Month: June 2015

Pie 100: The Killie Pie

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It’s here! After two season of meat flavoured sweat and tears pie 100 in this enduring journey of pastry has finally arrived and for many there would be no pie more fitting to commemorate a century of meat filled wonder than by reviewing the much vaunted Killie Pie at the Scottish Junior Cup Final. A pie almost so legendary in nature that is often perceived as the best that Scottish football has to offer (although those that read my World Scotch Pie Championships Judges Story will know that wasn’t in fact the case) and the one, above all overs, that I get asked about the most.

This pie also signifies my last review of the season, and the last to grace these pages. Whilst I am conscious that there is still a plethora of pastry for me to plough through, not only in Scotland but across the globe, I have also been been starting to feel the need for a break from pastry based writing. Well a break of sorts anyway.

You see recently a discussion with a friend (which one I can’t remember but if you’re confident enough that you can take credit for this then let me know) about my journey’s and how I had become a little fatigued about the pie life at which point he/she asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book based on my adventures. At first I kind of laughed it off, as cult-like as Meat Filled Pastries has become would there really be an appetite (pun intended) to actually create a tome of pie? However the more I thought about it the more it made sense. When I looked back at old reviews I could see a story waiting to be written. One of my journey, of the people who I have shared each step with, of the places I’ve visited and some of the downright ridiculous situations I’ve found myself in all thanks to the humble pie.

It’s a month or so after I stared putting the feelers about what interest, if any, there was in hearing my story and to my surprise more than two people seemed keen, and so, considering I started this site on the premise of zero percent interest and watched it bloom, some genuine interest was all the incentive I needed to commit to sitting down and trying my hand at being an author. I haven’t started as of yet, work will begin as soon as this last review is posted, but it’s safe to say that I am as excited about this next chapter (another pun, this time unintentional) in my story as I have been about anything else related to Meat Filled Pastries for a while.

Although I will be taking a break from fresh pie reviews, I will still be keeping my quill in the ink pot when it comes to pies and football. I have recently been asked to review a bakers full range of pastries and I will continue to share my tuppence worth about the beautiful game when requested.

But for now I think I have rambled on enough, and so without much further ado, let’s rate not just any pie, but Pie 100, The Killie Pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Rugby Park, Auchinleck Tabot 2-1 Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup Final

The 'Theatre of Pies'.
The ‘Theatre of Pies’.

Price: Now such is the legend of this pie that in a handful of junior grounds in Scotland the Killie Pie is offered as an alternative to their own brand scotch variety, in fact Browning’s have done such an impressive job of bigging up their pastry that some have even escaped the terrace kitchens and made their way to the supermarket shelves. With such wide-ranging availability there was often a temptation to take the plunge at a venue other that Rugby Park, particularly due to the fact that a Killie Pie at the likes of Hurlford United, is cheaper than that found at Kilmarnock FC itself. I resisted those economically sound overtures however and awaited until I was in the aforementioned pies natural surroundings before taking the plunge and as such was required to part with £2.20 for my pie. A full 70p more expensive than those on offer at Blair Park but still considerably cheaper than those found at the big three of Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

Presentation: In a metal tin foil container to retain the heat with the option of a small napkin to be taken from the dispensers located at the back of the kiosk. Luckily these were self-service as realistically you needed at least two to provide full coverage and to prevent any spillages.

THE PIE

But if there's two hands holding the pie, how on earth did you take the picture?
But if there’s two hands holding the pie, how on earth did you take the picture?

Meatiness: So did it live up to the legend? Well, kind of. When it comes to luxury pies, I am forever going on about the sumptuousness of the gravy and with the Killie Pie there is very little risk of your lips remaining dry as there really is a gush of meaty flavour heading down your gullet as soon as you take that first bite. It was perhaps slightly salty for some if I’m being honest, the seasoning on the very edge for those with a blander set of tastebuds than myself. There were some nice chunks of well cooked tender steak in this pie, but the emphasis here should be placed on the word some and the none use of the word many or lots. Maybe some drops of gravy could have been sacrificed for a couple more bites of meat, that said it was still a very satisfying mouthful.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty tasty with a nice buttery finish, however a couple of things bugged me about it. Firstly the puff pastry top sagged a little in the middle. While that led to  strong mingle of gravy and pastry it meant that as you bit down it became really difficult to get a one bite expose. In fact the only way this was achieved was by squeezing the pie a little to open it up. The base had also fell foul of its tin foil container, and while not sticking this pies soggy bottom meant a fair bit of juggling was required to complete consumption.

Brown Sauce: It was a luxury pie. There is no brown sauce. If you were expecting sauce then quite frankly you should know better.

Overall: Was this a very good pie? Yes. Was it the best pie available on Scottish football’s ever critical terraces, I don’t think so. While the gravy was tasty it could have done with some more meat and if you insist on using a tinfoil safety net to house your pie then you must, must prevent the soggy bottom which this pie unfortunately had.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you’d get from Five Guys only to find later that actually a Big Mac is just as good. Tasty gravy but the best I’ve ever had, I’m afraid not.

So there you have it, The Killie Pie, finally reviewed and with that this journey sets off in a new direction. As I said I’ll still be keeping my toe in the water and you never know, after writing one book I might summon up the enthusiasm for another run at the life of pie, but for now the time is right to focus on taking over 70,000 pie based words and making some sense out of it all.

Before we wrap up I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped turn this into more than just a drunken notion and into a project that has been a lot of fun helping to re-ignite something within me that had been slowly dying as the 9-5 so many of us have to live to survive dragged me further in.

Until next time, whenever that may be, go forth and eat pie! I know I will.

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 99: The Hibernian Pie

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Hello and welcome to pie 99, The Hibernian Pie, on the home of all your Scottish football snack based needs Meat Filled Pastries. The 99th edition of this blog is brought to you by the Qatar Airways Cup as Scotland took part in one of the most insipid friendlies I’ve had the misfortune to attend. Not even the sight of a rotund individual channeling his inner Crazy in Love era Beyonce as he thrust his king prawn high (well not so high) into the Leith sky could stop this from feeling nothing more than a training exercise.

International friendlies are such a strange commodity in modern football. If put into a coaching context they are vital in preparing for competitive fixtures, especially at the end of a season where many of your squad have gone a few weeks without a game. As a football association they provide a much-needed boost to the coffers to help finances tick over during the summer whilst also providing the opportunity to build a new working relationship with associations across the globe, although why Scotland chose Qatar to do with this, only Stewart Reagan and his human ivory caviar spoon will only know. For fans though it often feels like a fixture too far, not so much when Scotland travel away where a friendly become an end of season jolly, but when you’re at home, to Qatar or a team of a similar ilk. The atmosphere was one of the strangest I had ever experienced, with the stands sounding like a crèche buzzing as it was with thousands of children not really paying any attention. A few slightly more inebriated members of the Tartan Army tried to rouse a song or two only to be met with apathy. It’s in this respect that the UEFA Nations League could very well be an innovation that prevents this malaise and lead to the banishment of the phrase ‘meaningless friendly’.

As it stood though any malaise I was experiencing was temporarily shaken off as I found a pie in my hand, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Easter Road, Scotland 1-0 Qatar, “Qatar Airways Cup” International Friendly

The Sunshine on Leith was shining straight into my eyes.
The Sunshine on Leith was shining straight into my eyes.

Price: At £2.30 this is at the very top end of the Scottish Scotch Pie Price Scale or the ‘Triple S Double P’ as I have just dubbed it. The equivalent of two junior scotch pies and of a similar price to those found at Hampden, Ibrox & Celtic Park. Pricey Pastry.

Presentation: Pretty standard presentational style here coming as it did in an aluminium tin with a medium-sized white napkin to mop your mouth and shelter your palms from the incinerator like heat that it is greeted you when the pie is placed in your possession.

THE PIE

Definitely feel liking my photography has got more imaginative as the 2014.15 season has come to an end.
Definitely feel liking my photography has got more imaginative as the 2014.15 season has come to an end.

Meatiness: After successfully avoiding dropping my pie following a totally unnecessary pyro and smoke show prior to kick off I was left with a pastry that was just a bit dull. Yes it had a peppery linger that should be present in a good scotch pie but it had all the quintessential hallmarks of a mass-produced pie. It was a tad grey in colour and lived short in the memory. As I finished it I had flashbacks of my time at the World Scotch Pie Championships Judging Day where an average scotch pie became a bad scotch pie the deeper into the competition I got.

Pastry: Safe. Golden. Perhaps a little soft and soggy bottomed due to the tin foil case it still held together just enough to make it a suitable bowl for the meat inside.

Brown Sauce: Much like the rest of this ‘big league’ pie it was a soulless small brown sachet.

Overall: It tasted like a pie, it had a peppery linger and it held together well but it left me cold come the end. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh but I have grown to view these mass-produced pies with a great degree of cynicism. When I eat these now I don’t feel the love of the butcher or baker, I taste the processing of the machines and the site of folk in white coats and hairnets are never far from my mind. I apologise to Hibernian for getting the brunt of this rant but it’s something that over this journey has niggled at me more and more.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

So there you have it Pie 99, and to celebrate the penultimate entry into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame I have borrowed part of a little ditty from Mr. Jay Z:

If you’re having pie problems I feel bad for you son
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’ve had none

I’m on the pie patrol, high cholesterol
Pies that wanna make sure my casket’s closed
“Cardiac Arrythmia is a risk”, I know!
But I love food stupid what type of facts are those
If you grew up with football and a thirst for goals
You’d celebrate each minute with meat wrapped in dough
I’m a fair minded critic I’ll give anything a go,
If you don’t like meat pies you can press fast forward
Got beef not lamb then it’s steak that’s on show
A pie innuendo is always the way to go, ayyyoooo
Whether, moist or deep it’s easy being crass,
And here’s another one just for the lads…munchers
I don’t know what you rate your pastries as
or understand the intelligence that a butcher, baker has
Don’t forget the brown sauce, that’d be dumb
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’ve had none
Gravy!

99 Pies but of fish I’ve had none
If you’re having pie problems I feel bad for you son
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’d have none
Gravy!

I could have done the whole song but I don’t think anybody would have wanted that, I’ve just tested it though and it actually fits pretty well so by all means have at it! Anyway pie 100 is in my sights today and at that point the celebrations really can get started.

However, 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.