Non League Pies

Pie 196: The Caledonian Braves Pie

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Bonjour et bienvenue aux pâtisseries farcies à la viande.

After a little break due to a bustling schedule, a schedule that I will soon be pining after for a multitude of reasons, Meat Filled Pastries is back as we take another foray into the Lowland League heading to Bothwellhaugh, the home of Caledonian Braves, one of the most intriguing clubs in Scottish non-league football.

Formed in 2011 the club were re-anointed as the Caledonian Braves following a spell as Edusport Academy and there remains a distinctly gallic feel to matchday proceedings with both the pie hit and the sole turnstile run by French students from the academy. Their cross channel influence is not the only driver of curiosity though as their approach to fandom is one that also raises eyebrows, especially to died in the wool traditionalists.

The super-abbreviated version of events is that in 2018 they implemented an online membership scheme called Our Football Club, changing their name and switching focus from a traditional matchday fanbase towards a far reaching global community where participants have the option, for a fee to help shape the clubs future. If it’s more depth you seek then I would recommend clicking here.

How it works long term remains to be seen. As an unbiased observer and somebody who has seen similar plans fail to fully ignite at other clubs in the past, the ambition to ascend the Scottish football pyramid and reach the Premiership is admirable but seems a stretch in their current guise.

I wish them well, I have no reason not to, and at time of writing they remain comfortably situated in the middle of the fifth tier, a level of positional sustainability that should be commended given the continuous clashing of non-league football’s teutonic plates in Scotland.

But how are the pies? Well, with hands well and truly frozen, I headed back out the ground and into the hospitality room/pie hut and got ready to chow down.

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

Where: Alliance Park, Caledonian Braves 2-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Lowland League

Price: At £2, this is at the very top end for a non-league scotch pie, but you can always live with a little extra further down the pyramid, as long as the pastry matches up to it.

Presentation: You can maybe just see the plate keeking out under the large white napkin but if you can’t I can assure you there was one there. A bit superfluous in my opinion as the napkin was plenty, and when I went back for a second I politely said, “no, merci” to a paper platter.

Meatiness: This was a decent little pie. It was perhaps a little cool to the touch but it was well filled and had a gentle pepper kick, one that may have been more prominent if the pastry had a bit more heat. It held together well and all in all was a tasty enough bite.

Pastry: Well baked with a nice golden tinge to the edges. The top may be viewed as a little pale for some, and it definitely had a slight biscuity edge to it, but overall it did its primary role of containing the filling with minimal fuss.

Brown Sauce: If the pie was a little cool, the sauce was practically icy, with outdoor conditions playing a part for sure. One for those deviants who believe that condiments belong the fridge. Spicy enough though for a non-brand offering.

Overall: A solid if unspectacular effort from Alliance Park. I wouldn’t hesitate to have another should I manage to successfully take the right exit at the roundabout next time I’m in North Lanarkshire.

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while, for no other reason that I have been really busy with the women’s season kicking off just as the men’s one was getting to the best time of the season.

I write this now as I face the fact that I am soon set to find myself with an abundance of free time. Football has very much turned into my life and livelihood, something that an 8-year-old me would be marking the fuck out for, but just now it’s a case of battening down the hatches and making it to the other side.

Stay safe, look after one another, and if you ever feel yourself missing your football fix then remember there is a 196 pie reviews right here at your fingertips.

However until next time, and WE WILL get to Pie 200, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 192: The Benburb Macaroni Pie

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Hello my little pastries and welcome to the latest review as we return to the junior ranks and New Tinto Park, home of west region stalwarts Benburb.

In the last week the winner of the 2020 Scotch Pie World Championship Awards was announced with James Pirie & Son from Newtyle claiming the overall Scotch Pie crown for the second time in three years.

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In the football pie category the gold, silver and bronze categories were filled with the usual mix of scotch and steak pie offerings but it was the Diamond winner that caused some waves with the Fish Pie from Fraserburgh FC claiming the overall crown. Social media reaction has been mixed, from disbelief that a fish pie can be the best that Scottish football has to offer to enthusiasm that something different has done the business in 2020. I know a few people who have marked a trip to the Broch in their calendar as a result of the outcome.

Personally, pie-versity can only be a good thing and if the pie is to remain the matchday treat of choice then calling on the produce of your locale to expand your range seems a sensible way to account for ever evolving punter tastes. A full list of winners from the awards can be found here.

One of these varieties, particularly traditional to Scotland, is the macaroni pie and it is one of these that now fall under the pie-croscope. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 1-1 Pollok, West Region Premiership

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Price: £1.50. A pleasantly priced pastry for perfect purchasing.

Presentation: The pie was housed in a silver tin foil case with a large white napkin underneath. Ideal.

Pasta & Chessiness: I suspect I’ve reviewed this pie recently in another guise, more on that later, but putting that aside overall this was a tasty effort. There was a strong cheese flavour throughout and the texture of past and sauce was spot on. Loose enough to create a little ooze but viscous enough for you to have ample time to catch a drip as it slowly makes it’s way to the terrace below. The top was well baked meaning that the cheese remained nice and stringy with the colour being a darker hue than the goodness inside.

Pastry: Perhaps a little soft on the bottom but nice and golden on the side walls and top, although one side appeared slightly better baked than the other. Did the job of holding the ample filling.

Brown Sauce: A swirl of ketchup to bring back memories of school day tea times at home.

Overall: A well baked melange of cheese and pasta. Lovely stuff.

Gravy Factor: It went down bechem-well.

This was lovely and an improvement on Pie 188: The Rossvale Macaroni Pie had a few weeks previous at the same venue. The difference, I think, being the length of time that the pie was left in the oven and it is why, for me, that until they do matchday testing on the football category at the World Championships the winner will always have a wee asterisk against their name. Football fans don’t get the pie straight from source, but from kiosks and pie huts across the land and whilst this might seem a minor gripe to some it is one that is never far from my mind.

Next up we travel just a few hundred metres down Edminston Drive to Ibrox as Rangers hosted Stranraer in the Scottish Cup 4th Round as I once again tackle, with much trepidation, their latest pie of the month offering. 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 191: The BSC Glasgow Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest review from Meat Filled Pastries, I hope this finds you well and that your start to the new year has been everything that you’ve wanted it to be and that your first game of the 202 has been an absolute rip-snorter.

After an hour or so at the artitist-formerly-known-as Recreation Park my first foot adventure to Clackmannanshire was looking like being anything but as BSC Glasgow and Bonnyrigg Rose cancelled each other out in this crucial Lowland League title clash. By the time the full time whistle had rung though my appetite for entertaining football had been suitable sated as the visitors from Midlothian let slip a two goal lead before snatching victory at the death, sparking wild scenes from a healthy travelling support and on the touchline, where the exuberance from Rose boss Robbie Horn and his staff saw the manager shown a second yellow card.

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Piehopping, or ground hopping if you don’t like pies (you maniac!), where you have no team to call your own can be a bit of a lottery in the entertainment stakes so to have a Friday night like this one in Alloa was a wonderful little treat.

But was the steak pie on offer a wonderful little treat too? There’s only one way to find out and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Indodrill Stadium, BSC Glasgow 2-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Lowland League

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Price: £2.50. Quite expensive for a non-league pastry but just about within range for a luxury pastry in what are currently Scottish Championship surroundings.

Presentation: Laid upon a large white napkin and uncased, a rare occurrence for a steak pie. Plenty of space to manoeuvre it on as you ate.

Meatiness: This was a well-filled pastry packed with lots of bite-sized pieces of steak, some requiring a little bit of a chew but in the main nice and tender. The gravy had the viscosity required to coat the meat, a good thing, without spilling from the shell unwillingly, also a good thing, and had the balance of salt and savoury just about right.

Pastry: The top was a little squashed at the sides meaning it didn’t look quite as neat as you would want by the puff pastry lid was well baked, golden and added that crunch on top along with a meld of sauce and soft pastry on the under layers. The botton half of the pastry was a little soft that meant a little juggling was required to ensure no mass meat departures to the ground below but all in all a pretty solid housing of pie here.

Brown Sauce: Luxury, there is none, and I think going forward I’ll just skip this section for luxury pies going forward.

Overall: Very tasty steak and gravy with pastry that was perhaps a little soft underneath but still sturdy enough nonetheless.

Gravy Factor: A steak pie worthy of a football first footing.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the second of my match day meals in Alloa here in the shape of a cup of piping hot homemade stovies. Slices of potato and onion in a gravy populated with chunks of mystery meat, a Scottish classic. Add in a blob of brown sauce and at £1.50 it was the perfect way to warm you on the terraces.

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Unfortunately Meat Filled Pastries sponsored player for the season, Ross Smith, was out injured but I did get a chance to speak to a couple of behind the scenes faces at half time. For some it’s easy to be dismissive of clubs such as BSC Glasgow and Caledonian Braves but for their supporters and those that devote a significant amount of their free time on keeping them going you can only hope for success and a sustainable future. Both of the sides mentioned above are amongst the most innovative at the level when it comes to fan engagement and content creation and they bring yet another dynamic to the Scottish game.

Next time out we will be back in Glasgow as Benburb take on Pollok in the West Region Premiership, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 190: The Whitletts Victoria Onion Pie

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Welcome to the first new pie review of the roaring twenties, the roaring of course coming from the well stoked fires of pie hut ovens across the land as we continue on our quest for Pie 200. We’re back at Dam Park for a second review from the home of Whitletts Victoria where, on this afternoon, the home side who usually play in red and black played in blue and the away side, Darvel, who usually play in blue, played in red as the eccentricities of modern football showed no discrimination irrespective of the grade.

The first review from the Vics earned an honourable mention in The 2019 Meaties published on New Year’s Day where, as well as crowning Meat Filled Pastries best Non-Pie Pastry, Meatfree Pastry, Luxury Pie and Scotch Pie of 2019, the first ever Outstanding Achievement Award was issued so why not go take a look.

For now though let’s head back to the windswept terraces of South Ayrshire, and without much further ado, rate some pie!

Where: Dam Park, Whitletts Victoria 1-4 Darvel, West Region Championship

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Price: Exactly the same as the Whitletts Victoria Scotch Pie coming in at a wholly reasonable £1.50.

Presentation: A rinse and repeat when compared with it’s scotch sibling, in fact, let’s just copy that same text “Presented on a large white napkin, ample for the pasty provided and for dabbing the lips.”

Meatiness: Much like the scotch offering this was a well filled pastry with a texture that was easy on the bite. There was a little peppery kick but to be honest if I hadn’t been called an onion pie by name I might not have known it at all. There was a couple of little slivers on inspection within but the sweetness that the onion usually brings to pastries of this nature wasn’t really there. It was tasty, just not quite what I was expecting.

Pastry: This pastry was well baked with a golden edge on the crust, the two steam holes that were the present the identifier that this should be an onion laced pastry. The bottom was sturdy and held the filling whilst the top was well sealed although not quite perfect in its presentation.

Brown Sauce: In a break from tradition when it comes to an onion pie I devoured this offering without going condimental. I reckon wee a blob or two of brown sauce wouldn’t have gone a miss though in retrospect.

Overall: Tasty enough but not very oniony.

Gravy Factor: A decent ladle full perhaps just missing that extra dimension.

It was a pretty decent double header from The Dam and I have high hopes that the 200 marker will come round in the not too distant future. What happens from there? Well we’ll have to wait and see as I have a couple of big changes coming up in my life soon that I suspect are going to take up quite a bit of my free time.

However until next time, and there’ll always be a next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 189: The Whittlets Victoria Pie

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I hope everyone has had/is having a wonderful festive period, celebrating in whatever way leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

The Christmas and New Year tends to be a boom time for the fixture schedulers at the top end of the Scottish game with the games coming thick and fast ahead of a winter’s break in January. The lower leagues and non-leagues plough on through though, when weather allows of course, and it was a combination of that ability to plough through and a miserable Saturday afternoon that saw me forced to divert away from my original plan and head to Ayr to take in Whitletts Victoria v Darvel in the West Region Championship.

The wind and rain lashed across Dam Park for the near duration of the game with even the back of the large concrete stand providing little shelter and even some of the visiting substitutes decided it would be wiser to shelter under the steps in the terraces than shiver on the uncovered bench acting as dugout.

It’s a credit then to both sides that they managed to serve up an entertaining encounter with the visitors coming out 4-1 victors before heading to Dublin for their team Christmas night out later that day.

Days like these are when a tasty pie really comes into it’s own, but was it tasty? Well without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Dam Park, Whitletts Victoria 1-4 Darvel, West Region Championship

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Price: £1.50. I’ve said it a few times now but a quid and a half is excellent value for your matchday treat.

Presentation: Presented on a large white napkin, ample for the pasty provided and for dabbing the lips.

Meatiness: This was indeed a tasty treat. The pie was well filled with a distinct peppery linger throughout. A couple of people around me passed comment that they thought it was a bit strong but for me it was judged just right. It held well in the bite and had a little grease to ensure the filling was suitably moist.

Pastry: The top was crispy as were the sides and base. A very good bake with the shaping suitably round although the colour maybe was a little bit dull.

Brown Sauce: Daddies. The great pretender to the HP condiment crown, very much does the job.

Overall: Well baked, well filled with a nice peppery kick. Wonderful on a chilly winter’s day.

This is the first of a double header from the Vics with their Onion Pie next to come under the pie-croscope with the review preceded by the 2019 Meat Filled Pastries Awards which is always exciting. They’ll drop on New Year’s Day.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 186: The Port Glasgow Pie

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Hello pie pals and welcome to the second of two reviews from the Inverclyde Riviera. I shared a little of my experience from that game last time out in Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie, so go check that out as I write this fresh off another round of Friday Night Junior football. I continue to believe that it is a concept that junior sides with the capability to make happen explore.

I am now just two weeks away from World Pie Championships Judging Day and so with that in mind I thought I’d share a short audio piece I did at this year’s awards dinner. It’s a bit rough around the edges but it still tells a good wee story and features some of the biggest names in the Scottish pie making world so why not check it out.

 

I’m also still smashing out the content over on Leading the Line, so if you enjoy women’s football or are keen to learn more than go have a look and give it a subscribe as the season hurtles towards its close.

For now though and without much further ado, let’s get back to the pastries with review number two from Parklea, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Parklea Stadium, Port Glasgow 1-0 Greenock Juniors, West Region League One

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Price: £1.50 is a fair price for a scotch pie in the world of junior football. No complaints here.

Presentation: It was presented on a single sheet of white kitchen roll, fairly standard. Weirdly though, as was the case with the steak pie where it made some sense, I was offered a fork, a first in seven seasons of pie consumption. I politely turned it down but if you enjoy a fork to consume a scotch pie on the terraces with then please get in touch.

Meatiness: This was a good scotch pie. It had a strong pepper kick, a sensation I hadn’t felt for a while in a pie, with a long spicy linger that provided a strangely warming effect on a cold October evening. It was well formed and safe to the bite. Well filled, well seasoned, tasty, spicy and just a little bit moreish.

Pastry: There was a slight chew to the pastry but overall it was a well baked shell which held the filing securely with the top edges of the rim golden and crispy and the base sturdy.

Overall: A very good scotch pie with a nice pepper kick.

Gravy Factor: Aaaaah, bisto.

So it was not only a double dunt review from Port Glasgow but it was also a double dunt of tasty pastries too. Next time I head east once again to Linlithgow, the home of many a tasty pastry, as Pollok face Linlithgow Rose CFC in the Scottish Junior Cup. 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie

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Ahoy my meat filled mateys, are we all ready to set sail on another voyage of pie. I’ve written nearly two hundred of these intros now, and I’ve just realised that this one – in linking sailor patter to the fact the team’s pie in question has the word “Port” in its name – is perhaps up there as being one of the most tenuous to date.

It had been a pretty full on week both work wise and in the world of Scottish women’s football and so I made the decision to take advantage of some Friday night junior football and head along the M8 to take in the Inverclyde Derby, the second of the season and the second to be played on a Friday night, a rare but increasing occurrence on the Scottish junior football scene. It’s something that I am very keen to see more of, especially in derby scenarios such as these, and there is no doubting the attendance at Parklea on what was a cold, but clear night, was considerably larger than it had been if it was competing with a full Saturday card. The atmosphere was good accompanies by a good media presence and with the return fixture earlier in the season being equally well received I hope to see more like this in the future.

Having dashed to the game straight from work, via home to pick up my car, I headed into the ground hoping to find a tasty pie or two to double as my dinner. But were they tasty? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate pie number one from the home of the Port.

Where: Parklea Stadium, Port Glasgow 1-0 Greenock Juniors, West Region League One

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Price: I was a little surprised at the £2.50 price point when told of the options available to me but on presentation of the pastry I felt like I was getting a decent amount of bang for my buck.

Presentation: This was very substantial indeed sitting within a large tin foil tray on top of  a single sheet of kitchen roll. The most interesting thing though, in a section of these reviews where I know things can be a bit samey, I was also given a little wooden fork. A utensil that I was initially sceptical of before being happy to receive.

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Meatiness: I initially tried to eat this pastry without using my new wooden companion, however after a couple of bites it became apparent that there’s a reason it was there. The steak was well chunked, tender to the bite and generous enough to ensure (as previously intimated) you felt like you were getting your money’s worth. The gravy was smooth with a consistency the right side of both runny and thick to ensure it wrapped round the steak without causing an early explosion which was a relief because this meat and sauce combined made for a very tasty bite.

Pastry: A puff pastry case here the top golden with a lovely flake to the layers with the underside meshing with the filling exactly as you would want it to. The bottom was a little underbaked, a common challenge of putting your pie in tinfoil but it was solid enough to be lifted out the case clean and it was baked well enough to add the desired contribution to the overall taste profile.

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Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean no brown sauce. I don’t think it was needed here either.

Overall: Substantial with a golden flaky top, with well cooked and seasoned meat and gravy.

Gravy Factor: I’ll take a gravy boat-full please captain. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Strong start. This is the first of two reviews from this game and next up is the more traditional scotch pie, the bastion of the scottish football catering scene, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.