Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sainsbury’s Basics mini pies

Sainsbury's Basics mini pork pies were to be sampled today, a first for the pie munchers. Josie & King Canape suffering from colds decided not to join us, but would sample the pies at home. Eight of us headed to Harleston for what was going to be a wet walk. We left the town and headed west before heading north to Starston, Don electing to walk through a field of sugar beet, rather than follow the path at the edge of the field. We passed the posh Rectory built in 1871, before arriving at the Starston church of St. Margaret where we were given a guided tour by a chap, part of a group getting the church ready for a wedding. We left the church and passed the wind pump that appears on the village sign. In the same field we found a good-sized puffball and a field mushroom, both were harvested and made good eating after the walk. We then headed south and experienced the first of the rain, and sheltered in the lee of a hedgerow until it eased a bit. We continued south finding an amber flashing light that had been discarded, before going through Yewtree Farm. A little more rain followed and we sheltered for a short time under a tree. Just after 3½ miles, after walking down a quiet lane, we were about to join a footpath towards Needham, when the heavens opened up. We huddled beneath a tree as the road transformed into a river. The rain and hail eased, and as we continued on our way, the sun came out. We crossed the busy A143 and then made our way through the stinging nettles to St. Peter's church. This was locked, but the porch was open for us to have lunch in. The church also provided another good example of a scratch dial for the collection. Now we set course north east towards Harleston, passing an old gypsy caravan before crossing the A143 again. The weather decided to rain on us again, but had stopped by the time we reached Harleston via the recreation ground. We headed for the Swan for pints of Rusty Bucket from the Brandon brewery. After our beverage, the Pie Master did a very short guided tour of Harleston, pointing out the location of a chapel of ease and cage for felons, The Magpie Inn that used to be info Mendham, back when the road was the Suffolk border and the weighbridge with its mechanism in the undertaker’s office, the Corn Exchange and Harleston's oldest building. No Canapés and straight into the pies… Well, what can I say, the soft tasteless pastry when cut released no aroma and showed that there was no jelly within. The filling was tasteless; you wonder why they bother making them. Thankfully shortbreads followed to complete the munching before heading home. A pie and half a puffball were delivered to King Canape, who then scored the pie. When all the scores were counted, the mini pies came in at 4.35 with a high standard deviation of 1.17969, giving Sainsbury’s Basics an enhanced normalised score of 4.5.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

"Man flu"

The Pie Master had not procured pies this week, due to suffering from "Man Flu". Now, Josie was suffering, and as the Pie Master still wasn't feeling too sharp, decided not to join the pieless munchers on their expedition to Holkham. No report or photographs from this trip have been received, so I present this public information film as an interlude:

Sunday, 15 August 2010

No pies!

With the Pie Master visiting Whitwell railway station with N.I.A.S., then going to a "Red Wine Lips" bar-be-que in North Walsham, before joining the walk, he thought pies may not survive the bike ride - so no pies were purchased. Although King Canape was away, he kindly found us a walk around Swanton Abbott. The Walk Master, just back from France, was able to lead the ten pieless munchers on this 5.9-mile walk. It was an anti-clockwise walk that started from the common and headed north west, then south where we spotted a Roe deer in an open field, before it bounded back into woodland. We continued south before heading west to the Church of St. Michael with its scratch dial previously photographed for the collection. Here we had our sandwiches before retracing our footsteps a little way, passed the school, to a footpath heading south. At the end of this we were greeted by a very friendly Springer Spaniel. Continuing south by road, where some purchased local produce by the roadside, we came to the Jolly Butchers public house. We were most disappointed to find that this good pub had gone the way of so many and was closed. We continued by road, now heading east before taking a track north, seeing many pheasants. We exited the track and followed the road west, back to the common. Here, by a Buddleia bush full of butterflies, Josie provided tea and had also provided a spiced nut selection and fig rolls to go with it. Ana eventually joined us, after eating the wild plums from a bush on the common. The Scottish shortbreads returned this week with the Walk Master to round off proceedings. We then called in at the Recruiting Sergeant for pints of "The Queen's Shilling" on our way home.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

G. Morris & Sons

This week with the Führer and the Walk Master away in France, José stepped into the breach to lead the ten pie munchers on a 6½ mile walk from Shropham to Great Hockham and back, before sampling medium pies from G. Morris & Sons. Parking by the parish church of Shropham, we followed Low Road a short distance before heading south by footpath, to complete one side of this rectangular walk. While walking on quiet roads, we passed by a house where Maisie, a rather skinny Pointer, came out to greet us. We then returned to footpaths to continue the journey west passing horses and woods. A quiet road then led us north to the village of Great Hockham. We left the village centre to visit the locked church of the Holy Trinity, with no scratch dial. Here we had our sandwiches at 4.2 miles and afterwards returned to the village and the Eagle public house. We were refreshed with pints of Old Speckled Hen and Adnams. After a good rest, we roused our leader and headed east back to Shropham, initially by road, purchasing herbs and Chilli products, and then finally via footpaths. Towards the end of the walk, José pretended he was lost - but he didn't fool us! We were soon out of the dead-end that he had taken us to and back on the devised route. A short walk north along Church Road reunited us with the cars. We then explored the church of St. Peter, again locked, finding a scratch dial on a buttress - a new one for the collection. After the girls had rested, tea was taken in the churchyard along with prawns and chilli sauce purchased on route. The two medium pies were sliced releasing very little aroma. The pies lacked jelly and while enjoyable, nothing special. Mustard did enhance them and they achieved a respectable score of 6.95 with a standard deviation of 0.59861. Oaties replaced the traditional Shortbreads to conclude proceedings. G. Morris & Sons scoring a normalised score of 7 this time, compared with their previous score of 6.5 on their last outing on September the 6th 2009.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

R. A. Cawdron & Son

To sample R. A. Cawdron's pies in their native environment, we headed to East Ruston - just two miles from the shop in Stalham. The eleven regular munchers were joined by the Walk Master's son Mark and Grandson Teodore - “Man of the Walk” back on the 4th April this year. We also had the company of Bert & Harris, who were very lively on this outing. We started by following the Weavers Way, along the old railway line west, towards Brigate, passing under the wonderful Victorian road bridge. We headed north up Corner Common Road and then by footpath to the isolated Horning church of St. Peter & St. Paul. Here we had our lunch and failed to find a scratch dial. We then walked into the village and crossed the common on our way to East Ruston. Here local fruit was purchased prior to our visit to the Butchers Arms. Adnams was the beer of choice for most and this was enjoyed in the garden at the rear. A christening party were then vacating the pub and suggested to the bar staff that we should have the remaining nibbles. These were an appreciated accompaniment to the beer. Just a mile back to the cars and when we crossed Burnells Farm, we were greeted by a friendly and gorgeous Border collie that would normally have been photographed, but getting Bert and Harris over a style, I missed the opportunity. A short walk along Chapel Road reunited us with the cars. The Pies were then sliced, releasing little aroma, they were lacking jelly this outing but found favour with the munchers coming in at 8.45833 with a standard deviation of 0.81068. King Canape’s stuffed peppers were then consumed, post pie. The outing was completed with Scottish Shortbreads. So R. A. Cawdron scoring a normalised 8.5 as they did at Great Ryburgh on the 4th April last year.