbread returned as the final course this week.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

P. B. George Quality Meats.

Yet another new pie for the pie munchers to sample on the 51st anniversary of ‘Smoot day’. First we had to negotiate 5,674 Smoots of Boldero walk, over the boarder in Suffolk, around Syleham and Wingfield. We had to do this without the skills of the Walk Master. Parking at Syleham village hall, a dozen of us, including new Sunday walkers Bert and Harris, headed east along a short length of road. Then heading north for almost a mile, along a footpath to Syleham House, we passed beautiful cattlebeautiful cattle. Another short length of road, east and a half-mile of footpath south east. Here Bert and Harris had great fun chasing anything that moved and rummaging under bushes. Now at two miles, or 1,891 Smoots, we again headed east along the road to a long footpath south to Wingfield. Here we had our lunch in the grounds of St. Andrew’s church. Finding no scratch dial we made our way across the road to the delightful De La Pole Arms. Here we were refreshed with good local beers as we enjoyed the good weather outside. A huge friendly dog came to greet our new walkers, but Bert and Harris were not interested in making a new friend and let her know very vocally! Our route then took us west through an equestrian centre, before we came to Syleham Road. We had to walk north along this very quiet road for about a mile, passing cows grazing on the green. From here we could see Woodlands water tower above the trees at Fressingfield. Further along the road we were greeted by an elderly Spaniel, Bert and Harris were quite happy to make friends this time. Before we turned left down Windmill Lane, we passed farm buildings and the squeals of indoor reared porkers - the like, we hoped, had not found their way into our pies. On reaching the stump of the former post mill, severely damaged in Great Storm of 1987, we headed north across a field back towards the cars. The sting in the tail (or the sting in the legs, in my case) was we could not initially find the final footpath, as it was the heavily overgrown with stinging nettles! Back at the cars we started with Spanish canap├ęs – Tapas: Octopus Chunks, Squid Pieces and Anchovies with Manchego cheese. Then onto small pies from P. B. George Quality Meats of Norwich. The pies had no aroma when cut and only a hint of jelly as visible. The crust was good, sweet and crisp, the filling having a reasonable texture but lacking any punch. Scoring 7.2857 with a high standard deviation of 1.0746, normalising the score rounds it up to 7.5 for P. B. George. No Shortbread or even Hobnobs this week. On the way home, we stopped at Park Farm to purchase Jumbo free range eggs at just £1 for six - a bargain!