Month: February 2015

Pie 89: The Airdrieonians Pie

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Hello and welcome back to a more conventional offering from Meat Filled Pastries after the pastry deviation that occurred last time out. This week I was pointed to an article by The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor about Stan Collymore and his one man sectarianism crusade. It can be found at the following link:

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2015/feb/21/debate-old-firm-rangers-celtic

Here were my instantaneous thoughts and I thought I’d share them, let me know if you disagree.

“This whole thing really gets on my wick because the entire debate is driven by ‘dunderheads’. Dunderheads sing the songs on both sides and then the same bloody Dunderheads bitch and moan about the nasty songs being sung at them because they are the antithesis of the archaic message they are happy to communicate.

Is Stan Collymore right to question why it still goes on? 100%.
I
s he right to focus his attention on Rangers and Rangers alone? Of course not.

And in this issue the problem lies, there has always been a ‘us and them approach’ to resolving sectarianism in Scotland and believe me it’s not just at Ibrox and Celtic Park these barbs are heard, I dot around a lot of grounds and the UVF and IRA are inexplicably championed here too.

If only there was a governing body with no premise of bias and the ability to impose real sanctions on those fans who continue to waive their right to not being dunderheads. Like some kind of Scottish Football Association type thing, surely they would have actually done something about it by now.

It is a problem that will never leave our terraces until somebody in a blazer grows some balls!


The sad fact is that if any politician was asked what needs done about the sectarian issue they’ll reel off a bunch of children focused campaigns. It’s not children that need educated on the rights and wrongs of living in a modern and cosmopolitan society, they understand it, it is how they have always been known to live there lives, it’s the adults, the people that are meant to be setting the examples, who are in desperate need of an education!


With all that being said Stan Collymore is still a Grade A wazzock!”

He is still a Grade A wazzock but he’s a wazzock with a point, an ill-structured and not very well thought out point but a point none the less. There is no sadder indictment of ‘Scotland’s Shame’ that the fact it takes somebody like Stan Collymore to point out that absolutely nothing effective is being done to stamp out sectarianism and once again bring this ugly debate to the fore.

Anyway, there’s my two cents, I’m not going to visit it again until somebody actually does something meaningful, so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The Excelsior Stadium, Airdrieonians 3-1 Forfar Athletic, Scottish League One

Pay What You Can Pie Days!
Pay What You Can Pie Days!

Price: At £1.70 this was a reasonably priced pastry treat from North Lanarkshire. Around average.

Presentation: Ensconced in a shiny silver foil container with a large white napkin that was plentiful in all its softness, something I was extremely greater for as the consumption process began.

THE PIE

Pay What You Can Pie Day

Meatiness: This was a really well-flavoured pie, it had a strong savoury streak however there was no peppery kick present. It was quite greasy as evidenced by the small shimmering pools that glistened on top of the pastry which meant that the mixture inside was very loose. In fact its looseness meant that there was a great deal of juggling required as I went through it meaning I was grateful for the heat retaining silver container below catching the dribs and drabs of meat as they fell. I was very near tempted to do the puddle test and tip the pie towards the ground but a group of young ruffians behind me had beaten me to the punch. Tasty but greasy.

Pastry: The pastry was a little anaemic in colour but that could be attributed to the grease on top and in actuality it held together well as I took bigger and bigger bites whilst the filling crumbled all around it. The base was slightly soft but nowhere near the soggy mess that sometimes hinders a foil wrapped pie.

Brown Sauce: A small sachet of Lichfields brown sauce, did the job but nothing fancy.

Overall: A tasty pie but a greasy pie. Not one that does many favours for your arteries.

Gravy Factor: Full Fat Gravy. Not one for the dieticians.

A decent effort from Airdrieonians in the pie stakes and an excellent effort in the fan stakes with their pay what you can offer for a Saturday evening kick off. Smart thinking like this should get the crowds in when maybe you don’t expect them. Next time out we’ll have a luxury offering from the home of golf St Andrews, but until then go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial Scottish Sporting Optimist with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 88: The Spartans ‘Haggis & Neeps’ Pasty

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Now if I’m being honest my hand was forced a little so this new aspect to the blog is perhaps debuting a little earlier than I had anticipated. As a 5th week of non-league fixture call offs rolled in I found myself wrapped up in the magic of the cup and a trip to Edinburgh to see if Spartans or indeed Berwick Rangers could continue to defy the odds as for either of these clubs to be Scottish Cup quarter finalists is a feat not to be sniffed at. On my arrival to Ainslie Park I was greeted with a sea of humanity draped in red and white or black and gold. A crowd of over 2500 to see a game that in normal circumstances would be luck to even see a fifth of that. This is where the problem arrived. Usually I like to arrive early to the ground to ensure a pie is destined for my belly but on this, the most busy of days, the fates conspired against me. The incredulousness in my voice when I was offered a hot dog instead was perhaps a tad too far but it was then matched with relief that my trip to Edinburgh had not been in vain and a Haggis and Neeps Pasty was on offer.

So with a meat filled pastry in hand, all be it in a slightly altered format, let’s rate some pie! Eh, I mean pasty!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ainslie Park, Spartans 1-1 Berwick Rangers, Scottish Cup 5th Round

Standing Room Only.
Standing Room Only.

Price: We enter new territory here, as I have no point of reference for pasty prices. My inclination would be to say that these goods should be no more or no less than the humble pie but we’ll see how things pan out. This offering was £1.50 a relative bargain and certainly nothing to complain about.

Presentation: This was curiously placed on a paper plate with no accompanying napkin. Now I’m willing to let the absence of a napkin slide as a table just beside the hatch could well have been housing a batch of mouth cleaning softness but I have a small issue with the plate. For all the benefits it gives in gathering any meat and pastry spillages it is also an awkward thing to hold whilst juggling a drink and programme. You’re also unable to roll a plate into a ball and put it in your pocket should no bins be present thus resulting in a bit of impromptu origami. This is just personal preference, but unless you know what you’re providing has a high moisture content then wrapping your pasty round a napkin is fine by me.

THE PIE PASTY

It's a Pasty. Not a Pie.
It’s a Pasty. Not a Pie.

Meatiness: It’s still a meat filled pastry so we shall still be assessing the meatiness of this offering and boy what a treat this was. Once you got to the filling, more on this later, you were greeted first with a lovely warm hit of smooth peppery haggis, spiced as you expect with the occasional pop of oats as you chewed through. Surprisingly though the real stars here were the small squares of neeps (in this case I’m guessing using swedes to take on the mantle, both by the colour and taste) tucked in and around the haggis adding little bursts of sweetness to cut through the spice. The filling here was sublime, an absolute triumph and lingered longer after completion had been completed.

Pastry: One of the good things about a pie is that by in large the pastry to filling ratio is pretty consistent aided by its hot water crust foundations with other pastries however, such as this pasty, the pastry will tend to be puff in nature and so the balance can vary quite significantly dependent on where you go. In this case there was perhaps a little too much pastry as my first, vegetarian friendly, bite would suggest with me unable to reach its meaty core until bite two was completed. Don’t get me wrong the pastry was flaky and tasted as golden as it looked it was just a little bit much although I’m pleased to report that it stayed together well at my mouths command.

Brown Sauce: With no obvious well for the sauce to sit in, as found atop a pie, no sauce would be forthcoming to this pasty.

Overall: A bit heavy on the pastry but wowsers what a filling, a helluva introduction to the world of non-pie based pastries.

Gravy Factor: Burns Night Gravy. Worthy of a national bard.

Well that is how you set the standard when you’re the first of a new breed, I look forward to seeing how others rise to the challenge. Next up though we will be returning to where it all started with a scotch pie offering from Airdrieonians.

Until next time go forth and eat pie! Or a pasty!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial Scottish Sporting Optimist with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 87: The Rossvale Pie

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Is anyone else fed up with the weather playing absolute havoc with their Saturday fixture plans. I mean for a man who writes about football pies it’s been a minor inconvenience, if anything it has expanded my horizons as I go to games that would have been consigned to sporting history as I followed my team across the country. These ever burgeoning horizons I find myself heading towards resulted in my first pie related television appearance on The Riverside Show last week. It was a surreal, but thoroughly enjoyable, experience and one that perhaps reignited a fire that had been dampened somewhat as the grind of real life meanders oh so slowly by.

I don’t know if this means that I’ll be taking David Currie’s job on Sportscence any time soon but maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to get paid for all of this. I’ll never go begging and I’d like to think that the initiative (something that is forever championed as the best way to get your foot in the door) this project has shown will one day illuminate my path to, what some would call, legitimacy.

For now though I’m happy enough with the path that these pastries has led me on. Anyway we all know why we’re here, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Petershill Park, Rossvale v Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

Looking at this you wouldn't think there was hardly a game on that day!
Looking at this you wouldn’t think there was hardly a game on that day!

Now before I get too deep into this, I went to this game knowing that I had previously had a pie from the very same venue, one of my earliest reviews, Pie 16: The Petershill Pie and to be honest it didn’t go very well. Now retrospect suggests that having a tequila based hangover may have had a slightly adverse effect on my review but I still know that some things were fundamentally wrong and I was curious to see if much had changed from my visit 16 months previously.

Price: At £1.50 it was the top end of the junior scotch pie price spectrum but still reasonably priced for a football based pastry snack.

Presentation: On my last visit I bemoaned the use of a plastic and paper bag to store the pie in and once again I was presented with a pie in such a reciprocal. However differing from previously this pie was also surrounded by a tin foil sheath. Not a big deal I hear you say, but this aluminium shield stopped the pie in its entirety steaming against the plastic. I don’t know if there is a reason for the bags at Petershill Park but people’s pie lives would be enhanced further if the bag was taken out of the equation. There were some small white napkins available of the self-service variety for mopping your mouth with.

THE PIE

Well fired!
Well fired!

Meatiness: This pie was a well-formed, safely seasoned scotch pie. The filling fell apart a little as I chewed my way through and I was pleased to feel a peppery linger on my palate that slowly built up as I neared final consumption. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, it hit all the key points a decent pie should without moving on to the next level but it was definitely a marked improvement on the pie I had experienced the last time I visited the north of Glasgow.

Pastry: As can be seen the top edges were rather crispy. Well OK, they were burnt meaning that there was a slight bitter undertone to each bite. I’m sure if I visited another time this extreme crispiness would not have occurred. I previously mentioned how the tin foil case had helped reduce the moisture inside the bag however sadly there was still a slightly soggy bottom to this pie, however if you mixed it with the well fired top the texture was probably just right!

Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of mass-produced no-name sauce. Did the job.

Overall: A better effort from Petershill Park, and perhaps Rossvale deserve individual credit for providing their own pies. I’d love to know the right answer. That said it was a little burnt on top and a little soggy on the bottom but had an overall good pie flavour.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto. Just take it out the oven a bit quicker next time.

I literally have no idea where my next review will emanate from. Last week I was so convinced that my scheduled game would be on I got so sozzled on the Friday night that come the news that it has indeed been called off I was in no real fit state to drive. What I can assure you of though it will most definitely be pie number 88.

However, until then go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial Scottish Sporting Optimist with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.