“ Manufacturer: Linda McCartney / Type: Pies „
I used to rely a lot on Linda McCartney vegetarian foods when I first became a vegetarian. My main thought for meal ideas was to think of a meat based dish, and then look for a ready made vegetarian equivalent such as "fake" sausages or mince. Since then I have learnt to cook, as well as appreciate the dishes from around the world that were never intended to include meat or fish. So I began to find the McCartney food range a bit limited and I didn't buy anything from it for some time. Recently though, I have been shorter than usual of cooking time, so I decided to have a look around for veggie convenience foods. I came across the Linda McCartney Vegetable Farmhouse Pies in Iceland where they cost £1 for 2. [292g for the two.] They looked nice in the picture on the packet so I decided to give them a try.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY FARMHOUSE PIES?
I do not think these pies have actually ever seen a farmhouse, but they are similar to the traditional country recipes for savoury pies, allowing of course for the lack of real meat! At first glance I thought they were supposed to just be a vegetable pie, but a closer reading of the box told me that the filling is made from chicken-style soya chunks with leeks, carrots, and onions "in a rich gravy". The pastry is described as light and flaky - I will give my opinion on this below.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND COOKING THE PIES
The pies are frozen which means they have a helpfully long shelf life, and if you only want to use one it is easy to keep the other fresh. The box isn't too bulky, being only just bigger than the pies themselves which is a consideration from me as my freezer is often very full. They don't need defrosting which saves time. The only preparation needed prior to cooking is to brush the top of each pie with a litttle egg or milk. I forgot to do this once, and the pastry did not colour or crisp anywhere as much as it should have done so it is definitely something you need to do! In common with most ready made pies I have bought, these come in an individual foil cases so you don't need anything other than a baking tray to sit them on. Once cooked they slide out of the foil easily and in one piece.
The pies look pale when first removed from their cardboard box, but this is only to be expected as they are uncooked at that point. Most importantly, they have developed a lovely golden colour by the end of the 30 minute cooking time. The pastry tops have risen, and look like proper flaky pastry. They smell stongly when cooking - not of "chicken" or vegetables, but of pastry baking. It is smell that always makes me feel hungry. I find the suggested cooking times are accurate for my oven and that the pies are piping hot and nicely cooked within that time.
When you cut one of the pies open, they seem well filled with no gaping hole under the pastry lid as often seems to be the case with other pies. The gravy mentioned in the product description is more what I would call a creamy sauce. It adds a lovely moistness to the soya chunks which can sometimes tend to dryness I think. The chicken style chunks taste very similar to how I remember chicken to taste, but I have not ate it for 15 years so I may not be the most accurate judge! However, I do not mind how authentic the filling is providing it tastes nice, which it undoubtedly does. There are plenty of carrot pieces, which taste fresh and flavoursome, as well as smaller amounts of the leek and onion. All the individiual elements of the filling combine to make a satisfying pie. I can't fault the pastry topping, but I think the base could be a bit firmer even if it isn't actually soggy. That's a small complaint though, and I enjoy eating the pies. I do find one filling enough with a good serving of side vegetables, so I think £1 for 2 represents good value.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THESE?
I would, providing you are a vegetarian who like the taste of chicken. I have also served these to non-vegetarian family members and they like them, despite always approaching food labeled as vegetarian very cautiously! I find them full of flavour and they go well with all kinds of vegetables. The other important point about these is they are not especially low-fat in my opinion, as 1 pie contains 33% of your recommended RDA of fat and 55% of your recommended saturated fat intake. This is no doubt because cream is used to make the sauce. I just take this into account when I am deciding what else to eat that day, but if you had these with roast potatoes and a dessert, you could easily consume a lot of fat. So I wouldn't recommend these as the best choice for those watching their weight.
Made from non GM soya.
Not suitable for vegans.
No artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.
[This review also appears on Ciao under my user name.]
Every now and again I just the urge to have a nice meal of good old pie and chips. Being a vegetarian means I don't get the option of popping to the chippy for chicken and mushroom pukka pie and instead how to cook my own from home using meat free products.
For a while I had many kitchen disasters attempting to make my own pies from scratch, meat free pies were just not something I had been able to find and this seemed my only option. Unfortunately, I'm not exactly a great cook!
So when I was one day browsing the meat free section in the freezers at my local Asda store I jumped at the chance to take these Linda McCartney pies home and finally have that classic British meal I'd been unsuccessfully trying to recreate for so long.
These pies come in boxes of two for £1.33 from Asda. This is quite a reasonable price, I normally find meat free foods to be a lot higher in price than this, particularly the Quorn brand. I was happy to pay this price even if it meant I hated them and never brought them again.
Each pie contains 380 calories and 10.9g of saturated fat. Not the healthiest of foods but then they are covered in pastry! They should kept frozen at all times and cooked from this state as well. The pies take about 30 minutes to cook which is a downside for me as I have a tendency to only start cooking food when I'm feeling quite hungry thus become very impatient when waiting 30 minutes!
The wait, I am pleased to say, is well worth it. Like most pies, these are placed in a little foil covering which they are cooked in, the case of these Linda McCartney Farmhouse pies they foil is silver in colour. The top of the pies becomes a lovely golden brown colour when cooked to perfection and is crisp and crunchy, really nice!
I do tend to find the pastry at the bottom of the pie goes a little soggy which isn't ideal but then, it doesn't taste so terrible I feel I can't eat the pies.
The filling of the pie is made from vegetables such as leek, carrot and onion and, to add that 'chicken' feel to the pies, you also get a generous helping of soya chunks which add to the flavour greatly and make the pies feel so much more filling. A few herbs are added into the pies for extra flavour, parsley mainly going from the taste. The sauce, if that is the right word, in the pies is also lovely, creamy and thick but not to the point where it's sickly and does a great job at adding moisture to the pies so they're not ridiculously dry.
All in all I love these pies. They taste great and are of high quality and don't cost an arm and leg either.
Highly recommended be you a vegetarian or not!
I'm not a vegetarian, I eat meat or fish AT LEAST most days and will usually have a couple of servings in a day when you add in the ham in my sandwiches and regular lunchtime bacon butty. The only reason I ate one of these Linda McCartney pies was because my aunt is playing at being a veggie so my mum brought a couple of boxes to keep in the freezer for when she comes round.
The main filling is vegetables but there are also pieces of soya in it to make you feel a bit like you're eating a chicken pie. There are quite a few pieces of soya in the pie and they have got the same sort of texture as chicken only are a bit more chewy and only really taste of the gravy instead of tasting like chicken. The main vegetable in the pie I had was carrot, they were in little cubes and had been cooked proper nice, the carrots hadn't gone majorly soft and tasted dead fresh. THere was also onion and leeks in there and again they tasted fresh and was cooked nice. I think I saw the odd pea as well but I couldn't swear to that and we've chucked the box now so I can't check, there can't have been many though because I LOVE peas and would have remembered if the pie was bursting with them! lol
The pastry is delish, loads nicer than most meaty pies I've had. It's dead soft and buttery tasting, the top crust is delish because it hasn't soaked up any of the gravy so it's pure yummy pastry. It's a bit flakey but not all that much and if you're having extra gravy on your dinner then it won't be flakey at all, and that's a good thing I think because getting pastry all down my top is not the best idea! lol
I love the gravy as well because it's got a yummy meaty flavour, people who are vegetarians will deffo get their meaty fix from the gravy on this pie and it's so lovely and thick that it covers the vegetables wicked and makes the pie taste a lot more filling than it would if there was a thinner gravy.
I think my mum paid about £1.49 for a pack of 2 pies but she said they are on offer quite a lot, that's still proper reasonable for vegetarian food because the supermarkets normally take the p*** a bit with the price of vegetarian stuff because they know you've got no option but to buy it if you don't eat meat.
I have never really enjoyed pies too much, but since becoming vegetarian I have noticed a huge lack of meat free pies, that aren't pretty disgusting. I do make the occasional pie which is much nicer, but it is always good to have something in the freezer for those times when you just want a lazy night as a back up, and I think these are pretty good.
I had one of these at the weekend at my Mother in Laws house, as she always makes a special effort to find something different for us. So she got these for us to try.
There were 2 in the box and on checking the sainsburys website I can't find the normal price, but it says they are on offer at 2 for £2.00, I'm not sure if that is 2 Linda McCartney products or 2 pies for £2.00, but anyway I don't think they are too expensive.
It said on the box that it was chicken style soya chunks with seasonal veg in a rich gravy with flaky pastry.
The nutritional information from the sainsburys website is as follows:
"Average GDA per serving Fat 23.2g 33%, Saturates 10.9g 55%, Salt 0.9g 15%, Sugar 2.1g 2%, Calories 380.
Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Vegetarian Society APPROVED."
That is not bad for a pie, I always think that they are very fatty, but I guess most of the fat would be the meat.
I think you have to cook these from frozen (fairly easy to do) and I think they took about half an hour to cook. (I didn't look too closely at the cooking instructions on the box as I wasn't cooking it).
The taste of this pie was lovely. It had small square chunks of soya, which I'm not a massive fan of, but with the pastry and the sauce and the veg, they were a nice addition. There were small pieces of leek and carrot which were quite tasty, and the pastry was very soft and flaky, and melted in the mouth. The gravy style sauce was quite thick but tasted quite meaty and light at the same time. All in all a delightful pie.
I would definitely consider buying these to keep in the freezer, I think they would be nice in the winter with some mashed potato, or some extra vegetables. I would highly recommend these.
Staying with my mate who is a Vegetarian at first was a little daunting to me. I thought I'd end up eating boiled cabbage and lettuce leaves but after spending so much time with her of late I'm almost a full time veggie myself now as I love Vegetarian options!
I spotted these in Iceland the other day for a pound a box and asked me mate if she wanted to try some out as we haven't had pie before and she greedily picked up a box!
On the front of the box I'm told they are Linda McCartney 2 Vegetarian Farmhouse Pies that are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, there is an at a glance nutritional chart on there and the weight of the product is stated which is 292g and there is a picture of one of the pies on the front. Other information on the box includes cooking instructions, ingredients are listed as is nutritional information and contact details for Linda McCartney are given. Nice enough box and two pies are inside in foil trays.
Always cook from frozen.
Remove from packaging and brush with egg or milk.
Preheat the oven.
Place the pie in the foil onto a preheated baking tray into the middle of the oven.
Cook on 220C/400F/Gas 6 for 30 minutes.
Us And The Pies:
We bunged them in the oven as given on the instructions into a gas oven in a caravan! They cooked pretty much in the time given (give or take a few minutes of course) and we simply dabbed on a little beaten egg which of course acts as a glaze over the pastry prior to cooking.
The pies when they went into the oven were a pale creamy colour, round with fluted edges and a bit squashed looking and not as deep as I expected them to be at all.
When out of the oven though the pastry had rose a little and of course they were a little flaky and golden in colour.
Taste wise me and my mate loved these. We served them with boiled potatoes and broccoli and found them to make a warming dinner to eat in this cool weather! The pastry was seasoned and slightly buttery though not overly greasy and easy to digest and the filling was flipping super!
Inside each pie there was a decent serving of small soya chunks, pieces of leek, chunks of potato and batons of carrot in a thickish white sauce which tasted of cream and herbs such as marjoram, sage, thyme and parsley. All was well cooked and well seasoned, everything tasted as you would think it should as well. Succulent and filling I found it to be a really tasty vegetable pie and my mate who is not keen on soya didn't complain about this added to them!
I would recommend these and certainly buy them again without hesitation and my mate agrees with me for once lol.
Nutritional Information Per Pie:
Energy: 380 Kcal
Of which sugars 2.1g
Of which saturates: 10.9g
Of which sodium: 0.3g
Available in all good supermarkets.