Junior Pies

Pie 142: The Troon Steak Pie

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It’s pie time baby! Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where once again I continue to get elbow deep in my search of the sweetest symphonies of meat and pastry the Scottish football world can offer. But first…

I’ve knowingly followed football for over 25 years. In that time social media and the way that fans interact with their clubs, players and fellow terrace dwellers has changed to an almost unrecognisable level. Whilst big clubs have had the “benefit” of national media coverage football down the leagues often relied on the support of the local paper, word of mouth or the odd post match conversation over a pint or two. Nowadays though clubs of all levels are in the search for greater reach latching onto anything that makes them stand out from the crowd and searching for ways to attract new followers at a time when the telly seems to rule all. Whilst Social Media Officers at “big” teams can themselves alone attract thousands of followers at the lower levels there is no media team. No budget for high-definition graphics and elaborate signing videos and in some cases no real expertise of any note to call upon, but you know what? The content still comes. The goal flashes, the signing news, the websites, the match day posters, the new logos it’s all there to see. All keeping people informed whilst maintaining thier clubs relevance in an ever smaller world. This work can sometimes be even better than those that earn a living from it and it should be commended. Whether it be keen fans who volunteer, students looking to hone their media craft or inwhatever form that the content is produced it’s it’s fair to say that the profile of these clubs would just not be the same.

It cheers me even more to see that in recent times clubs – with the budgets to do so – are now recognising these individuals with paid full-time opportunities. Most recently this was demonstrated at Dunfermline Athletic where long time Club Photographer Craig Brown has been rewarded with a permament contract to act as the club’s Media & PR Officer. Even more famously Alan Burrows has seen his role on a Saturday at Fir Park change from punter to Chief Executive a fanciful thought during the SPL years. Recognition is often hard to come by when the time spent goes unseen so I wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all those folk who make trying to understand what’s going on in the strange little world that is Scottish football just that bit easier.

I’d like to think that my pie reviews help to promote those clubs a little too and I always make sure to give a shout out to the teams I visit when spreading the good word. So let’s get to it, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West Premiership

 

Price: At £2 my initial reaction was to say that this pie, even for a luxury offering, was expensively priced as a junior pastry but then it was presented to me and the volume of pie you got against the amount you had to spend had me thinking that this was a bit of a bargain.

Presentation: Has there been a special sale on coloured napkins this pre-season that I don’t know about? For the third review in a row my pie was presented on something other than a white coloured napkin. This time blue, in keeping with the home team colours. Good size for holding the pastry which on this occasion was housed inside a tinfoil case.

Meatiness: Jesus this was meaty. It was dense with meat and more than one chunk took a couple of bites to get through. This was the good stuff. The meat tearing forgivingly as I ate. There was also an ocean of well seasoned and highly flavoured gravy, wrapping itself lovingly around the mini steaks with its viscosity allowing it to kiss the sides and gently flow out its pastry tomb ready to awaken your tastebuds. There was the presence of pepper throughout each bite. Not a semi-acrid burn that can sometimes build whilst eating a scotch pie but a consistent, almost sweet, tingle that just added to the total flavour profile. This was good.

Pastry: The good news continued with the pastry. Although it was a little soft, no doubt as a result of the ample treasure it was concealing, there was no sticking to the tin foil case and falling apart as I lifted it. It was a lovely golden brown colour and although the top layer puff pastry disc was a little off centre this still felt like one of the neatest pies I’d seen in a long time.

Brown Sauce: I think it would have been near blasphemy to put a condiment on this bad boy.

Overall: Generous filling and size. Tasty meat, unctuous gravy, golden pastry. Belter of a pie!

Gravy Factor: Give me another ladle full.

An absolute triumph of a pie from Portland Park. I’ve not had one that good in a long time and I would recommend a trip to Troon just to eat it. Will the streak continue next time out with the intriguing sounding Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie from Ibrox?

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 as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. 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 141: The Renfrew Pie

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Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries, Scotland’s only premier football pastry reviewing website. The season is now fully underway in Scotland and given the sun is still shining that little bit later I’ve been able to build up a bank of pastries for your perusal over the next few weeks.

But for now a question for your consideration. When do you have a pie?

Do you have it at the start to help soak up some pre-match beverages safe in the knowledge that you won’t miss any of the game or do you wait until half time and gamble on the queue going down quick enough so that you’re back in your spot before the action re-commences? Some, the most gambly of gamblers, will wait until after half time, avoiding the queues but also running the risk that there will be no pastries to be found.

Routines exist across the globe. When I lived in Spain I was often amazed about some aspects of a fans match day repertoire but perhaps none more so than the tradition of “El Bocata por el Descanso” – the sandwich for the break – where even the mere suggestion of eating your jamon or chorizo piece before the mid game interval would be met with utter contempt. However as soon as the referee has removed the whistle from his lips to signal the end of the first 45 minutes en masse the crowd will go into their polybags brought from home, unwrap the tinfoil and tuck into the sandwich of their choice, no doubt explaining during each chew how much of a “puta” the referee is because nothing excites a Spanish fan more than being antagonised by the arbitro’s performance.

For me, I prefer the before match approach, it almost always guarantees receipt of a pastry which is helpful when you run a website reviewing them and – on a Saturday at least – it will double as my first “meal” of the day. So on arrival at New Western Park, that’s exactly what I did.

Which means, without much further ado, let’s rate some pre-match pie!

Where: New Western Park, Renfrew 1-1 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £1.50 this pie was once again in the junior pie pricing sweet spot. As an aside, I noticed that the steak pie, usually deemed as luxury on these pages, was exactly the same price. Bargain.

Presentation: In a recent review of the Kelty Hearts pie I had commended the Fife club on their use of colour coordinated napkins. At Renfrew, who’s large napkin was of substantial size to hold and mop with, it was not blue or white (the team’s colours) but a bright sunflower yellow. Given the proximity of IKEA to this ground, would I be wrong to speculate on the influence the Swedes may have had here? Almost certainly but I’m doing it anyway. Good napkin though.

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Meatiness: This was a pie that, for me anyway, hit all the right notes. The meat was of the right texture with a nice moistness to the fill meaning that it both held together but also broke away quite easily. It was also very savoury with a slight pepper kick to it as you went through without the heat ever building to anything more than a hum. I thought it was pretty good.

Pastry: This pie had a smooth top with no steam hole present. The edge was crisp on top and the base solid. There were a few cracks in the side of the pastry bringing it’s overall structural integrity into question and the top was perhaps a little thick but in general I would say that it was more than satisfactory.

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Brown Sauce: After the Cumbernauld Colts debacle we returned to routine with a splash of brown sauce to help enhance those spiced meat flavours.

Overall: Tasty meat that I did find myself keen to take another bite of with pastry that did the job despite a couple of small flaws. Feels like a while since I’ve been able to review a good solid scotch pie, but I would say this was one.

Gravy Factor: Ahhh, Bisto.

So a decent effort from Renfrew and the junior pie adventures continue as next up we have a behemoth of a steak pie from Troon FC before something a bit different from the senior ranks.

Until next time though, 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 as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. 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 137: The Glasgow Perthshire Pie

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So here it is, my last pie review of the 2017/18 season. A season that has taken me across Scotland and Spain with some stop offs in Germany and Portugal along the way. I went to my first game back in July with no inclination to start doing the pie reviews again as I thought it had run its course but I’m glad I’ve come back to it. It’s helped to re-kindle what has sometimes felt a lost love for writing and whilst I still struggle to juggle real life with my aspirational one I feel I’m slowly starting to win the battle.

I don’t believe in recapping what I think has been the best or worst but instead reflecting on the opportunities it has presented to date and the new people that I’ve met whilst focusing on what will be hopefully forthcoming in the future, pie related or otherwise.

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

Where: Keppoch Park, Glasgow Perthshire 1-2 Pollok, Central League Cup Semi Final

Price: Advertised at £1.50 the total bill of £3.20 for two pies and a bottle of water (advertised at 50p) would suggest that this pie was £1.35 which doesn’t seem right at all. For the sake of this piece let’s call it £1.50. Maybe I got it wrong.

Presentation: It always seems fitting to book end the start and end of the season with the ever classical medium-sized white napkin. It always does the job.

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Meatiness: This was a well filled pastry. The texture was good if maybe a little loose meaning that on a couple of occasions a bite was followed by a quick juggle on the bottom lip to ensure that the meat didn’t hit the grass bank beneath me. There was a light pepper kick to this pastry that didn’t have much linger to it and overall whilst there was a hint of meaty flavour it perhaps lacked a little punch overall.

Pastry: The pastry was crisp and had a nice golden tinge to it but as can be seen in the pictures had a few cracks in the side walls meaning the structural integrity of the pie was let down a litte. That aside though there was nothing wrong with it from a taste perspective.

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Brown Sauce: Missed the brand but came in one of the large squeezy bottles you would often see at food vans and cash & carry’s alike. Did the job.

Overall: Generous filling that perhaps needed a little bit more oomph.

Gravy Factor: Just a spoonful shy of the perfect  flavour and consistency.

So that’s it, another season in the books, but keep your eyes peeled on the site during the off season as my evolution to more football and food based content continues with the next two installments in my International Soccer Scran Series. I might throw a couple of World Cup things in there too.

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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 136: The Fauldhouse United Steak Pie

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So here it is. What’s shaping up to be the penultimate pie review of the football season, a second offering from Fauldhouse United this time in the form of a Steak Pie.

One of the things I’ve always found a little confusing when eating my way through the pies of Scotland and beyond is the lack of advertisement at pie stalls about where they get their pastries from. It seems to me a fairly easy win for the supplier, a captive and very local audience, who after tasting your pie could decide that this is the only thing they want to have for their dinner until they their ultimate breath. Their problem, unless they pipe up and ask, they don’t know where it comes from.

To be fair this isn’t always the case, here at Fauldhouse there are Bell’s advertisements everywhere, Rossvale have McGhee’s as a main sponsor, Beith are supplied by Irvine’s and there’s a World Champion Certificate for Boghall Butchers at Bathgate Thistle. Pars seem to supply half of the Scottish Premiership whilst The Kandy Bar provide pies to a number of Ayrshire region teams. The Killie/Kilmarnock Pie made by Browning’s is perhaps the ultimate demonstration in how you can make your product synonymous with an entire genre.

The names above are some of the most recognised on the Scottish Butcher/Bakery scene and the impact that a strong association with a football team has cannot be underestimated. If you are a butcher or baker who supply a football club have a think about how you advertise that fact in the coming season. Advertising boards and programme inserts are great but for me that association comes best when you hand over your money or look down on your napkin. You know if your pies are great, so when they are why not shout about them.

For now though let’s continue with part two of my Fauldhouse adventure. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Park View (Take 2), Fauldhouse United 0-4 Tayport, East Premier League

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Price: £1.20. Perhaps a first since I have started this website (I’ve checked and I can’t see any evidence to the contrary) in that the price for the Steak Pie is exactly the same as the Scotch Pie. A Luxury Pie at a Scotch Pie price. What a time to be alive!

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Presentation: A medium-sized white napkin, replacing the gargantuan piece of kitchen roll that my earlier scotch pie had adorn it. More than capable of doing the job required of supporting my second pastry helping of the day.

Meatiness: Ach! I hate this, I want every pie I eat to be one of the best things I have ever had but unfortunately for this steak pie it just wasn’t to be. The filling reached about half way up the pie, meaning that it felt a bit stingey and to get a proper look inside I had to use my fingers to spread the pastry floor and ceiling apart. The filling was more gravy like in consistency with only one or two small to medium-sized chunks. It was alright but nothing more.

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Pastry: I could literally copy and paste the summary of the pastry from Pie 135: The Fauldhouse United Pie as the pastry shell was exactly the same in colour and construct but I’m going to be even lazier than that and ask you to follow this link instead.

Overall: Nothing terrible but nothing more than OK.

Gravy Factor: Meh, but with steak.

So there you have it, Fauldhouse United, a great wee club with a bit of room for improvement on the pie front. I’m writing this on a Saturday morning a couple fo hours before I head to Glasgow Perhtshire for what I think will be my last pie review of the season. From there I’ll move onto my International Soccer Scran Series before seeing what inspiration the World Cup brings.

However as always, 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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 135: The Fauldhouse United Pie

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As promised the pie reviews are coming thick and fast with the first of two from the East in the form of this Scotch Pie review from Fauldhouse United. After Pollok’s game on Saturday was postponed due to some rather grim events in the Rutherglen area the preceeding evening a quick browse of the fixture list was required. With East Region junior football in just the teeny tiniest bit of turmoil I thought I’d take the opportunity to take in a fixture between two of the teams who have not made a move to leave the current junior set up.

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of hyperbole around the phrase “there’s nothing quite like the juniors.” Events like the ones I encountered at Park View play in to that way of thinking.

The passing of a figure close to the club had brought his friends and family together under the main enclosure at Park View for a swig of Buckfast in his memory. The match itself was pre-faced by a minute’s silence and then a minutes applause. An act carried because “that’s how he wanted it, something a bit different.” Yes, it would be foolish to argue that Joe Punter at Ibrox, Pittodrie or Tynecastle would struggle to have arranged such a send off but to suggest that the same could not be achieved at Coldstream, Huntly or Dalbeattie seems just a little naive.

It’s a fascinating topic given the near radio silence by some of the biggest figures in the junior game, but I don’t want to get bogged down in the pros and cons of the Great Eastern Escape just now, that’s for another time, and another forum. No, for now, let’s focus on the positives and raise a glass to Fauldhouse and all the other clubs across the country, no matter what league they play in, who take their time to acknowledge their fans of the past, present and, judging by the children I saw running around in their tops at Park View, their future too.

So with that said, and without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Park View, Fauldhouse United 0-4 Tayport, East Premier League

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Price: £1.20, pretty much the pricing sweet spot for a junior pie.

Presentation: This pie came with a veritable blanket’s worth of paper towel. If you were so inclined you could turn your pie into a tiny trampolinist tossing your pastry gaily in the air performing all manner of twists, somersaults and flips.

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Meatiness: I’ve always believed that honesty is the best policy when doing these reviews and if I’m being honest this pie was a little underwhelming. The filling seemed a little bit tight in its volume and although there was a pepper kick the linger for me was a little too brief. The texture was OK but it’s not one that has lived long in the memory. All in all, it was just kind of there.

Pastry: The pastry had a flat top to it without the presence of a hole and the positioning on the pastry was a bit higgledy piggledy. The pastry was sturdy with a slight bread like taste to it. Did it secure hold the filling within? Yes. Did it have a nice golden tinge to it? Yes. Did it blow me away? Not really.

Brown Sauce: HP. Name brand brown sauce always squeaks out an extra brownie point or two.

Overall: My expectation is that the pies at Park View are provided by one of their main sponsors Bells. My suspicion is that these are the same pies that go to supermarkets throughout the country. If financially this makes sense for the sustainable running of the club then I can get on board with it. However as a guy who has tried pies across the country, produced by places both big and small, this pie was a little short of the mark.

Gravy Factor: Meh.

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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie

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Hello and welcome to the first of three quick fire pastry reviews over the coming days. This time out a taster from my home town club Pollok FC where I shun the pie for a bridie, something, that I should admit to right now, as not being my favourite combination of meat and pastry. The reason for this rapid review process is that over the summer period I’m working towards a slight shift in what the content of this site will include.

Firstly, don’t panic, the pie reviews will still be forthcoming but as the new grounds become sparser I wanted to take this opportunity to branch out a little and morph the site into a kind of football & food hybrid. In the past I have written fairly regularly about Scottish football but as I hope my International Soccer Scran Series (Benfica Club Portugalete) shows I’m keen to come at things with a new angle. With that in mind, this week I completed my first piece of non football food related writing in a long time with Russia 2018: 32 Reasons to Support Everyone! A Scottish supporter’s guide to ensuring that no matter who wins you too can claim a piece of that glory. It also features a player from today’s hosts so why not give it a read. For now though let’s get back to what brought you here in the first place.

Without much further ado, let’s rate some bridie!

Where: Pollok 6-0 Wishaw, Newlandsfield Park, Central League Cup 3rd Round

Price: £1.20, a few pence cheaper than the pie options at Newlandsfield, but given my lack of dinner at the time I would’ve paid twenty quid to prise the last hot food item available from the pastry seller’s cold, dead fingers.

Presentation: Simply presented on a medium-sized white napkin, perhaps something a little more substantial is required for a bridie, as in this instance the heat of the product mixed with the more porous nature of the bridie’s puff pastry meant that once I had finished eating my napkin, now adorned with a fine film of grease, it was no use for mopping my mouth.

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Meatiness: Unlike the more commonly known Cornish Pasty south of the border it will very rarely contain any form of potato or vegetable however there can be some onion present dependent on the whim of the butcher or baker. In this instance there was an onion flavour with a few translucent slivers visible to the eye. The flavour was distinctly of bridie and most importantly, the filling stacked up well against the puff pastry casing. This sounds simple but even at World Championships the meat to pastry ratio can be bafflingly low, and so for that, this bridie should be commended.

Pastry: Puff as opposed to short crust is the normal pastry of choice for a bridie. This adds a lovely flaky texture to a pastry along with a slightly softer lining that caresses the meat within but it does invariably end up with you crop dusting the terrace around your feet. This bridie was no different. That said the pastry was absolutely fine even if a few small shards got caught between my teeth.

Brown Sauce: Logistically condiments on a bridie are a nightmare. Unlike a pie there is no pastry wall to contain the sauce so this bridie was had bareback although my inclination is that if you can be bothered with watching for those drips it’s an action that shouldn’t be frowned upon.

Overall: Ordered a Bridie. Tasted like a Bridie. Not quite as good as a pie.

Gravy Factor: If you want a bridie this ain’t a bad example to have.

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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries. 

Pie 133: The Saltcoats Victoria Pie

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I’m making use of a rare hangover free Saturday morning to bring you another edition of Meat Filled Pastries. The original plan was to head out for a Park Run but I have been wiped this week so I’ve swapped the tarmac for typing. In two weeks time however I won’t have that option as I take part in the Glasgow Men’s 10K (the running shoes are on stand by for tomorrow morning). Once upon a time I couldn’t run ten metres without my body questioning what madness had taken over. There’s still times when that madness still descends so to keep me right I always run for the Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund in memory of my mate Smit who died aged 28 from bowel cancer.

If you like my stories of pie, think cancer is a bastard or have a few pennies to spare then the link above takes you to our fundraising site. All donations go direct to the Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Research. We’ve raised over £40,000 since his death and I continue to be astounded by the generosity people can show. If you’ve read this and have donated then thank you.

Right, charity shilling complete let’s get into the meat of this matter and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Campbell Park, Saltcoats Victoria 0-11 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup, 2nd Round

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Price: £1.70. Yes this is expensive for a junior pie but in some way, as I watched the players of Saltcoats chase shadows during an 11-0 defeat, I was at peace with this. If I have to pay an extra 20p to help keep these players playing (at the very bottom rung of the junior ladder where glory is seldom an option) for another season then no worries. I’d be the first one to bemoan a club going to the wall due to a lack of funding. As an aside Saltcoats are yet another Ayrshire based junior outfit who offer up a Killie Pie for consumption, albeit at a slightly higher price point.

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Presentation: A rarely seen in the juniors shiny silver case meant that on this, one of Scotland’s sunnier days, the pie seemed to retain its heat for eternity. A single sheet of white kitchen roll provided some respite from juggling the straight out of the oven case.

Meatiness: I think if I had to describe the filling of this pie it would be as functional. The meat was decently textured and flavoured with no stand out contributing factors. There was no discernible kick to speak of but the filling held well inside the pastry case and as my first meal of the day after a few pints it more than did the job of satisfying my hunger.

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Pastry: Again another functional piece of pie making, kudos for ensuring that the pie was sealed well enough that it didn’t stick to the bottom of the tin and it did have a nice crisp texture to the bite. The kind of crispness where you can break a bit off and dip it into the condiment of choice atop of your pie. Which brings us neatly to…

Brown Sauce: I was a bit reckless with my squirt and so a thicker than normal layer of Asda’s (I think!) finest added the vinegary, spicy tang that only brown sauce can.

Overall: If you’re hungry and want a pie. This will do the job.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bisto.

Another pie bites the crust (love a pun!). I have a bridie review lined up next from my hometown club and the Southside’s finest, Pollok. I’ve decided that whilst the junior season wraps up I’m going to get through as many pastry reviews as possible knowing that I have a couple of long reads and a World Cup of Scran to look forward to.

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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.