Month: June 2014

Pie 68: The Camelon Pie

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Collin Samuel, Hands Aff!
Collin Samuel, Hands Aff!

Hello and welcome to this penultimate presentation of my pastry passion, pies! The World Cup is here and as such the end of the regular football season is nigh and whilst their professional counterparts have been on holiday for a couple of weeks junior footballers are winding up their seasons. Todays review comes from the East of Scotland Super League side Camelon. One of the quirks of going to a game of football pretty much anywhere is sometimes you see the occasional familiar face that you haven’t been expecting. Junior football has been littered with ex=pro’s over the years but the foreign contingent whilst a little harder to find are still relevant. For example former St. Mirren, Hamilton and Hearts winger Jose Quitongo played for as many junior clubs as he did senior and the Angolan is now manager of Ayrshire district side Muirkirk whilst former Swedish international Robert Prytz lit up the junior game in the late 90’s playing for Pollok despite being closer to collecting his bus pass than starting his first day of school.

These are just two examples of which I know there are many more which brings us nicely to the subject of today’s pre-pie diatribe, former Trinidad & Tobago international Collin Samuel currently leading the line at Sauchie Juniors. He was in surprisingly good shape although it would not be preposterous to suggest that he enjoys a little bit more of the good life than he would have done so as a pro. I always wonder how players of his ilk end up playing where they do. Is it a case of diminishing powers? A desire to just play for the love of the game or the love of a good party preventing them from reaching their full potential? It’s perhaps a case of picking one of these three but whatever the reason it always brings much joy and chatter to the terraces when a splash of international colour is present at a junior game in Scotland.

But for now, and without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Carmuirs Park, Camelon v Sauchie, East of Scotland Cup Semi Final

Price: At £1.40 it follows a trend of East of Scotland based pies being slightly more expensive than their western contemporaries, not excessively so and still far cheaper than top end senior Scottish pies but certainly worth a mention.

Presentation: A small white napkin that wasn’t quite big enough to have the whole pie sit on top of it.

Meatiness: The filling was pretty underwhelming if I’m being honest. It was well filled and formed but lacked the real punch of flavour a good scotch pie should. After each bite there was no real linger of flavour and, for my palate anyway, there was no peppery heat to help elevate its meaty status. Actually as I got towards the centre of the pie it was a bit cold, perhaps a side effect to the rather large crowd that had gathered at the game a point that was further illustrated to me as I watched the man behind the counter shuttling another two boxes of pies from the back. The lack of heat will have no doubt played a part in the flavour being a little lacking in this particular meat filled pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was nothing spectacular and although the top of the casing appeared loose it clung on without flipping over as I took each bite. It held the meat inside sufficiently and provide a change in texture but aside from these primary functions there isn’t much else to be said here.

Overall: A pretty average effort, disappointing that it was cold and I was certainly thankful for the bottle of HP on the counter to add some much need depth of flavour. The cold centre makes me wonder if this was microwaved before being finished in the oven but that is pure speculation on my part. Overall though, I’ve had better.

Gravy Factor: Lukewarm Bisto.

So not a stand out offering from Camelon but another pie none the less, the last pie of the season will be coming from Fir Park as I take a break from the Men’s World Cup in Brazil to follow Scotland Women on their journey to Canada 2015 as they take on group favourites Sweden in World Cup Qualifying.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 67: The Rutherglen Glencairn Pie

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Mid Table, End of Season Pie
Mid Table, End of Season Pie

It’s time once again to get meaty, and after a rather long run of luxury pies we return to where this all begun and a humble scotch pie offering this time from Rutherglen Glencairn. I’m continuing to squeeze every last drop out of this season that I can before the World Cup consumes all before it and as a result I have found myself at some really important and some not-so-important games. This one most definitely fell into the second category, an end of season mid-table clash that felt more like a friendly than anything else. In fact the friendly feel was enhanced further by the fact that I managed to return home with sunburn something I more commonly associate with the start of the season not the end.

To be honest though the significance of the came didn’t bother me. The sun was shining, the game was on and I had a pie in hand so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Clyde Gateway Stadium, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cumbernauld United, West Superleague First Division

Price: Priced at £1, this matches the price of the cheapest pies I’ve found on this journey and after parting with nearly £4 for Pie 66: The Fulham ‘Steak’ Pie, it felt good to get a handful of change from my fiver.

Presentation: A bareback pie presented in a medium-sized white napkin sufficient in size to hold the pie and leave parts of it untainted by crumbs and grease to wipe your mouth after consumption had been completed.

Meatiness: I’m not going to lie as the pie was presented to me I didn’t have high hopes, not only because it only cost £1 but also it looked a little anaemic, perhaps underdone, however after completing my first bite I was pleasantly surprised. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t going to win any prizes if I was an individual inclined to do end of season awards but it was pretty good. The meat was a pretty solid block but filled the case well enough. It was moist from the meats natural fats without being greasy and it had a peppery kick that almost felt alien so long it had been since I had experienced one. The flavour lingered long after my concentration had focused itself on the game going on in front of me and as such I felt no need to eat anything further. My suspicions were telling me that this was frozen, perhaps from a supermarket, but I’ll be happy to be told otherwise and if it was it didn’t stop it being a perfectly acceptable snack to have on a Saturday afternoon.

Pastry: My suspicions about the potentially frozen nature of the pie mainly came from the pastry. It was rather floury in taste suggesting it had been processed as opposed to handmade and it was rather thick all round breaking apart in shards as opposed to flaking as I bit into it. The final thing I noticed that had me wondering was the lack of a hole in the lid of the pastry to let out the steam something that would normally be placed there by a butcher or baker. The pastry didn’t feel right for a pie that should be consumed at a football ground.

Overall: For a quid, you would be hard pressed to complain, I didn’t love the pastry but it did a job with the addition of brown sauce helping to soften it slightly but I enjoyed the filling and the return of the long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Cheap and Cheerful Gravy!

I think I’m going to fall just shy of the 70 pie mark for the season but all going to plan the next review will be coming from Camelon Juniors on the last Saturday before Brasil 2014 kicks off in earnest. I also feel a non-pie related piece is long overdue and with a pretty quiet week ahead I’ll do my best to get something out.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!