Month: March 2015

Pie 92: The Hurlford United Pie

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See, I promised you this review was coming soon. Welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries and another scotch pie offering from the world of junior football. One of the problems with writing so many reviews so close together, especially at the start of the week is that there isn’t usually much to say. Soooo…yeaaaaaahhhh, let’s just get on with it, eh? Let’s rate so…oh, wait! One thing, I’m writing a book, yeah that’s happening but I’m just going to leave that dangling out there for now.

Anyway, as I was saying, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-1 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final

The pitch wasn't that squinty. My hand was.
The pitch wasn’t that squinty. My hand was.

Price: Now Hurlford United have the unique distinction of not only selling their own pastry fare but also being proprietors of the much vaunted Killie Pie, and whilst I have no doubt their offering would be cheaper than one at its natural habitat of Rugby Park that particular delicacy will have to wait until I make a visit there so shunning popular opinion I settled on a scotch pie priced at £1. That’ll do for me.

Presentation: Keeping it simple with a not quite medium-sized white napkin and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

THE PIE

The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.
The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.

Meatiness: Now as you know I am always championing the importance of a peppery kick to my scotch pie. The warmth of pepper helps add a spicy edge to a pie’s already bountiful goodness but in this instance I found myself thinking the peppery hit was just a little too much. On the clear positives, of which there were many the meat was well packed and had a noticeable weight to it when placed in my hand andt had enough fat to keep it moist without it falling apart as you ate. The peppery kick though wasn’t quite right, initially a pleasant addition it started to form an ever building heat in my mouth that started working against this pastry. It was nothing to do with the heat, this pie guy put’s hot sauce on pretty much anything that makes sense to my taste buds but by the end of consumption it left my throat feeling rather dry due to the severity of the build. Given the quality of everything else about this pie I wonder if I was just unlucky and got that rogue pie in the batch where the mixture hasn’t melded together quite as well as the butcher/baker had desired.

Pastry: Although the base was a little soft there was no doubting the near perfect golden top and edges. The pastry held firm throughout consumption and was a solid support to the abundance of filling inside.

Brown Sauce: You may have noticed a new brown sauce dispatch technique in the last couple of reviews, it was suggested to me by one of the folk I regularly attend Pollok game’s with and it’s kind of stuck. This half and half method allows me to assess the pie on its own merits on one half while gauging the effect of the brown sauce on the other. In this instance the sauce was presented in an unmarked squeezy bottle and had just the right balance of tang, sweet and spice.

Overall: Lot’s about this pie was good. It was generously filled, had lovely golden pastry and held together well throughout. Yes it was perhaps a tad over-peppered but a beer at half time soon eased any lingering dryness and being honest I would rather my pie over seasoned than under.

Gravy Factor: Peppered Gravy.

I think what this pie shows that even if you really like your pie a certain way it’s still important to get the balance right, a message that was driven home to me repeatedly by the butchers and bakers present at the World Scotch Pie Championships at the start of this year. My next footballing visit is to see Scotland take on Northern Ireland however there’s a possibility I may have exhausted all my pastry based options at the home of Scottish football but fear not as with Meat Filled Pastries the next pie is never far away.

Until next time, 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.

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Pie 91: The East Kilbride Thistle Pie

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Hello, apparently I’ve been away for too long and on reflection it has been nearly 3 weeks but I would like to take this opportunity to remind folk I don’t get paid for any of this and sadly the realities of a normal working life mean that occasionally I’m too scunnered to do anything other than come home and sit on my bahookie whilst dreaming about a life on the Spanish coast. Anyway, my apologies, I’m back for a two-week burst before I’m off on my travels to Vancouver . My hope is that either the Whitecaps and/or Canucks will be able to add to the rather small Passport Pies section of the site but failing that there could be a food inspired mini blog in the works whilst I’m away.

I ended up in East Kilbride on a bit of a whim, the Pollok game having been called off due to a waterlogged pitch in Hurlford despite not a drop of rain falling from the sky for two days previous and a desire to have some pints with my pals. Anyone who has an understanding of junior football grounds will tell you if a game is on at the notoriously flood friendly Showpark then the likelihood is games will be on everywhere else. It was all very strange.

Anyway it’s always interesting to go to a game a bit further down the leagues, if only to get a true understanding of what the level of play you normally watch is really at, it also meant there was new pie for me to review so without much further ado, let’s get to it, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The Showpark, East Kilbride Thistle 1-2 Johnstone Burgh, Central District Second Division

One of my finer pieces of photography. Although I can ensure you the crowd was bigger than the 4 individuals snapped here.
One of my finer pieces of photography. Although I can ensure you the crowd was bigger than the 4 individuals snapped here.

Price: A scotch pie at £1 is something that no fan, especially those of us who have experience of visiting much larger venues, should ever sniff at. Bargain.

Presentation: Sporting the classic medium-sized white napkin look that has become the most trustworthy of pie presentational techniques as this journey has unfolded. It’s not exciting but it does the job.

THE PIE

A Brown Sauce Test.
A Brown Sauce Test.

Meatiness: This was a funny little filling, it was well packed and had a softly spiced hit of flavour. There was no peppery kick as such but there was enough intricacy of flavour to keep the palate dancing. That said there was a couple of issues, the pie was incredibly moist, in fact to be honest probably too moist and an over elaborate hand gesture on my part led to a small trickle of grease rolling down my arm. Now as an experienced consumer of pies I know how to handle such scenarios, tilting the pie ever so slightly upwards as I continued but my friend, who had joined me just after kick off, was getting himself into an awful mess. Although greasy I actually think on this occasion it wasn’t too detrimental to the overall taste of this filling, it would have been nice though it if was dialled back just a little.

Pastry: The pastry was a funny little thing too, despite appearing quite anaemic in colour apart from a golden tinge around the top edges it was in fact very tasty as a singular entity perhaps boosted by some of the fats within absorbing into the pastry itself. It was perhaps a little soft but then it stayed together fairly well as I munched my way through, although once again my cohort had managed to take the whole top off in one bite and was continuing to get in a right old mess.

Brown Sauce: Not the sharp and spicy burn of an HP, this sauce had an almost BBQ flavour, matched with the sweet spiced filling it made for a quirky finish to each mouthful.

Overall: In theory this pie should have been a bit of a write off, it didn’t have my much-loved peppery kick and it was a tad greasy. The pastry was soft and the brown sauce wasn’t quite right but yet I find myself saying this was a fairly enjoyable effort.

Gravy Factor: Only for consumption by experienced pie handlers. More Krypton Factor than Gravy Factor for those uninitiated in the way of the pie.

Well that was a funny little thing, subsequent of a funny little day where I found myself thinking how, in a day of glorious sunshine (if not a bit chilly), did my original fixture not make it. Well that game did eventually make it on and that will be the focus of Meat Filled Pastries next review, The Hurlford United Pie.

But until, next time, 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 90: The St. Andrews United ‘Steak’ Pie

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If this was cricket they would be talking about how nervous I should be getting as I head towards the magical ton but Meat Filled Pastries is just not cricket, it is a celebratory smorgasbord of all things pastry and this journey rolls on. So what’s been happening…

Well it’s #BritishPieWeek so I have been setting about spreading the good word of pie, starting with a piece on the return of Pollok’s Pie Hut, something this fan is particularly relieved about, it just feels a bit wrong to go to a match and not have a pie of some kind on offer. If there was ever a week for you to have a pie, this is it!

Also on a personal level, myself and a group of friends recently hosted a charity night for the Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund for our friend Stewart ‘Smit’ Smith who passed away aged 28. I’ve spoken about him a few times in the blog so I’ll restrain myself from eulogizing further but I thought I’d let you know we raised a fantastic £2400 and I just want to take the chance on the most far-reaching of my communicative forums to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and those who donated. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with our progress. In a month where not one, but two young footballers have died well before their time it is always important for this pie guy to remember that life is for living as you’ll never know when it could be taken away.

So without further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Recreation Park, St Andrews United 0-4 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round

Price: You know it amazes me but even after 18 months of doing this, I forget what order I do these things in. I always have to re-visit the previous blog to get it right. Now you may be asking where the scotch pie offering is from the home of golf, well when getting the pie round in (I’m the pie guy, that’s what I do) I was greeted with 1 steak pie and 4 scotch. So in the interest of fairness and to save myself a bit of a quandary I took it upon myself to have the steak pie. Priced at £1.60 this was a relative bargain in the world of luxury pies.

Presentation: Presented on a large white napkin but without the tin foil cases usually found adorning a steak pie.

THE PIE

Wonder if they have one of these bad boys stoating round The Old Course
Wonder if they have one of these bad boys stoating round The Old Course

Meatiness: This was a savoury delight, quite salty but not in a bad way as it compensated for the lack of any real heat usually provided by a pepper-based kick. There was a good variety of chunks some big that required biting all the way through and some smaller that would pop straight into your mouth before bursting with its meaty goodness and yes, as I finish writing this sentence I realise that description is ripe for innuendo! The gravy was the right level of unctuous, thick enough to hold within the pie as it awaited its next bite but thin enough so that it did not feel floury or gloopy. This was a smashing example of a luxury meat filling.

Pastry: The pastry was golden perfection as I’m sure the picture above will testify too, a palette of golds and brown, like a puff pastry sunset setting over a sea of lovely, lovely gravy. It was crisp and the soft layers underneath melded beautifully with the filling within. Despite this pie being somewhat wetter in nature due to its steak based content the base and sides remained in tact throughout although they did sag just a little.

Overall: Great Filling. Great Pastry. Great Pie.

Gravy Factor: Not so much gravy but more a heavenly jus.

Well it’s safe to say St. Andrews United should be pleased with their efforts next time I’m there the scotch pie will be under the piecroscope. As it stands next time out is still a bit of a mystery but I assure you wherever it may be a pie will be consumed.

Until next time, 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.