Sunday, 30 May 2010

Hutsons Butchers of Southwold

More foreign southern delights this week – a large pie from over the border: Hutsons Butcher in Southwold, our first sampling of a pie from them. They have been in the business for over 300 years, making it the oldest shop in town. First we needed to get ourselves ready for pie consumption: Parking at Hardingham War Memorial Hall, we headed a little way north by road before turning down Policemans Loke, passing a picturesque wisteria draped cottage. We were heading towards St. George’s Mount but before that we came to Old Hall Farm, Hardingham, where they were weighing sheep. There was a beautiful, crazy, brown sheep dog with surplus energy in a pen beside the sheep. On reaching the mount and Hardingham church, the Walk Master decided the slight detour to the church was not necessary as it had been visited recently and we had its faint scratch dial photographed. We headed west along Church Road before picking up footpaths south to Hingham. Now the wind got up, crossing open fields spotting many hares. Arriving at Hingham, we had lunch in the lee of St. Andrew’s church after first purveying the shop windows of Harrods. After lunch we noted a large scratch dial high on a buttress and very high up on another, what looked like a later sundial base carved into the masonry. We then went to the "White Hart", visited seven weeks ago, for pints of a beer masquerading as Woodefords Wherry, we begged to differ, and Green King St. Edmunds. Unfortunately Boris and Charlie were not in residence this time, so we retired to the salubrious lounge where we watched a heavy shower come and go as we took our refreshments – what a Weather Wizard we have in our Walk Master! Extricating ourselves from the comfy chairs, we had two miles to go to the pie, heading north beside the pub we noted several interesting houses before we zigzagged our way back to the cars by footpath. Our first course was large prawns with lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. The large neat looking pie looked good and when cut released a small amount of aroma similar to pork brawn. The dark pink filling had jelly round the base. Munching was a very pleasant experience with crisp tasty pastry and a good tasty, meaty filling enhanced with the application of a little mustard. The pie came in with a score of 8.1875, helped by a score of 7 from the Führer. We all agreed this was a good pie, the standard deviation was surprisingly high a 0.84251 . Next the traditional Scottish Shortbreads and then a bag of "Munchers", purchased to appease the pie munchers when the Pie Master had procured a potentially poor pork pie three weeks ago, but then failed to bring them. Another good walk, a good pie with a normalised score of 8 for Hutsons Butchers, and we avoided the rain – not bad for a bank holiday weekend.
Roll mouse over picture to see uncut pie

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Spanish Delights

A dozen pie munchers set off to Tivetshall St. Margaret on an extremely hot day, to sample Spanish delicacies brought back by José Luis. It was a pre-arranged no pie day, much to the Fuhrer’s delight! But first we needed to work up an appetite. So, leaving the cars parked at the community centre we headed north, and then west to the church of St. Margaret, visited on previous walks. The church was undergoing remedial work and covered in scaffolding. Continuing east and enjoying the numerous gliders circling overhead and also a buzzard. We were to have crossed the railway line by footpath, but finding it so overgrown as to be impassable, we had to detour by road. On reaching Gissing Common, we headed south, spotting several dozen broken egg shells along the path. Passing by Gissing Manor we eventually reached the welcome shade afforded by St. Mary’s church, Gissing. Here we ate our sandwiches before enjoying its marvellous hammerbeam roof. Outside we found a fine example of a scratch dial to add to our collection. I also liked the cast iron “grave stone” in the churchyard. Having eaten and viewed the church, we made our way over the road to the Crown for pints of various styles of beer from Adnams, in excellent condition. Refreshed and after pausing to view a vintage Fordson tractor, parked in a local’s front garden, we set off on a revised route back to the cars. Having our way over the railway line blocked earlier, the Walk Master thought it prudent to make a change to the planned walk. The footpath chosen took us passed a field with horses that watched as we tried to find the route across a clearing with a ditch running through it. Eventually we found our path and after walking through woods, we ended up is someone’s back garden! The lady of the house said we’d been following deer tracks. She kindly took us back to the horses and directed us on to the footpath. Now about a mile slog east, in ever-increasing heat, drinking the remains of our now, hot water, we made it back to the cars for tea. José Luis laid out a fine spread on the picnic tables provided and we consumed these wonderful tastes of Spain in Spanish weather along with Rosemary bread, baked by Margaret. Having given the feast eleven out of ten, we then had our traditional Scottish Shortbreads after which we made our way home, with the car indicating an outside temperature of 27º C.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Icarus Hines, small pork pies

Small pies from Icarus Hines, purchased from his shop in Cromer were the focus of our munching this week. We have sampled his small pies once before on June 1st 2008, when they were purchased from his shop in Sheringham. We headed to Blickling, so that we could enjoy the bluebells in the woods. We parked in the car park by Buck’s Common and then walked with Bert and Harris, through Bunker’s Hill plantation seeing swathes of English bluebell, including a few albino examples. We then followed the path by the Great Wood and into Blickling Park, where we walked around the lake spotting a reed warbler and a grebe diving for food in the lake. As we headed back to the hall, we noted the water tower to our left. We then followed the ha ha around the hall’s gardens with the rhododendrons in bloom, and passed the splendid front of the hall to the picnic to the west. Here we consumed our sandwiches before the short stroll to the Buckinghamshire Arms, where we passed up the Adnams to sample Lupus Lupus – the seasonal beer from the Wolf brewery. After enjoying this fine pint, we headed back past the hall and to St. Andrew’s church. The church was open today, so we were able to see the fine brasses – on previous visits, the church had been locked. From here we headed south along Silvergate Lane before we headed west on the last leg of the walk, passing through Long Plantation and passed the Tower - the second Earl of Buckinghamshire's race stand. Finally a short walk through Buck’s Common concluded our appetiser. Prawns with tartare sauce provide by King Canape was the first course, then followed the pies and a tortilla cooked by José Luis. First the pies,

good looking and when sliced revealed a pink filling with a very little jelly and low on aroma. The pastry was crumbly and too thick for some – perhaps because of the high crust to filling ratio that is inevitable with small pies. The filling was a disappointment to me, not bad, but below expectations, others found it to their liking, resulting in a score of 7.22222 with a high standard deviation of 1.06393. The tortilla was very tasty and I think we all agreed on that. Finally, just to ensure we didn’t go hungry, the Walk Master provided Scottish Shortbreads. So a normalised score of 7 for Icarus Hines compared to a score of 8 on their last outing.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Norfolk pork pies win national award

Samphire pork pies, last sampled by the pie munchers back on the 11th March 2007, have won an award for their pork pies. The report carried by the Norwich Evening News may be viewed by clicking here. I think it's time we sampled them again... Well done Jeff and Karen Nethercott.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Crestwood "Crispy Bake" Pork Pies

This week the Pie Master had forgotten to purchase pork pies! Late Saturday afternoon, Josie realised we had no pies to munch, so the Pie Master hopped on his bike and hossed down to the Local Aldi in the rain. We had sampled their Crestwood “crispy bake” pies back in 2006, on the 16th July, when they scored a mere 5 out of ten, hopefully they’d improved. We headed over the border into the wilds of Suffolk for this week's sampling, passing a procession of Bubble cars coming in the opposite direction, along Herringfleet Road. Parking at Somerleyton railway station, we headed back up Station Road to then walk through Wadding Wood and then by footpath to Blundeston Road and the picturesque parish church of St. Mary, Somerleyton. Finding no scratch dials, we continued along Blundeston Road, accompanied at one point by a low flying Douglas DC-3 'Dakota', before we returned to footpaths. Then walking along a short stretch of road we passed a 1652 barn. Lunch was taken at 3¼ miles, in the church porch of St. Margaret, the parish church of Herringfleet, in front of it's Norman doorway. We found no scratch dials on this church, any having been covered by nasty rendering. Continuing along Herringfleet Road we came upon a pretty White flower, identified by Josie as “Star of Bethlehem” – the Führer thought it might have been Edelweiss – she would! Leaving the road we took a footpath towards the marshes finding two types of fungi, one unidentified and the other “Sulphur tufts”. Turning towards Herringfleet drainage mill, with Raveningham water tower in the distance, the Walk Master thought he spotted a lion running across the marshes, but it turned out to be a large dog! Arriving at the mill, we were just in time to see volunteers get the mill working. After pausing and having a mardle, we set off east. Walking along the bank, meeting lovely dogs, we arrived at the Duke's head for pints of Adnams and Wherry all in good condition. The short walk back to the railway station, through a boatyard, was made a little longer due to some deliberate misinformation from one of the boat owners. Returning to the cars, we first sampled “Healthy Selection” Houmous and Spicy red pepper Houmous with Black olive crackers. Then on to the pies... When they were sliced, they released virtually no aroma, but the filling looked good despite no jelly. Unfortunately these ‘Crispy Bake’ pies had a soft crust, though it was tasty, which is more than can be said for the filling. This was bland and had no texture, certainly needing the application of mustard. The pies did marginally better this outing scoring 5.375 with a standard deviation of 0.41726. Thankfully the Walk Master’s Scottish Shortbreads were up to their usual high standard. So a normalised 5.5 for Crestwood’s so called “crispy bake” pies.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Waitrose Large Melton Mowbray pie

Eight pie munchers, plus Bert and Harris, headed for Aldborough to sample a large Melton Mowbray pie from Waitrose, last sampled on the 3rd February 2008. From the green, we headed off westwards and then through a rapeseed field. The pre pie walk then headed south after about a mile and a half, mostly following footpaths along field boundaries. A stretch of quiet road walking followed by a short footpath brought us to St. Andrew’s church, Wickmere for lunch in the porch, at 3.75 miles. The single, upside down scratch dial on a buttress had been previously photographed an added to the collection last month. Leaving this church we headed eastwards back to Aldborough, stopping at its parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. Here we found one scratch dial on the west of the porch, but failed to find the second, to the east of the chancel door, we subsequently gleaned from the church guide. Leaving the church, and having a good look in the window of an antique shop, we returned to the green and decided to sample beer at the Black Boys, where we consumed pints of Adnams. Returning to the cars we sampled Spicy red lentil dip and Jalapeño Houmous with Celery Oval Alberts! The “comfortably reposed pie” was sliced releasing a pleasant aroma. The interior revealed a chunky pink filling and a little jelly. Portions of pie were then consumed after a slug of tea to restore the palate. This was an excellent pie finding favour with all munchers, coming in with a high average score of 8.5625 and a low standard deviation of 0.41726. Scottish Shortbreads completed today’s grazing. So Waitrose improved upon their previous score of 7.5 with a normalised score of 8.5.
Roll mouse over picture to see uncut pie