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Thursday 6 March 2014

I Spy Spring Pies! Pieminister's Lighter Range

Sweet, sweet pie dreams
In 2006, I ran a music festivals website. I spent every weekend bogged down in mud and eyeliner, and became an expert in festival food. Some was good - this was a boom year for boutique festivals and the launch year for middle-class dream Latitude - and some were soggy rubbish. By July, I'd got into a groove, and ended up eating Pieminister pie with peas and mash at least once a weekend.

I don't eat many shop-bought pies (or much processed meat for that matter) because it's often dubious quality meat - try our top 10 pie recipes to make your own. I bloody love Pieminister. Their meat is free-range British, and as close to getting an Eton-educated, lovingly brought up cut as you possibly can without making the thing yourself. Their veggie pies are approved by The Vegetarian Society. They even did a charity drive for Africa last year called - ho ho - The Cattle Drive. They're just nice. Given the last festival I went to was Glastonbury 2007 (never again), I'd thought my pie days were behind me. I'm healthy! Ish. I do 5:2! Well, I did it that day, last year, once.

And then Pieminister offered to send me some pies. They didn't know that I have a colossal soft spot for them, so the fact I responded with the epistle equivalent of "PIES! Pies for me! It's Christmas come again!" probably caused them some concern. Anyway. Moving on. 

Their new Lighter range is a shameless and delicious grab for the 5:2 market. They've ditched the usual crust in favour of a thinner, seeded pastry and it's got a herby, seed-y crumb topping which means each pie rocks in at 440 calories while still being the size of a small house.

There are three varieties: Light as a Feta (butternut squash, feta and sun-dried tomato), Kooky Chook (free-range British chicken, sweet potato, coconut and chilli) and Chickalito (free-range British chicken and free-range British dry-cured ham). I'm just going to carry on writing free-range British until I go blind.

Kooky Chook! Should go perfectly well with Quirky Bird.
For the sake of science, and the fact that just mentioning the word 'pie' had my colleagues sniffing around like vultures, I changed my plan to just eat them all myself, and split up the pies in a desk picnic. They were lovely cold, but really got going when popped in the microwave.

Kooky Chook was gorgeous.  Having just got back from Thailand, I left it til last, but it was my favourite. I adore coconut at the best of times, but the whole pie just clicked. And actually, it's not remotely Thai, so forget I said anything. Light as a Feta impressed the whole group. We're a bunch of carnivores, but this pie was well-seasoned and had a terrific flavour. I'd happily pass one of these off as my own cooking next time I have to cook for a veggie at dinner (sorry Ian).
Chickalito - needs an Abba remix
I was a bit more apprehensive about Chickalito, simply because my first job after graduating was working in a meat-packing factory I kid you not, and that is mostly to blame for my shyness around hams. But hurrah for free-range British ham. And hurrah in fact for this pie: with a bit of Pieminister's No 10 chutney on the side, it was great. It just needed a bit of coconut. And chilli. And - oh wait, I really did like that Kooky Chook.

Pieminister Lighter Pies are £3.50 each or there's an intro offer at Waitrose/Ocado at £2.62 a pie. You can also pick them up at farmers markets, pie pubs and at Pieminister restaurants. YUM.


  1. Just cooking my first Pieminister Lighter pie this evening (it's a Light as Feta). I'm a huge fan of their all pastry pies, both veggie and meaty.
    On another tack, you should try Glastonbury again. I was there in 2007 with 2 teenage daughters - so wet and cold (but still excellent). Went again last year. It was breezy, sunny and perfect. Oh, and Pieminister were there of course! Hattie

    1. Bang! Excellent work Hattie - although I'm not sure you could convince me to Glastonbury or any other festival for the moment. Unless I could stay in a hotel... x


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