Sunday, 25 April 2010

G. Morris & Sons small pies

Nine pie munchers mustered in rather overcast conditions, then headed south west to Ashill to sample a trio of small pies from G. Morris & Sons. The weather turned decidedly wet during the journey. However, as we arrived at the community centre at twelve O'clock, the rain stopped as predicted on the weather forecast! After ascertaining that we would not get locked in, we set off westwards, on a non-crossing figure-of-eight walk. Our first stop was at the church of St. Mary, Houghton-on-the-hill, by a field of black cows and calves. Finding no scratch dial, we continued on to South Pickenham, taking in a short stretch of the Peddar’s Way and the Norfolk Coast Path, then crossing the clear waters of the River Wissey on the way. Here we took lunch at the church of All Saints, with it's north facing porch and no scratch dial. Four gents took up residence on the seat in the shade, looking like a scene from "Last of the Summer Wine",while the rest of us perched on the church wall in the sun. We left the church for a half mile walk along a quiet road, passing Pickenham Hall, where we no doubt became movie stars on the closed circuit surveillance system! From here we made our way back to Ashill, our route taking us past a field of young rapeseed plants whose leaves had collected large water droplets from the earlier rain. Three and a half scratch dials were found at St. Nicholas church, Ashill - well three definite dials and one possible. We had hoped to have a pint at the "White Hart" but it was undergoing refurbishment, so we pressed on back to the cars, pausing by the pond to see the ducklings. In fact there were ducks in many of the gardens too. Today's feast: peppers stuffed with goats cheese, again were the first course, but the peppers were much hotter than last week. The pies, baked in foil cups, were sliced, no aroma or jelly being present. The pies had a crisp crust with a smooth meat filling, the latter not having a great deal of flavour. The pie munchers had widely differing views on these pies, from a lowly score of 4 to high scores of 9's - resulting in the average score of 6.77778 with a very high standard deviation of 1.58333. Organic Scottish Shortbreads then followed. Finally, chocolate "Munchers" were provided for the pie munchers.
It was then decided that we should head on to the “White Hart” at Hingham for refreshment, with a stop at Saham Toney to check out the church. The church of St. George failed to yield further scratch dials, so we headed for Hingham. At the “White Hart” we enjoyed pints of Tolly Phoenix and Morland Original Bitter where we took over the salubrious lounge, after making friends with Boris and Charlie, two springer spaniels, in the bar.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Meet Svinjski Sudal

Following our walk, Don presented the Pie Munchers with a mascot: A porcelain pig - Svinjski Sudal, to see fair play. It is intended that all future pork pie images on the web site will include Svinjski Sudal, to reduce the risk of pork pie picture piracy.

Wm. Morrison “New” Melton Mowbray pork pies

The Pie Master had spotted “New” Melton Mowbray pork pies in the deli in Wm. Morrison - their fluted Melton Mowbray pies were surprisingly good when sampled on the 22nd February, last year. So these were this week’s delicacy - they certainly looked the part. Eight pie munchers set out on an undulating walk near to Edgefield, from where we headed north west along tracks and bridleways. Many horses & riders passed us on a 10-mile sponsored ride. Wildlife spotted on the first half of the walk included a hare and a pair of Brimstone butterflies. On our journey north west, we passed a field of happy looking pielets before crossing a former M&GN railway line, then we then headed south west for just under a mile. We crossed the railway again, following a track that took us past a delightful garden as we crossed a beck. A short walk along road took us by a field with lambs and the church of St. Lawrence, Hunworth. The walk master was unable to provide his usual informative update regarding the church, as he had brought the wrong Pevsner volume! Finding no scratch dial, we headed for the “Hunny Bell”, passing the rear of Hunworth hall with its fine topiaries. The pub was serving pints of Wolf's "Hero" - a tasty pint coming in at 4%. A final mile and a half, in which we spotted a buzzard and another hare completed this very enjoyable, picturesque walk - Don awarding the Walk Master eleven out of ten! The appearance of the pies got the munchers excited, King Canape declaring them to be a fine pair of erect pies! But first, we had his peppers stuffed with goats cheese that were eagerly consumed. The pies were sliced, their contents looked good despite no jelly. The lack of aroma was the first sign that these pies were not up to the mark. Munching the pies, with their crisp but lardy crust, revealed that flavour was sadly lacking. Mustard did help this pie out a little and the texture was O.K., but it only scored 5.8125 with a very high standard deviation of 1.62431. Organic Scottish Shortbreads completed an excellent outing. A normalised score of 6, then for Wm. Morrison’s new Melton Mowbray pies, their “old” fluted ones had scored 8.5!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

E.E. Pratt & Co.

This week we were sampling a large pie from E.E. Pratt & Co. of Drayton, last sampled on the 27th April, 2008. Eight pie munchers set off for Wickhampton to sample the pie, seeing new lambs by the Acle straight on our journey. Starting at church of St. Andrew's with its three scratch dials. We then headed east out across the marshes with Raveningham water tower in the distance, to our right, and the large Caister water tower ahead and to our left. We then came to a section of Weavers’ Way and followed it north west. A stiff breeze coming from the east was whipping across the marshes was making it rather chilly, though it did enable a pair of swans to quickly take to the air in a very short distance, as we were passing by Mutton's drainage mill. We then headed towards Halvergate by road and on to the locked church of St. Peter & St. Paul for sandwiches. Finding no dials, we headed back to the Red Lion for very nice pints of Redhead from Tipples brewery. Walking south, back to Wickhampton church, we passed Halvergate Hall, then a cricket match in progress. Our elevated path provided panoramic views of where we had walked and also increased our exposure to the wind, to such an extent that the Pie Master put on a sweatshirt! Following a very relaxed and very enjoyable walk, Tomato & Basil King Prawns started our post walk fayre. Then the flat-topped pie, baked in a round foil cup was cut, releasing a wonderful aroma that filled the air. Inside was a firm bright pink meaty filling with a small amount of jelly. The texture of the meat filling was spot on and very tasty, if a little salt. It was surprisingly further enhanced with the application of a little English mustard. The pie came in with a score of 7.875 – the score reflecting a couple of 6’s due to the saltiness resulting in a high standard deviation of 1.32961. So E.E. Pratt & Co. gets a normalised score of 8, down from their previous 9.
Roll mouse over picture to see uncut pie

Sunday, 4 April 2010

No Pies or Canapés this week...

The Pie Master had intended to step into King Canape’s shoes this week - while he was down The Smoke. However, on the day, Josie was knackered, and decided to rest rather than walk, so the Pie Master, having tired of the attention seeking shinanigins of a recent recruit, elected to go for a bike ride instead... Meanwhile the munchers went for a six-mile walk around the Lophams, visiting the churches of St. Andrew, South Lopham, St. Nicholas, North Lopham and St. Andrew, Fersfield – finding no scratch dials at all. Beer was taken at the King’s Head in North Lopham. Toedore was named “Man of the Walk” doing an estimated eight miles to everyone else’s six miles. At the end of the walk he then ensured that the graze was fairly distributed.
Photographs courtesy of José Luis Lopez Almarza