Junior Pies

Pie 118: The Carluke Rovers Chicken Curry Pie

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Hello pie fans, let’s get straight to business. I am aware that in the past I have, on more than one occasion, intimated that this is the end of the road for Meat Filled Pastries only to then be drawn back in with spiels dedicated to that holy trinity of meat, pastry and gravy however this time, this time is different. I mean take a look at this review for example, this game took place in April, it’s July now and this is me just getting round to ticking it off. Something had to give and at the moment it seems to be the pies. That’s not to say I haven’t been at games and continued my adventures to  the back of beyond to watch 22 men(or women) kick about a polyester sphere whilst getting my pastry fix, it’s more the aftermath that has suffered. Whether that be an increase demand in work, to learning Spanish, from wanting to see the world and just generally hanging about with my friends and family all have taken precedent over a few hundred words about pie.

More relevantly, to those of you who have kept with me during this, I really do want to put this all together into one coherent collection of my journey. From the first foolhardy bet, to the awards and media appearances up until the right here and now where I’m stealing 30 minutes from my lunch to type up this review. I think it’s a good story to tell, but an impossible one to do if I don’t step back, take a breath and look what it’s achieved. So there you have it this is my swansong, not a forever goodbye, more I’ll catch you later.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The John Cumming Stadium, Carluke Rovers 0-3 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round

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Price: Dropped the ball here. This was somewhere between £1.20 – £1.70 and so if anyone want’s to correct me then please feel free. Given it’s chicken curry nature we can class this as a luxury pie and as such anywhere within the bracket I’ve just quoted is more than acceptable.

Presentation: This is a direct copy from my last review. Same place, same presentation. Medium sized white napkin that was bigger than the circumference of the pastry that sat on it. It’s all you need really.

THE PIE

I think this might glow in the dark...
I think this might glow in the dark…

Meatiness: Chunks of tender chicken breast awaited my gob replacing the normal crumbly mutton that a scotch pie possesses. Cubed into properly bite size chunks they were coated in a luminous yellow curry sauce that you would often find smattered on the pavement outside Central Station on a Friday night. As I discovered at the most recent edition of the World Scotch Pie Championships chip shop curry sauce is very much a controversial subject. For some it offers the comfort of home, providing that pick me up on a hungover Sunday evening as it’s smothered over a poke of chips. For others it is an atomic bomb to the senses, an overheated day-glow paste that stains everything it touches from your teeth to you trainers. I fall somewhere in the middle, appreciative of the joy it brings others whilst the food wanker lurking within wants something more complex and ‘real’. Stripping it back to what this pie is; a matchday snack. It does an amicable job of satisfying hunger whilst being slightly different from the norm.

Pastry: The pastry was interesting and perhaps a consequence of the different filling this pie offered. First thing that struck me was how pale it was, perhaps not subjected to the same boil out and fat that a scotch pie normally has meaning it was almost white in colour. Secondly was it’s texture, almost bread like with a biscuity crunch as opposed to buttery and flaky. With the pie filling it worked quite well although to this day I’m still not sold if it’s something I liked or not.

Brown Sauce: Imagine tangy brown sauce on a curry pie, that would be a sensory overload for even the most adventurous of palates. It didn’t happen here.

Overall: Nothing flashy here. Chicken that was well cooked and wrapped in a sunny wash of chip shop curry sauce contained within a biscuity base. When looking at all the elements it is perhaps the least luxurious luxury pie you might ever come across.

Gravy Factor: Ravy Gravy. Split this bad boy open, and raise it high in the air. It’s 1991 and you’re giving it large with this spicy yellow pastry.

So that’s it, no more…well except one more. An encore if you will from the Falkirk Stadium courtesy of the Scottish lassies. I hate goodbyes so just wanted to get that out the way now.

So until the final time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

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Pie 117: The Carluke Rovers Pie

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My apologies to the good folk at Carluke Rovers, I should have done this two weeks ago but as my fellow supporters of junior football know at this time of the season free time comes with an even greater premium as clubs play 2,3 or even 4 games a week! It can be a bit of a slog for players, managers and supporters alike as you jump from town to town in the mad dash to get the season wrapped up before the summer really comes. Whilst arguments cold be made about summer football and artificial pitched in truth the junior calendar doesn’t really help itself to begin with as cup after cup are played until even wee Jimmy the groundskeeper has won a trophy too.

In some way’s I understand it; the Sectional League Cup give fans guaranteed derbies whilst bigger clubs get to boost the coffers of their less fortunate neighbours every second season whilst the Central League Cup at the end of the season gives teams with not much to play for some meaningful fixtures to get their teeth into. At the same time though what is the need for a cup where the exact same participants take part in it twice, all be it with slightly altered formats. I’m coming at this from a Glasgow based perspective but I know that the same problem abides both west and east of the place I call home. As you may have gathered by now I’m not one to turn down a game of football but even I, as an individual who breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of a Saturday afternoon in Homebase, think something needs to be done to jazz up these perceived ‘diddy’ cups.

With all that being said, and to stick to my wholly contrary roots, today’s pie review comes from one of them and the Central League Cup 2nd Round, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The John Cumming Stadium, Carluke Rovers 0-3 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round

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Price: At £1.20 this pie was bang on message with the rest of junior football as a whole although it would be fair to say that it was perhaps a littler more expensive when compared to some of their previously visited divisional rivals.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin that was bigger than the circumference of the pastry that sat on it. It’s all you need really.

THE PIE

Meaty!
Meaty!

Meatiness: This was a substantially sized meat filled treat with coarsely ground mutton populating nearly every cavity of its pastry tomb. The meat was well-flavoured and if ever I was to describe mince as succulent this would be it. That said, with succulency (pretty sure I’ve just made up a word) comes grease and in this case the dreaded drip test very nearly put paid to a new pair of trainers. Luckily my time spent in St. Petersburg as Galloping Horse #2 in the Russian National Ballet production of Calamity Jane meant I tip toed my way around the fatty splashes trouble free. Grease never harms the flavour unless it’s excessive but it does make eating it that little bit more treacherous.

Pastry: The pastry was well-baked and sturdy enough to support this fairly moist pie. There was a little rim of boil out on the top but the base was near perfect in its cooking. To be honest not a lot to say here as it was a solid, if unspectacular, effort all round.

Brown Sauce: The bottle had all the hallmarks of being found in a popular high street frozen food chain, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good though. Zingy, spicy and fruity like a good brown sauce should be.

Overall: Nice flavoursome meat, solid pastry and a decent brown sauce makes this a good effort. A little less grease and you’re on to a winner.

Gravy Factor: Moist.

This is the first of an unintended double-header from Carluke as their Chicken Curry Pie gets ready to go under the Piecroscope.

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 116: The Jeanfield Swifts Steak & Gravy Pie

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Hello pie fans. You hardy bunch of pastry connoisseurs and all around good eggs welcome to another rip-roaring edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we start to wind down towards the season end. You know what’s mental? It’s April and fixtures in the Junior calendar are still being wiped out by wind, rain, snow and abandoned tractors! You heard me right, if rumours are to believed along with the waterlogged pitch a tractor had found itself stranded on Hurlford United’s Blair Park pitch. I’ve yet to see any factual evidence to support this rationale for calling off a game a full day in advance but as a reasons go it’s pretty spectacular.

With that call off though I found myself with an unexpected fixture headache. Luckily at this time of year an important game is never too far away although the fact that I ended up in Perth an hour and a half away from where my journey started would suggest something to the contrary. Yes it was a crucial promotion clash in the battle to reach the East Region Supoerleague but the true siren song for this match was the two participants.

Jeanfield Swifts and Dundonald Bluebell.

I mean doesn’t it just sound like the kind of game that Thomas, Annie & Clarabell would chug by whilst wandering about the branch line on the Island of Sodor? The guard waving his flag from his brake van as a penalty goes skywards, the ball landing on Thomas’ funnel resting for only a second before he wheeshes it away in a puff of smoke and steam. The ball rolling into the opposing net as Tommy disappears into the distance giving it the maximum Alan Shearer finger point salute as he goes peep-peep-peep! No?..Just me?..I haven’t taken this too far have I?..

Oh, I have?..ehm OK, you’re probably right so without much further ado, and with that image of a chugging Thomas the Tank Engine in your head (don’t lie, you all went there), let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Riverside Park, Jeanfield Swifts 2-2 Dundonald Bluebell, East of Scotland Premier League

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Price: In an unexpected turn of events you couldn’t purchase a scotch pie. Instead you were left with the option of a mince round (that was huge) or a Steak and Gravy Pie (also very substantial). In the end I went fancy and plumped for steak parting with £1.80 for it’s meaty pleasure.

Presentation: Unusually no silver foil container instead just a medium-sized white napkin big enough to protect the hand from scalding.

THE PIE

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Meatiness: A generous cascade of meat and gravy came washing down my gullet as I took my first bite into this toasty treat. There was buckets of tender steak here cut up in to mouth friendly bite size pieces. The meat wrapped in a gravy of a consistency that allowed it to ooze  just a little without gushing all over your chin. It was absolutely boiling but it was also very tasty, the heat meaning I could savour every morsel over what felt like hours.

Pastry: Crisp and golden multi-layered puff pastry top. Just the right amount to stay crisp on top but have some soggy gravy tinged layers underneath. The sides were a little broken and perhaps slightly thicker than I was used to but in all honesty had zero detriment to the overall piey flavour.

Brown Sauce: Do we put brown sauce on luxury pies down at MFP HQ. No we do not. Moving on.

Overall: Generously sized with tender meat, unctuous gravy and a well layered puff pastry, the only slight flaw being a crack in one of the pastry walls. Overall though, delightful.

Gravy Factor: A tasty everlasting gobstopper of a pie. (Seriously I’m surprised I’m not still eating it!).

Once again I go into the unknown as with a stacked fixture card and familiar foes on the pierizon my next pie based report may be a while, but fear not as there will be one and lo, it will be good.

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 114: The Gartcairn Juniors Pie

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Sometimes I get accused of taking my love of a Saturday afternoon on the terraces a little too far. Most of the time I will fight my corner simply stating it’s my Saturday routine, I don’t judge others for their choice to spend a few hours in a superheated cesspool of screaming children and bargain shopping. Taking enough of a break just long enough to sit on half a Big Mac that the person who was sitting there beforehand has left behind, a smear of mustard yellow and gherkin indelibly left on your backside for all to see. No I would never judge you for that, that sounds just wonderful.

That said there is (very) rare occasions where I will be standing, shivering and drenched. Rain driving into my face so hard that I can’t even look up to watch the game in front of me. No cover protecting me from the elements and my umbrella lost to that big council bin in the sky that I go, maybe, just maybe I should have stayed at home or gone to the pub.

Gartcairn v Glasgow Perthshire in the Central League Second Division was one of those rare occasions. First of all no offence intended to the participating teams. It could have been another edition of El Clasico that was raging before my eyes at MTC Park but the fact remained that I was watching a game I had no real interest in for the sake of a match to go to and a new pie review. For the first time since I started this adventure, the need for pie had become a chore and one that I wasn’t particularly enjoying.

Now this is not to say I have fallen out of love with the pie or the game that has thrust these pastry delights into my consciousness but more to say that when something stops becoming fun you have to ask yourself is it really worth it. I’ve hinted many times in the past that I have a number of other interests. Things that I want to do, see and achieve, and so, it is with these things clear in my mind that I hereby give notice that 2015/16 season will be the last I spend reviewing pies, at the football at least.

So with that out the way, let’s make the final few count. Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: MTC Park, Gartcairn Juniors 1-1 Glasgow Perthshire, Central League Second Division (A not insignificant game as this was Gartcairn’s first at their home ground and with that the first competitive junior match played at the ground)

It was too mingin' too even consider taking in the view.
It was too mingin’ too even consider taking in the view.

Price: £1.50. Towards the top end of the junior spectrum, but considering this was Gartcairn’s first match at their true home AND the fact it was clear the SJFA had made them jump through some rather odd hoops to get there (including introducing crowd segregation and moving the change rooms to a school further away than the clubhouse was from the ground) I was willing to pay my way.

Presentation: A large white napkin, it would have benefited from having an umbrella built into it on this particular day, but unrealistic expectations aside this was a solid effort in the presentation stakes.

THE PIE

Take #2
Take #2

Meatiness: OK, so before I start here, truth time. Because the weather was so severe I couldn’t actually get my phone out my pocket to take a picture of my first pie so when one of the few brief breaks in the clouds occurred I rushed to get the pie pictured here, pie number #2. I’m glad I did. The filling was very tasty indeed, it was seasoned well and had a proper peppery linger, something that I feel has been long missed on my recent pie travels. The pie was generously filled and overall the taste was worth going back for another bite.

Pastry: These pies were perhaps a little bashed about by the time they got to my mouth. Now this could be due to the delivery method, a man rocking up in his Vauxhall Corsa to drop off his meaty bounty at the shipping container that was doubling as pie stall but more likely was my heavy-handedness whilst protecting it from the elements. The pastry was golden, perhaps a little soft at the sides but fell apart as it should. There was a slight saltiness to the pastry that I quite liked and overall it did a spot on job of keeping the meat within.

Brown Sauce: As it was the competitive game to be held at this ground I got the great honour of opening the HP bottle for the very first time. HP always does the job.

Overall: Soaking aside, this was a very tasty pie, well-flavoured meat with a peppery linger balanced out with a salty and soft pastry.

Gravy Factor: To be consumed on sunnier days.

Well that’s another pie down, what number this journey will finally end on I’m not sure but I promise you that I will see this through until I have my final bite.

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 113: The Linlithgow Rose Steak Pie

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So a few weeks ago I went to Madrid with a couple of friends and I fell in love with it a little bit. With it’s party vibe, great (great!) food and passion for football it was the kind of place that makes me realise how much I missed out on whilst spending my younger years on the strips of Magaluf.

We visited almost every museum the city had to offer, drinking and eating our way through many tabernas and restaurant’s. We also made our way to, not just one, but two La Liga matches and I thought this is where I should focus my pre-amble today.

First up was Rayo Vallecano v Celta Vigo, the Partick Thistle of Madrid against that team John Guidetti now plays for. The day before the game we had to go and pick up some tickets and on arrival were treated to an open training session at the Estadio Vallecas. A funny 3 sided stadium slap bang in the middle of suburban Madrid. My Spanish lessons were of varying use throughout the trop but when it came to purchasing football tickets they were at their most potent. On match day we took the metro round to the stadium and as we walked up the steps you were greeted by an audible buzz, something far different from a game in the UK. It was loud and busy but safe feeling with stalls selling flags, scarves and perhaps most relevant to this website food. For this game I plumped for a bag of Chicharrons, deep fried pork rinds and a bottle of coke. The game itself was entertaining and the atmosphere was amped up by Rayo scoring a couple of early goals. Throughout the game it was near incessant even from the Celta fans just a couple of rows away from us bouncing, as they did, all the way through the game and the banter was good natured even with rival fans so close together.

The facilities were rather basic but for me it exemplified why the atmosphere was so great. There was no messing about here, you took to your seat, you watched the game and had a fiesta we even tried singing along a couple of times! It had got me excited for our trip to the Vicente Calderon the following day.

Game two was god awful. Truly, truly bad. Atletico Madrid known more for their stinginess at the back than their tacking prowess played a Sevilla team with exactly the same game plan. In truth, the most exciting thing to happen was when a Sevilla player getting set off prompting the home crowd to go as wild as if they had scored a goal. Amusement followed as we subsequently watched them go beserk as Sevilla went about wasting time in every way imaginable. It was also a pretty hot day and as we were sat halfway up the nonshaded side of the stadium an unexpected bout of January sunburn befell my body in the afternoon sun. My snack of choice for this game were, Pipas (Sunflower Seeds). I had noticed these all over the place at the Rayo game and ever one for a culinary adventure I took the plunge and proceeded to bite, spit and suck my way through these salty treats. I’m still not sure the risk of choking is worth the taste but as an authentic match day meal I think I nailed it.

I really enjoyed my La Liga adventures and I’ve already got Espanyol v Athletic Bilbao lined up for March whilst in Barcelona, the fans are passionate although incredibly biased and the atmosphere moves along even in the less glamorous of games. That said in Spain the empanadas are not a match day specialty, in fact, they didn’t even exist and as this site is called Meat Filled Pastries let’s return to our meaty home with pie review two from Linlithgow Rose.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose 3-3 Forfar Athletic, Scottish Cup 4th Round

Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.
Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.

Price: At £1.60 this was only 10p more than the scotch pie offering from the same venue, meaning by comparison this was a relative bargain although I would still say the pricing of the scotch pie is a little bit dearer than the equivalents found in the west region of junior football.

Presentation: I should really do a copy and paste job from my last review here as it was identical, in fact, I’m going to: “Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first (now second) pie of 2016 but even as I enter my 4th year of pie some things in the pie game never change and honestly I don’t think it needs to. Does the job.”

THE PIE

Steak Daft!
Steak Daft!

Meatiness: I ate this pie quite a while ago now so my memories of it are somewhat distant, however my expertly crafted notes (which as always I had texted to myself) have helped jog the memory.

This steak pie was different from many others that I had encountered before. Usually they are a mix of chunks and gravy but in this instance the meat was stewed and shredded creating an effect similar to pulled pork except with steak, I was a fan. That said I thought it was a little bland and lacking a smidge of seasoning. The filling was pleasant enough although it was lacking the punch that would truly elevate to a pie of the highest order.

Pastry: The bottom of this pie was rather burnt, enough to give a bitter note as I chomped my way through and I’m almost certain it was down to living to long in the oven. It did mean that you didn’t run the risk of the soggy bottom often caused by a moist pie such as steak but it did ultimately impact on the taste overall. The top, as can be seen, was a little loose meaning it would hit my nose as I took each bite but the puff pastry was golden and crisp. I think without the ‘well-firedness’ this would have been a pretty solid pastry effort from The Rosey Posey.

Overall: I liked the pulled steak texture and the filling was pleasant if perhaps lacking a bit of imagination. The pastry was a bit of a let down and as previously stated burning the bottom did add a bit of unwanted bitterness. Personally I would rather the bottom was a little softer and I had to do a bit of juggling over sturdy and burnt.

Gravy Factor: Well fired Gravy. Get your fish slice right under that bad boy!

I have no idea where my next review is coming from, this winter has been terrible for your favourite pie reviewer but I will come back with something soon I promise.

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 112: The Linlithgow Rose Pie

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This weather is absolutely brutal for trying to write pie reviews as weekend after weekend of lower league and non league football gets decimated by wind, rain and snow. This coupled with my local team visiting some familiar venues mean that I’ve had to resort to rationing the reviews I have stored in the bank. It’s been heavy going. Two weekends ago I watched in horror as my first, second and third choice alternative games all fell foul of the Scottish winter. Now, I love winter football when it gets played. There’s a sadistic pleasure in freezing your giblets off on a January afternoon, your toes going so numb they feel like Lego bricks and your breath doing it’s best Thomas the Tank Engine impression.

I’m not for summer football (it will be the death of the pie for a start) but I am for a winter break, some kind of provision that ensures thousands of fans are not left staring dead-eyed into the distance as their significant other asks if that is the right shade of terracotta for the dining room when all their heart yearns for is to cheer their team forwards to glory. That said I’ve managed to get about a bit and as such I bring to you today’s review from East Superleague heavyweights Linlithgow Rose.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose 3-3 Forfar Athletic, Scottish Cup 4th Round

2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!
2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!

Quick note before I start. What a game this was! The kind of thing you dream of when you turn up to a match as a neutral. Controversial officiating, red cards, penalties, an underdog comeback and a ground rammed with people having good natured banter. I was so glad I went. It could have been a wee bit drier but for me that just added to the magic.

Price: A solid £1.50, about par for the top end of the junior game and a blessed relief from the burger disaster that occurred during my last review from Broadwood.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first pie of 2016 but even as I enter my 4th year of pie some things in the pie game never change and honestly I don’t think it needs to. Does the job.

THE PIE

FINALLY!
FINALLY!

Meatiness: Finally! After what felt like a lifetime a new pie at a football match was sitting in my paw. I would have been lying to myself and everyone who reads this site if I hadn’t made my first review of 2016 a scotch pie and this was a solid effort in the meatiness stakes. There was a strong mutton flavour present in this pie distinctive from lamb however it was perhaps just a little greasy. Not offensively so for this pie guy but enough for a dribble or two to be coming from this pastries meaty core. However as any good cook will tell you, fat means flavour! As long as it’s not too much. That said, despite the grease, the meat held together well and all in all this was a nice ‘welcome back’ to the world of football pastries.

Pastry: The pastry is perhaps where this pie was let down a little. The bottom was, in yer granny’s terms, well fired or, in layman’s terms, a bit burnt and it did add a bitter note to your bite which I’m not overly keen on. The top was interestingly the complete converse to the base. Almost chewy in texture, like the pastry you would find on a perogi or dumpling and when you bit into it some of the pastry you weren’t quite ready for came away too. A little bit crisper on top and a little bit softer on the bottom and this would have been spot on.

Overall: A solid effort. Nicely flavoured meaty centre slightly let down by the bake on the pastry around it.

Gravy Factor: It was my first football pie in a month, it tasted amazing even if it wasn’t the best example I’ve had. Nostalgic Gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from the Rosey Posey as I am forced to take the stack them high approach to my pie visits whilst the weather refuses to play ball. Next time out their steak pie will be under the microscope plus an insight into my trip to Madrid and my La Liga matchday experiences.

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.

Pie 111: The Clyde ‘Not Pie’ Pie: A Call to Arms

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Happy New Year from Meat Filled Pastries! My apologies for a lack of activity recently, a fixture list that saw a string of home games for Pollok along with weather conditions that obliterated almost every game I had lined up to go and see meant that things have been rather quiet on the pie front so far in 2016 and my first offering of the year has not a drop of pastry in sight.

Before the review though let me share with you the outcome of this year’s 2016 Scotch Pie Awards hosted at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on the 13th January. Once again I was honoured to participate in the judging process to find the best pies and pastries from across our fair land, first judging in the hot savoury category and then taking part in the second round to find the World Scotch Pie Champion who this year is found at The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats. A full list of winners can be found at http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/ as well as by following me on Twitter (@MFPTasty). As always I had a blast both on the judging days and attending the awards themselves meeting numerous individuals who make my passion for pie look paltry. I left the ceremeony thinking that there is work to be done to promote pastries at our football grounds and with that in mind I thought I would share with you the 2016 Football Pie Winners, headed by Bruce of Broch’s steak pie offering, available at both Fraserburgh in the Highland League and Fraserburgh United in the North Region Juniors. The full list is below, I’m writing this on the move so apologise it’s only in picture form:

Congratulations!
Congratulations!

Congratulations again to everyone involved. So with that covered off, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie! (Or in this case a burger!)

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Clyde 0-1 Queens Park, Scottish League Two

Disappointment awaits...
Disappointment awaits…

Now usually I’ll go through a series of ratings before summing up my feelings on the quality of pastry I have been provided with but as this is ‘not a pie’ and has some key elements like pastry missing then the following is more of a long winded monologue (for ‘long winded monologue’ read as rant) on the state of non pie based catering at Scotland’s football grounds. I have no idea where this is going to go so I’ll try not to ramble.

I have always been one to build my Saturdays around a game of football, it’s always felt wrong to sit in the pub and watch Soccer Saturday, however since I have started this little venture a new variable has been added; have I reviewed a pie there before? In the case of Clyde I had not and with the Scotch Pie Club Awards ceremony happening just around the corner the following week I smelled the opportunity for a tie in.

Imagine my disappointment then as I walked into the main stand to find the shutters down and a steward ‘helpfully’ pointing me towards the corner of the stadium in the direction of a burger van. This isn’t the first time this is happened this season and my apologies to Clyde that they are getting the ones that have unleashed my ire but going to a ground and being able to get food, but not a pie, makes me sad and a little bit angry.

Now before people start getting defensive I understand a couple of variables may have been in play in this situation:

  • It was January 2nd. A Scottish Bank Holiday. A day where the whole of Scotland sit in their pants and watch a Wallace and Gromit marathon whilst eating the remaining left over turkey and steak pie.
  • Maybe the butcher wasn’t able to provide pies that day.
  • As it is such a day of rest maybe wee Betty who runs the pie counter didn’t fancy hauling herself down to Cumbernauld to feed a bunch of folk for a fiver.

You know what? If any of the above are true then fair enough, everyone deserves a holiday. Maybe a bit of better planning would help in the future and I can almost, ALMOST accept the contingency of a burger van coming into play if the quality of the fare offered in the place of pastry is of an equivalent or higher standard. Sadly though, in this instance, and in many others, you are presented with a crunchy frozen burger heated up on a griddle and topped with a slice of limp processed cheese and some barely warmed through onions. Don’t believe me look at below:

Not a Pie.
Not a Pie.

Scotland, renowned for nurturing some of the best produce in the world, and this is what you get presented with. Then after discovering the one place where you always expect to ‘take a pie’ doesn’t provide one you are stung with the fact you have to pay more (£3!!) for the privilege to eat something that you wouldn’t look twice at it in the frozen meats section of your local supermarket.

I understand some people don’t like pies, these people are beyond help but understandably football clubs, in a bid to boost revenue streams, often provide alternatives. I don’t particularly like it but I don’t object to it. Burgers, fine. Hot Dogs, OK. Chilli, stovies, curry all easy to prepare in large quantities and warming to the soul on a cold day, I’d rather they weren’t there but they serve a purpose. All of them, all of them bar one: Chips. Sh*t chips. Really sh*t chips. Think about it, have you ever went to a game and walked out the ground thinking, ‘my, those chips were right braw!’. Football chips are an abomination and fall into one of two categories:

  1. Canteen style mass-produced tatties, usually found in larger stadiums. Available already sitting lukewarm under the heater for your tasting pleasure accompanied by sachet’s of sauce that are impossible to open because the smallest amount of grease on your fingers turn the small tear you need to pick at to get into the condiment of your choosing into some kind of water torture.
  2. Chips at smaller grounds where invariably a man stressfully fills the deep fat fryer he’s brought in from home with enough chips to serve one person at a time as an ever increasing queue populates itself with frustrated individuals unable to make their purchases until the 17 minutes required to cook these frozen beauties to just past raw perfection.

Chips! Do one.

I’ll stop here. You know my stance by now, I want pies, have your other things but I want pies. I want to protect the sanctity of a product that is so special to Scotland and ensure that at football matches in 2055 people are still letting the gravy smatter their face and the grease run down their elbow. With that in mind, and to support Scotland’s butchers and bakers I will be compiling the first ever (I think!) Scottish Football Pie Database. Telling you what pies you can get where and who can provide them. I want football clubs across the country to really champion there pies and the people who provide them. This year there were 53 pies entered in the Football Pie category, sounds grand doesn’t it, and yet there is:

  • 42 SPFL clubs
  • 18 Highland League clubs
  • 15 Lowland League clubs
  • 17 East of Scotland League clubs
  • 14 South of Scotland League clubs
  • 165 Junior clubs

Plus a plethora of amateur clubs I haven’t even mentioned, all of a sudden 53 out of 271 doesn’t sound that impressive. For the 2017 Scotch Pie Awards let’s get more involved!

Right that’s me. I’m off my soapbox and next time out I will be back with the first of two proper pie reviews from Linlithgow Rose 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.