That’s right Bacon Mac & Cheese! I was excited, but more on that later. Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries and another instalment in this quest to search out the tastiest match day treats around. Over time I have learned to balance the consumption of pies – which aren’t actually that bad for you in moderation – with regular exercise to ensure the boy who eats pies doesn’t turn into one. I thought I was doing alright until a small child in the supermarket last week turned around to his mum, pointed at me and shouted, “Look Mummy, a fat man!”. Cheers kid…
In all seriousness though over the last couple of years I’ve ran some proper distances, completed a Kiltwalk, climbed a thing or two and generally tried to make sure that I live a little bit healthier. Luckily I have some pals who were that way inclined already which helped so when my mate suggested helping somebody out who was doing the same thing – with the added incentive of helping them to raise money for a good cause – I was more than up for joining in.
I’ll let Tony’s story speak for itself (click here) but at 62 he has set himself the target of Walking the West Highland Way whilst also climbing an Everest worth’s of munros as he goes all in aid of the Glasgow Children’s Hospital. The thing is he needs help, which is where me and my mates have come in and so next week we’ll be climbing Schiehallion along with Tony as he continues his preparations. It’s never easy to set yourself a goal like that, especially when you decide to do it on your own, so if you think you can help Tony out with either a donation or by giving him somebody to walk with then why not give him a shout. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
You know what else I’m sure Tony would appreciate at the end of a climb? A pie. But would he fancy this Bacon Mac & Cheese offering from Ibrox? Well let’s find out?
Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Ibrox, Rangers 2-0 St. Mirren, Scottish Premiership
Price: At £3.50 this was the most expensive pie on the menu, and to date, the most expensive match day pie I have ever eaten in Scotland. This was part of their “Pie of the Month” range where each month (unsurprisingly) a new and exotic pastry gets added to the menu. It’s an utter gimmick, and why it justified the price hike mystified me but it was a pie I hadn’t had before and so of course I dug deep and paid for this pastry.
Presentation: This pie was presented on a large white napkin and the pastry itself was contained in a fairly large circular tin foil case that’s diameter narrowed a little towards the bottom.
Meatiness: Now anybody who has read a Macaroni Pie review before will know that meatiness is usually replaced by the far more convoluted CheesyPastainess but given that this was a BACON Mac & Cheese Pie I’m comfortable that normal rules should apply. What I was not comfortable with though was how bereft of bacon this pastry was. Yes there was the odd, and I mean odd, fleck of pinky-brown in amongst the cheese sauce but if you’re charging me £3.50 for a motherporkin’ pie you better have a higher quantity of bacon than what was on offer here. The meat that was there did provide a subtle smoky taste to proceedings and the macaroni cheese itself was fairly decent boosted by the rather unattractive looking layer of not quite fully melted cheese on top but to call this a BACON Mac & Cheese Pie and have such of a paucity of swine within is near criminal. See picture below.
Pastry: Along with the part melted cheesy top the pastry also made for a fairly unappetising sight. It was near white in colour and didn’t wrap itself snugly round the filling like a good case should but to its credit it was just about cooked enough to support the filling even if it’s contribution to the overall taste of this pie was negligible.
Brown Sauce: No brown sauce here as technically this is a luxury pie but after a couple of bites to get a pure taste from it I added a squirt of tomato ketchup for an added spike of flavour.
Overall: I’ve gone in hard on this because it was three blinking fifty but if it was the price of a normal macaroni pie without the audacity to call it a Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie then it would be just about passable, not good, passable.
Gravy Factor: Not Bacon Gravy. Bacon Scented Gravy.
The search for a big ground pie that justifies it’s price tag in Scotland continues. I haven’t got anything in plan as I enter the sticky part of the season where the mid-week fixtures start to dry up and so we may be in for a spell of pie differentiation but what that actually looks like we’ll have to wait and see.
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 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.
Welcome back to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries where we’re always on the hunt for some meaty thrills whilst holding back on the spills because a spilled pie leads to a sad guy.
Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks we have seen the dawning of a new year and with it the thoughts of new hopes and expectations that it will bring. I’m not one for the phrase “New Year, New Me” philosophy that blights social media for those first few days of January but I do see it as an opportunity to set some goals and try new things.
It’s also the time of year where people declare their body a temple and health boards and charities across the country champion well-meaning campaigns such as “Dry January” and the awfully named “Veganuary”. Now this may perhaps come as a surprise to some but I am quite happy to eat a meal without meat, in fact when you consume the volume of Meat Filled Pastries that I do it is somewhat of a treat. However with that being said I cannot get on board with replacements such as “Facon” and “Tofurky”. I’ve got in to many a debate about this with non-meat eating friends before but for me if you don’t want to eat meat why are you then replacing it with things that look and (supposedly) taste like the things they don’t have any interest in eating? It’s an endless riddle to me. Most vegetarians are sound and rational people. Most vegans however, are in my experience (bar the odd exception), raving lunatics who must burn all of the 150 calories they consume a day telling the world that if you eat meat you deserve to burn in the depths of hell for having the audacity to like the occasional chicken nugget. It’s not my fault you’ve chosen a life of cauliflower “steaks”. I accept that as your life decision so don’t come preaching, and I mean preaching, to me because I don’t agree. All of which, kind of ironically, brings us to today’s pie review; The Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie, a veggie (but not vegan) friendly option at the much debated home of Scottish football Hampden Park.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park 2-2 Albion Rovers, Scottish League One
Price: A whooping £2.70. For a pie with zero meat in it. Now I’m making an assumption here but I’m guessing that pie prices for Queen’s Park games are dictated by someone other than the club as history has shown that a pie at a Scotland game will cost you exactly the same for a (supposedly) much higher level of football. I’m not even going to begin to claim to the understand the economics behind Queen’s Park playing at Hampden, and for what it’s worth I think they should continue to do so, but £2.70 for a pie definitely needs looking at when compared with their League One peers.
Presentation: The tin foil case of potential doom accompanied by a large white napkin for mopping up at this point the unknown treasures within.
Meatiness Cheesy-Onionyness: Sigh. This was fairly rubbish. Always a disappointment in the pie game. Inside this pie was a mushy yellow and white paste that I presume was meant to be rich and cheesy with a strong onion linger in the background oozing as you pull away each bite and where you try to stop a small string of cheese getting stuck in your beard. Positively dreamy.
What actually happened was the appearance of a bland blob that tasted more of uncooked roux and a hint of cheese tainted with a pepper kick so offensively strong that the acrid burn stabbing at the back of my throat resulted me going and having to get a second beverage. On review fairly rubbish seems far too genteel. This was looking to be a bit of a disaster and then there was the pastry…
Pastry: I have often talked about the pit falls of the tin foil case. A Sophie’s Choice of a decision for butchers and bakers between the appearance of uniformity and the risk of the pie sticking to the bottom of the case. It’s a risk that often backfires and in this instance the result was no different as half my pie stayed glued to the bottom as I lifted it to take my first bite. The pastry on the top edges was golden and crisp but at the base was as near to raw as I think I’ve ever had at a football game. So raw infact, that I could actually leave a thumbprint in the bottom with the mixture of filling and pastry creating a texture that I’m sure could be used as a Play-doh substitute at a nursery. I can’t think of the last time I thought, “I might not even finish this” but it was really that poor. I am however a trooper, and so I powered through like any good pie muncher should.
Brown Sauce: Regular readers will know that a luxury pie (i.e. a non-Scotch Pie) does not get dotted with some of the brown stuff but given how consumption had gone to this point I thought I’d grab a sachet to try and save it. Sadly, even this most wondrous of condiments couldn’t prevent me from experiencing culinary doom.
Overall: This was not very good. The filling was bland but yet somehow offensive and the pastry was near raw and stuck to the case. If you go to a Queen’s Park game I’d avoid this and stick to your traditional Scotch or Steak. If you’re feeling fancy wire into a Chicken Curry but if you’re a vegetarian I’d just settle for a Mars Bar.
Gravy Factor: Literally better off eating a spoonful of unwatered Bisto.
Well that was disappointing. It’s often said it’s easier to criticise than praise but for me the purpose of this site is to champion the best pies around the grounds and beyond and so when I’m met with something bad it’s a chore to break it down. That said, if I’m not honest and go about proclaiming every pie as the greatest I’ve ever had then I lose all credapie-ility.
Next up is a first review from Clydebank, something I couldn’t quite believe when checking the archives before the game so hopeful we see a return to pie glory. 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.