Sunday, 27 June 2010

Wm. Morrison (star shaped) hand raised pies

“Star shaped” hand raised pies from the in-store bakery of Wm. Morrison, were the pies of choice for the final munching of flaming June. As it was so hot, we headed to Overstrand for a walk near the coast. Parking by the cricket ground we walked west along the main road to the church of St. Martin, but not visiting it, before we headed up Newman’s Hill. Descending by Suffield Park to join the Paston Way, we passed Cromer lighthouse that featured prominently in the classic 1960’s film “The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter”. We headed towards and walked through Cromer, to the zigzag slope on the west of the town, that goes down to the prom. Now walking east, we made our way to the pier to consume our sandwiches above the sea. The Walk Master then led us up a steep ascent of the cliffs to the Red Lion with it's good selection of beers, of which we sampled “Stripey Jack” from Bees brewery, Woodforde’s “Sundew” & Wolf’s " Straw Dog". We made our way back to Overstrand on the firm sand, thanks to the low tide. Heading back to the town centre via The Londs, we passed the impressive clock tower at The Pleasaunce - designed by Edwin Lutyens and dating from 1897-9. We took our tea and pies to Overstrand cricket ground to utilise the seating. Only Six munchers this week, no King Canape, so straight into the pies: cutting revealed a bright pink interior with no jelly and no aroma. Munching proved the crust to be both crisp and tasty, the filling less so, tasting faintly of unsmoked ham. Mustard didn't really enhance the flavour. The pies were judged to have an acceptable score of 7.25 – marginally higher than when we last sampled these on the 31st May, last year. The standard deviation was also slightly lower at 0.68920 and with one less muncher! While consuming the post pie Shortbreads, José noticed the cricket club's fixture list and that Overstrand were playing the Bystanders Cricket club on 12th June and 14th August. Wm Morrison’s star shaped pies get a normalised score of 7.5 on this outing.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Pork Farms Vintage Melton Mowbray

A new pie for the pie munchers this week: Pork Farms Vintage Melton Mowbray mini pork pies. After being let down on pork pies in the west of the county, the Pie Master was unable to source quality local pork pies from that part of the county on Friday. Finding these “Vintage” pies in a supermarket, he thought they should be sampled – CAMRA’s “Beer” magazine (Autumn 2009, p42) had rated them above their original pies. The munching was well attended, three cars heading to Wiveton and parked on the green. We didn’t explore the church of St. Mary, as we’d visited it several times in the past. We made our way east over Wiveton Bridge, over the River Glandford, and then north to the church of St. Margaret, Cley. Here we admired the naughty carvings in the roof and porch. Continuing north and using the facilities of the village hall, we passed the “Picnic Fayre” and its wonderful delicacies before heading out onto the marches, with great views of Cley windmill. During this exceedingly bracing portion of the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast path, we spotted a Kestrel hunting over the marches and a yellow, search and rescue, Sea King helicopter. Lunch was taken in the lee of the bank, by the duck pond at Blakeney. Here a clever Tern managed to stand on the wire fence – not easy for a bird with webbed feet! Next the pie munchers Beer kitty took a serious denting with a visit to the Kings Arms. Horrendously expensive pints of warm, lifeless Wherry and awful Adnams (exchanged for Wherry) were purchased. After our not so refreshing, refreshments, we ascended the B1156 and then a bridle way, to the Wiveton Downs. As we descended from here, a Marsh Harrier was spotted being harassed by a sea gull. Later, we came upon a toad in the road, which we relocated to the safety on the grass bank. Juan Luis, thinking there was a chance that this was a princess, had to be restrained from kissing it. We completed our decent at the cars. Our first course were ricotta-stuffed cherry peppers, quite hot, possibly affecting the pie munchers palates. One pie was sliced open, revealing the grey filling with a soupçon of jelly. The pie had no aroma and a soft crust, the filling was exceptionally bland and desperately in need of mustard. The pie scored an unbelievably high, spot on 6.5 with a high standard deviation of 1.19659.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Samphire pies

Award winning Samphire pork pies, last sampled by the pie munchers way back on the 11th March 2007, were this week's porky delight, purchased from their Wymondham Shop. Potter Heigham was the chosen location for this week’s sampling. We parked by the parish church of St. Nicholas, and then started by searching for a scratch dial, finding a faint example by the priest’s door. The church was locked so we were unable to explore the interior. We headed north towards Hickling broad and then walked east, spotting several hairy caterpillars, believed to be that of the garden tiger moth. The Walk Master, coming to a notice regarding flood defence work, had to make a quick revision to the proposed route. Our passage south, along the River Thurne, was blocked, so instead we headed south down Middle Wall. Lunch was taken on the seating provided by the old bridge at Potter Heigham. We then walked down the west bank of the River Thurne, behind the assorted holiday accommodation, including the “Dutch Tutch” formed from a cut-down Helter skelter. We then turned right, down Horsefen Bank and then made our way to the welcome Falgate Inn. The day had warmed up and it was very humid, we were all starting to flag. Pints of Adnams Broadside rejuvenated us for the last mile back to the cars and pies. The Führer being on holiday, tea duties fell on Josie. King Canape was back this week with healthy carrot sticks with Lemon & coriander and Moroccan style Humous, to sample before the pies. The good-looking small pies had obviously been baked in foil cups and appeared to have Parmesan cheese on the top. Cutting the pies released a little but good porky aroma. No jelly was visible but the filling looked meaty. Munching confirmed this, a tasty crust enclosing a good textured filling, nicely spiced with herbs. This pie held its head up high without the application of mustard, and its addition distracted from the flavour. The pie munchers rated this pie 8.22222 with a standard deviation of 0.79495. Slightly better timed than last week, the Walk Master’s Scottish Shortbreads were consumed just before the rain came. These were good pies from Samphire scoring a normalised 8.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Challis Family Butchers

Pies from over the border again this week: from Challis Family Butchers on Sizewell Road, Leiston, Established 1895. Before we could sample these new pies, we had 4 churches and a pub to visit. Our starting point and pie munching location, was the Village hall of Buxton. We crossed the road to the church of St. Andrew, examining the exterior for scratch dials, of which we found none. Then a quick look inside before heading north, over the Bure Valley Railway line to Oxnead. Passing over a stream we had a game of Poohsticks, the Walk Master and Josie being joint winners - the Pie Master coming last. Passing large gates to our left, to Oxnead Hall, we then admired the front of the hall before visiting Oxnead church, tucked away behind the hall, dedicated to St. Michael, also without a scratch dial. After a little confusion, we continued north, our walk all the more interesting when the footpath passed through a rapeseed field – the plants engulfing us. Arriving at All Saints church, Skeyton, we spotted a prominent scratch dial on the porch. Here we had lunch, we then left the locked church and headed south down a lane to the Skeyton Goat, for pints of Timothy Taylor's "Landlord". Visiting our fourth church: St. Andrew's, Lamas, with a single scratch dial on a buttress. This church was locked, so we took the opportunity to sit on the seat by the river, and while taking in the view, a swan visited. A barn owl was spotted hunting in the distance then a brace of ducks flew by. We then had a very picturesque walk back to the car, passing by Buxton mill. No King Canape today, so no canapés and straight into the pork pies. Cutting them released no aroma. The interior was dark pink and had good texture; there was a very small amount of jelly tucked around the edge. The crust was crisp and tasty but the filling somewhat of a disappointment, lacking flavour. Perhaps they were served too cold, as I had a slice of pie the previous day in Leiston and I was impressed with the flavour then. Well on this occasion they scored 7.16666 with a standard deviation of 0.81650. Just as we were to tuck into our Scottish Shortbreads, the rain came. We hastily packed up and took our cups of tea to the shelter under the veranda of the pavilion, and had our shortbreads there. So Challis butchers have a normalised score of 7.