Month: December 2014

Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie

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Hello and welcome to the last Meat Filled Pastries of 2014. What a year of pie it has been. I’ve managed to score a couple of freebies, spread my gospel of meat and pastry in a couple more match day programmes and, perhaps most significantly, got my taste buds around some of the best (and worst) football pies around at the 2015 World Scotch Pie Championships Judging Day.

This adventure just keeps rolling on and just when I think that the pastry laden path I meander along has made things as surreal as they could possibly be it has me hurtling down the rabbit hole like a pie starved Alice in a wonderland of mutton, mince, onion, pastry, steak and gravy. Thank you to those of you that have shared, printed, spoke about and, quite frankly, indulged me on this journey over the last 12 months. I hope you continue to do so in 2015.

Sentiments aside, the reason why you are all here is to once again dive head long into a wonderfully meaty treat. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Glenafton Athletic, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

Some Retro Signage
Some Retro Signage

Price: Priced at £1.20 this is perhaps a little more expensive than you would expect at an Ayrshire District League ground but the good folk at Ardrossan are packing a secret as the pie they stock is none other than the 2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner. Therefore making an apparently premium junior price seem like a bit of a bargain.

Here's the sign to prove it
Here’s the sign to prove it

Presentation: After a slightly strange array of offerings recently it is almost fitting that the last pie of the year should not only be a champion but also presented in the ever classical medium-sized white napkin leaving the pie neither over or under dressed. You know I’ve always wondered if Coco Chanel would approve of such paraphrasing when the subject matter it relates to is so big and meaty.

THE PIE

2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner
2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner

Meatiness: As I stared at the placard on the side of the pie stall that proclaimed the presence of a world champion pie my expectations were immediately raised. A reward for jumping in my car and seeing where the footballing gods wanted to guide me. It did not disappoint. The pie was moist but not greasy. There was a peppery hit that as opposed to being sharp and acrid was smooth and lingered long in the pallet. Once the pepper had dissipated you were left with a mutton finish that did indeed have you biting down for more. It was clear to me why this was considered a pie of the highest order.

Pastry: This is going to sound a bit odd but when reviewing my notes of this pie I’ve described the pastry as meaty. As I rack my brain trying to get my taste memories past Christmas Dinner I remember thinking that the pastry had managed to retain some of the juices from its meaty insides. It also had a light buttery finish with a nice crumble and sufficient enough to hold the filling as I munched my way through.

Brown Sauce: A sweet and tart offering from Spar presented in a squeezy bottle. If I’m being honest I felt the sauce, on this occasion, detracted from as opposed to enhancing the flavour of my pastry.

Overall: I would have like to have tasted this pie without knowing of its prestigious history just to see if it really was as good as it appears as I can’t help but feel a blind tasting would have brought a truer review unaffected by the fame of it all. That said there is no doubting that this was a belter of a pie.

Gravy Factor: King of Pies, for now. A contender for the 2015 crown we’ll have to wait and see but for now Michelin gravy.

Pie 84 is where this year’s tally will end, but there is no doubt in my mind Pie 100 will come to us all in 2015. I had planned an additional review from Ardeer Thistle however they had, rather upsettingly, ran out of pies when I finally reached the front of the queue 15 minutes after kick off. Whilst disappointed my sorrow was tempered when I was greeted with the same World Scotch Pie Championship Winner sign that had greeted me at Ardrossan just a couple of weeks earlier. I assumed they must be the same.

Anyway, here’s to 2015, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 83: The Thorniewood United Pie

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It’s Meat Filled Pastries Time! Let’s. Get. Meeeeatyyyy!

Hello, hope you’re well, I thought today I’d address just a couple of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received since starting my journey of pie. Just a couple though, I wouldn’t want to be struggling for words when it comes to writing my memoirs. I thought the best way to do this would be to answer the two questions that are asked by 90% of the people who hear my story, namely, “Who Does the Best Pies?” and “Don’t You Ever Get Sick of Pies?”. Consider it an end of year treat for you all.

Firstly let’s address the number one question I’m asked, “Who Does the Best Pies?”, but to be honest it’s far more complex than blurting out a name or venue. For starters there are lots of different types of pie available, some scotch, some steak and some completely different. To pick one, as a solo muncher of pies, when there is a multitude of parameters to consider would be reckless on my part. Secondly I like to think the best I’ve ever had is always the next one to pass by my lips, call it part of my relentless optimism to do with all things related to pie. That not a good enough answer? Sounding a little too measured and political? Well OK then, some standouts for me are ‘The Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie’ and one I haven’t ever reviewed on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries ‘The Burghead Thistle Mince Pie’. Two that still to this day linger long in the taste buds.

Secondly, ‘Do I Ever Get Sick of Pies?’ Course not silly, pies are awesome.

Seriously though, not really. Due to the volume I find myself consuming at football matches it’s not something I tend to have for my dinner or lunch. My favourite item from Greggs is a Roll and Chicken Bake and the amount of effort that goes into making a really good pie, pastry and all, means that they tend to get made as treat (usually for the amusement of others) as opposed to being a regular item on my homemade menu. I like pies but I love food and to limit myself to one item would be just too much to bear.

That said this one item has gave me a lot of stories and brought me a lot of fun, so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Robertson Park, Thorniewood United v Pollok, West of Scotland Super League First Division

Pretty sure I got trench foot...
Pretty sure I got trench foot…

Price: £1.20. Slap bang in the middle of the junior price range for a scotch pie. Can’t really have too many complaints with that.

Presentation: Aside from the ever classical medium-sized white napkin this scotch pie was presented in a tin foil case a somewhat unusual style for a scotch pie, even more unusual for a junior pie. Perhaps I have been doing this too long already but when I noticed its shiny silver surround a little part of me actually went, ‘oh, that’s new!’, and you know what, it was!

THE PIE

Oooooo silver, fancy!
Oooooo silver, fancy!

Meatiness: This pie was very moist but as I sit here typing this latest review I find it hard to remember anything standout about it, reviewing my short notes on the day moist is all I had written. Moist and pleasant (Mind out the gutter please folks). Something I will admit, and is apparent as I write this review, that if a pie filling is relatively tasty, has nice seasoning and doesn’t leave a waxy trail of grease glued to my arm then it’s fine by me. It just doesn’t give me a whole lot to write about. This pie is an example of that. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but not one to be stored in the vault.

Pastry: It had a nice crispy top with an even thickness of pastry all around. It was perhaps a little soft underneath. A consequence of the tin foil case it sat within but nothing went where it shouldn’t be as I ate. Did a job.

Brown Sauce: This brown sauce was a lot lighter in colour and was almost apple sweet, it had a gentle tang to it and was a nice complimentary flavour to the pastry and meat underneath.

Overall: Nice enough, but won’t live long in the memory.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

A solid if unspectacular effort from Tannochside, the junior pie bandwagon rolls on with an offering from Ardrossan Winton Rovers and it’s something that is a little bit special.

However until then though, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 82: The Dundee Violet ‘Steak’ Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries your one stop shop for sporting pie reviews with bells on, jingly bells if you will. This time out we have a second pie from Dundee Violet, this time of the luxury variety. But first…

Winter is here and as such fixtures up and down the country start to fall by the way side as ice, wind, rain, snow and everything in between cause the groan of thousands to echo deeper into the galaxy than any man has groaned before. The way I see it you have two choices when it comes to dealing with the tragedy of a Saturday morning call off:

1. You accept the inevitability that is a Saturday afternoon traipsing around Marks & Spencer, Homebase and Primark with bags hanging from every limb like baubles on Christmas tree. The promise of a duvet day a distant memory as you find yourself biting your lip watching aghast whilst wee Chantelle screams at her mammy that the Peppa Pig she wants has a nose ring and not the diamante encrusted tail version the bedraggled woman has picked out instead.

2. You put on your big boy (or girl) pants, stick an extra layer on and find a game that has survived the harshest that winter could throw at it from Links Park or Cappielow. It may not be an instant classic, in fact it might turn out to be downright terrible but at least you’re out the house doing the thing that the footballing gods decreed you do on a Saturday afternoon.

There really is only one option and with that option there is usually the promise of a nice hot pie, so with that in mind, let’s rate one of these pastry beauties, let’s some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Glenesk Park, Dundee Violet v Pollok, Scottish junior Cup 3rd Round

The many Faces of Junior Football
The many Faces of Junior Football

Price: At £1.40 this is 30p more expensive than the scotch variety from the same venue but in the luxury market a relative bargain costing much less than some of its senior scotch contemporaries.

Presentation: A single fold of jaggy blue paper towel left me aching for the classic simplicity of  the softly layered medium-sized white napkin. There was however no tin foil case surrounding this steak offering, a rarity when it comes to pies of this nature, meaning it could be held comfortably in the hand without having to juggle your snack as a way of shielding yourself from the scolding heat these cases often provide.

THE PIE

Steak!
Steak!

Meatiness: This pie was formed of large chunks of steak, perhaps a little too large as it wasn’t as tender as it could have been feeling a little chewy in the mouth. The gravy was thick but perhaps a tad salty for some, personally though I think it managed to stay just the right side of well seasoned. Although well seasoned it wasn’t amazing to eat. The main problem being its temperature with it being just a little cold, no doubt a subsequence of the demand far outmatching the supply with pies coming out of the oven almost as soon as they went in. A bit more heat and everything could have been that little bit more unctuous.

Pastry: As previously stated this pie was a little cold and as such the pastry was a little soft and pale although there was still a touch of crispness to the very top edges. In actuality the fact this pie was a little cool helped keep it together as a crisper pastry and thinner gravy could have resulted in a right old mess without the safety of a tin foil case to hold it all.

Overall: A nice pie taste wise but the cooking of the meat somewhat let it down, it also could have been hotter but I’m not going to hold that against it too much. At the end of the day though it was just nice.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Steak Gravy.

Pie 82 has now been reviewed for you, I actually had to do this twice as my first draft got lost to the gremlins lurking within my laptop that won’t deter me from soldiering on though and next up is an offering from another junior outfit, Thorniewood United, but until next time go forth and eat pie!

Pie 81: The Dundee Violet Pie

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Hello and welcome. Not much of a pre-amble today, an Albion Rovers home double header has me working on this right to the wire after some technical issues with the laptop. That said the Christmas period is upon us and so in true festive spirit I thought I’d share a wee pie themed ditty from last year to celebrate this tide of yule:

‘Christmas Pie, Christmas Pie,

Meat Filled all the way.

Oh what fun it is to have the gravy on my face.’

‘Christmas Pie, Christmas Pie,

Pastry golden brown.

Oh the taste of a brown sauce squirt is by far the best around.’

You’re welcome. I’m still far prouder of that than a grown man should be, but as I’m sure you have already figured out my mind doesn’t always conform to normal sociable standards.

Anyway without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Glenesk Park, Dundee Violet v Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

Not my finest camera work here
Not my finest camera work here

Price: At £1.10 it was slightly more than some junior pies I have encountered this season but equally it was slightly less than some others and when compared with some of the prices found at SPFL grounds it’s still a bit of a bargain really.

Presentation: I don’t know how old you all are but when I was a nipper and had to use the facilities at school you were always forced to dry your hands on paper towels that would be better used to sand down that desk tidy you’d cobbled together in Craft & Daft. It was with this pie these paper towels resurfaced in Dundee as it sat proudly atop of one in a rather snazzy teal colour. It’s sometimes nice to be different but the harsh realities of scrubbing my face with these napkins of yore were not something to look forward to.

THE PIE

In fact, is this teal or blue> I'm now not sure?
In fact, is this teal or blue> I’m now not sure?

Meatiness: As can be seen by the greasy shadow on my paper towel there was a fair bit of fatty moisture in this pie. In fact being truthful on first appearances it wasn’t really a looker but that doesn’t mean it can’ be tasty and thankfully this wasn’t too bad. It was greasy but just about managed to be not overly so. It had quite a shallow fill of muttony goodness and I felt it was a tad under seasoned although there was still a prominent taste of meat. There was no peppery kick but all in all the filling tasted far better than it looked. Solid if unspectacular.

Pastry: The pastry was quite soft, perhaps a consequence of what looked like a significant amount of boil out causing some greasy puddles on top of the pie. The top edges were crisp and if memory serves me right the grease actually boosted some flavour back into the pastry. Once again it didn’t look great but there was enough flavour to keep a hungry man happy.

Brown Sauce: Suitably tangy with a touch of heat courtesy of The Happy Shopper.

Overall: A bit of a horror to look at but was a perfectly acceptable inductee to The Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy you sniff a few times before going, ‘ah it’ll be alright’.

Once again apologies for a slightly truncated edition this time out, there will be a fuller pre-amble in my next review, and a return of the luxury pie again from Dundee Violet.

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!