Month: July 2014

Pie 72: The Blantyre Victoria Pie

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Have you ever tried to eat a pie in 28 degree heat? Yeah me neither, until now that is.

For the unaware amongst you a heat wave hit the west coast of Scotland that left many reaching for the Factor 50 and as the Commonwealth Games rolled into town I had enough time to nip to Castle Park, home of Blantyre Victoria, for a pre-season friendly before getting home just in time to see a bunch of dancing teacakes look on in horror as SuBo fluffed her lines.

It could have been worse though, for all we know wee Susie could have looked out at the psychedelic nonsense going on before her and thought she had died and gone to Tunnock’s heaven, diving head first into an unsuspecting volunteer trying to first tear the wrapper off the marshmallowy behemoth before consuming it whole. This of course leads to the all important decision of whether or not to lay out the empty foil flat on the ground or to roll it up into a tiny ball before flicking it into the distance in no particular direction. The poor lassie.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there. The point I was aiming when I started out here was that a roasting hot day is not ideal pie eating conditions, but as always I found a way to bring a new pie review to you.

So after finding a shady spot to cool myself down, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Castle Park, Blantyre Victoria v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly. Entry: £3. Programme: None.

Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!
Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!

Price: There was no menu adorning the pie stall window, and in haste to get out the sun I forgot to ask how much I had to part with for my pastry. However using some simple algebra deducting the price of multiple cans of fizzy pop from the pie purchases of those around me I can confirm this pie can be yours for a solitary British pound. Bargain!

Presentation: It was white. It was medium-sized. It was a napkin. And that’s all I have to say about that.

THE PIE

Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!
Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!

Meatiness: This pie was perfectly pleasant. Nothing outstanding but a tasty meaty treat nonetheless. The meat was relatively well packed although did fall apart a little the more I bit into it. It was moist without being greasy and although the peppery linger didn’t last long on the palate it was still present after I’d finished. It was the kind of pie that is hard to get really enthused about but at the same time leaves you with nothing bad to say either.

Brown Sauce: That’s right we have a new section folks. It’s something I have toyed with in the past but my early season experiences have shown that the sauce itself is a stand alone feature of any pie whether it be good or bad. So how was the brown sauce at Castle Park? In a word: tangy, adding a sparkle of flavour that this pie was maybe slightly lacking. However be careful as too much and you could end up looking like your sucking an invisible milkshake through an equally invisible straw. It provided some added lubrication with a distinct tart tang.

Pastry: The pastry was soft and crumbly, the edges weren’t particularly crisp so there was no brown sauce dunking on this pie but it did mean that if you were in a rush you could eat this pie in a flash. This pastry would be a favourite with the pie eating sprinters but may disappoint those who are in it for the long haul.

Overall: New section about Brown Sauce aside this was a pretty standard pie, but for a pound you can’t really grumble.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

All things going well my next review will be from Beith, home of one of the best pies of last season the luxury Chicken and Haggis Pie and one of the worst the Scotch Pie. Hopefully the Steak Pie on offer is closer to the former as opposed to the latter. In other news I will be the Scottish correspondent for The Football Pink this season, a link to which can be found on the left hand side of the page, starting with an SPL review that I plan to get done this week. Give the site a visit and order a copy should you get the chance.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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Pie 71: The Wishaw Juniors Pie

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Today’s entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame is a return to junior football one of the key inspirations for this journey of pie. Those who follow my adventures will have been now been able to piece together my allegiances at junior level and this season, mainly thanks to a pretty woeful one previously, a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me as my team face life in a new division. But before, a hopefully triumphant, league campaign gets underway there is a few friendlies to get out-of-the-way first.

I always find it really interest going to friendlies, not so much for the football which is usually pretty mundane, especially when you have no affiliation to any one team, but for the reactions of the crowd, because for every fan who see’s a friendly for what it is; a chance to warm up for the season, try new things and see new players there is another one who still treats it as the same kind of life and death scenario that a relegation six pointer in February would be. Personally I err on the side of the former. I mean just because Dundee beat Manchester City 2-0 it doesn’t automatically equate to Paul Hartley being the odds on favourite to be the next Chelsea or Barcelona manager nor does it mean that Manuel Pellegrini will be popping up in Falkirk or Hamilton anytime soon because he can’t hack it at the highest level any longer, football just doesn’t work that way.

The other thing that’s nice about friendlies, especially for a man who loves his football, is that there is pretty much a fixture within reach every couple of days and at this time in the season more than ever you find yourself at places that you wouldn’t normally be.

So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Beltane Park, Wishaw v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly: Entry Fee £3, Programme: None

Or as the natives call it Wishae'
Or as the natives call it Wishae’

Before continuing I just wanted to take time to thank the folk at Wishaw for their hospitality, they are clearly a club who are trying to set themselves up for a bright future after a previously nomadic existence and their generosity on Saturday did not go unappreciated. Good luck for the new season in a new division folks!

Price: At £1.20 this is priced at the same level as your average junior scotch pie from the 2013/14 season showing certain Scottish footballing associations that just because a new season is upon us and your team is on the rise there is still no need to fleece your fans.

Presentation: A simple presentation style found at many grounds of a medium-sized white napkin, certainly nothing to be sniffed at and on review of my one bite expose a napkin that now seems a little larger, although I wasn’t going to get my set square and measuring tape out to see if that indeed was the case.

THE PIE

The first junior pie of the new season
The first junior pie of the new season!

Meatiness: I hope the picture above does this pie justice in showing how incredibly well filled it was for a scotch pie, this might sound daft, which I know a lot of this usually does, but I could actually feel the weight of a slightly heavier pie in the hand as I made my way pack to my standing spot. As I bit down the meat held really well and was incredibly moist, not with grease but with lovely muttony juices. It was a little cold in the middle but I was pre-warned of this and it was only once I reached the very centre did I notice and in this occasion it didn’t have any real effect on the overall flavour. The other lovely thing that this pie brought me was the return of the long peppery linger that slowly built as I ate and lasted for such a time that it was worth remembering for this review. After the generosity of the club I was worried I was going to have the fudge this a bit to play nice, but I can honestly say this was a very tasty meat filling indeed.

 Pastry: The pastry was flaky but held just enough to support the ample mince inside. I was able to break off the top of the crust to dip into the safety of an HP sauce puddle without everything crumbling round about me. Perhaps if I was being hyper critical the sides were a little soft and it became a two hand consumption job by the end but that would be the most minor of grumbles.

Overall: After last weeks professional scotch pie disappointment it was great to feel the comforting bosom of a junior scotch pie to nestle into with its ample meat and long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bearing Gravy. A pleasing pie that has set a true benchmark for the season ahead.

So the first junior pie of the season is in the books and the second one is on its way from Castle Park, the home of Blantyre Victoria. Navigating my way round the south-east of Glasgow should be interesting now the Commonwealth Games are here but I love my football and I love me a pie.

So until next time go forth and eat pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

Pie 70: The Raith Rovers ‘Steak’ Pie

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Hello and here we are once again ready to delve headfirst into another meaty morsel. It’s the second of two reviews from Starks Park home of Raith Rovers and Meat Filled Pastries first step into the luxury market this season.

The consumption of multiple pies at one venue is something that will be far less common this season, with this ritual being reserved for places where I am really unlikely to be visiting again, not due to disdain for my visit but due to the distances involved. Being based in Glasgow means that there is a plethora of clubs within an hours drive of home and so restricting myself to one pie at these venues will not only help my waistline but also ensure I will never run out of pies to review. Well that’s the theory anyway.

However without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Starks Park, Raith Rovers v St Johnstone, Pre Season Friendly. Entry Fee £10. Programme £1.50.

A Good Old Fashioned Looking Main Stand
A Good Old Fashioned Looking Main Stand

Price: At £2 this was 20p more expensive than the scotch pie offering from Kirkcaldy but given some of the prices that were flung at me when down south over the summer for luxury pies this seemed a relative bargain. I think by season end this will turn out to be one of the cheaper luxury pies to pass my lips.

Presentation: Unlike most steak pies this did not come with an aluminium foil cae wrapped around it instead trusting the structural integrity of the pie itself to hold firm once the first bite was taken. As is the case in the majority of pies this was served with a medium-sized white napkin.

THE PIE

Luxury awaits...
Luxury awaits…

Meatiness: Before I get into the meat of this pie matter a wee reminder that a luxury pie should be untainted and such none of the acetic brown sauce that nearly obliterated my scotch pie at Starks Park will be present on this pastry. Luxury comes at a premium price and with that comes greater scrutiny, the pie alone should provide all the flavour you need. So how flavoursome was this pie? It was not bad, not bad at all. First of all as football pies goes it was a generous handful, the meat was in large chunks but had a good mouth feel, coming apart as you bit off the tender strands of steak. It was seasoned well enough to give a strong savoury flavour although it lacked a little depth. Part of this could have been caused by the pie being a touch on the cool side. I also noticed that although there wasn’t a great deal of gravy within I at no point felt that the pie was dry which is once again testament to the precisely measured time it would have spent in the oven. This was a solid effort, perhaps a few tweaks short of something special but not a pie-saster by any means.

Pastry: As previously mentioned there was no tinfoil case to support this pie and as such that burden fell on the pastry something that it coped with more than admirably. The sides were slightly thicker than you would usually have on a pie but this meant that you could take a good-sized bite without worrying that your pie filling well end up splattered on the terrace floor below your feet. It had a puff pastry top which flaked as it should and although not particularly buttery or flavoursome it provided a suitable accompaniment to the pies meaty interior.

Overall: A solid if unspectacular start to the 2014/15 luxury market, it was a large pie with large meaty chucks and a substantial pastry case. Won’t be the best of the season I’m sure but certainly won’t be the worst.

Gravy Factor: Sturdy Gravy.

So that’s two reviews down and I feel I’m getting back into the swing of things. Next stop, Wishaw, and a return to Meat Filled Pastries spiritual home, junior football. Planning to cover UEFA’s week of football concept at some point over the weekend but until next time…..Go Forth and Eat Pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

Pie 69: The Raith Rovers Pie

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Jings! That World Cup was rather good wasn’t it, although I don’t know if I would have fancied a roasting hot pie in the afternoon heat of Fortaleza or Salvador. That’s right folks, despite the doubters who thought this wouldn’t last a month Meat Filled Pastries is back for the 2014/15 season and I believe that this year the pastry is destined to be crisper, the gravy even messier, the meat oh so tender and the grease at a level that will mean I can keep my morning routine down to 1 cholesterol reducing yoghurt drink a day. I’m a season down and my standards have never been higher.

Before we get started on today’s review a few pieces of housekeeping for the new season:

  • For ease of communications you can now follow Meat Filled Pastries on Twitter @MFPTasty, also for any queries you can now contact pie HQ directly by emailing meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com. I want to spread the word of pie even further than before and by whatever medium I can so I am open to all offers.
  • The classic one bite expose will also this season be accompanied by a couple of pictures of my pie eating surroundings, whilst I’m sure larger venues like Ibrox, Hampden and Tynecastle will be familiar to many the aim of this ‘project’ is to shed some light on those venues where only the few will ever go, raise the profile of these clubs and spread the love about the beautiful game.
  • After a successful test towards the end of last season each week as well as a slice of pie based punditry there will be my take on whatever is prominent in the footballing world, perhaps there may be the odd match report and interview thrown in to but bear with me as I am just one man with a sizeable appetite for pies and live action football.

I will refrain from going on any longer at present and get on to the pastries, so without much further ado, say it loud and say it proud, LET’S RATE SOME PIE!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Starks Park, Raith Rovers v St Johnstone, Pre-Season Friendly, Entry Fee, £10.00. Programme, £1.50.

This may be the best looking picture I take all season..
This may be the best looking picture I take all season.

Price: Priced at £1.80 this will be the standard-bearer for pricing of pies towards the top end of the Scottish footballing pyramid. Instinct suggests to me that this may be about average for the season to come but we shall wait and see what the future brings.

Presentation: It may be a new season but its good to see that the medium-sized white napkin that I so often lauded as the little black dress of the football snacking world is still looming large over the humble pie, it was good to feel that soft paper between my fingers again.

THE PIE

I've missed you my friend.
I’ve missed you my friend.

Meatiness: I made a massive mistake with my first pie of the new season which both helped and hindered this review. Now as you all know all scotch pie tastings must be adorned with a splodge of brown sauce and as daft as this sounds but I probably could write a blog totally devoted to the different types of brown sauce you get at football grounds across the country but even I think that’s a step too far. Anyway to get back to my point such is my familiarity with this most delicious of condiments I often know exactly how much sauce to place on my pie. If I see a label or bottle I don’t recognise I’ll tread carefully as I’m not sure what version of this spice laden sauce is about to be bestowed upon my pastry. In this instance however I forgot about this rule and gaily smothered two-thirds of the pie lid with a few squirts of Bobby Brown probably in excitement more than anything else. This was my massive mistake.

The sauce was perhaps the tangiest thing I have ever put in my mouth, causing my cheeks to instantaneously suck themselves inwards resulting in pulling a duck face that 20-year-old lassies everywhere dream of putting on their Instagram accounts. It certainly added flavour but boy I wish I hadn’t been so generous, that said once I managed to find an area not so sauce laden I was slightly disappointed. The meat was a little under seasoned and that kick of pepper I had waited all summer for was nowhere to be found. I ate it pretty quickly as hunger was in full force after the drive to Kirkcaldy so my disappointment was only heightened when there was no discernible flavour left lingering in my mouth apart from the sting of the sauce. As a return to pie it was a little underwhelming.

Pastry: The pastry was soft which made it easy to eat. The softness was due to a well made pastry as opposed to it being underdone but I feel like it missed those crispy edges that I have a penchant for tearing off and dipping into the saucy pool above. Although I would have refrained from doing so on this occasion anyway. I had also noticed that on some of the pies around me there were small glistening puddles of grease that had leaked through but on mine the lid was dry and intact.

Overall: Starting the season with a Bog Standard Bisto offering was not what my heart desired but in truth this was nothing better than average although the good folk at Starks Park may be able to use their brown sauce to wake up any players knocked unconscious during the season. One sip of that bad boy and you’ll be wired to the moon.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a half pint of vinegar thrown in for good measure.

So there we have it your 2014/15 pie virginity has now been broken. Let me know what you think of the new format, I like it but I welcome all feedback good or bad. Once you’ve finished reading please remember to share it with your friends and spread the gravy.

The next review will be a second offering from Starks Park as the luxury pie makes it’s season debut whilst this week’s non pie piece will be in relation to the SFA’s interesting taking on ticket pricing for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and how UEFA’s ‘Week of Football’ philosophy only helps to compound the error in judgement made.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!