Lidl Sol Y Mar Chicken with Pastry filling

By |2022-07-15T12:40:22+01:00July 15th, 2022|Categories: Blog, Chicken pie|Tags: , , , , |

Now then, these aren’t described as a pie as such but then again, they sure look more like a pie than a lot of not-fully encased products that pass through my kitchen, so in they go.

There is a Spanish flavour to these, and I am delighted to see that the ingredients include white wine, chorizo, piri piri and lemon in here. Should be quite the taste sensation.

They come in a pack of four, and only weighing in at 80 grammes each, so best to have at least two I reckon. I pop them in the oven, and wait. Fifteen minutes in, the pastry is colouring nicely, and there’s a bit of paprika dusted boil out emerging, nothing too enticing on the smell front, but the ornately crimped top crust is holding it’s shape nicely

The pastry needs watching though here. After 25 mins in the oven, the top is starting to turn brown but when I pop it out the tray, the underneath isn’t very well cooked (and the recommended cooking time is 15 to 20 minutes) It feels like the heat isn’t going to penetrate the foil tray without burning the roof, so I feel like now is the time to dive in.

I serve these up with chips and veg, what with them only being mince pie sized, and the look, feel and even taste of the pastry is lovely and buttery on top, with a beautiful hand folded crimp. Sadly, it all goes downhill the further we go, with at least 50% of the pastry, the bottom half basically, being raw.

I could take the blame for this, or blame my oven but cooking instructions were followed and even extended and to prolong the cooking any more would have only resulted in a burnt top crust. Anyway, let us have a look inside.

Filling wise, I am impressed to see some sizable chunks of chicken breast in there and there’s a few little flecks of red and orange chorizo and carrot (?) to compliment it. It is otherwise a touch on the dry side, in spite of it’s soggy bottom.

I purchased them as part of Lidl’s Spanish week, I thought that they looked like intriguing little things and indeed they were. But in short, I would not recommend, unless you can torch the pastry through the foil tray, without causing internal dryness to the filling. You really shouldn’t have to though.

I suppose if you do find yourself in Lidl and needing a pie, I can instead heartily recommend their veggie range, Mrs T really likes them. By contrast, she left half of this one, thus resulting it in a firm and decisive “nil points” from our household.


Price: £1.99 for a pack of four from Lidl

Oh you know where to find Lidl, I don’t need to give you any more details

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Morecambe Football Club Chicken and Ham Pie

By |2022-01-28T14:27:30+00:00January 28th, 2022|Categories: Chicken pie|Tags: , , , , |

Pies and football go together hand in hand, but football is big business these days. This means that many clubs go down the route of using one of a handful of big pie manufacturers to fulfil their catering services, which does mean that football pies can be a touch overpriced and generic at many places.

One football club that has bucked that trend for a long time is Morecambe Football Club. As I understand it, stewardship of the all important job of baking the pies has changed hands a few times over they years, but they have always been bloody good.

Originally it was a local baker called Potts Pies (read more about them in Life of Pies) before Morecambe’s long standing chef, Graham Aimson brought them in house, winning awards year after year for his efforts.

Graham has moved on but his recipes remain and I went up there on Tuesday 18th January, to find out whether the pies were as good as ever. The night didn’t get off to the best of starts, after I turned up fifteen minutes before kick off (early for once, to ensure I snared a pie) only to find that the turnstile wouldn’t accept my ticket, and I found myself stood outside with a slightly disgruntled mob of 100 or so Wiganers for half an hour, all of whom supposedly had “already had their ticket used”.

Eventually, a good 10-15 minutes after the game kicked off, they marched us onto an already crowded terrace, no wiser as to what the reason was. Of course, rather than actually watch the game, I headed straight to the food bar. A lightning quick order of their signature Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie was placed, no peas, no gravy (though I think this was available) just a pie.

In yet another slight malfunction, I was given a meat and potato pie instead, and therefore overcharged by 50p. I recognised this on sight, the dots give it away. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to take a peek inside and have a nibble, before handing it back and getting their mistake rectified. They didn’t tell me to keep it, mind you!!

A lesser man than myself could take all this personally but I’m a pie professional and there was only one question on my lips before tucking in: were the pies as good as ever? And I am pleased to report that they are. It should come as no surprise really, as they won quite a few awards at the last Pie Awards that I was judging at.

They differ from your standard football pies predominantly because they have huge chunks of real meat in there, but there’s also the addition of a bit of sauce to keep things moist.

The sight of hefty pieces of shiny white chicken breast and squares of ham make the pie stand out, it almost looks healthy!. It certainly elevates it from being a football pie to something you would pay good money for in a pub or a restaurant as part of a sit down meal.

I didn’t detect as many slithers of leek, or creamy sauce as I did with previous purchases, but I put this down to the difference between taking a pie home and cooking it, and buying it at a football match where it has been left to cool, and you have to eat it quickly whilst stood up. The flavours were still remarkably fresh though.

I started off with a fork but managed to eat the second half with my hands. Perhaps the photos don’t fully do it justice, but I guess another distinction with buying one at the match versus taking one home, is that I wasn’t in a position to find much time or space to set up a decent piccy, and I would certainly not be allowed to take a knife in. I mean, I was barely allowed in the ground anyway!

Whoops sorry, I don’t bear grudges, this was, as ever, one of the best pies I have had at a football match or elsewhere and it is great to see Morecambe Football Club continuing to pull out all stops for football fans. If I had my way, every football club would be forced to use a local supplier and put a regional twist on their pie offerings, but then I arguably care about pies and beer than football anyway. Life’s holy trinity, you could call it….

In addition to the Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie and Meat and Potato Pie (again, exceptional, from the bits I managed to nibble at), Morecambe also do a delicious vegetarian pie (Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Vegetable Pie) that a mate of mine described as “the best pie he has ever had”.

The match? Well, we won 2-1, away win.
Yet if we were lining up the club’s pies, in a “pie off” however, I suspect it would be a very different result….

Review date: 18th January 2022
Price: £4.00 for a Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie
Address: Christie Way, Westgate, Morecambe LA4 4TB
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Steve’s Chicken Curry Pie

By |2021-02-05T13:31:39+00:00February 5th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Good Pie Guide, North West, Pies|Tags: , , , , , , |

Now then. Time for a little something different. A mate of mine, Johnny Stafford, who acquired my previous book, the Life of Pies, some years back, had a neighbour who makes his own pies.

What started as a hobby turned into a passion with Steve taking them into work for his colleagues to try. I have got to say I’ve tried five of them now and they are all fantastic. The man has a talent!!

Here is a review I did for Steve’s steak and veg pie, which was the first one I tried: Steve’s Steak and Veg Pie

I have actually eaten three more different ones since then, with the tasting notes saved somewhere but while this particular one is fresh in my mind, let’s dive in…..

The first thing that takes you back is the size and weight of it. In truth, it is possibly enough for two people. But the first rule of pie club is that WE DO NOT SHARE PIES!!

This also rules it out of entry to the British Pie awards, not only because it is not commercially available but as Steve has confirmed it is over the regulation 600 grammes in weight.

Being a professional, well, a dedicated amateur, he has been in touch throughout, checking on the status of the pie. What with it being in his freezer for a few months due to lockdown, then also in mine for several months, Steve was concerned the pie might no longer be at it’s best. I can confirm this was not the case, it was absolutely fantastic, in many ways, just like all of his efforts.

The pie is of a familiar shape, flat sided with a sturdy top crust. You may notice that the top crust has fallen away a wee bit at the sides, probably due to minor freezer degradation. However, after 20 mins in the oven, the texture is perfect, with that all important crunch I’ve so missed*, clearly evident. Closely followed by a softer, doughy shortcrust interior which is gently infused with the moisture from the filling.

*Yeah I did the whole “it’s January, best get a few pounds off after consuming three times my bodyweight in food, alcohol and snacks over the festive period”. Sorry.

As for the filling, well it is packed to the rafters with chicken, peas, onions, peppers and herbs, all mixed in with a lightly moist gravy. That alone, is arguably enough, but Steve kindly provided me with an individual pot of home made curry sauce to pour on, which he makes using the juices from the meat.

The curry sauce is out of this world, it knocks most chip shop curry sauces into a hat, and it has a fair kick to it as well. I pour it on half to try and get a with/without taste but basically end up dipping my fork in it throughout.

The whole pie is cleared up in a matter of minute but it is intensely tasty and satisfying. I have mentioned previously that these pies would go down a storm if they were made commercially, Steve like most of us, has a day job to contend with.

So in the meantime, all you can do, is join our Facebook group or get in touch with me, and beg him to make you one if you are based in the North West. They are WELL WORTH IT, trust me.

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