Non League Pies

Pie 165: The Clydebank Breakfast Pie

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Hello pie fans I hope you enjoyed my saunter south of the border last time out as I took in the bright lights of Carlisle as the League Two promotion race in England heads towards it’s climax but it’s back to usual business this week with a return to the Scottish Juniors as Clydebank hosted Pollok at their temporary home of Lochburn Park in Maryhill.

One of the things that I have been focusing on since becoming more involved in women’s football is new and, let’s be honest, cost effective ways in which the game can be promoted. Lower leagues clubs across the country have to find ways to maximise their skills and resources in helping to attract new eyes to their club every day and so I thought I’d share just a few examples of that. St. Anthony’s, for example, have formed an alliance with clubs who have the initials S.A.F.C. in the make up of their name, this even involved their committee going down to the Stadium of Light after being welcomed down by Sunderland. Pollok are still (three years later) reaping the benefits of Tam Hanlon’s greatest hat trick ever scored which you can view here, a feat that garnered an appearance on Soccer AM and global attention. BSC Glasgow are one of a few clubs who now have an official eSports partner in the shape of @MozzaPlays who also went to the lengths of modding up the Lowland League for everyone’s favourite strategy game, Football Manager.

Clydebank themselves recently got in on the act with an excellently produced video celebrating Nicky Little becoming their club’s record goalscorer. Titled “Route 66” and shot exclusively on an iPhone it shows what can be done with a bit of time, care and willingness to learn. I encourage you to have a look at it here.

For my part, pies have become my default way to big up the beautiful game and over the next month or so I have some deadlines to meet to help share the story of pie even further. However for now, and without much further ado, let’s rate the first ever Breakfast Pie to enter the hallowed halls of Meat Filled Pastries!

Where: Clydebank 1-2 Pollok, Lochburn Park, West Region Premiership

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Price: I wasn’t expecting to have a new pie review to get my teeth into when I turned up at Lochburn Park however as the words, “What kind would you like?”, left the woman working the counter’s mouth an excited realisation spread across my face. Presented with the option of scotch, steak or breakfast there was really only going to be one winner and so I parted with £2, towards the top end of the non-league pie price scale, and went to find a spot in the shade so I could eat what was essentially my second breakfast of the day.

Presentation: This pie came wrapped in a double layer of large white napkins concealing the pastry at first sight, ample to help dab your mouth and lips as you made your way through what would turn out to be a pretty mammoth mouthful.

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Meatiness: The debate around what goes into a full breakfast – English, Scottish, Irish or otherwise – is a long and at times fairly tedious one. Some people froth at the concept of the inclusion of beans whilst to have a fry up without any bread and butter is seen as heresy by others. This pie though had enough of the commonly agreed upon component parts to keep everyone happy.

At the bottom there was a thick, maybe slightly too thick, slice of black pudding with that unmistakable texture and spicy kick. Above that was a layer of well textured and flavourful square sausage which of course had been made round to fit it inside the case. Above that again and to one side of the pastry was a slice of bacon as smoky and salty as bacon should be. Still going up you are then greeted by an egg, unfortunately no yolk porn here, as it would be near impossible to bake a pastry with an egg inside and keep the yolk runny before being topped with a few beans which had dried out a little in the oven but added that bean taste your mouth would recognise. Overall it made for a pretty tasty and exciting bite and if I could make any suggestions to improve the filling then I would pare back the black pudding a little and add a more generous spoonful of beans to add a little more moisture.

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Pastry: Let’s call it how it is, the pastry was a bit of a hot mess. I suspect partly driven by the desire to cram as many breakfast items as possible into its pastry walls and partly driven by some rough handling during transportation. Despite its ramshackle appearance it actually held surprisingly well adding the crispness required to help break up what was quite a rich filling.

Brown Sauce: It’s a luxury pie so there was no brown sauce added here but in retrospect I kind of wish I had given it a dollop, that spicy tang the sauce brings would have been a perfect partner for this pastry.

Overall: Generously filled with surprisingly sturdy construction despite appearances. I’d maybe alter the ratios of the filling slightly but as match day treats go I’m very much into it.

Gravy Factor: Gravy to get out of bed for.

A new pie style makes it’s way on to the pages of Meat Filled Pastries and there will be another new style next time out as I headed over the Irish Sea to see Bohemians take on Waterford in what the marketeers behind the League of Ireland are calling #TheGreatestLeagueInTheWorld. But does their Chilli Beef & Chorizo Pie really hit the mark, we’ll have to wait and see.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

Glasgow Caledonian University. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “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 162: The Sauchie Juniors Pie

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Hello my meat filled mates with the turning back of the clocks I’ve hit the road to try and once again find the best football pies in all of Scotland. Towards the end of last season I wrote a piece focusing on the great junior defection to the East of Scotland Football League that sits within the SPFL pyramid structure. My original piece can be viewed here in the final issue of The Football Pink which has recently been made free to download as an attempt to help shift those Brexit blues so why not give it a look.

As I stood, because I wasn’t paying the pound extra to sit in the stand, at Beechwood Park I tried to assess my feelings on how the first season of this new era of non league football in Scotland had went and what, if any, differences it has made.

It’s fair to say it has brought some freshness to proceedings for sides in the East of Scotland. The random drawing of conferences still seems to me an odd way of doing things but it has meant that sides now have a chance to face up to some less familiar foes. There has of course been renewed enthusiasm to promote the game with one Twitter user on a mission to gather the attendances from every EOSFL game this season but has it led to increased attendances? I’m not so sure. Next season will see the EOSFL conferences shuffled based on this term’s performance it still seems difficult for those clubs at the top of this new structure to break into the Lowland League, a league which perhaps still contains clubs that would struggle when pitted against some of the EOSFL’s biggest sides. The demise of Selkirk should also act as a note of warning to clubs that moving away from the juniors will not guarantee a one way ticket to the land of milk and honey but overall the change appears to have been a positive one.

I can’t finish on this topic though without putting my junior fan hat on and it’s fair to say that with almost all of the East of Scotland heavyweights now sitting within the pyramid the Scottish Junior Cup has this season felt like a diminished competition. Whilst the West Region has been dominant in recent years the removal of these sides from the mix has meant that the games have felt more familiar and the romance that is associated with a big time East v West encounter has been lost.

Sauchie Juniors home of Beechwood Park hosted one of these cross country clashes last season as they lost 1-0 to a visiting Hurlford United in the 5th Round of the competition. This chilly spring evening though they were in EOSFL – Conference B action against Dunipace, another one of the junior movers, in their opponents last game of the season as a crowd of just over 100 watched an entertaining 2-2 draw. The big question now though, how did their pies fair?

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

Where: Beechwood Park, Sauchie Juniors 2-2 Dunipace, EOSFL – Conference B

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Price: At £1.50 this pie falls slap bang in the middle of your non-league scotch pie price bracket. A price point my pocket appreciated given my forgetfulness in hitting up a cashpoint before entering the ground.

Presentation: This pie was placed on top of a thin, medium sized white napkin that just about held up under the weight of the pastry. Luckily there was also a small paper plate present. Sometimes a plate can feel superfluous but for this pastry I was thankful it was there.

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Meatiness: This was a very well filled pastry although I was taken with how dark the meat appeared to be, not in a negative way, but more as a curiosity. It was a very moist pastry that meant there was a good layer of fat throughout each bite adding a strong and savoury flavour punch. That fat though did mean that the filling was loose, closer to mince than a solid block of meat, and so fell apart a little as you broke down those pastry walls. Call me mad but there was, in my mind anyway, a touch of beefiness to this pie although I wonder if the darkness of the meat meant my tastebuds were deceiving me.

Pastry: The pastry despite the moistness of the filling held up well and once lifted from the plate was somehow both soft and crispy underneath. The top was a little pale and the sides were a little cracked but overall the construction of this pastry was sufficient to just about hold things together from within.

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Brown Sauce: A tangy surprise in a big brown bottle.

Overall: Pretty tasty. The filling had a good smack of meaty flavour, nice texture and the pastry just about held up its end of the bargain.

Gravy Factor: Dark and Strong.

Watching football as the sun sets brings a weird sense of zen into my thoughts with the view of the Ochil Hills afforded to you at Beechwood Park adding further calmness within. Next up is a review from Clyde, where I got myself a free pie, kind of, but more on that next time.

So 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. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “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 158: The Troon “Chicken & Haggis” Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we delve back into the world of junior football with a Chicken & Haggis offering from a fairly dreich January afternoon at Portland Park in Troon. Before we get to that though a couple of things have happened since my last review.

Firstly I attended the World Scotch Pie Championships Awards Lunch where a new World Scotch Pie Champion was crowned. Whilst some well-earned congratulations should be sent to The Little Bakery based in Dumfries on being the 20th World Scotch Pie Champion on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries the real news was that Darvel FC based in Ayrshire won the Diamond Award for their Steak & Gravy Pie supplied by Browning’s the Bakers. As a vocal supporter of non-league football I was pleased to see the big boy’s given a hiding in this category but if you want to see how your club did then you can do so by clicking the list of winners across all categories here.

Whilst I was there I was also getting my latest project off the ground and recorded the second ever episode of The Scrancast where I spoke to some of the nominees, winners and men behind what is one of the biggest days in the Butcher/Baker calendar. If you would like to listen to what I hope will be the first of many tales about food and drink from Scotland and beyond then you can listen here. The website is just about up and running which includes a feature on why I’ve decided to do it and you can subscribe on iTunes and all your usual places by searching for “The Scrancast”.

Back to more pressing matters though and that is the quality of pie on offer at Portland Park. Will their Chicken & Haggis offering match up to the Steak Pie which got an honourable mention during the first ever MFP Awards? There’s only one way to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

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Price: There was a little bit of confusion around the price of this pie as I went to pay at the counter. To your average punter this pie would have appeared to have been £2.20 given the sheet saying as much stuck to the window however at point of payment the price quoted was £2.50. A quick chat later showed that the price list the girls behind the counter were working on was different from the one front in centre for all to view. I paid the £2.50 but I’m not sure I was entirely happy about it.

Presentation: A double duvet of large white napkins provided a solid and soft base for this large tin foil encased pie to sit on quite comfortably.

Meatiness: Chunky. I think that’s a good way to describe this filling with more than one piece of chicken requiring multiple bites to consume. It’s an odd thing to point out I know but this is a handheld snack, eating stood up with very few places to lean, so it made for a challenging bite. I was a little bit disappointed in the quantity of haggis but I liked the use of a stock based gravy. My main concern though was the use of pepper in this filling. It was too much, a little too spiky and killed the flavour of the haggis. That said it was an incredibly generous portion of pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty perfect. Slipped easily out of the tin foil case without even a whiff of it sticking to the sides or bottom. It also had a lovely golden tinge to it with the necessary substance to hold what was a fairly moist filling whilst still providing the light crunch a good pie pastry should.

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Overall: There were things to like about this pie. Generously filled with an excellent job on the bake but for my taste I could have done with a few less cracks of pepper.

Gravy Factor: Percy Piper picked a pie of pickled peppers.

An offering with a lot of potential from the Ayrshire coast but one for me that didn’t quite hit the heights I hoped it would. I’ll hopefully be back again with another pie review in the not too distant future but for now please go follow and subscribe to The Scrancast. If you’re into pies there might be something right up your street coming very soon.

However until next time from Meat Filled Pastries, 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 157: The East Stirlingshire Pie

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Hello and welcome to the second of two reviews from the terraces of The Falkirk Stadium. Last time out Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie went under the piecroscope as not only did we get to taste a new pastry sensation but also dished out the first ever Meat Filled Pastries Awards for 2018. If you want to know who won the key awards of Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie and Best Non-Pie Pastry then please go have a look. It stirred up the kind of debate between fans on Twitter that only a pie could do.

Before we get into the meat of this pie matter I wanted to take a little time to talk about East Stirlingshire. The first club to fall victim of the Scottish Pyramid promotion system they lost out to Edinburgh City at the end of the 2015/16 season bringing to a close a 61 year association within the current national league set up. Having left Firs Park, a ground I unfortunately never made it too, they moved to Ochilview home of Stenhousemuir before taking up residence at The Falkirk Stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season.

As I stood towards the back of the main stand on a pretty chilly December evening I was taken once again by the commitment that we as football fans show. Now to be fair, and to not over-romanticise, the crowd wasn’t that big and there was an air of apathy on the pitch that was permeating into the stands. An air that lifted when the on park casualness started to rile those watching on. It was even bugging me and I was a neutral! Don’t assume that this is reference to apathy is designed to diminish the support, all these supporters should be (and I have no doubt are) valued but instead probably more of an indication as to how their season had gone to date, sitting as the club did in the lower half of the Lowland League table. It’s not easy supporting a club at this level but there are always people that will bleed the colours when cut clean but for The Shire who – on the face of things – have been battered about as much as anyone has been over the past few seasons the support is even more impressive. From the 8 point season of 03/04 to the threat of losing full SFA member status after many a 42nd place finished in the league. They had to leave Firs Park, their home, due to rising costs and of course you cannot ignore the aforementioned relegation in 2016. It truly is testament to the commitment fans have to their teams that they continue to carry on.

The move to The Falkirk Stadium has been viewed positively and the ambition very much remains to see the club promoted back to League Two and always with any club I wish them the best in achieving their goals.

For now though let’s get back to the pies and 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 £2.20 this was 20p cheaper than the previously reviewed steak pie. I should note here that the picture above highlights the presence of a Steak & Stornoway Black Pudding Pie however my excitement soon disappeared as it became apparent that a trip to see East Stilringshire’s landlords would be required to take on board this potential tasty treat.

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Presentation: Identical in nature to its steak filled brother. Inside a silver tin foil carton and atop of some large white napkins.

Meatiness: This pie was laced with that unmistakable scotch pie flavour with the spicing adding a smidgen of heat and a dash of both sweet and savoury. There was a little peppery kick which I always enjoy at the terminal point of consumption. Not loads to say here but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a decent little filling.

Pastry: You could almost see the fingers of the baker as they hurriedly pushed the lid against the pastry walls and on top of the filling. It meant that it looked a little ragged but those undulating sides added a layer of crispness to the bite that a neatly tucked in lid wouldn’t have. The pastry was a little soft underneath with a dusting of flour again helping to prevent a sticky situation but overall it was well-baked.

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Brown Sauce: The sachets of sauce on offer were tangy and a little sweet adding some more notes of flavour to the overall experience. They were also an appropriate size to get a good coverage on top of your pastry. To often these sachet’s are tiny, and require multiples of to make them worth their while.

Overall: Not a looker, but a pretty decent example of a scotch pie.

Gravy Factor: Crispy Bisto

The pies at East Stirlingshire may not be particularly groundbreaking but you can do a lot worse than just offering up good, honest tasting pastries. I’m back to having an empty basket of which to draw reviews from but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some hot pie action to take on board. I will be attending the World Scotch Pie Awards on the 15th January and I’m hoping to be able to speak to some of the winners and do a bit more in-depth coverage on one of my favourite days of the year.

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. 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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie

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What’s up pastry posse!? Welcome to Pie Review 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie. These reviews were always a device designed to not only talk about pies and pastries but also to big up some of Scottish football’s lesser lights. I go to a lot of football grounds and over the past few months I’ve resolved to accept that I am indeed a bit of a groundhopper. Whilst some people get excited by a new series of Game of Thrones or the discovery that there is a new place to go hunting for Pokemon (that’s not a dated reference, I know people who still do it!) I get a buzz from an away cup draw to a place I’ve never been or the news that a spot in my midweek schedule has freed up and there’s a game of football to be had and a pie to be eaten.

This was my second visit to Winton Park having previously driven down a few years ago during one of those weekend’s where the fixture list had been decimated but the Rovers park had survived. As I had the car it was very much a case of ensuring that I had made it in for kick off and that I got myself a tasty pastry treat (Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie) but on this visit the supporters bus ensured I had ample time to explore the facilities. I was impressed. From the surprisingly large social club located within the stadium, the walls adorned with a potted history of this Ayrshire side, to the various little stadium quirks dotted around the place from the wheelbarrow beside the stand to the Winton Rovers wall at the far end of the stadium. It’s certainly a place with plenty of intrigue to be found. They also have a pretty well stocked pie hut courtesy of The Kandy Bar meaning that despite my previous visit there was still some new pastries to be had.

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

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1-2 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 1st Round

Price: At £1.50 this is a pretty standard pricing strategy for your core pastry range (pies, bridies and sausage rolls) and well within the bounds of acceptability for a junior football match in Scotland.

Presentation: Keeping things simple this bridie was presented on a large white napkin. Double layered for your eating pleasure.

Meatiness: I have had a very mixed past with bridies. I’ve only actually ever reviewed two on the site (Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie & Pie 93: The Rossvale Bridie) but when it has come to competition judging at Scottish Baker of the Year and the World Scotch Pie Championships I am continually amazed at how far out of whack the meat to pastry ratios is in some of the bridie products made by butchers and bakers across the country. It can be quite a hard thing to balance given the prominent use of puff pastry in their construction but thankfully with this offering the ratios were pretty good. The filling was generous and moist. It did perhaps make it a little bit difficult to eat as you continued to break down the pastry walls surrounding it but the flavour was very good. Strong and meaty with a hint of onion flavour that added a little layer of sweetness to the overall bite. Most importantly the ratio was right, and for that I was incredibly grateful.

Pastry: The pastry was, as you would expect with puff, lovely and flaky but it’s golden colour and restraint in volume are what made it really stand out on this bridie. It was unusual to see a hole on top of the pastry but part of me wonders if this is what helped in preventing an over-abundance. The base was well baked too meaning that the pastry here was also holding up it’s end of the bargain.

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Brown Sauce: Now, given that one of my main gripes with a bridie against a pie is that they can often be a little dry you would think I would be all about the condiments here but logistically they don’t really work. There is no place for the sauce to sit comfortably and no upper lip to catch the flow that occurs when you tip the pastry towards your mouth. With that in mind there is no sauce here.

Overall: Tasty filling and golden pastry on a bridie where the ratios were just about spot on made for an overall enjoyable eating experience.

Gravy Factor: Well balanced gravy.

So far the weather has held out as we head towards the 5 month extravaganza that is the Scottish winter time so we shall continue at pace on our journey of meat filled pastries. Next up will be a steak and gravy pie from St. Mirren Park as we jump on the road to France with the Scottish Women’s team as they take on the United States in a glamour friendly.

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. 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.