Brockleby’s Wild Beaver Pie

By |2022-06-17T11:30:43+01:00June 17th, 2022|Categories: Blog, Midlands, Steak and Ale|Tags: , , , , , |

Upon returning from the British Pie Awards in Melton Mowbray, we called in at Brockleby’s of Melton Mowbray to pick up some pies. After reviewing The Northerner a while back, I have since been ploughing gainfully through the rest of them.

I really enjoyed their Cocky Leeky Pie (Chicken & Leek) and the details have been sent off for inclusion in the forthcoming GOOD PIE GUIDE BOOK!!

However, today’s pie is the Brockleby’s Wild Beaver pie, and I am unsure whether it is a relief or a disappointment, upon discovering that the Brockleby’s Wild Beaver Pie, is not actually made with beaver meat. It is a steak and ale pie. It consists of large chunks of beef, infused with Grainstore Brewery ale, a layer of sliced mushrooms, carrots and gravy, all encased in a familiar buttery shortcrust pastry.

I am greeted with a dark, dark filling consisting of rich chunks of steak marinated in ale. There are carrots and mushrooms in there, but they are subtle, and with steam bursting out as I cut into it, I have somehow cooked it to perfection, despite my fan oven being a little bit on the blink recently.

Like all of the Brockleby range, it is of a generous size, deep and well filled. The crust is a work of art. The outside is sweet and crumbly in a shortcrust style, the interior is moist as the luscious, dark gravy has soaked in.

All in all, another satisfying pie with great ingredients and I still have one or two more to try I think. You can see their whole range at their website here





Review date: 16th June 2022
Price: The retail price for online delivery is £6.00 for the Wild Beaver Pie. I got a discount mind you, not sure it was because I bought in bulk or because I’m what classifies as a pie influencer 😉
Address: Melton Road, Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray LE14 3QU

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Nice Pie Steak Pie

By |2022-05-11T11:50:25+01:00May 11th, 2022|Categories: Midlands, Steak Pie|Tags: , , , , |

Yes you read that correctly, it’s a Nice Pie Steak Pie. But was it a nice steak pie? Let’s find out! Nice Pie are the baker, they make pies, and they are they are very good at it. We paid them a visit after the Pie awards to pick up supplies, I got a steak, a steak and stilton and a large pork pie.

Don’t get me wrong, these are great pies but I was a little bit disheartened upon hearing that they had none of their “specialist” products in stock on the day.

I mean I suspect that, with the state of the world at the moment, getting hold of exotic meat is getting a touch more tricky, but whereas I would be perfectly happy scoffing on a steak pie, I always feel it is my duty to search out the new and obscure in the interests of research.
You see, on previous trips to Melton, I have brought back their squirrel pie and their zebra pie, not because I particularly fancy them but because THEY ARE THERE!!

They have also been known to produce a crocodile pie, a kangaroo pie and the non descriptive but still highly intriguing Ring of fire pie. Then there is the roadkill pie……

It might be a headline grabber but there is a nice bit of info on the website which explains: “The meat obtained from rabbits, woodpigeons and squirrels is free-range, hormone and cholesterol free, tasty, and easy to cook. So why not put them in pies?”

Also, it is worth mentioning that by eating these type of animals, you are also consuming potential garden pests. Anyway, I want one, for research purposes. So keep me posted, Nice Pie PLEASEEEE!!!!

If you do chance upon the ingredients, you will see that it is no different to the game pie I had last week (and a lot cheaper) save for the addition of a bit of wood pigeon.

But for now, I will have to suffice with their classic steak pie, so what to make of it?

The pie is average sized and circular, with a golden coloured, semi flaky lid and solid base. I’ve got to say, when I up-end it, the base is cooked to perfection..

The crust is firm and crunchy, but not too dry and as I cut it open, the quantity of steak meat in there is astonishing. It is packed to the rafters with very, very, large chunks of prime beef. This is music to my ears, and whereas there can sometimes be a concern that big pieces equal less moisture, well, the meat is still soft enough to be juicy.

In truth, gravy, mash and peas on the side might enhance it and make for a great meal but I’m all about the pie, as regular readers will know and there is a rich, satisfying taste with every mouthful. It is meat, meat and more meat and of exceptionally high quality.

So in the meantime, I will keep checking their website, for something more obscure to feature. I know, for example, they entered their kangaroo and tackleberry pie in the most recent pie awards but I didn’t manage to personally sample or judge it on this occasion.

The finer details
Date: 9th May 2022
Price: I think they were around £3, purchased to take away from their shop /café, a little bit more if you buy online
Address: Six Hills Ln, Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray LE14 3NB
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Taylor’s Farm Shop Peppered Steak Pie

By |2022-03-28T09:39:43+01:00March 28th, 2022|Categories: Steak Pie|Tags: , , , , , |

Upon returning from the Pie Awards with 14 pies, many of which would need freezing, I quickly realised that I already had at least 14 pies in my freezer when I opened it. So I have SWORN not to buy any more pies until I have cleared the backlog (purely to make way for more pies, obviously)

So here is today’s contribution to my freezer clearance challenge. Taylor’s is a fantastic farm shop in Lathom, near Ormskirk in Lancs, and as you can see, it has been in the freezer for a while, judging by the best before date.

If I recall, as well as getting whatever I needed for the BBQ I was doing (as it was August), I picked up a butter pie and a peppered steak pie (£1.95). Here is that peppered steak pie, and it is an intriguing shape certainly.

It has a very flaky top crust, which is loosely attached to the crimped shell of the pie and is a familiar, tapered, oblong shape, usually associated with the classic steak and kidney.

Anyway, the combination of meat and pastry gives off an impressive aroma as it cooks, and it comes out slightly darker but still intact. I often find these pies a little hard to manoeuvre, when they are so top heavy on crust, and they can collapse if the filling isn’t too generous. There’s none of that here, however, as there is a deep layer of tender, light steak underneath the flaky levels of crispy pastry.

It isn’t too saucy or moist, and the pepper is clearly marinated within the meat. There is a bit of sauce, where the black pepper is present but the meat is juicy and moist as well. The pepper is consistently warm, rather than napalm intensity and I manage to polish off the pie completely with my hands.

Although evidently, my main issue with puff pastry rears it’s ugly head again, namely that there’s always going to be plenty of it left on the plate compared to a shortcrust or hot water variety. Such a waste! Conversely, the thick crust does makes the pie easier to handle, even if you get crumbs on your shirt.

Ultimately, the meat is the star of the show, as tender and appetising as you’d expect from a butcher / farm shop.

Review date: 27th March 2022

Price: £1.95

Address: Hall Ln, Ormskirk L40 5UW




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Wilfred’s Steak ‘n’ Red Pie

By |2022-03-11T12:10:02+00:00March 11th, 2022|Categories: Steak and Ale|Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s that time of year again when my fridge and freezer seem to be over-run with pies, as we approach the end of British Pie Week. I am currently working my way through the various pies I have curated from up and down the country in both blog and future book form.

Last week I received a delightful box of beautifully presented pies from Lewis Pie & Pasty Co from Swansea. The brand that they trade under is Wilfred’s Pies and thankfully for the likes of myself, they ship their wonderful pies in fancy packaging, full of pie based love, across the UK.

It also satisfies my desire to spread my pie-eating wings away from my native North West of England, as I continue to find perfect pies of all shapes and forms for my follow up book.

The range of flavours is something to behold, many of them with a local twist: The Gower Cwtch Pie (Steak & Horseradish); The Saucy Cow (Steak & Hoppy Ale); a Chicken, Leek and Taffy Apple Cider Pie; and there is also a Cheesy Chicken, Leek, Potato & Spinach Pie. For veggies they also offer a Spicy Caulflower and Spinach Balti Pie. The impressive list goes on and on, and they also do pasties and desserts.

I got a box of four pies from their online shop priced at £14.50, so just over £3.50 each, and was delighted to find that each pie was of a hefty size.

The flavour I dived into tonight was the Steak ‘n’ Red. It is a Beef Bourguignon style pie, consisting of steak, slow cooked in red wine, garlic and beef stock, with onions, carrots and mushrooms also in the filling.

Upon pulling her out of the packaging, I am met with a sturdy, semi flaky crust, topped with mixed herbs, which adds an air of opulence to it and smells buttery and fresh.

I had some concerns that the over-hanging crust might not release itself from the foil tray once cooked, but a little wiggle and a shake and it drops perfectly and intact onto the plate.



The crust is firm and has a reassuring crunch on the outer shell, but with plenty of give inside as the gravy has soaked in. As I cut the pie in half, I am hit with a wave of steam, followed by a tumbling out of rich, dark steak chunks, sweet, diced carrots and cute, sliced button mushrooms.

As a disclaimer, it has been well documented that I am not a huge fan of mushrooms, but as this is a beef bourguignon pie, then who am I to argue? The beef is the star of the show however, as you’d expect: large tender strands which melt in the mouth, marinated in dark, sweet red wine gravy.

There’s also lightly coloured, sweet carrots and whole pearl onions added to the mix and this is a definitely a meal in a pie, though as you can see, I added broccoli, carrots and chips. And a bit of gravy eventually. I like to eat the pie as it comes to get the full flavour experience, but it was so good, I almost forgot to put the gravy on.

The good news is that I have three more of these to sample. The bad news is that there’s loads more on their website I am itching to try. So many pies, so little time, the age old problem for me…..



Review date: 10th March 2022
Price: Prices for a box of four can range from £13.00 to £14.50. This box retails at £14.50 for four (£3.62 each to be precise)
Address: Units 3-6 Abergelly Road, Fforestfach, Swansea SA5 4DY
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Asda Extra Special Steak and Ale Pie

By |2021-12-23T12:10:30+00:00December 23rd, 2021|Categories: Pies, Steak Pie|Tags: , , , , |

Or to give it it’s full title, the Asda Extra Special Aberdeen Angus Steak and Black Sheep Ale pie. We can only hope that the pie as much of a mouthful as it’s name.

Now, I had no real desire to pick up a pie from Asda as part of my official research but this looked highly visually appealing and ticked all the boxes, so why not?

There’s also a label stating that it is currently on sale at a trial price of two quid versus the future price of £2.30, so who am I not to snag a bargain and also become a road tester of this product, all in one go?

For a speculative purchase, things get off to a flyer. It has a golden colour to the top crust, which is dusted with peppercorns and the pie looks to be of considerable depth, whilst also raised in the middle.

It is 30 minutes on the oven on a low heat and, well it’s disclaimer time: I usually hang around to sample the aroma but since getting COVID a week or two ago, well, you can guess the rest. Thankfully, whereas my smell has gone I seemed to have retained most of my tastebuds.

This is going to be awkward if it doesn’t sort itself out soon. I’m currently spending my days sniffing Vicks, coffee, coconut oil, oranges and garlic in a bid to train back my senses ASAP. I like my grub (and fine ale and wines too) so this is hurting me bad.

The wife tells me she can smell that sweet, buttery pastry, but for me, it will have to wait. This is where my sub conscious tells me I will just buy another in a month or two’s time, in my never ending lust for pies. I always find a reason to want to go back.

I get a clean take out of the foil tray, pop it on a plate and carve it up. There is a bit of air space at the top but still a good inch or so of thick steak filling.

I pull out a chunk of steak with the fork and it is chewy but succulent in flavour. The crust is a delight, it is multi layered, crispy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside to soak up the ale infused gravy. Now on this, I can’t pinpoint with any certainty the Black Sheep ale but there’s a distinct juicy, fruity note to it.

All in all, I can’t be critical as I don’t know how much is down to my (hopefully) temporary sensory impairment but the content is good, form and appearance exceptional and it is a highly filling, visually appealing pie. As a bonus, I eat the second half wholly by hand with zero spillage.

In summary, I’d eat it again, and may well do in the New Year. Albeit I will have to pay an extra thirty pence for the privilege.

No need to provide any further links or details, it was bought from this little place called ASDA! I expect you’re already familiar with them.

Instead, here’s some links to our socials, if you fancy giving us a festive follow:
Facebook page:
Facebook group:
You can buy a copy of Life of Pies for just £4.99 + P&P here. Containing hundreds of reviews of some of the nation’s finest pastry products

Finally, I’d like to wish all pie lovers a very merry Xmas and Hap-pie New year to you and your families!

Clapham’s Meat and Potato Pie

By |2021-11-15T16:53:43+00:00November 15th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Meat and Potato Pie, North West|Tags: , , , , , |

I recently found myself running a relative to Leigh Infirmary for a hospital appointment, one that would require a bit of wait time. Well, what is there to do in Leigh with said wait time?

I suppose a man’s got to eat for a start…..

I have tried out quite a few pie shops in Leigh and the surrounding areas but my knowledge is by no means comprehensive. I’m getting compelled to Dawsons Pies of Atherton cos they are amazing and there’s also Sargents which is close by. I think I have had Sargents in the past in a pub in Standish (a pub that gives away pies on a Saturday night is always a winner in my eyes) and I am more than familiar with Dawson’s Pies, the only question is whether since re-opening, they are of the same high standard.

There’s also Taylor’s marvellous peppery pies, as previously reviewed on here by yours truly, so you could say that the locals of Leigh are spoilt for choice on the pie front.

Clapham’s are an unknown quantity. My new book will feature not 314 pies but 1,000. Whereas I’d never eat that many personally, getting up to half should be the bare minimum, so that is 186 new pies to try over the next 12 months or so in order to make this project real. So, on we go.

Clapham’s is a very traditional bakery, situated just on the periphery of Leigh town centre. It appears that there may have been some kind of incident a day or two before my visit, as the windows appear to have been boarded up, but the shop is open, so I venture in undeterred.

There’s two blokes in front of me, clad in work gear. I’m always curious to earwig on their order, in case of any local culinary tip offs, and on this occasion it appears that “minced beef pie on a barm please” is the preferred option.

A meat and potato pie is priced at ONE ENGLISH POUND, I am also taken aback by the meat pies, which look small and deep and very reminiscent of Dawson’s down the road in Atherton / Tyldesley.

Other pies available include steak pies, minced beef and pasties (meat and potato and also cheese and onion). The shop is a bit sparse but there is steady flow of pies and sandwiches coming from the kitchen.

I opt for the meat and potato and a meat pie. My little duo arrive in a paper bag, which is hot to the touch, and the smell coming off them, once I am back in my car is breathtaking. A beautiful gluten-ny, gluttony, buttery, lardy pastry, injecting right up into my nostrils.

I decamp to the car park of BJ’s Bingo across the road to tuck in, and it really doesn’t take long at all to devour this pair.

The meat and potato is not a huge pie, but what do you want for a quid? The pastry is wonderfully soft with a firm crust lip. The filling is predominantly mashed potato, with a few clumps of mince thrown in. The flavour is sweet and gentle, with none of the fiery pepper seasoning, I have come to expect from round these parts, the main heat comes from the fresh potato filling, which is burning hot yet delicious.

And with that it is one down, one to go….

The finer details
Date: 7th August 2021
Price: £1.00 for a meat and potato pie
Address: 65 Chapel St, Leigh WN7 2PB
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Murray’s Butchers Steak Pie

By |2021-10-02T18:04:16+01:00October 2nd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Good Pie Guide, Steak Pie|Tags: , , , , , |

My mate, Paul aka Northern Casual found himself in Glasgow again recently. I received the following message:

“I’m going to a butchers/deli nearby, on their website it says they sell homemade steak pies so if they’ve got some in, do you want some to try?”

Is there ever likely to be a negative answer to this question from your correspondent here?

Murray’s Butchers and Deli is in central Glasgow, The Gorbals in fact and produce a range of pies and meats to suit all tastes and appetites.
Now, there’s lots of places out there that claim their produce to be home made. The pedant in me, could point out that even this was made in a SHOP.

However, what happens when a steak pie is ordered, is that they go out the back and MAKE IT!!

What I received back from Glasgow the next day was a slightly flattened oblong tray with a large over hanging short crust pastry. Oh, yes and it was completely uncooked.

What to do here? I decide to go with my time and tested “20 minutes at 180 degrees in the fan oven” with a view to extending it to 40 minutes if I don’t think it is ready.

Twenty minutes later and what I thought was shortcrust is actually puff pastry. It is golden coloured and rising nicely. The pastry is wafting through my kitchen and I decide on another ten minutes (as I can’t see the meat).

On the 30 minute mark, all seems good so I pull it out and start to examine. There is a foil tray underneath, and a sheet of tin foil, so what’s going on here then?

What is going on here is the oddest pie set up I have ever come across! It is essentially a “do it yourself” pie.

I carefully extract the pie from the foil tray and only the puff pastry crust drops out.
I then peel back the layer of tin foil and there lies a portion of prime steak and gravy.

And that is it! Put that one back together!


It feels like some kind of elaborate April Fool’s joke. For all the good it is, I may as well stick it on a barm Wigan-style!

I decide to put the crust on the plate face down with the meat on top so the pie is upside down and get a knife and fork. I struggle with the taste of metal on metal, you see, and can’t cope with a fork touching the foil tray.

Whereas there are only two pieces of meat, they are indeed prime cuts of steak. Soft and juicy and easily broken up into four of five chunks and surrounded with a few blobs of rich gravy.

Now, you know what is coming. The pie purists, of which I consider myself one, would not deem this to even be a pie, due to it’s lack of full encasement in pastry and there is no getting away from this.

I still find it quite a novel and enjoyable experience however. So, in the interests of balance, I reached out to my good chum, sweary stand up comedian and Glaswegian, Barca Jim, to ask if this is a common tradition….

He has previously told me that they do make pies in Glasgow where the steak and gravy are just loaded into a big foil tray and then pastry is crimped over the top, it is indeed a traditional steak pie, or as I would call it, a stew with a lid. He did at least give me the liberty of sending me a decent one.

By the way, here’s one Jim sent me earlier:

Now, THAT does look good, fully encased or not…..

The finer details

Date: 8th September 2021

Price: A small steak pie costs £1.95, they also do scotch pies, bridies (pasties) and larger pies but I cannot vouch for the structure of them.

Address: 181 Crown St, Glasgow G5 9XT

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Turners Steak and Ale Pie (142)

By |2020-12-20T13:39:11+00:00December 20th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Life of Pies, Pies, Uncategorised|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Time for another pie from the archives and today, I am going to move out of the North West all the way down to sunny Sussex. I don’t know how I first came across Turners’ Pies, but I am very glad I did. And they have been very hard to avoid since, given their meteoric rise up the pie charts.

They are a multiple British Pie Award supreme pie winner (the biggest accolade any pie maker can get!) So it is only fair that I accelerate and acknowledge their presence in the Good Pie Guide.

Turners Steak and Ale Pie

Bognor Regis, a place so sleepy it’s twinned with the Land of Nod. It does possess Turners however, a specialist family run pie shop with a very smart exterior, if a little bit marooney in colour.

As soon as I get out of the car, that unmistakeable waft of pastry comes heading my way, I’m like a geriatric Bisto-kid. The lad serving is a chirpy Cockney geezer, with a mop of hair and therefore bearing more than a passing resemblance to Charlatans front man Tim Burgess. All about the pies in here, chicken and steak of various dimensions, served on their own or you can chuck in peas, mash and gravy for a couple of extra quid.


Purveyor: Turners
Premises: Bognor Regis
Purchase: Steak and ale pie £2.30

Place: 8 The hot pies and mash are pulled down from a serving hatch which is a nice touch
Pastry: 8 A highly decorative crust, crisp in the mouth but uneven and artisan in its form, suggesting it has been crimped by hand. Highly portable as well, not that I’ve seen many Sussex folk walking around eating pies with their hands like they do where I’m from
Presentation: 9 Amazing aroma and piping hot
Package: 9 A dangerously overcrowded population of prime steak lies within
Palate: 8 Mighty and meaty
Price: 7 Over £2 takeaway but this is no average pie
Portion: 8 Deep and oblong shaped

OVERALL: 57/70 A splendidly well filled pie from a passionate vendor dedicated to fine food

The finer details:

The original review took place on Tuesday 16th October 2012. Obviously with Turners being a good 250 miles from my house, I am yet to pay a repeat visit, or indeed, try their Pies by Post service. Though I should add that I have no doubt unknowing eaten their pies in my role of judge at the British Pie Awards. Given their 2020 success with it, I reason that the next pie of theirs to review for the Good Pie Guide will be the Steak and Stilton pie, the 2020 BPA Supreme Champion. Can’t wait!

Current pricing (December 2020)
A steak and ale pie is currently retailing at £3.80 via Turner’s click and collect service. Or you can of course buy in bulk using their Pies by Post service.

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