Friday, 22 June 2012

Holland's Pies

FREEBIE ALERT

There's not much need for the freebie alert this time, as I'm not going to say anything very complimentary.

Holland's offered to send me a bag full of pies to review. Yes, yes I know they're hardly a gourmet brand. I know they sell them in supermarkets and they're probably cheap and nasty and horrid and full of unpleasant ingredients (to be fair, their website suggests otherwise. Make of that what you will). But really, who cares? Free pies right? I love pies.

From time to time I love a bargain basement pie too. A posh pie isn't always what you need. I used to have a borderline addiction to Gregg's for starters, and you can't beat a chicken balti pie at the football. The gist of it was this: was there any chance of me turning down a bag full of free pies that might just turn out to be nice? No.


Steak pie first. This was ok. The 'unique, golden shortcrust pastry' didn't seem particularly unique to me. It was thin but rather solid and tasteless. Not unpleasant it just passed me by without leaving much of an impression. You'll find the same stuff encasing all of the pies in the range.

The filling wasn't bad. There were a few good chunks of tender-ish meat (more than you'll find in a Greggs steak bake by way of comparison) in a fairly tasty but overly gloopy (too much flour at a guess) gravy. I ate it with mushy peas from a tin which were delicious of course.

 
A day or two later I ate the vegetarian joker in the pack, the cheese and onion pie. I really didn't like this one. The filling wasn't anywhere near cheesy enough, like they'd made a cheese sauce with a cornflour and margarine base and not very much mild cheddar. It left a weird coating on my teeth, as if I'd been slurping wallpaper paste through a straw. Not good. Horrid really.


The meat pie was better, more like a pork pie in style this one. The filling was of solid meat, pork and beef apparently, which had quite a pleasing slightly coarse texture. It tasted ok, but primarily of salt and pepper. I tried to ignore the scary quantity of fat that leached out of it during cooking though. Better on the baking tray than inside me I suppose.

In summary, I've eaten worse. I didn't get round to trying several others, which can now be found languishing in the depths of my freezer. I doubt they'll see the light of day unless I'm desperate and hungover.


http://www.hollandspies.co.uk/

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holland's make a decent pie for the money. Potato and Meat and Steak and Kidney are both worth a blob of your best condiment.

Comparing a Holland's pie to a Smeggs "Steak" Bake is like comparing Le Gavroche to Burger King.

Dave said...

Anon - thanks for commenting. I've got potato and meat and steak and kidney in the freezer so I'll try them at some point.

Holland's and Gregg's are in the same sort of price bracket so I think it's a fair comparison. Meat in sauce, pastry, over a quid but less than two. Not entirely convinced you can claim the same similarities between BK and LG.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying. Perhaps the BK - LG comparison was a little heavy handed. However, I do think Holland's make a bit of an effort, whereas Greggs pasties are a bit too flat and greasy for me. I must confess though ,I think Greggs doughnuts give the over priced Krispy Kreme a run for their money.

By the way, this is a cracking blog, I enjoy reading it very much. I hope you keep scoffing and posting for a long time to come.

Dave said...

Anon - cheers glad you like it. 'Flat and greasy' is a pretty accurate description of a Gregg's pasty I mus say!

Simple Stephen said...

I followed your link to www.hollandspies.co.uk and found no information on Dutch espionage but it appears they are using a Baxenden bakery as a front. Consequently, their cheese and onion pasties are tasty, while their meat and potato pies do not seem to travel well: the ones I buy in Asda bear no relationship to the ones I used to relish in Burnley chip shops during my northern youth. I stock up on Mannings pies when back in Rossendale. A small bakery with outlets in Bacup and Burnley, their pastry is perfect and the m and p pies taste, when sufficiently peppery, exactly as they did forty years ago. If they would only open a shop in West London it would save me a fortune in diesel stocking up on them.

Dave said...

Simple Stephen - took me a good couple of minutes to realise what the hell you were on about with the espionage. Marvellous. Never heard of Mannings - I'll be sure to look out for them should I find myself in Rossendale.

Simple Stephen said...

It's been a while since I last visited the true North but recently returned from spending over £70 on various pies including torpedoes ( now called Cornish pasties). At the request of my family, they were mainly from Mannings but I also tried some from two recommended shops in Crawshawbooth, a incongrously trendy village near Rawtenstall. The meat and potato pies from the tiny Cottage Bakery were the same price as Mannings but smallish and average in taste, though their meat pies were delicious and very much in the style of original Scotch pies. Next to prize-winning Rileys the Butchers which resembled a cross between a delicatessen and a farm shop with a clientele of footballers' wives and Yorkshire ex-pats. I tried a nothing-to-write-home-about pasty and took away 10 meat and potato pies to spread around my hungry relatives. They cost a massive 50p more than my other providers but were of a good size and crammed with quality meat. My Lancastrian relatives scored them highly and likened them to those from Haffners in Burnley. Conversely, my wife and three grown-up children thought the pastry was not a patch on Mannings' and that the potato content was not sufficient, nor mashed enough, to offer that yummy first bite they had always enjoyed over the years. In conclusion, we all seem to prefer what we are used to and thank goodness they have stayed with the cheaper option.

Simple Stephen said...

I should add to the above that while in Burnley I made two pilgrimages to the excellent chip shop on Higgin Street just round the corner from Turf Moor football ground. This has been providing a vital service to the local residents and to visiting football supporters since long before Burnley won the league championship. Over the last few years the high standard has been maintained by my namesake Steve and his family. To add to the perfectly-battered fish and just-right chips, I ordered a Hollands meat and potato pie as one does (see above). But the creme de la creme or, if you like, the icing on the cake, was the epicurean topping of Steve's peas and gravy. These additions are unachievable in their correct combination of colour and taste outside of East Lancashire (discuss?)The gravy has to be a perfect consistency of taste and thickness while the peas should not be mushy and must include some yellow and black ones as well as those of the bullet variety. I ended my meal with an enraptured if bloated stomach and wondered why I had ever left for the deep South. It's time like this I believe as a lapsed Northerner, unlike lapsed Catholics, that there is a God and that He, like Elvis is alive and well and working in a chip shop.

Dave said...

Simple Stephen - your pie odyssey has kept me entertained no end! Thanks for commenting.

Simple Stephen said...

Erratum(See my comment on pies). To keep the record straight and to stop Haffners putting their prices up, I have since been told their meat and potato pies may look like Rileys but are very different on the inside.

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