For the love of pie

Pies at Oxford Covered MarketAbsence really does make the heart grow fonder, especially when it comes to pie. Just like Dennis’s pal Pie Face from the British comic the ‘Beano’, I’m mad about pie, and in particular meat pie. There are few things I enjoy more than tucking into a freshly baked steak pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Unfortunately you can’t find a good steak pie for love nor money in Holland. The Dutch just don’t share my passion. Happily, a visit to Oxford’s covered market last month gave me an opportunity to indulge my pie cravings.

Oxford’s covered market located to the north of the High Street opened on November first 1774 and has grown over the years into a foodie’s paradise. The market is an Aladdin’s cave of great food, from fish mongers and bakers to Moo Moo’s milkshake bar. Many of the stall holders such as the Nash Bakery have been trading here for well over 50 years. However, I hadn’t come for fresh bread or a vanilla milkshake. This was a pie quest. I set off in search of Avenue 3 and ‘David John Butcher’s‘. This brightly painted butcher’s stall decorated with rows of union jack bunting is Oxford’s biggest and most renowned pie maker. There in the window was row upon row of freshly made pies, with every type of filling you could imagine. Pork pies with rich jelly encased in hot water pastry, apple and blackberry shortcrust pies and my favourite: steak and ale pie. I could have bought two of each and gorged myself for a week. Resisting the temptation I made a more modest purchase and reluctantly moved on.
'Pieminister' pie shop in Oxford's covered market
Next on my list was lunch and more pies. A pie’s throw from David John’s is ‘Pieministers’ their motto: “Live and Eat Pies” my sentiment exactly. This award winning pie and mash shop offers a choice of 12 pies from ‘Kate & Sidney’ to my long awaited ‘Moo Pie’: british beef steak, cracked black pepper and real ale. I had my Moo Pie neat, deciding to shun the mash potato and mushy pies. The only garnish I wanted was a spoonful of ‘Pieministers’ excellent meat gravy. Holding my enamelled plate I made my way to a table at the back of the busy lunch room and tucked in. It had been worth the wait, the pie was everything I’d hoped.

Since returning from my pie quest in Oxford I’ve discovered that those kind people at ‘Pieministers’ have heard my plee and opened one of their pie shops in Amsterdam, a mere 20 minutes from my home in Bussum. Now I can satisfy my pie cravings on a regular basis.
'Pieminister's' handmade pies

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  1. Beano, Dandy, Dennis the Menace, Smasher, Billy Whizz omg what lovely memories. I read every single copy of Beano and Dandy, growing up. I always thought you lived in the UK, now I see you’re in Holland. I love Holland, Pie is not exactly a Dutch kind of food. The first photo of Pie up there looks so delicious. I am now craving pie too. We don’t have any good pies where I am…sigh. Nice to know I can eat some pie the next time I am in Amsterdam. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m with you Liz, I bought the Beano every week with my pocket money. Perhaps I should have mentioned Desperate Dan and his cow pies?

      • Omg, such great memories, the enormous pie with horns sticking out. I am so tickled and thrilled. Thanks for reminding me of the good old days…life was a great pleasure then, no worries!

  2. I had the same kind of cravings while we lived in the USA – meat pies, cornish pasties and sausage rolls were few and far between! Happy to hear that you’ll be able to indulge now on a regular basis! šŸ™‚

    • Hi Margot, we expats and our cravings. Oddly the Dutch are big on sausage rolls called ‘saucijzenbroodjes’ my mother in law loves them.

  3. I feel the same way about meat pies! They are just not that big here in the US. I end up just making my own, meat pies, fruit pies, pasties. Yum.
    I love the shop with UJ bunting! So cool.


  4. I really enjoyed this post, which evoked wonderful memories of Oxford’s fabulous covered market. I bought an incredible game pie from David John’s at Christmas last year, and always have lunch at Pie Ministers (and always with mash, peas and gravy)! I’m actually off to Oxford on Monday, so I’m sure you can guess where I’m going to be…!!

  5. I think Pie is something British! We, Belgians, are not so fond of it. I can eat it on Holiday but don’t like it that much. I prefer a vegetable pie then!

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