Football Pies

Scottish Football Histories: Pie and Bovril

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It’s just hit quarter to three on a Saturday afternoon and I’m hungry. I’m always hungry at this time on a Saturday. Years of conditioning have meant that my arrival on the terraces is almost immediately followed with me presenting the questions, “Pie?’, “Bovril?”, to those around me. They are after all, to quote one of the country’s most well known fans website, “The staple diet of Scottish Football”. I have seen the devastation should one, or even both, drop to the floor. The joy and disappointment of that first bite and, on one occasion, seen them sent flying towards an official after a disagreement about an offside decision. For many, myself included, no match day experience can be complete without this humble pair, but how did they come to be so intrinsically linked with our national game and what is it about them that has seen them endure?

Given how ubiquitous they are to each other it is perhaps no surprise to learn that references to both in the newspaper archives come from the same time over 120 years ago. In the Friday 23rd September edition of the Glasgow Evening Post from 1892 an advert for a “Grand Football Match” at Ibrox promised “Bovril Served Hot”, accompanied by the sub heading, “Guard yourself against the possibilities of the chill or cold by drinking Bovril.” A description that seemed to suggest a cup of Bovril, taken either before or after the match, could have the same kind of health boosting properties that would be much later attributed to a bottle of Lucozade and a punnet of grapes. The Ibrox chiefs hadn’t stopped there though. In the same week an article in Scottish Referee boldly announced the news of An Innovation” as cups of Bovril were to be accompanied by hot pies with Rangers Secretary Mr. McAndrew accredited with “looking after the football public by placing within their reach refreshments of the best kind.” The spread at Ibrox was again gaining praise in a 1902 edition of the Dundee Evening Post with Bovril Hot Chocolate now available, “vended by a small army of boys smartly dressed in chef’s uniforms.” The drink was so popular in Glasgow’s south side that for a while one of the stands at Ibrox would become affecteonality knows as the Bovril Stand thanks to the large advertising presence within it. Bovril, along with the increasingly present scotch pie, had been a hit, with a further article in The Perthshire Advertiser from the same year proclaiming that the beverage “crowns the enjoyment (of a football match), with thrilling, warming, sustaining and invigorating comfort”. The marketeers had struck gold.

I realise that at this point, for some, knowing both what Bovril is and what constitutes a Scottish football pie will be in themselves the revelations of this piece. For those in the know, of which I am sure there will be many, then view this next paragraph as a quick history lesson to help provide some further context.

Bovril is, when put in simple terms, a beef tea, however to simplify it would be to undermine the complexity of this highly salted beef extract. Originally developed as a paste by Scotsman John Lawson Johnston in the 1870s his Johnston’s Fluid Beef was created as a solution to the task of having to supply Napoleon’s French Army with one million cans of beef without having the meat to do so. It would prove to be a huge success and in 1889 the Bovril company was formed. The name Bovril translating itself to mean “strength of an ox”, derived from the first two letters of the word “Bovine” and the letters “vril” taken from the electromagnetically charged “Vril-ya”, a superior being in the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel The Coming Race.

With the brand now established it was often used to substitute meat during the war years and in the 1960s a granular form would hit the shelves to challenge more traditional stock starter products. A recipe change by current owners Unilever in 2004, means that Bovril is now vegetarian friendly however the taste remains the same and it’s that product that still hits the terraces to this day.

The history of pies is far longer but in some ways much easier to surmise as the concept of producing portable and time hardy meals date back tens of thousands of years. Even if we focus solely on the scotch pie, the quintessential match-day pastry, the date of first conception still remains fairly vague with a common consensus that they first appeared around 500 years ago, although whether they were first conceived in Scotland or England is still up for debate, much like all good Anglo-Scots origins stories.

Scotch pies are traditionally shaped into a round hot water crust shell and then filled with mutton and highly spiced with pepper, each butcher and baker in turn having their own variations on the theme. This variety led to the announcement of the first ever World Scotch Pie Championships in 1999 – founded by the Scotch Pie Club, an organisation itself formed just three years previous. The competition has grown considerably since with over 500 products entered at the 20th anniversary judging across 11 categories including, Best Football Pie and I am very fortunate that for a number of years now I have been part of these judging days as a result of my own pie obsession. It is also a commercial boon for any category winner. During an interview I conducted at the 2019 Awards, 2018 World Scotch Pie Champion Alan Pirie from the tiny village of Newtyle in Angus, told of how the day after he won the World Championship he received an order for 8000 of his winning pastries.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the scotch pie though as a recipe from a 1940 edition of the Daily Mirror showed. With meat supplies diminished during the Second World War, homemakers were encouraged to substitute mutton for beef and stretch their protein rations out even further with the addition of a can of tomato soup. A part soup/part beef pie would certainly raise a few eyebrows on the terraces these days but the scotch pie is not the only pastry vying for real estate on the tastebuds of Scottish football fans. Steak, haggis, curry, macaroni, vegan and novelty offerings such as The Breakfast Pie, a full Scottish breakfast wrapped in pastry, are just some of the variations that can be found in kiosks across the country but it is the legend of the Killie Pie that perhaps most endures.

Ask a question about pies in Scotland, and almost everyone will tell tales of The Killie Pie. A marriage of steak and gravy that transcends the terraces and has made its way into Scottish popular culture. When asking a fan the question, “Who does the best pies?” it will be often answered with a strong “Kilmarnock” despite the respondent having sampled a mere handful of its contemporaries, if any at all. Buyer beware though as The Killie Pie of today is not the same pie of Rugby Park Saturday’s past. A 2016 trademark dispute between Kilmarnock FC and suppliers Brownings the Bakers (who originally produced the two time Best Football Pie award winner) over the use of the word “Killie” meant that the original is no longer available with the Ayrshire side since changing supplier. The rebranded “Kilmarnock Pie” from Browning’s remains readily available outside of the KA1 postcode though and can even be bought in some supermarkets as well as popping up at a number of non-league venues in the region. Pies in Scotland mean business.

As does Bovril, especially in a country where football is usually viewed through a shivering lens, and there are more than a few idiosyncrasies that keep what constitutes a good and bad bovril distinct in the eyes of the consumer. For some, it isn’t complete without a few shakes of the pepper pot, done to add that little extra kick. For others there’s a kind of masochism in getting a really poorly mixed beverage. The paste or powder forming a ridiculously salty gloop at the bottom of the cup that you can’t help but stick your finger in before inevitably recoiling as a result of the over-exposure of savouriness that your taste buds have just undergone. Whilst big stadiums have high pressure water taps and scientifically costed measurements to do the mixing for you, the real joy of a Bovril comes from drinking it from an open polystyrene cup on a freezing cold day with the aroma visibly wafting across your cheeks and up your nostrils as you take those first few sips.

You can’t talk about the traditions of pie and bovril without acknowledging what the potential future may hold. The battle that clubs face in ensuring that their ground is where fans spend their free time has never been more contested, not just in a sporting context, but also when competing with lower cost, family friendly alternatives. In the 2018/19 Scotland Supporters Network Survey both cheaper catering and the sale of alcohol featured amongst the top five most suggested improvements to the match day experience and the presence of chips, burgers and hot dogs have long been a match day eating consideration. Whilst traditional tastes will always have their place it’s fair to ascertain that this diversification of the match day menu can only help to appease the demands of the fans. The same survey revealed that only 18% of them believe that Scottish Football is committed to a “high-quality fan experience.” and catering will be a significant consideration within that. For clubs to ignore this feedback would be at, best careless and at worst, ignorant.

I suspect though, that despite the competition, these items with over 120 years of history will continue to endure. In a 2012 interview with the Harvard Press author of The Omnivorous Mind, John Allen stated that, “The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting.” It’s a statement that resonated with me as I thought about my own experiences on the terrace.

The exchange of coins, followed by a squirt of sauce and that first joyous bite. The solidifying of the grease that has dribbled down your thumb on a freezing December afternoon. Taking a couple of blows on a piping hot Bovril before taking the tiniest of sips to condition your mouth and then the inevitable scalding that will ruin your tongue for the days that follow. Those disappointments when the sold out signs go up and the excitement you feel when striding towards an away day pie hut you have been waiting all season for. For this fan at least, those old familiar feelings, will never be replaced.

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

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Pie 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

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Look, I know. You’re reading that heading and screaming at me to avoid the pre-amble this week. You want to know more about this delectable sounding double meat masterpiece. Patience my friends, the words will be flowing shortly but for now I need to do another little bit of self-promotion. I mean, what’s the point of having your own website if you can’t do that?

So what is it? Well, I have a new podcast project via Leading the Line. Episode One dropped this Tuesday where I interviewed women’s football journalist and co-author of “The Making of the Women’s World Cup” Kieran Theivam.

The pod has been set up with two aims in mind. One, to promote women’s football, particularly in Scotland, interviewing those within the game and those that pass comment on it and two, use the pod to help people promote their own projects and passions, giving a platform to those who are fulfilling a long held creative football based dream or project.

There are already four pods in the bag at the time of writing and I’m hoping over time to see it grow and make things more interactive. The link to subscribe on iTunes is here and you can also access it via all the usual podcast channels including Soundcloud where it’s hosted. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, find the time to drop a wee five star review saying so. At some point I’m sure I’ll find a way to get a pie themed interview in there too.

Shilling done let’s get into the meat of this week’s footballing matters as we head to Perth where St. Johnstone took on Ross County in the Betfred Cup Group Stages. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: McDiarmid Park, St. Johnstone 1-2 Ross County, Betfred Cup Group Stage

Price: This pie was the match day special and was billed at a slightly higher price point than the standard scotch and steak pies on offer. At £2.80 this was one of the more extravagantly priced pastries to be entered into the annuls of Meat Filled Pastries but as I was soon to discover, sometimes, you get what you pay for.

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Presentation: The pie was housed in a large tin foil case with a substantially sized white napkin present to prevent the palm from any potential burn. That said it was still absolutely roasting!

Meatiness: Oh my. This was a delight. I’m not sure where to start! First the gravy, fluid but still thick, wrapping itself around a melange of steak and toothsome chorizo cubes, with the flavours of meat marrying with undertones of paprika from the seasoning within this widely known Spanish sausage. The chorizo used wasn’t cooking chorizo though but instead the air dried ready to eat version. Not that was a bad thing, in fact it was somewhat of a masterstroke as it added wonderful texture in amongst the tender steak and luscious gravy occasionally popping with a little burst of chorizo flavour.

Pastry: It came out clean from the pastry, itself a cause for celebration, although I was deliberately gentle to ensure so. The sides were baked just enough to hold but did require a little juggling to ensure the filling stayed within and the top was smooth and golden. Tin foil cases and pies with moist fillings aren’t always a match made in heaven but credit the Saints and Yorke’s their suppliers as this held together adequately.

Brown Sauce: It would have been highly disappointing had I seen anyone splashing this pastry. Definitely not needed.

Overall: Tasty gravy, well textured proteins and good pastry made for a fiesta of flavours.

Gravy Factor: Super Salsa!

I’m glad I took my detour home to Glasgow via Perth as this was a wonderful treat. As a little bonus, and to round off a smashing match day feed, I had some pudding in the form of an Empire Biscuit. It was just the ticket although controversially adorned with a cherry as opposed to a jelly. So as well as your pie thoughts, let me know what goes on top of your dream Empire Biscuit?

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That’s it for this week so until next time, remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 176: The Dunipace Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest munchings from Meat Filled Pastries as we head east to Denny and Westfield Park, the recently renovated home of former West Region Juniors and current East of Scotland side, Dunipace. This week I want to take a slight detour from my new themed pieces to announce an exciting partnership between Meat Filled Pastries and BSC Glasgow.

The Glasgow club, based in Alloa, have been putting in the hard graft over the last month or so in an attempt to grow their presence not only online but also in the stands. One of their initiatives saw them raffling off the opportunity to sponsor one of the sides players or staff for just a fiver. This was a no brainer, and more in hope than expectation, I signed up and waited for the announcement to be made. A couple of weeks later, on a Friday afternoon train to Edinburgh as I escaped the chaos that only TRNSMT can bring, my email notifications blew up with the news that I had been drawn out and that for the 2019/20 season I would be sponsoring centre back sensation, Ross Smith. A bet involving him scoring 20,000 goals and free pies has already been made and of course I’ll be making my way down to the Rec at some point I’m sure.

The day of the announcement my Twitter feed was full with BSC Glasgow related content and references and it is perhaps no surprise to see that since then they have moved on to raffling off shirt sponsorship and I’m sure there will be even more ideas to come over the course of the season.

For now though, let’s get back to pie business with this scotch pie from Day 2 of the Westfield Tournament, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Westfield Park, Dunipace 1-0 Scone Thistle, Pre-Season Tournament Friendly

Price: I forgot to ask. This pie also doubled as my breakfast as a result of the Sunday noon kick off so I wasn’t operating at full capacity. I do know that it was £3 for a can of juice and my pie so using my pie based algorithms from years of consumption I’m going to say that this pastry can be yours for a slightly top heavy £2.

Presentation: Classically presented on a medium to large sized white napkin.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled pastry. The filling was well textured, not too firm and not too loose, meaning that a fairly low risk bite could be had. There was a very gentle pepper undertone that some would maybe like to see appear more prominently but overall I thought the filling made for a tasty meaty mouthful.

Pastry: Well formed and golden this pastry did the required job of safely holding the pie within. The edges were super crispy though which meant a little bit of gentle nibbling around the edge was required to ensure a safe and spill free bite but certainly more than adequate.

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Brown Sauce: As can be seen from the picture above they had gone condimental at Westfield Park including the Sophie’s Choice of picking between Daddies and HP. In the end, with the pressure of choosing too much to take, I went for the closest option and adorned my pie with a spiral of HP.

Overall: Neatly constructed with a good tasting filling supplemented by a swathe of sauce options.

Gravy Factor: A tasty way to start the day.

After a couple of so-so offerings it’s good to have something a bit better to get my teeth into. This would be my first of two games on that Sunday as just an hour after full time in Denny I would be sitting in the stands of McDiarmid Park to see St. Johnstone take on Ross County in the Betfred Cup and this one was something a little bit different.

However, that’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 175: The Kelty Hearts Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the second review of the 2019/20 season as we head to Fife where Kelty Hearts hosted Penicuik Athletic in the final of a pre-season tournament held at New Central Park, home of The Maroon Machine. A venue that is beyond recognition from the side’s junior football days.

Along with the renovation works it’s been an eye-catching summer for the Fife side with the appointment of Barry Ferguson as manager soon being followed by a number of high profile signings. Whilst the capture of right back Gary Cennerazzo from league rivals Spartans may have gone under the radar the landing of Forfar Athletic duo Dylan Easton and Thomas O’Reilly, East Fife’s Scott Linton and Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker Nathan Austin certainly did not, with the latter scoring 11 times in 47 appearances for the Championship side last season.

It’s not just Kelty though that have been raising some eyebrows further up the pyramid. East Stirlingshire, who in 2017 became the first side to be relegated after a 42nd place finish, have added SPFL quality to their ranks as a result of some fresh investment. Nicky Low and Bobby Barr have both dropped out of the league to bolster The Shire midfield. Eddie Malone and Willie Dyer bring over 30 years of SPFL playing time to the defence whilst 38-year-old Peter MacDonald will feel he still has the ability to score goals for the Falkirk side.

East Kilbride, the current defending champions have added to an already talented squad with the coups of former Queen of the South goalkeeper Alan Martin and former Republic of Ireland international Darren O’Dea. The former Celtic and Dundee defender marrying coaching duties at Motherwell with a playing stint at K-Park. Spartans are always contenders, whilst it will also be interesting to see how East of Scotland champions Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic fair having finally been promoted following the installation of floodlights at their New Dundas Park home. If early season results are anything to go by then it looks like Berwick Rangers are going to struggle whilst the innovative BSC Glasgow and Edusport Academy along with Cumbernauld Colts all have ambitions to grow their organisations both on and off the field.

It makes for a fascinating Lowland League campaign ahead, especially when you consider that there is only one place available in the Pyramid Play-off Finals with the obtaining of that one spot no guarantee that promotion will follow. It would be hard not to have some reservations about the financial sustainability of some of the projects currently being undertaken, especially with such a small target for these clubs to aim for but as fans, especially at this level, you have to trust the process. There is also a competitive scene bubbling underneath the Lowland League and for the other sides yet to be mentioned there will be an awareness that relegation would not lead to an immediate return.

Kelty Hearts opponents Penicuik were one of the three East of Scotland Conference winners last season. They would lose out to the aforementioned Bonnyrigg Rose in the champions play-off round and whilst I remain sceptical that for a number of clubs in the East the junior defection was a step that they maybe didn’t need to make there is no arguing that it has freshened things up with the newly restructured Conference A looking particularly exciting this season.

One thing that I will of course be keeping an eye on is whether the quality of catering on offer at the game will go hand in hand with on-field improvements which brings us nicely round to this latest review, Pie 175: The Kelty Hearts Steak Pie.

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

Where: New Central Park, Kelty Hearts 4-0 Penicuik Athletic, Pre-Season Tournament Final

Price: £2. I’d say this is pushing the top end for a steak pie in a non-league context however as it didn’t break the £2 barrier I’m happy enough to accept the pricing here.

Presentation: Well this was a little bit different. The pie was taken from under the heating lamps and placed into one of those half paper/half plastic bags that you see in canteens across the land. Inside the bag was a small thin white napkin for post consumption mouth dabbing. Functional, if a little unusual.

Meatiness: This, I’m sorry to say, wasn’t great. I feel like I can’t give a true account of how this filling tasted due to how overdone it was. There was a mix of chunks and stew but everything was over-powered by the pastry (more of that in a moment). There was a little bit of boil out even that had been blackened and I’d found myself wondering as I ate whether this was leftovers from the previous days play. I’d undergone a two hour round trip for my lazy Sunday football fix, but there will be football fans that will go even further when supporting their team, and for them to be presented with this would be a bit of a disappointment.

Pastry: It was burnt, quite badly in places. The puff pastry layer on top in particular whilst on appearances looked acceptable was dry and once I finished eating I was glad for the relief of a can of fizzy pop.

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Brown Sauce: I think brown sauce would have helped a bit here, but as this was a luxury pie none was to be applied.

Overall: Pretty disappointing, the work that Kelty Hearts have done to transform New Central Park has been incredible over the last few years and I would say as a neutral the match day experience is definitely one of the best at the level whilst things are clearly moving in the right direction on the pitch. Sadly, in this instance though, the pies need a re-think.

Gravy Factor: Blackened gravy, there’s something good lurking in there but sadly somebody has taken their eye off of it.

Look, I hate being critical of pastries. I always try and spin a review in as positive light as possible, but at the same time I’m not going to lie and say every pie I have is awesome as I also believe that if you are asking people to part with their cash then you should be providing something that merits that investment, especially when the purchase of a pie is as habitual as going to the game itself for some people. Hopefully this was just a one off.

That’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 174: The Forth Wanderers Pie

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The Road to Pie 200 continues…

And just as the 2018/19 season ends the 2019/20 season begins.

Hello and welcome to, a rather incredible, SEVENTH season of Meat Filled Pastries, Scotland’s premier pie-hopping site. At the start of every season I have to come to the decision as to whether or not I should continue on this journey of pie. This season was perhaps a little bit easier than some of the more recent ones have been as Pie 200 is now well within my sights and to stop now would seem like a missed opportunity. I already have a plan for when Pie 200 has been consumed but that will be revealed when the time arrives.

In the mean time though I’ve decided to add a new mini-feature in relation to the club’s I visit this season. I’ve dabbled with this a couple of times in the past but as I try and improve the quality of my content for both Scottish Women’s Football and over on Leading the Line it would seem remiss of me to not take this opportunity to share the tales of some of Scotland’s lesser football lights and Forth Wanderers’ 2017 pre-season friendly Real Kashmir seems as a good a place as any to start.

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The story of Real Kashmir is a relatively well known one in Scottish football circles these days thanks in part, to the BBC Scotland documentary which first aired in February 2019 following the clubs trials and tribulations as they looked to grow whilst also contesting games in one of the world’s most disputed areas. It sounds a weird choice of topic as an opening salvo for a new television channel but when you then discover that the manager is former Rangers and Aberdeen defender David Robertson and that one of their star players is his son Mason, the subject matter starts to become more clear in it’s relevance. Robertson took over at the Kashmiri side in January 2017 and promptly lead them to promotion from the I-League 2 to the top tier in Indian football within the space of six months. A feat made all the more remarkable given that the side funded by two local businessman – Shamim Mehraj and Sandeep Chattoo – had only been formed the year previous.

With the challenges of playing in India’s top tier to prepare for Robertson arranged for his side to make the 14,000 mile round trip to Scotland where fixtures were arranged to take on both Forth Wanderers and Scottish League side Stenhousemuir. Whilst The Snow Leopards had succumbed to a 6-0 defeat against Stenny a few days later their trip to Kingshill Park was more fruitful as goals from Ishfaq Ahmed and Prem Kumar earned the far-flung visitors a 2-2 draw in front of a curious crowd of 130. The newly promoted side would use their experience in Scotland to their advantage as they would go on to finish 3rd in their debut I-League season and are currently in the process of building a new stadium as well as recently agreeing a shirt sponsorship agreement with German sportswear giants Adidas, impressive again as the conflict continues to rage on in the region. It would be nice to think that one day the two sides could have a re-match. After all, nobody likes ending things on a draw.

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As I said these will be mini-pieces and for more fully fledged features then I, of course, encourage you to go follow Leading the Line but please let me know what you think about these mini-features and whether or not you would like to keep seeing them as the season progresses.

For now though let’s get back to the meat of the matter and get to reviewing some pastry. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Kingshill Park, Forth Wanderers 1-2 Larkhall Thistle, Friendly

Price: £1.20. The first pie of the new season always set the pricing bench mark for the season ahead so it’s interesting to see that this doesn’t deviate too far from what the junior average was in 2018/19.

Presentation: A slight variation on the theme here with the the medium sized white napkin changing shape from the more commonly found square, to rectangle. Still plenty of it there though to support consumption.

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Meatiness: I think I know where this pie comes from, in face I’m almost certain as it’s a pie I’ve had few times from this part of the country and from the odd supermarket shelf but I’ll let you join the dots to see if you can figure out where it came from though. The meat was moist and as is often the case with pies from this particular proprietor quite dark and a little grey. They are always perfectly serviceable and taste like a scotch pie should but never blow me away. I think that’s as verbose as I need to be in this case.

Pastry: The second indicator of this pie source was in the pastry. Slightly biscuity and crisp with a totally smooth top. It had a slight golden tinge too it and did the job of holding this pastry together.

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Brown Sauce: HP.

Overall: A safe start to the season from a well recognised brand.

Gravy Factor: No bells *wink, wink* and whistles just a safe little pastry.

I’d actually messaged the good folk at Forth the day before to see what the pastry situation may be at this very early stage of the season and the response of hopeful but not certain was enough to appease me and I was rewarded with this faith.

One last thing before I go and that is I’ve always had a dream that somewhere down the line I could earn just a little from these adventures, millions would be wildly optimistic, but enough to keep me breaking even. With that in mind I’ve added a Ko-fi link imaginatively Buy my Next Pie to the site where you can buy me a coffee pie to help keep me going. Zero obligation but if you’re feeling generous I’ll be very grateful, maybe one day I can get to writing that book.

That’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 173: The Linlithgow Rose Curry Pie

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And now, the end is near, and so we eat our final pastry…well of the 2018/19 season at least. It’s part two from Prestonfield where we take on the Curry Pie, a pie I very nearly didn’t purchase but boy am I glad that I did.

Before that though I’m a week a removed from my trip to France to see Scotland take part in a World Cup for the first time in over twenty years as Shelley Kerr and her squad headed to the tournament with all the best wishes the nation could muster. By now we know that sadly, it wasn’t meant to be, but I for one enjoyed my time in France, not only following Scotland in Rennes but also whilst taking in a couple of games in Paris too.

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I’ve talked about the Women’s World Cup a lot on Twitter, on Leading the Line (go subscribe) and on various podcasts including the Anyone’s Game Scottish Women’s Football Podcast where as well as breaking down Scotland’s performances and the Women’s World Cup in general we cover Scottish women’s football as a whole so go have a listen. One of the topics not to have come up during all these conversations though has been what there is to eat when you visited some of these World Cup venues? Well here at Meat Filled Pastries I couldn’t let the tournament pass without making reference to what scran was on offer.

As mentioned earlier my Gallic adventure took me to two venues, the Parc de Princes in Paris and the Roazhon Park in Rennes. Both venues were awash with your usual big event fare such as chips, sweets, burgers and popcorn, the last of which I’ve never been able to get on board with in life never mind during a game. In Paris, after a fairly traumatic experience trying to get into my Airbnb, I had a dinner of not one but two hot dogs along with a bottle of fizzy pop given to me in a Coca Cola branded novelty cup which now sits pride of place on my desk along with a similar cup from Rennes, both distinguishable by the fact that their place names and a well known landmark were on each.

The catering theme continued the next day in Rennes with one notable exception: The Galette Saucisse. A single speciality sausage from the Brittany region of France encased in a cold crepe which is then fired onto to a grill to give the outside edges some crispiness. Now it may have been the multiple pre-match beers but the fact that I ended up eating three of these bad boys should be an indication that they were a treat to be enjoyed. In amongst all the sponsor splattered options it was good to see that a little slice of Stade Rennais tradition had squeaked into the concessions at France 2019. If you’re ever in Brittany or visiting Roazhon Park I would highly recommend giving one a bash.

Of course because it was the World Cup everything was massively overpriced but I did take some humour from watching some people getting “MWI” on the alcohol free beer being served in every stadium. I’m not going to go any further into my experience because that is set to appear in print in the not too distant future so keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter feed to find out where and when you can read it.

Unfortunately there were no pies, but luckily back home there is always plenty to be had, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose v Tranent Juniors, Kings Cup Final

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Price: £1.50! For a luxury pie, bargain of the century.

Presentation: Much like the Steak & Haggis Pie from the same venue this pie came presented on a single medium-sized white napkin.

Meatiness: Jings this was good. This was advertised as just a Curry Pie but was bursting with well cooked chunks of chicken breast, white to the bite and tender. The sauce was well spiced, not too hot, but with a build of heat that had you take the occasional pause. There was sweetness here too both in the spicing and from the presence of fine slivers of slow cooked onion and the consistency was spot on for easy consumption. I was nodding my head as I was eating here.

Pastry: The pastry was perhaps a tad pale but the little steam hole revealing the golden curry filling waiting to burst all over your tastebuds was the kind of tease people queue up for at the peep shows of Amsterdam. The pastry held together well, sufficiently to hold a bite with the puff pastry top adding another textural layer.

Brown Sauce: In my head brown sauce on a curry pie is lunacy and then I saw the person in front of me do it and my world was turned upside down. Of course I didn’t, I had the integrity of Meat Filled Pastries to mantain, but please let me know if you do.

Overall: Really tasty filling making it probably the best curry pie I’ve had in the stands in all my years reviewing pies.

Gravy Factor: I’m not trying to curry favour here but this was a pie I would definitely eat again.

So there we have it, at the end of the 2018/19 season the Meat Filled Pastries pie counter now sits at 173. As I write this the new season has already started with friendly fixtures starting to crop up across the country. My football commitments have increased somewhat over the last few months which personally is a good thing but where it leaves the regularity of reviews on these pages I’m not quite sure. What I can confirm is that wherever I end up, if there’s a new pie to be had it will be consumed and a review will be written.

Thank you to everyone who reads, shares and talks about these reviews. I was sitting in a bistro in Paris where somebody said out of context and in mid-conversation, “Are you the pie guy?“. It’s still some buzz and it’s always encouraging to know that people still read these after nearly seven years.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 172: The Linlithgow Rose Steak & Haggis Pie

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Hello and welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries for the first of a double review from Prestonfield, home of Linlithgow Rose, as Tranent took on Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the final of the Kings Cup. A competition, that until the big junior uprising of Summer 2018, neither side had ever competed in.

As I previously mentioned these last batch of reviews from the season just done are coming out a little later than usual and that is partly due to some work on my original pet project, Leading the Line, with a view to re-launching the site with some more regular content as opposed to just dumping it on here, where really, pies should always be the princes of the page. On the revamped site there will be history and opinion focusing on Scottish, Spanish and women’s football mixed in with interviews and the odd novelty item, because quite frankly, if you’ve been reading Meat Filled Pastries for this long then novelties should really be expected.

For an inexplicably long time I have resisted the fact that being involved in football in some capacity is where I need to be and whilst I figure out exactly what it looks like going back to my writing roots seems as good a place to start as any. In my most recent piece I’ve taken a look at the news that Real Madrid are set to finally join the women’s football ranks and I’m also in the middle of a series looking at perceptions of the Scottish Women’s National Team before, during and after this summer’s Women’s World Cup.

I have a long list of ideas and concepts to work through so please subscribe to keep up to date with all the latest non-pie patter from your favourite pie rater. For now though let’s get back to business. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic v Tranent, Kings Cup Final

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Price: It goes without saying that marriage of steak and haggis will result in a heightened price point but at just £2 this is still a very reasonably priced pastry.

Presentation: A medium sized white napkin. Nothing more, nothing less required.

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Meatiness: I’ve had a few “Haggis and…” pies in my time and usually the mix is the same with the haggis put through the rest of the filling to give the occasional pop of spiced offaly goodness. This pie was different though in a couple of ways. Firstly, much like the Annan Athletic Steak Pie, the steak in this pastry was slow cooked and pull apart as opposed to the chunks that are often found in a steak filled offering. Secondly, the haggis wasn’t mixed through but instead presented in a separate and distinct layer in the base. The steaky strands were dense and meaty whilst the decision to keep the two fillings apart ensured that each bite had the hum of haggis (that sounds grim but honestly was pretty nice). Add to this the generosity of the filling and we were on our way to a very decent pie indeed.

Pastry: The pastry was a little rough in it’s constructions but it’s hard not to salute a little bit of crimping on your match day treat especially when accompanied with a couple of chevrons cut into the lid. The pastry tasted pretty good and was both substantial enough to hold the filling whilst being forgiving to the bite, an important feature when the there is potential for spillage.

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Brown Sauce: No brown sauce here. A luxury pie with lots of tasty component parts should stand on its own two feet.

Overall: Generously filled with all the tastes of steak and haggis present as advertised.

Gravy Factor: Less gravy boat but more a flavour double decker.

Strong start from the Rosey Posey but, in somewhat of a spoiler, I may have possibly left the season’s best to last. As well as looking at our final pie of the 2018/19 season I will also share my culinary experiences from my trip to France for the Women’s World Cup. Sausage in a crepe, anyone?

However until next 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.