Month: November 2014

Pie 80: The Celtic Pie

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Hello and Welcome to the Oak Anniversary of Meat Filled Pastries, the marriage of one mans journey of football and his love of pie, let’s get into it.

I have decided that I want to become a professional sportsperson, in particular, a footballer, at 29 I know I am at the peak of my footballing powers with a left foot that can still ping a decent long ball cross field and the love of a good tackle but how do I get my foot in the door? Well, based on the antics of football authority figures in the UK alone then I have a few options:

1. Be a convicted rapist.

2. Be proficient in the art of racist, sexist and chauvinistic text messaging.

3. Be a bit flippant about practitioners of Judaism.

Look at the list. Seriously look at it, and that’s without considering the list of match fixers, assaulters and hit and runners to name just a few of the convincts currently plying their trade in professional football in the UK.  Could you imagine talking yourself out of a disciplinary hearing in your work if you were found guilty of any of those listed above, no me neither but yet in the realms of professional football, a place seen as the holy grail for idealistic youngsters kicking a battened Dr. Pepper can about a school playground, these crimes (because that’s what they are) result in almost instant redemption. It’s appalling.

Now let me clarify this by saying I am not against rehabilitation of individuals who have committed such crimes but for the process to be carried out in front of millions of people, many young and impressionable, whilst getting paid a small fortune for the privilege really has your head scratching at what goes through the minds of the people that run our game. The joke is there is no rehabilitation of these individuals, there’s no courses they have to go on, no donations being made, no consequences for their acts, instead these individuals are rehabilitated back into the game as if nothing has ever happened. If you need any evidence of the impressionability of these figures on others then just look at the moronic behaviour of a small minority of Sheffield United fans who took to social media to post about club patron, Jessica Ennis-Hill, because she had the audacity to say that rape isn’t very nice.

You know, I don’t know if I even blame the individuals, not for their actions which are clearly abhorrent, but for there willingness to accept the warm embrace of the football family, irrespective of their crimes. Why feel shame, when those around you behave like their is nothing to be ashamed of? I don’t know, sometimes it makes you think, why bother?

Luckily though I have never heard of pies committing hate crimes, so without further ado let’s rate some pies!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Celtic Park, Scotland v Republic of Ireland, Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D

 The battle rages on...

Price: Priced at £2.20 it was 10p more expensive than it’s most recent comparable (Pie 78: The St. Mirren Pie) and as such is at the top end of the scotch pie price scale for Scottish football, this price would no doubt be defended on the basis of the surroundings in which you consume it in.

Presentation: A small white napkin with a tin foil container, very much the standard at this level, although I’m still to be convinced the red hot nature of a pastry case is really what a football fan need to contend with as a game rages on before your eyes.

THE PIE

Rather blurry, sorry about that folks!
Rather blurry, sorry about that folks!

Meatiness: The level of notes I made about this pie on reflection could have been far more in depth, but as it was my birthday, and perhaps the biggest game of the year I was set to attend, I was rather full of the joys of life. That said though, notes were made and the memory is now accustomed to storing pie consumptions in a section of my brain, ready for removal come review time. The pie was filled nicely, there was room for more but you couldn’t accuse it of being skimpy. The meat was moist if not a little greasy, but had a nice texture. There was a long hot, peppery linger something that my palate yearns for but, as I discovered come judging day, would be too severe for those with tufts of grey hair poking out their ears. I lied it though, so that’s all that matters.

Pastry: Pretty non descript although I will say it felt and looked under baked and actually mashed together a bit in the mouth as you munched your way through. There was no crispy edges perhaps a symptom of trying to meet demand instead of providing a quality product. Could have been better, could have been worse.

Brown Sauce: A small brown sachet, the kind you see in work place canteens across the country, one is never quite enough but two is sometimes too much. Added tang.

Overall: A solid effort, long peppery kick, added the heat which I adore but some may not. Pastry could have been better baked. Preparation perhaps done in a somewhat slap dash manner.

Gravy Factor: Pepped up with pepper gravy!

Who knew that Oak is the item associated with an 80th wedding anniversary, and who knew I would get to 80 pies when this started, well 81 is on it’s way the first of a double dunt special from junior side Dundee Violet.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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Pie 79: The Alloa Athletic Pie

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Hello and Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, what a few days of pie it’s been, judging day has been and gone and 49 pies have passed my all-encompassing glare but 49 is not enough! I’ve only been undertaking this journey of pie for a mere 16 months and I have already found 79 meaty morsels to sample, 49 is barely the crust on the oozy meaty goodness that is the Scottish football pie scence. So I say to you, pie prince and princesses, producers of pastry that is merrily consumed on concrete terraces, grassy banks and in those damn plastic seats across our fair and bonny land get your finger out and champion your pie. You’re too late to be crowned the best Football Pie of 2015 but the 2016 title could be yours. Anyway, I’m going to try to do a separate piece on my day of judging in Dunfermline but it’s safe to say I had an absolute blast. Thanks again to The Scotch Pie Club, Scottish Bakers and The Scottish Meat Traders Association for having me and Div at Pie and Bovril for making it so. All questions asking what pie was the best will be met with a polite silence as I, much like the organisers, want to keep the winners and losers a secret until announcement day in January 2015.

Amazingly though after sampling 49 pies my hatred of rush hour traffic meant that a detour to Alloa provided me with the opportunity to partake in my 50th pie of the day! But this one would be judged on my terms, the terms you have all come to know and love.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The Indodrill Stadi…no wait, it’s not The Indodrill Stadium, it’s Recreation Park. Always has been always will be. I understand the economics of getting named sponsorship for your clubs ground but sometimes I just despair, what even is Indodrill? In my head it’s some kind of giant purple digging device. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to need one of those. It’s like watching the Champions League and thinking to myself I must remember to buy some Gazprom next time I’m getting my milk, is Gazprom something that you can buy in your local Glasgow convenience store? It’s one of the trappings of the modern game that I’ll have to deal with but it’s one that doesn’t leave me feeling super comfortable conflicting greatly with my traditionalist nature. Anyway this bit isn’t usually this long so…moving on.

Alloa Athletic v Ayr United, Scottish Cup 3rd Round Replay

Recreation Park
Recreation Park

Price: £1.50 a very reasonably priced pie given the club’s current Championship status, much cheaper than many competitor pies in the division and not a massive jump in price when compared with pies found at the top end of the junior game.

Presentation: It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say this but draped across this pie was a classically proportioned white napkin. A return to old faithful.

THE PIE

Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!
Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!

Meatiness: After a long day of pie tasting the idea of having a fiftieth pie seemed pretty ridiculous and my biggest fear was that this was going to be awful. Thankfully though this was a wee meaty delight. The meat was moist with a good texture, confirmed by employing a squeezing technique I had picked up earlier in the day. It was well filled with a gentle peppery kick and was of a temperature that allowed immediate consumption once my one bite expose was complete. The seasoning was good and all in all the filling inside didn’t have me regretting my decision to plough on with pie 50 of the day.

Pastry: The pastry was a little under done at the sides causing it to squash as you bit through it but the top was nice and golden. There was a little bit of grease seeping out the top but nothing that distracted from the pastry’s integrity. In fact you could say it added some extra flavour to it. It was well seasoned and held its meaty contents throughout the consumption process.

Brown Sauce: In a large diner-style squeezy brown bottle, there was no indication of what brand was squirted gaily on top of this pie but it did provide an additional tang of flavour.

Overall: For the 50th pie of the day this was a fine way to top off a day’s tasting. The meat was well seasoned, pastry crisp enough and had a peppery linger that, in my eyes, all good pies should have.

Gravy Factor: That extra bit of gravy that you shouldn’t have had but you tuck in any way because quite frankly who doesn’t love a bit of extra gravy?

Another one down. I know I’ve thrown a bit of a curve ball promising a Glasgow City pie and then producing this but that’s the life of pie for you, you never know what you’re going to get. Well until next time where I can definitely confirm that up for review will be the Celtic Pie.

However until then, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 78: The St. Mirren Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, apologies I’ve been a way for a wee while but this has been a deliberate manoeuvre on my part. As I explained in my last entry next Tuesday I will be a judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships, judging, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Football Pie category. This week a myriad of documents arrived via email and I have spent the last couple of days familiarising myself with the criteria these pies must aspire to. Conscious that some will have passed my lips already I resolved to take a short pie based sabbatical for the benefit of judging impartiality. Now for some people ten days without a pie isn’t really a big deal but when you spend a few hours a week talking about these pastry swathed beauties rationing becomes a difficult skill to master. I hope you can all understand.

With all that being said I still have a pie in my back pocket for your reading delectation, so without further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: St Mirren Park, Scotland v Northern Ireland, Sky Sports Victory Shield

Give us a Song!
Give us a Song!

Price: A step up in surroundings saw a considerable step up in price with a scotch pie setting me back £2.10, admittedly only 10p more than the Stirling University Pie recently reviewed but still more than double the price of the junior pies that have been passing my lips this season. If I was still at university, and I was doing some kind of economics based course I am 95% certain I would try to do a statistical analysis of the price of pie even though the BBC do a decent, if not slightly flawed, job of it already. I mean Rangers for whatever reason still have their toys out of the pram and refuse to collaborate in these fan focused surveys at the moment but what was stopping a ‘journalist’ (somebody paid to investigate stories), going to Ibrox, buying a pie, a Bovril, a programme and a ticket and then whacking the information into their ‘Price of Football’ super computer. I mean the price of entry and cost of match day sundries once inside Ibrox are some of the few things down Govan way that aren’t shrouded in mystery these days. I tell you what BBC because I’m a nice guy next time I go I’ll get you a price list. Moving on.

Presentation: The traditional presentation style for a pie in the upper echelons of the Scottish game. A small white napkin with the pie snugly wedged into a silver tin foil case.

THE PIE

The Paisley Pie
The Paisley Pie.

Meatiness: I hope you can see from above this was a very will filled pie. The first bite was one where you could almost feel your teeth going through the layers. The meat was moist and the right balance was struck with it being firm enough to bite securely without being so firm that the meat didn’t give a little once you pulled your lips away. Where this meat really excelled though was with its peppery kick, something that has been sadly missing from my recent bout of pie tastings. It was almost instantaneous in hitting the palate not hot with fire but spicy with pepper, I was so impressed with this burst of flavour I decided to time how long the linger would last but at the 6 minute stage I was still waiting for the tang to subside and so I gave up suitably impressed with the enduring presence of the pepper within.

Pastry: The pastry was nice. The top disc was a little loose leading to some gaps around the side, in some ways this allows the pie to cool before eating but, on receipt of my pie judging forms this week, not something that you should consider as pie perfection. The upper lip of the crust was nice and crispy without being too hard and the base remained in tact. An impressive feat considering the penchant for destruction that a tin foil case has when it comes to pie pastry. .The all important pastry to pie ratio was just right although I’m not a fan of the dusty top that inexplicably makes it way on to some pies including this one. Often I feel this dusting subtracts flavour instead of adding it but all in all as a receptacle for the meat inside this did an admirable job.

Brown Sauce: The brown sauce provided came in the form of a large pump handle bottle, economically a sound move but logistically a bit of a nightmare as you often find yourself squinting your hand into all sorts of position to get the sauce coating you desire. This was especially true in this instance as this particular pump handle was only allowing a small spot of sauce out at a time. The sauce itself though was suitably tangy.

Overall: I had recently been going through a bit of a pie rut with nothing really capturing the imagination but this pie has been a mighty fine example of a football snack. Well filled, with an excellent peppery kick with the proportions of meat to pastry just right and if somebody could just blow off the floury sprinkles on top then this would be a true top pie contender.

Gravy Factor: Peppercorn Sauce. Love that Linger.

So another pie down and the next pie to pass my lips will be at the World Scotch Pie Championships to be held in Dunfermline next week. I plan to write about my experience after which my journey of pie will continue in full once again. Slated for review next will be the Glasgow City pie as they are in Women’s Champions League action at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. My latest Sporadic Scottish Football Round-Up will also be up on The Football Pink in the next few days.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!