Sunday, 28 February 2010

Cannell's Family Butcher

On a rainy day, with 2” of rain and gale-force winds forecast, three pie munchers “called in sick”. The Walk Master too was unable to walk, but kindly devised a walk around Reepham and Whitwell to take in the beer festival at Whitwell station, and had delivered it to the Führer. The two cars of munchers, managed to successfully navigate to the car park north of Reepham, unlike last month... Six munchers set off, the Führer looking at the map, declared that the prescribed walk used paths that would be too slippery in the wet conditions, and that we would walk some of Marriott’s Way! Heading south down the road towards Reepham, we took the first footpath on the right. Following our Führer, along slippery footpaths, after a few minutes we ended back at the cars! We then headed north along the road, away from Reepham and took the first footpath on our left, traversing this, we looked for a footpath on our right that would get us onto Marriott’s Way – the old M&GN line. Eventually we found a rather wet field with footpath across it. We managed to circumnavigate the deepest water and get on to the old railway track. Finding a bridge over the track, we elected to use this shelter from the rain, to eat our sandwiches, as we would now not be visiting Reepham church as planned. After walking further west, we took a footpath south that brought us first onto quiet roads, and then back on to another part of Marriott’s Way. We followed this, east, to Whitwell station and the excellent beer festival. With 20 good beers on, and those we sampled, in excellent condition, along with the good food that was sampled by some. We headed back along Marriott’s Way a short distance, meeting two nervous horses that were spooked by the sight of a tent at the station, and came thundering back towards us! We had to leg it out of the way! Here we left the track and headed back to Reepham, along Back Lane, spotting 3 large deer in a field. From Reepham, we followed the road to the car park back to the cars. No canapés today, as King Canape was one of the munchers with a bad cold. Tea was accompanied by star shaped pies supplied by Jose Luis, from Cannell’s family butcher in Diss. These apparently originated from Cornwell. The pies had a good crisp crust the filling had no jelly and almost no aroma. Unfortunately the filling was also lacking in flavour and texture. The pies were rather cold and this perhaps contributed to the lack of flavour. The pies came in with a score of 5.91666 with a standard deviation of 1.15830. The customary Shortcake finale did not occur in Ricky’s absence – however there was chocolate to complete proceedings. So a normalised score of 6 for Cannell’s family butcher of Diss.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Pie Master's Birthday Card

Chris Bartrum, knowing of my love of pork pies and also of water towers, sent me this wonderful Birthday card, that I just have to share with you:
© Copyright 2010, Ebenezer Publications

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sainsbury’s mini Melton Mowbray pies

Inclement weather prompted the Pie Master to take the easy option and purchase Sainsbury's mini Melton Mowbray pork pies - we hadn't tried them before & they were on offer! Seven pie munchers set off the following day, in even worse weather, from the fisherman's car park at Blickling Hall. Heading east, we made our way slowly along white fields towards Ingworth, befriending a horse in field on route. We continued east before approaching Aylsham from the north, passing Dunkirk and the old water mill. We eventually reached the shelter afforded by the large church of St. Michael & All Saints. Here we consumed our sandwiches and learnt who we could not marry. Taking note of this, we headed for the warmth of the Black Boys Inn. This establishment was packed with diners, but we managed to squeeze in and enjoy pints of Wherry or hot cups of drink. Thankfully the sleet had abated for our journey back to Blickling, passing the church we then headed west down Peterson’s Lane. We then followed a pleasant footpath that followed the B1354, Blickling Road, emerging opposite St. Andrew’s church, Blickling. We had previously examined this church and found it to be dial-less. Passing in front of the hall, we then headed north to walk around the west side of the frozen lake and back to the cars, spotting a barn owl on our way. Artichoke hearts were canapés this week, that preceded the pies. After providing rather too much in the way of porkie delights last week, I had rather under catered with only 6 mini Melton Mowbray pies to go round. The pies were not bad, but that is about as much that could be said for them. A crisp but lardy case enclosed a bland filling with no aroma. Mustard helped this pie out a little and it managed to score 6.28571 with a high standard deviation of 1.21988. Shortcake completed the grazing experience. So a normalized score of 6.5 for J Sainsbury’s mini Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Pickerings Large Pies

Valentines Day saw us sampling one of last year’s top five pies, large pork pies from Pickerings, last sampled on the 1st February. The Walk Master again being unavailable, the Führer dictated that we find a walk that did not cross ploughed fields. The weather forecast was not good and a 4.8 mile walk around St. Faiths was devised. Only five pie munchers set off, three munchers being unable to walk due to ailments, including the Fuhrer suffering from gout. Starting from Newton St. Faiths we headed south towards Horsham St. Faiths, down a track. We had followed orders, there were no ploughed fields, but something we hadn’t planned on was that the track at one point, was liquid mud, some 3” deep. As we headed south, we could see rain in the distance, but we were lucky - only getting a couple of spots, missing the heavy sleet that fell on Norwich. We successfully navigated our way to Horsham St. Faiths, and the interesting church of St. Mary & St. Andrew that boasted a large scratch dial on a buttress. Here we had lunch at 2.8 miles, before a third of a mile walk to the Black Swan and pints of Adnams, IPA and Guinness, all in good order. The walk back to the start point was pretty straightforward. We returned to the cars for tea, but no Canapés this week. The good looking, hand raised pies were releasing a wonderful aroma even before they were cut. Slicing the pies, the aroma intensified, revealing a marbled filling without jelly. This well spiced pie with its good tasting, crisp pastry found favour with the pie munchers, with the exception of one. Producing a score of 8.25 with a high standard deviation of 1.12916. We ended with the customary Shortcake. So Pickerings get a normalised score of 8.5, equalling their score of last year.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bob Knights, Large Pies

The Walk Master could not walk this week, however he had devised a 6-mile route around Whitlingham Country Park. All six of us managed to squeeze into the Pie Master’s car, along with Bert & Harris and good-looking pies from Bob Knights, of Beccles. Parking at the far car park and finding that it was no longer free, we paid our £4 from the kitty – good job we were all in one car. We started with a clockwise loop up the south bank of the broad, passing Lime Kilns (now home to bats) and traversing the workings, spotting the first Snowdrops of the year. We then did an anti-clockwise circuit of the large broad, passing the former Norwich Union Sailing Club on the far bank of the River Yare and dinghies searching for wind. There were also many bird watchers peering through telescopes all round the broad. On reaching the Outdoor Education Centre, we continued hoping to walk around the small broad, only to find that this is now a private road with no right of way, despite being marked as such, on one of the public maps. We headed back and passing between the two boards, picked our way through the birders, to Whitlingham Lane, which we followed into Trowse. Finding the church of St. Andrew locked and without a scratch dial, we occupied the nearby bus shelter to eat our sandwiches. Looking forward to getting warm and some liquid refreshment, we were disappointed to find that two pubs in Trowse, the White Horse Inn and Crown Point Tavern, would not allow dogs. So we marched up Kirby Road, and then around Whitlingham Hall, before heading back to the broad and along Whitlingham Lane a little way, back to the car. Here we started off with Moroccan style houmous and oatcakes with our hot tea. Then the large pies, obviously cooked in a foil dish, had an attractive glossy top. When cut the pie released a faint roast pork aroma and revealed a granular pale pink filling with no jelly. They looked so good that the Führer said “they look as if they contain real meat” – indeed they did, Blythburgh free-range pork. The lightly spiced pies were let down by a slightly soft crust, despite the fact we had taken them out of their plastic bags. The pies scored a very respectable 7.66666 with the Führer making a return to the tasting panel! The standard deviation was 0.81650, so that means that Bob Knights gets a normalized score of 7.5 for his large pies.