Luxury Pies

Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the first pie review of the new year. 2019 will see me continue to try to find the best match day pastries around. One of the questions I often get asked is who makes the best football pies. I’ve often shied away from it as I’m not sure what the right answer has been, but with a new year comes new ideas and for the very first time I present to you the 2018 Meat Filled Pastries Awards.

I’ve split this into 3 categories – Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie, Best Non-Pie Pastry. I should note that at this point that this is for only new pies consumed in 2018, to include pies tasted more than a year ago just doesn’t feel right. So here we go:

Best Scotch Pie 2018 – Pie 131: The Bathgate Thistle Pie

A former World Scotch Pie Champion this offering had all the key components a good scotch pie should have all just fine tuned and turned up a little. Honourable mention to Pie 153: The Partick Thistle Pie for keeping the senior flag flying.

Best Luxury Pie 2018 – Pie 151: The Cumnock Steak & Haggis Pie

A surprise winner here. Not because the combination of steak and haggis shouldn’t have been delicious, it definitely can be, and it was but because I turned up at Townhead Park with zero expectation of having a new pie to review. To be then greeted with this beauty was truly something wonderful. Honourable mention also goes to Pie 142: The Troon Steak Pie, a pie that could feed a million people quite easily such was its generosity in size and flavour.

Best Non-Pie Pastry 2018 – Pie 130: The Girvan Sausage Roll

This was a tough one to call as it easily could have also gone to Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie but this sausage roll just edges it with its size and neatness in construction tipping the balance in its favour. The smear of mustard inside the pastry an inspired addition.

A strong showing for the Scottish Juniors here. I had a slight concern that I was viewing these with a non-league bias but when I read back through the reviews the words really did speak for themselves. I’m writing this on the 1st January 2019 and so I thought it would be remiss of me not to welcome in the new year with a new steak pie review, this time from the Lowland League as I spent the Friday night between Christmas and New Year at the Falkirk Stadium as East Stirlingshire took on University of Stirling.

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

Where: The Falkirk Stadium, East Stirlingshire 2-2 University of Stirling, Lowland League

 

Price: At £2.40 it feels like this pastry pricing was a victim of its surroundings being as it was right at the very top end of the non-league pastry pricing structure whilst also being higher than many SPFL pastries.

Presentation: Presented in a tin foil case which sat on top of a super large double layered white napkin which helped to protect your hand from the oven fresh pie.

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Meatiness: There was a fairly decent filling held within this pastry. The gravy was well-flavoured and had a nice consistency to it that when you took a bite it popped up through the hole in the pastry. A little dark brown chimney of savouriness to help you power through a cold December evening. There perhaps could have been a bit more meat distributed throughout, and perhaps what was there could have been distributed a little more evenly but it was tasty enough nevertheless.

Pastry: One of the things I often reference when reviewing a pie that has been presented inside a tin foil case is that it’s often a challenge to both keep the pastry in tact and also ensure it is properly baked. One of the method’s of stopping this sticky situation is to line the bottom of the tin with a floury layer. This was what was applied here and whilst it meant the pastry didn’t stick the layer was a little too thick giving a slight raw flour taste to the bite and although it didn’t stick it was perhaps a little soft too although it did stay entirely intact which has to be commended.

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Brown Sauce: It’s a new year but the same rules apply. A luxury pie should provide you all the saucey substances you ever need.

Overall: A decent effort. Everything tasted fine but I would have liked to have seen a little more meat in the filling and a little more bake on the base.

Gravy Factor: Decent gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from East Stirlingshire, with review two focusing a bit more on the match day experience at the Falkirk Stadium as well as on another meat filled marvel.

However until then, go forth into 2019 and eat some pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pie 155: The Beith Steak Pie

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Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten!

Have we all got that festive feeling? I know that you will have lathered your turkey in gravy, consumed a round dozen pig in blankets and developed a lactose intolerance after downing a full cattle’s worth of cheese but I think we all still have room to squeeze in a little meaty treat. Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries from the world of Scottish Football. This week we head to Ayrshire and to Bellsdale Park, the home of Beith Juniors, for a steak pie or two.

Bellsdale Park, as well as being renowned for its pretty strong pastry game, is even more famous for its very pronounced slope. Whilst Hibernian were required to flatten their Easter Road pitch back in the early 2000’s, the Bellsdale slope continues to endure. Often the topic of many a terrace conversation you first become aware of the park’s downhill tendencies as you make the approach to the ground with it being near impossible to leave the centre of town without gaining some downwards moment. This suspicion becomes a realisation as you enter and make your way through the turnstile, the two covered enclosures on the far side appearing to move further and further away from pitch level as the grass sweeps down towards the far corner.

I’ve been to Bellsdale at least a dozen times or so over my football watching career and I still find myself amazed that somebody hasn’t said they need to fix it, especially given their recent forays into the “Big Scottish” but I like it. It has character. There is no doubt some sporting advantage to playing down the slope in the second half during a mid-winter battle in the pouring rain whilst the opposition trudge upwards in the opposite direction – a mild exaggeration of course – but whilst the commerciality of new build all weather parks has its merits grounds such as Bellsdale Park need to continue to thrive to ensure those points of differentiation remain on the terraces across the country.

You know what else needs to continue to thrive? Tasty pastry treats. But was the steak pie from the home of The Mighty worthy of the side’s nickname?

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

Where: Bellsdale Park, Beith Juniors 1-3 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £2 this was towards the top end of the junior football pie pricing spectrum but within the same range as other luxury offerings across the grade. The same price as their previously reviewed Chicken & Haggis Pie (see picture above) which still remains one of the tastiest match day treats around.

Presentation: In the list of things I bang on about the lack of proper advertising by butchers and bakers that they provide the goods is right up there, so imagine my delight that Irvine’s Bakery continue to supply Bellsdale Park with large cream coloured napkins with their name emblazoned across it. The pie itself was contained within a tin foil case which, as we all know by now, is not uncommon when presented with a steak filled pastry.

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Meatiness: This pie was awash with gravy, savoury in flavour and from a consistency perspective near spot on, allowing me to squeeze the top and bottom to show a little ooze without a single drop being spilled to the gravel below. Especially impressive considering the deep fill that had been executed by the baker during construction. The meat was tender and had a nice variation of small and large chunks, tearing away in strands like a good steak bite should. For some it might feel a little over seasoned, but for me, once married up with its pastry surrounds it made for a tasty steaky mouthful.

Pastry: Anyone who has read some of my reviews from the senior game in Scotland will know that the tin foil case is often the scourge of a good steak pie so I was naturally nervous as I slipped my fingers around the edges and went to pick my pastry up. This nervousness was almost immediately alleviated though as the pastry popped clean out, the base golden, the sides intact and the top still glistening, although perhaps a little ragged in its placement. A small note on what was otherwise a very solidly constructed pie.

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Brown Sauce: Would have been utterly superfluous.

Overall: Unctuous gravy, well cooked and seasoned meat with a non-stick pastry surround. Lovely stuff.

Gravy Factor: Gies a Ladle.

Beith really is the place to be if you want some of the finest football pies around, it is genuinely one of the highlights of my fixture calendar. I’m hoping to squeeze another pie based jaunt in before year end but whether the review makes it before the dawning of 2019 we’ll have to wait to see, so for now I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy and prosperous new year.

Oh, 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. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “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 154: The St. Mirren Steak & Gravy Pie

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries. As I have often explained before I started Meat Filled Pastries as a result of a bet and a desire to not let any kind of flair for the written word leave me forever. I think I’ve made peace that this isn’t destined to be my “big idea” as I continue to try and plot an escape route from my life as Office Monkey #324 but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for it. Don’t get me wrong if it wasn’t for being an office monkey then some of the things I have seen and done over the last couple of years wouldn’t have been possible (or more pertinently financed) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want more from my life, to not still be sitting in that same desk doing the same thing in another five years time. I want to make a difference, leave a mark and not being lying on my death bed hopefully many, many years from now not wondering, what if? I’m just not entirely sure how.

My latest attempt at existential salvation comes in the form of The Scrancast. A new podcast looking at the best food and drinks creators in Glasgow, not necessarily focusing on the things they produce but the stories behind them and their journey’s until this point. Episode 1: Welcome to The Scrancast is now out on Soundcloud and you can follow it’s journey here. It’s currently pending iTunes approval and there’s a website in the works along with a whole host of other ideas relating to it so why not give it a follow from the links menu on the left hand side, there will almost certainly be some pie based content in there at one point in the future.

Speaking of the links menu, I’ve also added in a couple of new links to people I want to give a bit of a bump too. Firstly to Roddy Cons and his site “The Team on Tour” who I’m currently living vicariously through as he makes his way around the lower leagues of Spanish football, particularly in Madrid, something that I only ever really scratched the surface of. Secondly a shout out to Steven at Football Stadium Prints who has this week given up his job to pursue a career in stadium based artistry, he deserves all the support in the world for following a dream so why not take a look at that too. It’s good gear.

You know who else deserves our support? The Scotland Women’s national team as they head to their first ever Women’s World Cup Finals in France next summer. Preperations for the tournament are now in full swing, and the visit of the United States to Scotland for a glamour friendly is just another sign that the women’s game in Scotland is on the rise. So with that in mind I headed to Paisley to see how our girls would get on agaisnt the best in the world and, of course, scran a pie.

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

Where: St. Mirren Park, Scotland 0-1 USA, Women’s Friendly International

Price: Having experienced some truly awful pies down Hampden way over the not distant past I was hoping that a change of venue when it came to supporting my national side would see an increase in pastry quality. Having parted with a fairly substantial £2.70 for my pastry I went to take my first bite with some trepidation, knowing that high prices and all seater stadiums have not been a common recipe for success so far.

Presentation: As is common practice with a steak based pie this was presented within a silver tin foil case although the white napkin was much larger than you would expect at a stadia of this nature.

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Meatiness: Billing itself as a steak and gravy pie meant that the pressure was on to ensure that the gravy was forthcoming. The good news was that it was, however it perhaps lacked the punch of flavour that a £2.70 pie should really possess. The meat was good though. A varied size of chunks that kept your mouth interested as you made your way through with the texture suitably tender and forgiving to the bite. Whilst it might not necessarily be a Hall of Famer in the making this was a marked improvement on some of the mass catered pies of the past.

Pastry: Not masses to say here. It was a bit bashed about and the pastry, as is nearly always almost the way when a silver casing is present, was soft on the bottom but the sides held well and there was a nice golden tinge to the top. There was a little bit of boil out but I actually quite enjoy a bit of that.

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Brown Sauce: Wee brown sachets of a cash and carry owners dreams were available but of course this was a steak and gravy pie and so to do anything other than go bareback on this luxury pastry would be to go agaisnt everything these pages have stood for over the last five plus years.

Overall: You know what? A fairly good steak and gravy pie. It was perhaps lacking a little bit of punch but at least it didn’t disintegrate in your hands as soon as you pick up like many a match day pie does at the top end of the Scottish game.

Gravy Factor: Contextually good gravy.

A decent effort from The Saints, and a decent showing from Shelly Kerr and her side against the best the women’s game has to offer. As for the next review, who knows. It’s got to that tricky time of the year where the midweek card shrinks and the weather starts to play havoc too. Have no fear though, Meat Filled Pastries will be back.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie (and why not listen to The Scrancast whilst you’re doing it too).

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “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 151: The Cumnock “Steak & Haggis” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where 150 pies were clearly never going to be enough.

As the years have ticked by I’ve had to keep track of those venues where I’ve had a pie before. When pulling together the infographic for Pie 150 I noticed I had somehow managed to do not one but two reviews from Rossvale. A stat made even more befuddlingly when you consider that neither had came from their current home at Huntershill  and that I had also managed to squeeze in a bridie review from the same club. At least with the bridie it could stand alone as part of the extended Meat Filled Pastries family. With that in mind I arrived at Cumnock knowing that I had previously reviewed both the scotch and onion pies fairly early in my journey and so I anticipated my culinary peak from Townhead Park to be the drinking of the rarely found 60/- from the Ayrshire side’s rather good social club.

My assumption however was wrong because as I approached the pie stall to get involved with some “Nock Nosh” I was greeted by the geuninely excited chatter from my fellow match day munchers that there were two new types of pies to sample. In the least surprising revelation of this post one of these new breeds managed to fall lovingly into my palm and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock 1-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round Replay

Price: At £2 this was at the top end of the junior pricing spectrum but given that I was on a promise of both steak and haggis I was more than willing to let this pastry whisper sweet nothings on my taste buds before deciding if I was getting value for money.

Presentation: Despite its steaky nature this pie went old school, presented as it was on a single medium-sized (maybe evem large) white napkin. As consumption progressed this proved more than plenty.

Meatiness: On entry to this pie I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Should there be lots of gravy? Will this marriage of haggis and steak mingle into a meaty morsel that will make my mouth moist with its magic?

I’m happy to report that the filling of this pie was indeed a belter. At first my taste buds were hit with a smooth but spicy punch of haggis, a flavour that is instantly recognisable to the initiated but almost indescribable to those yet to experience the joy of an offal stuffed lamb’s stomach. Immediately I deduced that there was no gravy to be found but that was not an issue as the moistness provided by all those bits that North America continue to hide from were ample and slowly gave way to large chunks of well cooked and tender steak. This filling was getting “the nod”. That moment when your head, mind and taste buds come together in unison to proclaim that the symphony of flavours that you are experiencing are in fact very, very good.

Pastry: The pastry on this pie was also very near the top end. The sides and base were well cooked and held firm against the moist filling although they were perhaps a little peely wally in colour. There was some boil out, and whilst that is sniffed at by some, I always feel it adds some character to a pastry. A little imperfection to help make it feel special. The colour shone as you gazed at this  pie from above, the top formed as it was with a lovely golden disc of puff pastry that broke off into buttery flakes whilst the underside merged with the filling below. This pie was pulling out all the stops.

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Brown Sauce: I’m almost compelled to say that brown sauce may have ruined this pie, which is a very bold statement indeed.

Overall: Steak + Haggis + Good Pastry = Happy Pie Punter.

Gravy Factor: No Gravy. Just good, good times.

This was a wonderful pastry surprise to come across on a dreich Saturday afternoon and it’s equally wonderful to see lower league football clubs and their providers identify the opportunity to expand their range. I will maintain until my dying days that a “killer” pie will do as much good for a side as a decent cup run or title challenge ever will especially when performance on the pitch is infinitely harder to control.

Next up I continue my quest to champion the women’s game as I attend the Scottish Women’s Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell where perhaps surprisingly I embark on my first review from Firhill, home of hipster’s choice Partick Thistle.

However 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 and  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 149: The Stirling Albion “Steak” Pie

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Welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we induct the 149th baked good into these hallowed pastry halls. This week’s offering comes from Stirling Albion but instead of seeing the Binos do battle I was present for semi-final one of a SSE Scottish Women’s Cup semi-final double-header. I had got out my bed fairly early for a Sunday to take in Glasgow City and Hibernian as the two dominant forces in Scottish women’s football went head to head at noon before Motherwell and The Spartans kicked off four hours later for a place in the final to be played on Sunday 4th November at Firhill. A two game semi-final double header at the same venue on the same day. Can’t think where I’ve heard that before…

I’ve talked at length about what I think needs to be done to really capitalise on the success of Shelley Kerr’s World Cup bound national side and the need to move the domestic game in Scotland forward. If you haven’t read those then conveniently there is a link right here where I gave my opinion a couple of months ago. At this point though I want to commend some of what I saw at Forthbank Stadium that certainly seem to suggest things are moving in the right direction, especially after the introduction of the new entry criteria for the 2019 season.

Firstly, whilst the announcement that the 4 semi-finalists in the Betfred Cup would all play on the same day had people proclaiming the end of days, the idea of a Semi Final Super Sunday works in a Scottish women’s football context and although the announced attendance of 364 sounds meagre it is considerably higher than your average SWPL match day turnout. They had also struck a deal with the BBC similar to the one currently being exercised for the early rounds of the FA Cup to stream both games live on the BBC Sport website accompanied by some proper english speaking commentary. There were team sheets available for each game and whilst it was good that these were free there was perhaps a missed opportunity for a double edition programme to be sold. The historic problem of kick off times clashing with big games on the men’s side did rear its head again though as the crowd appeared noticeably smaller as I watched game two in my flat prior to Scotlands’ 1-3 defeat to Portugal “B”. A game that kicked off only an hour after Motherwell and Spartans did so making it impossible to properly engage in both.

The biggest thing though, and the one that is most relevant to this site, is that there was some hot food to be had and national team aside this feels like a bit of a first. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Forthbank Stadium, Glasgow City 1-2 Hibernian Ladies, SSE Scottish Women’s Cup Semi Final

Price: At £2.50 this was perhaps a bit pricier than I was expecting given the Scottish League Two surroundings. The price becoming a greater bone of contention as I started my consumption.

Presentation: Presented in a tin foil case, the napkins were a self-service job from the table beside the counter. Plenty of large white napkins to choose from so you could go wild in a totally environmentally friendly way.

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Meatiness: Ooft, this was dry, which was a little upsetting. There was some large chunks of steak present but these meaty morsels were quite tough which – coupled with the lack of gravy – didn’t make for the most joyous of bites and an overuse of your jaw muscles. The seasoning wasn’t much cop either and it’s fair to say that I was a little disappointed when I looked at the empty napkin and foil tin that sat in my hand. I know this is a luxury pie but I wish I had whacked some brown sauce on it.

Pastry: The pastry was a bit weird. Whist the scotch pie shell with puff pastry lid has been seen before the puff had seemed to forget to do its growing thing and the shell had a strange grey-brown-yellow sheen to it. Structurally it was sound but again it wasn’t much of a taste sensation.

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Overall: This wasn’t a classic. The meat was a little tough and the paucity of gravy meant that it was all just a little dry, especially when paired with the slightly odd pastry combination surrounding it. I’m not going to lie, part of me thought that these were left over from a Saturday somewhere, and that’s not a great sign.

Gravy Factor: Just a mirage of gravy in this pastry desert.

Well with us one pastry away from 150 there is some pressure to be had on our next hosts after this underwhelming effort. Who that host will be I genuinely don’t know but what I can assure you of is that there will be a pie celebration to be had and maybe I’ll knock something up a little bit special too.

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 and  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 147: The Rangers “Chicken & Chorizo” Pie

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Hello it’s not only time for another pie review but it’s also time for another pie of the month from the house that staunch built, Ibrox Stadium. When I turned up at Ibrox on Armed Forces Day I had told myself that no pies would be passing my lips as I had been well and truly burned out by not only the price but also the quality of pastries in Glasgow’s big three grounds over the years.

This came to a head at Hampden the other week. I had first reviewed the Hampden Steak Pie a long time ago now. In fact it was one of the very first pies I reviewed and it seemed to do OK under scrutiny however since then I have been subjected to a number of overpriced travesties with a particular shout out to the Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie – still possibly the worst pie to ever pass my lips. My last Steak Pie at Hampden though was quite frankly taking the piss.

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At £2.90 this…this thing(!) masquerading as food has almost certainly forever left me scarred in regards to the catering efforts at the current – and now future home – of Scottish football. The pastry was welded to the case so hard that I could turn it upside down without fear of it falling out. The lid came clean off and the filling was so sparse and dry I can only assume that when this was made that is was not so much as baked but chewed up and spat out into it’s pastry shell. It was an absolute liberty, and I hope when that whatever the renovated Hampden ends up looking like that a new catering contract with somebody who actually gives a f*ck about what they’re producing is dished out.

It made me proper angry and with it’s memory still scratched across my taste buds I turned up at Ibrox knowing that it was highly unlikely that I would be purchasing a pie, and I love pies! But then it happened. I fell into their trap. A new Pie of the Month was there to be had and so with some reluctance I cleaned out my savings and purchased, what was a promising sounding, Chicken & Chorizo Pie. Did I make the right decision though?

Without much further ado let’s rate some pie.

Where: Ibrox Stadium, Rangers 5-1 St. Johnstone, Scottish Premiership

Price: It was £3.50. I’ve already ranted about the price of pies at the top table of Scottish football in this post and many times before so I think you know my feelings on this by now.

Presentation: Having had August’s pie of the month – The Rangers Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie – I was struck with how this month’s edition looked exactly the same presented as it was in a round aluminium tin and on a fairly large white napkin. Before I attempted a first bite things were actually looking pretty good.

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Meatiness: There’s no hiding it, the filling of this pie looked like spew. It was that off white colour that years of television vomits has told us a right good whitey should be. There were some small chunks of chicken accompanied by smaller studs of chorizo sitting in a very thick paste-come-sauce. To be fair it actually smelled pretty good but given its appearance as the lid of the pie came clean off when I ventured to take my first bite (more on that shortly) I found myself debating whether or not I really wanted to dive in. A feeling that I sensed was being felt by the person sitting diagonally behind me as I tried to figure out what was going on inside this pastry.

Continuing with the flavours and I would challenge anyone to add chorizo to something and not manage to draw some kind of flavour out of the final culinary masterpiece. In this instance it was the saving grace as at one point I genuinely had to check that the chunks of white in the pie were indeed chicken due to the paucity of flavour they provided. It was also a little heavy handed on the salt meaning that somehow the final result was a filling that tasted of everything and nothing all at the same time.

 

Pastry: An anaemic looking disaster. The base so raw that it not only stuck to the bottom of the tin but that it could also be rolled up into wee balls between your thumb and index finger. Once mashed in with the paste masquerading as gravy it was not good. Whilst under baked pastry is a common fault the way in which the lid of my pastry came clean off was a novelty I hadn’t yet experienced. I’m not talking a little loose either, I’m talking about the fact the two parts were never stuck together in the first place. Whilst this would go down like a lead balloon in pie judging circles I was strangely grateful as it meant I had a full disc of pastry to try and spoon the filling out with. A relief given it was impossible to lift the thing from it’s shiny shell.

Brown Sauce: I think brown sauce would’ve actually made this pie even weirder.

Overall: A marketing masterstroke for a mug pie punter like me – yes. A tasty pie – afraid not.

Gravy Factor: Sigh.

I genuinely want to know what kind of checks gets done by these large scale event caterers on the day of the match because if they check some of the riots that I’ve mentioned in this post and say that they are good then clearly I’m in the wrong business.

Anyway I have another pie review lined up for next time from Ayrshire junior side Kilwinning Rangers and their eponymous “Buffs Pie”. Until then 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 and  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 144: The Livingston “Steak” Pie

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Another day, another pie. Hello to any new readers, and welcome back to those who have found themselves drawn in by these tales of pie.

Supporting Livingston must be hard, a thought that entered my head as I waited for kick off at the Tony Macaroni Arena, On the face of things they have done and gone through every possible thing that your traditional football fan thinks is wrong with the modern game. Founded after the demise of Meadowbank Thistle they essentially franchised themselves out to West Lothian. Following some fairly quick success they splurged out on a raft of players they couldn’t afford in the pursuit of the SPL and cup success, both of which they achieved, administration as a result of their unmanageable spending soon followed and they tumbled down the divisions before recovering and then going into administration once again. Their ground has one of the most ridiculous names in Scotland in the shape of the Tony Macaroni Arena thanks to the money that sponsorship brings and this season they have installed a plastic pitch that produces plumes of black rubber from it any time the ball has the audacity to touch it. They sacked their manager after only 7 weeks of the season and one of their current high-profile employees has had a sizeable stint in jail for a drugs conviction. The term banter years has never been more in vogue but down Almondvale way they have turned bantering into just another day in their 23 year existence.

As I, and the 459 others in attendance, watched their Colts side beat Forfar Athletic to book a trip to Sligo in the next round of the Irn Bru Cup I couldn’t help but have respect for those associated with the black and gold around me. Despite it all they still come, you might not agree with some of the things that have happened at Livingston over the last couple of decades, but if your club had gone through everything that the Lions had are you telling me you wouldn’t still be sitting there, scarf on, pie in hand and with hope in your heart that this season, this season could be the one?

But what of that pie in their hand, is it any good? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: The Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Colts 0-0 Forfar Athletic, Irn Bru Cup, First Round

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Price: I forgot my surroundings for a second as I looked on with shock at the £2.50 price tag but then I remembered that the games on show at the T Mac are currently of a Scottish Premiership nature and so while the price was high the context softened the blow  little. This was another ground where the pies had the same price across the board, which to be honest, removed scotch pie as an eating option fairly quickly for me.

Presentation: This pie was passed over the counter inside a brown paper bag – which was different. On opening the bag however there was a small white napkin present which this steak pie – without a tin foil case – sat.

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Meatiness: This was a very well filled pie with hardly a squeak of space to be seen after completing the first bite. The meat content was generous with a decent texture and the gravy was of the consistency a good steak pie gravy should be. Whilst the meat had a good flavour to it I felt it was a couple of shakes of salt shy of being a true top pie contender.

Pastry: Steak pie cases are usually found to be made from puff pastry or a combination of hot water sides with a puff pastry top. This was however a steak pie in a scotch pie surround. The top edge was a little ragged, no doubt in part due to the brown paper bag delivery method but was fairly sturdy everywhere else, particularly impressive considering the increased moisture that a steak filling brings to the pastry party. The texture was a little bit biscuity which did mean the odd shard was prone to break away from the body of the pie but all in all it was a solid job.

Brown Sauce: Luxury Pie. Condiment free since 2013.

Overall: Generous filling in a conventional scotch pie case, perhaps a little under on the seasoning but a tasty treat nonetheless.

Gravy Factor: Good Gravy!

A couple of things before I wrap up this review. Firstly a nod to Matthew’s Butchers who Livingston kindly advertised as providers of their pastries at the pie stall. This is something that I have banged on about before but it always feels like butchers and bakers don’t do enough to promote their matchday offerings. A great pie never goes unnoticed on the terraces so the chance to advertise to a captive audience should never be underestimated.

The second is to make you aware that the latest issue (Issue 21) of The Football Pink is now available to pre-order and it features an article by me around the great junior uprising from this east this summer, so if you fancy a copy you for only £3 then you can pre-order at the link here. Once they’re gone they’re gone!

That’s all from me for now though 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 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.