Kia ora, pie friends! It’s been far too long between serves, I must say. After the Dinkum fiasco a few weeks ago, I needed to take some time off to recuperate, think about life, and to decide if I wanted to continue with the Pie Blog.
It’s just one bad pie, you say. It’s part of the job. You’ve got to get back on your pie horse and keep riding, you say. But you weren’t there, man! That pie seriously shook me to the bowels. A few more like it and I’ll need more than three weeks to recover. For now, though, a weekend back home is enough to get the old belly rumbling for some sweet pastry goodness.
As some of you will know, I recently flew back to NZ for a glorious weekend of films, food, and frotting. High up on my to-do list was to slam back a couple of NZ pies to remind myself of what I’m missing – that is, awesome pies. Feeling a little bit seedy and hungover, we made our way to The Fridge, in Auckland’s trendy art-wank suburb of Kingsland. There isn’t much going on in Kingsland, in fact, if it weren’t for The Fridge, I’d never go there. It’s always a bit hectic inside the café, with the ever-popular pie warmer right beside the till, and everyone falling over each other to get their morning coffee. And at $6.50, the pies are a tad on the expensive side – but they’re worth every cent. A lot of people swear by the mince and mozzarella, but I’m not much of a mince pie fan so I went for an old favourite with a twist – the chicken and mushroom pie, with pesto and parmesan. In a word, unbelievably-fucking-amazing.
After so many mediocre pie-experiences here in Australia, it was just fantastic to hold this thing in my hands and be confidant in the fact that it was going to be worth the year long wait and the $900 plane ticket. One of my favourite things about The Fridge is the temperature of their pies – it’s perfect. There’s no chance of burning your tongue on a pie from The Fridge. It just doesn’t happen. Moist chicken pieces, a deliciously cheesy sauce, oh god the pastry – this is seriously one of the best pies I’ve ever had.
I want to strike fear into the hearts of pie makers in this country. I want them to know that there are too many sub-par pies being eaten here. The People need to know that pies like this are being lovingly crafted just across the Tasman.
Calling the monstrosity I ate this afternoon a pie is like a taking a shit on a footpath and calling it a T-bone steak. No, worse than that, it’s like taking a shit on a footpath, telling everyone it’s a T-bone steak, charging those people money for it, and basing your entire fucking business around it.Perhaps I only have myself to blame. I should have learned after last time. But that was a vegetarian pie, and they don’t count for dick. Everyone deserves a second chance. Don’t they? So off I went to Dinkum Pies for a fair dinkum pie.
Instead, I got a piece of shit on a footpath. They called it “Chicken, leek and potato”. I knew this was a bad idea after the first bite. What a fool I’d been! I could have been eating something amazing, delicious, awe-inspiring! But there I was, chowing down on chicken mince (chicken mince! Chicken mince! Words fail me), and whatever else they’d mashed into this disgusting filth.
I threw it out, unfinished. I could get nothing more out of it, except for a tumour in my lower bowel. I’ve eaten a lot of bad pies, but this has got to be the worst. I’d feel bad about hating on this place so much, but when you’re business is making pies and instead you serve up these repulsive salmonella cakes, you’ve got it coming.
One of my favourite things about writing The Pie Blog is the various pie-related conversations I have with people. Friends, colleagues, and complete strangers approach me with piems, pie tips, pie stories, and a whole lot of pie puns. I like it. Makes me feel I’m not alone in this pie obsession. I had a few comments last week about Rudd’s and Key’s plans to change government titles, and it seems The People are not happy. Pies and politics shouldn’t mix, you say. Keep our governments secular! I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think Key or Rudd deserve to be called Pie Ministers or pieliticians at all. Pies are for the people; we must reclaim our streets. And on this note, I’m going to share the recipe for my Bacon and Egg Pie. It’s amazing.
I eat a lot of pies. Some are pretty awesome, some are pretty shit. I have no qualms telling it like it is. The Pie Blog is all about journalistic integrity, after all. Every now and again, just to prove that I, not John Key, am the Pie Master, I like to bake a pie myself. They are always awesome. Some things just come naturally to people – Michael Jordan had basketball, Beethoven had the piano, Tiger Woods has being a cheating bastard. Me, I have pies. I’m not even lying.
And because I’m such an awesome guy, I’m going to share with all you beautiful people my recipe for a Happy Easter Bacon & Egg Pie. Some of you may take offense at my using ready made puff pastry, so hey, by all means, make your own pastry if you have time. It’ll make your pie that much more awesome, but be warned, it is a very time consuming process. Been there, done that.
Here's the recipe
Ingredients: 2 ready-made puff pastry sheets 1 potato 6-8 rashers of bacon 6 eggs ½ onion, chopped parsley, chopped
Method: 1. Peel and cut the potato into 1cm thick slices. Quickly blanch and set aside. 2. Grease up your pie dish and lay a pastry sheet inside. Trim to fit. 3. Line the bottom with the potato slices. Keep it a single layer – no overlapping. Throw in the chopped onion, then the bacon. Crack the eggs in a pretty pattern – keep them whole if you can. 4. Sprinkle some parsley over everything, and lay the other pastry sheet over the top of that. Oh, you should have pre-heated the oven to 200°C before all this so you can put the pie in. 5. Let it cook for about 30 minutes, or until golden.
Be warned, this pie is frickin’ awesome. It will disappear quickly. So go back for seconds while you have the chance!
Ahhh, meat pies. That great Antipodean tradition. Wrap some meaty filling in a flaky puff pastry, serve it with chips and a bit of salad and most of us could die happy. Match these golden treats with cold beer and old friends and by Jove, you’ve got my idea of heaven. And I know a lot of other people share these feelings; one person in particular being New Zealand’s Prime Minister Mr John Key. Although I don’t exactly like the man, I do have to respect his love of the pie – in reaction to K-Rudd’s decision to change his office’s name to Pieliament, Mr Key is fast tracking his own name change: from Prime Minister to Pie Minister. And though I said last week that politics and religion shouldn’t mix, I’m in favour of the change, if only to fuel the trans-Tasman rivalry we’ve been putting up with for years. It’s usually over silly things, like rugby, cricket, Phar Lap or Russel Crowe, but now it’s caught up to the important issue of pies, we need to take notice. Sheep shagging jokes are one thing, but stealing NZ’s pie glory is one pastry step too far.
And on that extremely weak segue, let’s talk about this week’s pie – the lamb and roast vegetable pie from Boscastle, which we ate at Jolimont Expresso at Fed Square. You’ll remember me mentioning last time the beer fest in Fed Square’s Atrium, which featured a whole lot of microbreweries, sausages, and one of the best pies I’ve had this side of the Tasman. Nothing makes my taste buds lose their shit more than waiting in a pie-line and hearing people raving about the pies. And after a hard day’s work on the STREAT carts, a good pie is all I wanted (thanks again for talking me into it, Sunisa and Jade). We were not to be disappointed. The pastry – oh, the pastry! Thick and bitey, it held solid right to the last, with pieces of tender lamb and vegetables held firm in the buttery force field. Against all odds, the levee didn’t break, and combined with a newly trimmed moustache, it became one of the tidiest pie sessions ever. Special mention must be made of Ralph of Jolimont’s homemade tomato relish, for which I was happy to break the no condiments rule. Good stuff!
Perhaps Australians really can make pastry? I sure hope so. I feel my mission to find the best pie in the world is only just starting, and with the politicians of the world playing catch up, we all need to perfect the art, and eat more pies, before the soul is sucked out and used for propaganda.
Willkommen, ladies and gentlemen, to today’s edition of the esteemed Pie Blog. Although new to STREAT, the Pie Blog has been around in various guises for a while now, and things are looking great. We’ve been getting some pretty good press lately, with write-ups in the Gore Weekly, the Taumarunui Sun, and Wodonga’s version of the TV Guide; Matt from MasterChef has been trying to get hold of my vast amount of pie puns; even Australian PM Kevin Rudd is getting in on the action: as the Women’s Weekly reports, he’s held more than his share of pie parties in Parliament. (He’s apparently also trying to push a referendum to officially change the name to Pieliament. Whether this is a good idea, I’m not so sure. Religion and politics shouldn’t mix). It seems the Pie Revolution is spreading, carried from town to town by truck drivers and travelling salesmen, along with VD and a bunch of crap from China.