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Buy the Life of Pies

bookcoverA self published, self funded travelogue epic in search of the perfect pie, written with humour, observation and downright desperation.

Over 500 copies have been sold to date of Life of Pies which means that there's less than 500 left to get your mitts on.

This is my ultra positive way of saying I've still got a shed full of the buggers left and I had to pay the printers on the credit card....

So here's the details…..

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A #WorldBookDay and #BritishPieWeek special offer

piescoversmallDo YOU like books? 

Do YOU like pies?

Maybe it’s about time you got a book about pies?

In which case maybe this is the book for you….


The Top Ten Pies in Wigan

piebarmWelcome to Wigan – undisputed pie capital of the world! Maybe it is disputed though? The British Pie Awards are on next month and they are held not in Wigan but in Melton Mowbray, where the pies are very different but no less famous. The World Pie Eating Championships are however held in Wigan but that might imply that Wiganers go for quantity - or speed of consumption appears to be the current barometer - over quality elsewhere.

I also found that during the making of my book Life of Pies that the neighbouring towns of St Helens and Bolton are host to a number of fantastic independent bakers and butchers who make brilliant pies, suggesting that they are probably more than capable of matching Wigan in a culinary sense if not a sporting one. Hey, a good pie is a good pie, even if it is made over the hill by "them men".


A festive treat for a pie lover!

piebookLooking for a literary treat for the pie lover in your life? Well, look no further as "Life of Pies" can fulfil your needs....

What's it all about then?


Muffin Tops

muffinmanAt least I've finally got the answer to a question posed right at the beginning of Life of Pies, namely - when a pie shop sells a small and large meat and potato pie, why on earth would anyone order a small one?

The answer of course is that the large ones have run out....

And speaking of going right back to the start, the Muffin Man was one of the first places I visited when commencing my pie epic back in 2012.

The current state of play in the cut throat Wigan pie market is that Galloways probably rule the roost in terms of both presence and good pies, Greenhalghs aren't far behind, but they're from Bolton so we can't count them really despite me loving some of their flavours, none more so than the fiery vindaloo pie. Elsewhere, the budget market is catered for by the eye poppingly cheap pastry prices on offer at the Pound Bakery (another Bolton chain).


How not to write a book

piesresetIt's just over 12 months to the day since I launched my self-published epic Life of Pies and I'd be lying if I said things had gone exactly to plan. I've not had the best year to be perfectly frank, in fact in a literary sense, it has been something of an unmitigated disaster. 


Put a DUNK on it!

dunkleys1It was a sunny, summer's day when I found myself at the Table Table chain in the Stone Cross pub near Haydock. It was actually the same day as when I last updated the blog and I had already polished off a Greens Cheese and Onion pie for lunch yet as I found myself perusing the menu, I uncovered a fine selection of Dunkleys pies to be on offer.

Now me and Dunkleys have a bit of history. I tried desperately to seek them out during the making of Life of Pies, having read that they had won an award for being the best pub pies in the country.


Back on the pie trail: Greens Cheese & Onion

greenscheese1A familiar establishment but a pie I've never tried before from there. It's a cheese and onion pie from Greens which I think cost around £1.50.

If I'm honest, I didn't taste and review anything like enough cheese and onion pies during the making of Life of Pies. The main reason for this being, I love meat! Ahem. Indeed, who doesn't love meat?? Yes, OK thanks - vegetarians! They don't.

The pie is of a hefty size and dimension, it has a wonderfully thin top crust which nevertheless manages to retain a perfect balance of soft yet slightly crisp texture. Yet it is also backed by a rugged outer crust rim which gives you something proper to grab hold of as well while the base is uniform and sturdy.


One hundred days of pie No.50 Grasmere Farm Steak Pie

grasmere1At last, 50up! This is still under 16% of the pies featured in all their glory in the Life of Pies, magnificent value for under a tenner.

Ahem, anyway towards the end of the book, I started to get a few recommendations coming my way, one in particular came from Mudhutter's very own Orrible Ives who had recently decamped to rural Lincolnshire.

On a brief reconnaissance back to home turf, I met him in the car park of The Crown Inn at Worthington, itself a fine creator of home baked pies.


One hundred days of pie - No.49 Burchalls of St Helens

burchalls1'Tis a shameful admission but I worked in St Helens for three years and parked up around the back of this place with no knowledge it was actually there. But maybe that's a deliberate thing, as it is an understated institution where the locals furtively enter with a knowing nod. 

Even as you walk past, it can be difficult to ascertain that there are top notch pastry products being served up in here as it is eeriely quiet, unless the infamous army of pensioners with their Tupperware boxes happen to be queuing out of the door. 

Walk in and you'll find an extensive meat counter with the pies hidden at the end. That's if there are any pies on the shelves at all. The usual scenario here is that the pies are lifted out of the oven and straight into the palm of eager hands.


One hundred days of pie: No.48 Lord of the Pies - The Stockport Pie

lotp1After a long day procuring growlers on the other side of the Pennines, I found myself negotiating the labyrinth that is the narrow winding streets of Stockport town centre in search of one more pie. I parked on a meter outside a nightclub cum lapdancing bar and headed for the bright lights and noise emanating from Stockport market over the bridge. Lord of the Pies (ace literary pun there) is situated at the quieter end of Jordangate but it is a smart, clean, functional unit with plenty seating inside and display racks full of hot or cold pies to take away.


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What's Your Favourite Pie?

Meat and Potato - 28.5%
Steak and Kidney - 14.5%
Chicken and Mushroom - 6.8%
Steak and Ale - 25.1%
Cheese and Onion - 6.3%
Pork - 6.8%
Chicken Balti - 5.8%
Butter - 6.3%

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