Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

Hello ... Good Pie!!

Firstly, I need to say a massive thank you to Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg who hooked up in 2002 to create some of the most gorgeous pies I have ever tasted when they formed Pie Minister pies. They are a well travelled pair with plenty of catering experience between them. Starting with a small shop in Bristol, they quickly progressed to holding a pie stall at London’s borough market and now, in 2010, you can pick up a Pie Minister pie from your local supermarket.

The Daily Mail reported back in January 2010 that pie sales had hit a 30 year high and Brits had bought an additional 17 million pies in the previous 12 months. That is a heck of a lot of pies. JC and I did our bit to contribute to those stats and enjoyed every minute of it. My pie love affair began in Australia with the seriously dodgy Australian ‘meat’ pie. I’m not at all certain what percentage of ‘meat’ was contained in the pie, nor am I convinced of it’s nutritious value, but the soggy pastry and meaty gravy was really all I wanted at the time. My taste buds were yet to develop fully. The average Aussie school canteen pretty much survived on pie and sausage roll sales – don’t believe what you hear about the salad and fruit diet Australians live on. Many Australians grow up on meat pies, sausage rolls, Cherry Ripes (cherry & coconut chocolate bars), Twisties (cheese or chicken flavoured crisps) and sugary cordial. At least they were some of my childhood food highlights.

Anyway, my adoration for the pie has only increased over the last 17 years of living in the UK. Luckily the quality of pie available today is infinitely better than it was when I was growing up. All Pie Minister pies are made using premium quality ingredients – the meat is free range and always British and the vegetables are fresh, not frozen. The pastry is buttery, flavoursome and not at all soggy. My favourite Pie Minister pie flavours include Matador, containing beef steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butter beans; Chicken of Aragon with chicken, smoky bacon, roast garlic, vermouth and fresh tarragon; Shamrock with it’s beef and stout gravy and finally, Henny Penny with mushrooms, white wine, cream and herbs. All 4 of these are phenomenally good pies. You get the feeling that you are indulging, but as everything that goes into the pies is essentially pretty good for you, any guilt subsides quickly. Actually they are so good, I genuinely don’t feel guilty at all. Other flavours include Wildshroom & Asparagus, Thai Chook and Minty Lamb and these are all on my hit list. Honestly if you love pies, you need to try a Pie Minister pie soon.

We have a pie night in our house most weeks now and so long as I put some healthy salad with it in the summer and a few steamed vegetables with it in the winter (or some creamy mash!) I don’t feel that this is an excessive intake of pie. You can purchase them from their stores in Bristol, Oxford, Trentham or Gabriel’s Wharf, London, from various market stalls & festivals or from their online shop. The online shop requires you to buy a minimum of 12 pies. If you can’t get through 12 pies quickly I would suggest getting a few friends to help you out. Alternatively just pop to Sainsbury’s as I know they stock them there. Long live the pie renaissance!