Month: November 2015

Pie 109: The Benburb Pie

Posted on

I know. I failed in my aim of getting four reviews completed in a week. What can I say? Life, and turning 30 got in the way. Well that and the annual judging day at the World Scotch Pie Championships. This year I was let loose on the hot savoury section a veritable smorgasbord of pastries of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Whilst I was slightly disappointed not to be sticking to my football based roots it did ensure that my taste buds were taken to some glorious new places, both good and bad.

Confidentiality prevents me going into any further detail just now but after some fairly heated debate I’m quite happy with our hot savoury champion and hopefully you agree when the winners are revealed on the 13th January 2016. But for now it’s back to those aforementioned roots and to where it all started with a Scottish Junior football scotch pie from Benburb based in Govan a short walk from Iborx the home of one of Scotland’s biggest clubs Rangers. (I’ll leave it to you to debate if you believe they are the biggest or not, no time for that kind of chat here).

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 3-3 Scone Thistle (Scone won 4-3 on penalties) Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round Replay

Having to replace the steep banks of 'Old' Tinto Park' is no mean feat in this new all weather era.
Having to replace the steep banks of ‘Old’ Tinto Park’ is no mean feat in this new all weather era.

Price: At £1.50 there’s no shame in admitting that I was a little taken aback by the price of this pastry. Sure it’s nowhere near the high £2 figures found at the top of the Scottish game but it is also a good sight more expensive than the litany of pound priced pies found throughout the junior game. It’s not a grumble, and I was still more than happy to pay it, but just a mere an observation.

Presentation: Free from the shackles of a tin foil cases this pie was presented on a couple of sheets of plain white kitchen roll.

THE PIE

Was it worth the wait?
Was it worth the wait?

Meatiness: This was a squat little pie that had a nice filling but that didn’t really blow me away. The meat was well seasoned and proportional when compared with the volume of the pastry but I felt it lacked some zing. Usually I have a fair bit to sat about a pie filling but my lack of words here should not be construed as a lack of care but more a feeling of ‘meh’. It was nice just not very memorable.

Pastry: The Pastry was golden around the sides, if a little blackened on top whilst being very well fired on the bottom, this juxtaposed with a strangely chewy top, almost perogi-like in texture, made for strange and sometimes awkward eating experience with my pie juggling skills out in full force.

Brown Sauce: Once a request was made, as initially there was no sauces of any kind on display, a bottle of HP was forthcoming.

Overall: A little pricey, but a perfectly serviceable pie.

Gravy Factor: Have to give this a gravy factor of Bog Standard Bisto.

Maybe I’ve been a little harsh on this pie with it having the misfortune of being the first pastry to be reviewed since judging day but at the end of the day it was still a tasty footballing treat. Better than any cheeseburger, chips or roll and sausage you can put before me on the terraces. My next review comes from Pollok, my local team, and a very special limited edition steak pie.

So 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 108: The Motherwell ‘Steak’ Pie

Posted on

Hello and welcome to pie number two from Fir Park consumed at the Scottish Women’s European Championship qualifier against Belarus. As promised I’m once again going to try to convince you to give women’s football a chance if you haven’t done so already. Here’s five reasons for starters:

  1. It’s cheap, with SWPL games costing a paltry some of £5.
  2. Games take place during the summer and on Sundays. No longer do you have to spend a July afternoon in IKEA, a dead-eyed stare across your face whilst somebody tells you that the Malm bedside cabinet collection is the hottest thing in Swedish design and innovation.
  3. Scotland actually tend to win more than they lose. Yes there is a few one-sided drubbings against the likes of Belarus and The Faroe Islands in there but it’s Scotland winning. The majority of the time. I’ll take that any day.
  4. If you have one child, and that child is a daughter, then what better way to trick her into getting the football bug than by taking her down to her local women’s football game so that she can find herself some new heroes. The fruit of your loins will play for Scotland after all!
  5. It will get you out the house and that can only be a good thing. Surely it can’t be any worse than sitting through Sunderland v West Brom on ‘Super’ Sunday.

There’s probably more reasons but I’m going to stop at 5, the season has just finished but the national side have their next home qualifier against FYR Macedonia on Sunday 29th November at St. Mirren Park. So go on, give it a go, you might like it.

Anyway with the soapbox tidied away until another day so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Fir Park, Scotland Women 7-0 Belarus Women, 2017 Women’s European Championship Qualifier

...aaaaaaand break!
…aaaaaaand break!

Price: A steak pie is your conventional luxury offering and this one was priced at £2.30, 30p more than the pasta and pastry hybrid available (Pie 107: The Motherwell Macaroni Pie”) from the same venue on the same evening. About average for the level of football normally on show here.

Presentation: The staple luxury arrangement of the pie being placed within a tin foil case and on top of a medium-sized white napkin, nothing too fancy here.

THE PIE

Fuzzy Pie!
Fuzzy Pie!

Meatiness: The meat within this pie was a tantalising mix of small and large chunks of tender steak, soft enough to easily bite through with the odd-shaped meaty bits bursting with a solid steak flavour. The gravy was fairly unctuous, not an absolute topper, but certainly nothing to be sniffy about and overall the whole thing was well proportioned and well seasoned.

Pastry: A classic puff pastry top, more dome like than usual suggesting a generous rise had occurred in the oven. The sides were nicely baked and the pastry had not stuck to the bottom of the case, an often found fundamental flaw at Scottish footballs top end pie establishments. Solid effort again.

Overall: This was a good pie, with a nice filling and well-baked pastry but as this journey continues to chug along it didn’t feel like it was anything out of the ordinary.

Gravy Factor: A premium supermarket brand. Good quality and definitely tasty but not quite at the very top of the game.

So that’s my Fir Park double dunt done and dusted and I return to my junior roots with a review from Benburb, with a classic scotch pie on offer from New Tinto Park. 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 107: The Motherwell ‘Macaroni’ Pie

Posted on

Yes that’s right folks we are back with pie number two this week and this time it’s one of the meatiest treats around…The Macaroni Pie! Greggs may have shockingly shunned this Scottish staple but for me a good macaroni pie is a tasty treat to behold. There are bad ones though which can leave your mouth drier than a camel covered in talcum powder. So let’s see how this one works out.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, there is no meat in this pie but fear not as back during my review of Pie 57: The Rangers Macaroni Pie I linked cheese and pasta so masterfully to meaty goodness that really this pies eligibility should never be in doubt, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Fir Park, Scotland Women 7-0 Belarus Women, 2017 Womens European Championship Qualifier

Friday Night Football for Free
Friday Night Football for Free

Price: Although entry to a Scottish women’s international is a bargain £5, or free if you are Scotland loving member of the Tartan Army like myself, the games themselves invariably take place in senior Scottish grounds meaning that the price structure to follow is not that of the entry price comparable juniors but that of the Scottish Championship and above. With that in mind a £2 is not bad and a price worth paying considering the endangered nature of these pastries.

Presentation: Presented in the now traditional-for-this-level aluminium foil container with a medium-sized white napkin. With the bonus that a container providing heat on a cold night where no hot drinks were available!

THE PIE

wpid-2015-11-03-21.57.25.jpg.jpeg

Meatiness: So let’s move past the obvious first of all. There is no meat in this pie. So what can I look at? Well let’s start with the pasta, perfectly cooked curls of macaroni that were done jsut enough to not be al dente but not so much that they turned to mush. The sauce was really good, often white based sauces can be heavy with flour but this was velvety smooth and smacked you in the mouth with a strong tang of cheesy goodness. Is it better than a meat pie? Food for thought indeed.

Pastry: There is no pastry top on a macaroni pie instead adorning it is a crisp layer of browned cheddar. Delicious! The pastry surround held together extremely well considering the moist filling inside.

Brown Sauce: But that’s red sauce! Yes it is red sauce. As a young pup my macaroni cheese would always be garnished with a generous dollop of ketchup so in a nod to the past it’s ketchup for this pie. A wee sachet, just fine.

Overall: I liked this a lot and it was a massive improvement on the previous version from Ibrox. The pasta soft, the sauce velvety, smooth and intensely cheesy.

Gravy Factor: Fondue. Sometimes it’s good for you and in this case it was!

Next time out we have a luxury pie offering from the same game where I will once again make the case for supporting women’s football.

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 106: The Glenafton Athletic ‘Steak’ Pie

Posted on

I’ve acquired a bit of a backlog in the last few weeks so I’m planning to get 4 reviews done in the next 5 days. All in preparation for my annual attendance at the World Scotch Pie Championship judging day on the 11th November in Dunfermline. I’ve been doing a bit of promotion and I hope that last years total of 49 football pies gets smashed to smithereens.

I’ve always been pretty open about how this started, a few too many beers, followed by a hangover and a challenge that the stupid boy on my shoulder couldn’t resist. As I head towards my thirtieth birthday (12 days away at the time of writing) I’m thankful for the journey I’ve gone on. When life has kicked me in the pasties I’ve taken solace in their meaty goodness, the opportunities they’ve provided, the people I’ve met and the often told joy it brings to people I’ve never known.

I’ve often toyed with hanging up my napkin and putting the top on the brown sauce bottle for one last time but no one thing other than the beautiful game itself can rile a football fan quite like the question of, “Who’s got the best pie?”. It’s a question I often get asked and one I’ll continue to be reluctant to answer until such time where this journey comes to end.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-4 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives
A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives

Price: £1.50. About average for a luxury pie at the top end of the junior game, I’ve paid more, I’ve paid less. Really I’m just adding words here to fill space, I could add a few more but that would be frivolous and a waste of all our time. So let’s move on from this particular section of the review,there’s no need to hang around. I’ll stop now….sorry.

Presentation: Confusingly served on a polystyrene tray with no napkin to speak of, nice for catching any stray drops of meaty goodness not so great for mopping your brow with after consumption is complete. A napkin would be nice but a polystyrene tray certainly has its merits.

THE PIE

A Two-Biter.
A Two-Biter.

Meatiness: Speculation was rife amongst our band of merry men that this was indeed the much sought after Killie Pie (Review 100) but with nothing to point me in that direction this pie will stand alone. The meat found inside was cubed into large chunks of steak and were wrapped in a thick and highly seasoned gravy. The kind of gravy that stayed within the pie even after a gaping wound has been left in its pastry exterior following the greediest of bites. Stick to your ribs stuff, and I like it. Of note this pie seemed at the larger end of the pastry spectrum and as such was a worthy substitute for my lack of lunch. Good stuff.

Pastry: This was the last steak pie on the shelf so I’m almost willing to forgive the slightly ragged nature of this pastry however as any good pie judge will tell you consistency is key from first order to last and this one looked a bit of a fright. That said the top layer of puff was golden and crispy whilst the remaining pastry was well baked if slightly flimsy when subjected to a substantial bite. Once again I liked it.

Brown Sauce: No, no, no. No sauce on a luxury pie, never forget this.

Overall: A generous size with thick well-seasoned gravy, chunky meat and well-baked pastry. Yes it was a bit ragged but it was tasty and at the end of the day taste is king as far as I’m concerned.

Gravy Factor: Stick-it-to-my-ribs-and-call-me-baby Gravy!

The first of a quadruple bill this week, next up a double-header from Fir Park as I watched the Scottish Ladies try to succeed where the men so sadly failed by qualifying for the European Championships. 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.