By Jo Cooksey
Anyone who loves a pie will probably have heard of family owned piemakers, Higgidy. The owners, Camilla and James started the company in 2003 with a range of 4 pies, that Camilla made in the family kitchen.
Camilla, who had trained at Leith’s School of Food & Wine, before becoming a food writer, spotted a niche in the market. She realised that there was a need for fabulous pies and quiches, which despite being favourites on the British tea tables, were sadly neglected commodities. Often insipid in appearance and taste. She said, “I used to walk down the pie aisle in the supermarket and everything looked the same – bland, beige and blokey. I decided there and then that I wanted to shake it up a bit and put some innovation into the world of pies.”
With her love of cooking, Camilla set up Higgidy in pursuit of the perfect, imperfect pie. Handmade, the pies became famous for their slightly wonky look. Consumers loved their homemade look and great tasting fillings. Over the last fifteen years they have expanded the range to include comforting quiches, pastry free frittatas and filled pastry rolls. A lot of their range caters for vegetarians and those of us consciously trying to eat less meat. They recently launched their first vegan product, Roasted Sweet Potato & Red Onion Parcels into Waitrose and are eager to extend this range. When Higgidy contacted me, asking me to try and review their products. Meat based, vegetarian and vegan. I choose the veggie option of Welsh Goat’s Cheese & Leek Frittata and a twin pack of Vintage Cheddar Veggie Rolls.
As an empty nester, who has always cooked from scratch, the idea of now being able to throw something ready done into the oven is very appealing. However, I do still want food that is well made and not full of sugar, fat, salt and other nasties. Higgidy products are ideal for those times when you either don’t feel like cooking or haven’t got time to cook from scratch but still want something tasty and nutritious.
I chose to have the Vintage Cheddar Veggie Rolls for my lunch over the weekend. I had loads of writing work to do, so I wanted something I could nibble out whilst ploughing on. The rolls were lovely, with very light, all butter puff pastry and a generous filling containing potato, onion and both Cheddar and Red Leicester cheeses. Quinoa and poppy seeds scattered on the top added another flavour and texture. I served them warm with a good dollop of my friend’s homemade piccalilli. Lovely.
I had the Welsh Goat’s Cheese & Leek Frittata on Bank Holiday Monday. I had rushed round all day, walking the dogs, doing the housework, ironing etc. and wanted a no faff tea so I put the frittata in the oven. Twenty minutes later I served it with salad leaves, beef tomato and a red onion, beetroot and horseradish chutney. It was really tasty and filling. I loved the tang of the goat’s cheese and the crunch of the pumpkin seeds. I’d definitely buy these in future and I’m looking forward to trying the other two versions; Chorizo, Feta & Pepper and CherryBell Pepper, Feta & Spinach.
As someone who has a day job in the food packaging design industry and is therefore a bit of geek on the subject, I have to comment on Higgidy’s boxes. With their bright colours and contemporary patterns, which are based around the individual packs contents, it is really appealing and cheerful and I would have thought it has good impact on the shelf.
From those early days in the family kitchen, the company now employs around 280 people, has a turnover of £24m and operates out of large premises in West Sussex but the ethos has not changed. Feel good family food - bold, vibrant, uplifting dishes to plonk on the table and enjoy together. It’s all about enjoying good food with those that matter.
For those of you who are wondering, as I was, what the word Higgidy means it was actually made up by a small child and refers to the fact that all of Higgidy's pies are individual and imperfectly shaped.
We were gifted the two products by Higgidy, but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.