Passport Pies

Pie 179: The Workington AFC Steak Pie

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The August Bank Holiday Monday is braw. In my particular part of Scotland, for most, this is a normal working day with the September Weekend taking precedent but for the rest of the UK, including me, it is a day where everything truly shuts down. That is everything bar the football and as such I have now made a habit of firing up the Groundhopper App and seeing what’s within a comfortable day’s reach.

Workington AFC, situated towards the Cumbrian coast, has long been on my radar and on discovering that they were to be at home to the wonderfully named Pontefract Collieries I booked my train tickets to head south of the border on what turned out to be a wonderfully sunny day.

Being a city boy it always strikes me how much towns such as Workington completely shut down during these days with the ten minute walk from the station to the ground feeling like a cut scene from Shaun of the Dead, the streets empty and doors closed. To be a resident on days like this would certainly take some getting used to but I knew I had dealt with any concerns about not being able to get a couple of pints during some pre-match scouting which revealed that the Tony Hooper Bar located inside the ground would be able to provide exactly what I was looking for.

I was even more grateful when it was announced that the visitors had been delayed by 45 minutes as a result of traffic and so, as I sat down to my second fruity cider of the day I decided it was time to deal with the real reason I was here, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Borough Park, Workington AFC 2-1 Pontefract Collieries, Northern Premier League Division One North West

Price: Much like in the case of the Bohemian’s Pie there was an option to turn my single pie into a proper feast with a Steak Pie being served with chips, peas and gravy for just £5. A deal like that is an insta-take after a couple hours of travelling.

Presentation: This meal came in a long, rectangular, yellow polystyrene box with cutlery and napkins available on a table beside the service window located in the bar.

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Meatiness: I had a slight worry as I went in to consume this pastry driven by a conversation between the person ahead of me in the queue and the kiosk proprietor who had suggested that it would be better with the gravy as the steak pies had come out “a bit dry”. It was a concern rightly shared because as I pulled apart the pastry with my plastic knife and fork it became clear that there was indeed very little gravy held within.

The meat was nice enough, fine strands with a slight hint of ale on the tastebuds, but it was indeed pretty dry and I soon found myself dipping my forkfuls into the pastry’s gravy surroundings. Tasty but perhaps needing a little more filling and a little less baking.

Pastry: The pastry had a good colour on it and proved to be a robust foe against my brittle cutlery. There was some boil out, again hinting at the dryness within, but the gravy helped soften everything although the bottom was not forgiving and I ended up picking that up like a form of meaty biscuit to make consumption much easier.

Brown Sauce: No brown sauce needed here thanks to the generous ladles of gravy, and side of mint-tinted mushy peas. The chips, which I should probably mention here, were fine.

Overall: Bit dry but gravy saved the day whilst paying just a fiver for a full lunch is value that can’t be sniffed at.

Gravy Factor: Glad it had some.

A decent pie was accompanied by an enjoyable game at Borough Park, with the home side running out 2-1 winners, the last ten minutes being particularly entertaining as the referee totally lost control of the game.

Next up I’m in Scotland’s capital where the women’s national side started their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign against Cyprus at Easter Road. I was working, but I still managed to snaffle a pastry.

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 member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team 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.

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Pie 166: The Bohemians Chilli Beef & Chorizo Pie

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Hello pie fans, and that’s right I’ve been on my football travels again crossing over the Irish Sea to take in Bohemians v Waterford in what the League of Ireland marketeers will have you believe is #TheGreatestLeagueInTheWorld as I made a whistle stop visit to the Irish capital, Dublin. My path here came via listening to an Outside Write podcast and a couple of follow up conversations with Gerry who runs the A Bohemian Sporting Life website all about the north side club. Not only did Gerry keep me abreast of ticket availability, he also let me have a look around The Bohs home Dalymount Park as well as joining me in what turned out to be many, pre and post match beverages with his buddy Brendan.

This isn’t the first time where my widening football connections has lead to a solo travel experience turning into an even better one with new friends as in March, when I headed to the Basque Country, Dan who runs The Linesman helped to fully indoctrinate me into the Athletic Club pre and post-match atmosphere. Something that I would have done on my own but was made infinitely better with some local knowledge. These acts of kindness are ones I’d be more than willing to replicate in my fair city and if anyone ever does find themselves wanting to know a bit more about football in Glasgow’s Southside I’ll always be happy to show the way.

One of the nuggets of information that Gerry was able to reveal to me before everything got a little hazy was that Bohemians were perhaps the only club in Ireland to have pies on their match day menu thanks to an arrangement with The Pieman Cafe located in the Temple Bar area of the city. This was obviously met with much delight on my part, and so at half time after collecting my customary pin badge I made my way to the queue to experience my first Irish pie eating experience.

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

Where: Bohemians 0-0 Waterford, Dalymount Park, League of Ireland

Price: €10. Yes, on first glance this is a whooping price for a pastry when you consider the site average up until this point floats around the £1.70 mark but this was not just pie alone and while that was an option, the temptation of having my pie with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy truly was a temptation that my slightly tipsy and pretty hungry body could not resist. With a bottle of water thrown in too the €10 price tag seemed pretty good value in a city that has, what I think, a somewhat unfair reputation of being a bit pricey. Also, it was huge!

Presentation: Now given the component parts of pie, mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy it would have been lunacy to present this on the Meat Filled Pastries classic of a medium sized white napkin and so the brown box and fork combination were perfectly fitting in this scenario.

Meatiness: Chilli Beef and Chorizo is a new flavour sensation for the site and it is one that I think The Bohs, and of course The Pieman Cafe, executed admirably. The filling was exactly as a good chilli beef should be, there was a nice spice to the pie with beef and tomato undertones. There were kidney beans and onion present too and the texture was rich but smooth. If there was one small criticism then it would be that the promise of chorizo felt a little unfulfilled but it was still a super tasty filling nevertheless.

Pastry: Shortcrust pastry that seemed entirely in tact from what I could see. It’s sturdiness meant that it held up well to the many wet components around about it and as pastry goes it actually tasted pretty good on it’s own too. If you’re going to serve a pie this size with this assortment of sides a robust pastry shell is definitely the way to go.

Brown Sauce: There was no brown sauce but a couple of ladles of The Pieman’s homemade gravy which was just the ticket. I wouldn’t have added brown sauce as it would’ve been nothing but superfluous.

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Overall: Good filling in a massive pastry pie, really tasty beef chilli and gravy with just that little extra chorizo layer missing from it really delivering in every way. I would definitely have another one though.

Gravy Factor: There’s yer dinner!

Do Scottish football clubs limit themselves too much by just serving a single pie on a napkin? You know what, maybe. May be there are some out there but if the option to have a full pie dinner like this was on offer at our football grounds I would almost certainly be all in every time, especially after a few beers.

Next up is a review back in the Scottish Juniors as I visit Newmains United, a club who in recent seasons have shown they are not afraid to think outside the box when promoting their clubs name.

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 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.

For further queries or requests you contact Chris via email at chris_mersh@hotmail.com.

Pie 164: The Carlisle United Steak & Ale Pie

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I’ve gone rogue! That’s right I’ve infringed on rival turf and this last Good Friday I took a train down to Brunton Park to take in Carlisle United v Lincoln City in the race to escape League Two.

I have to say as footballing day trips from Glasgow go the hour long train ride from Glasgow Central to the populous heart of Cumbria is a pretty good one. The journey is relatively cheap, there are a good number of pubs in and around the city centre as well around the ground with Brunton Park itself a short twenty minute walk from the station. I’d recommend it and as I found on the train back to Glasgow later that evening I wasn’t the only visitor from north of the border to the Cumbrian’s that day.

The rugby club beside the stadium was busier than usual with over 2,000 Lincoln City fans in attendance hoping that The Imps would lift the title and so, after deciding to not wait in a massive queue for the second time, I headed into the stadium where I continued my supping as well as, of course, having a meat filled pastry.

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

Where: Brunton Park, Carlisle United 1-0 Lincoln City, English League Two

Price: There were two pricing options for this pastry. Option 1 was to buy the pie on it’s own for £2.80 or Option 2, to buy a pie and a pint (I’m not going to get deep into the booze at football debate here) for £6. Obviously I like the economics behind option number two and so promptly set myself up with a Steak & Ale Pie and a pint of Strongbow because it was sunny and sunny equals cider. The BBC Price of Football survey recently calls this out as one of the cheapest pies in the English Football League which, considering this game was in the bottom tier of this set up, is quite frightening.

Presentation: This was weird as after putting away my change I was presented with one of those white silver lined heat retaining bags which I was assured had my pie within. After finding a spot to watch the end of the Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest game, I opened the bag to then find my pie wrapped in plastic. I remove the plastic to finally have in my hand a fairly large pie housed with a silver tin foil case. So odd.

Meatiness: Well once I got to a bite with some filling in, my first couple of bites heartbreakingly shy of both meat and/or gravy, this was a fairly tasty mouthful. The gravy was viscous and plentiful enough with the right hint of ale to the overall taste but for me the steak was a little sparse and the chunks a little small which meant they didn’t add that meaty tooth feel that really pushes a pie onto greatness.

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Pastry: It and nice golden tinge to it but it was too soft. Soft, almost spongy, on the bottom and soft on the top with the flakes of pastry a little soggy. As soon as you got through your initial bite every one that followed there after resulted in the gravy squirting out all over the shop. Pastry on a pie, on the top at the very least, should be crispy. With it being hosted in this multitude of bags the pie had clearly steamed under the heat lamps and so the pastry for me was all wrong.

Brown Sauce: None for a luxury pie. Them be the rules.

Overall: The filling tasted pretty good but the wasteful nature of the packaging and the softness of the pastry really holds this pie back. I was surprised to learn as I entered the Pioneer Stand that this was an “Award Winning” pie and my concern is that once again a pie that wins prizes on the shelf of a butcher’s or baker’s shop had been compromised in the face of mass catering.

Gravy Factor: Spongy Gravy.

Would love to have this pie without the heat bags and plastics but this site designated to the best pies you can have at the ground and as long as the pie continues to be presented in this way it will remain a fairly tasty but slightly wrong take on the wonder that is a meat filled pastry.

Next up, I have a first for the site as I get elbow deep into a Breakfast Pie from Scottish Junior side Clydebank as they took on Pollok at their temporary home of Lochburn Park in Glasgow’s West End.

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 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.

International Soccer Scran Special: Club Portugalete

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I’ve been hitting a bit of a wall recently in my search for new pastries to review. Partly because of the world’s longest run of home fixtures for my local team, partly because the weather has been atrocious and partly because over the last few weeks I’ve had my passport out doing a bit of travelling. What that travelling does mean is that I have a couple of editions of the International Soccer Scran Series in my back pocket to play with which brings me to today and my trip to the Bay of Biscay to see Club Portugalete of the Spanish Tercera Division. So without much further ado let’s get elbow deep in a world of tiny sandwiches, pre-midday beers and a whole lot of rain.

Location

When I initially booked my trip to the Spanish north coast I banked on at least one of Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad or Alaves having a home game as I looked to check off another team in my quest to complete the La Liga set (a quest that is still a good distance off completion at the last check I should add). So it was with a tinge of disappointment that my review of the always late to announce jornada schedule revealed that none of the aforementioned teams were at home during my stay in Bilbao. Ever one to flip a negative into a positive I reconvened and started searching the Segunda B & Tercera divisions of the Basque Country looking for a fixture. The result? An early Sunday morning metro from Bilbao towards the coast to watch Club Portugalete v Alaves B.

Situated around 35 minutes north of Bilbao from the city centre on the super cheap metro it is a short five-minute to walk to the game, and just another ten minutes further away is the Puente Colgante (or if you prefer the Vizcaya Bridge) one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges with a hanging cable car to take you across it in no more than minute. The walk up to the ground is highlighted by passing by a few Athletic Bilbao Peñas and aided by outdoor travellators to help those who feel that the hill is just that little bit too steep. There is no grandeur here or a stadium looming large over the distance, just a small ground in suburbia. It felt a little bit like home.

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Eating Outside of the Ground

From what I saw eating outside the Estadio La Florida, Club Portugalete’s home wasn’t really the done thing. There were a few bars close by where I’m sure a few zurrito’s (think a caña except even smaller) could be had with the ubiquitous pintxo of your choosing but in the main the eating and drinking at for this football food fan primarily took place inside the ground.

Eating Inside the Ground

Eating inside the ground was a very similar experience to eating and drinking at one of the many bars I spent my time in during my few days in the Basque Country. At least from a service perspective. There was however two differences. One being the obvious exception that most bars don’t have 22 men running about a big grass field within them and number two…the rain. Sweet Jesus did it rain, and rain, and then just when you thought it was over it would rain again.  Suddenly the reason I appeared to be the only person in the ground not holding an umbrella in my hand became all too clear. It did stop every now and again but I digress and at roughly 11:15am on a Sunday morning I tasted my first beer of the day.

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On arrival at the bar/food stall beside the main entrance you were greeted with a sea of basqueness. Pintxos, a little rougher round the edges than you would see in a Bilbao bar but more in keeping with the football theme. An array of bocatas (small sandwiches), tortillas, snacks and various hot items. I had arrived in Bilbao late the previous night so I was immediately drawn to a Bocata de Jamon and it was everything that’s right with simple Spanish food. Soft white bread with a crispy crust enveloping a couple of salty slivers of wonderful jamon. The fat wilting a little in its natural surroundings.

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These can be a little dry though once the meat is gone but my beer, of which I seem to have lost its name, helped to wash it down. It was hard not to look out at the pitch and the rolling green hills of the Basque countryside behind the ground and think, this is how Sunday’s should be.

The first half over of a competitive if not particularly entertaining game I made a move for my second bocata of the day this time choosing a Lomo, Salsa Brava & Queso number. This was again the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer. In my head I often liken the lomo-salsa brava union to the Spanish take on the Chinese char siu both of which are slices of pork brightened by a flavoursome and sometimes spicy coating around the edge and well cheese just goes with everything so there was little to complain about here. A bocata and a beer came in at a more than reasonable 3,50€ and for the more adventurous amongst you there was more than one occasion where I saw pints of vodka being drunk in three gulps or less.

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As great as it would have been to go to San Mames, Anoeta or Mendizorrotza, I was happy that for this weekend the fates had led me to this little town on the Bay of Biscay to watch the kind of football I love. If I closed my ears and squinted just a little as the rain bounced off my shoulders I could’ve swore that I was standing on the terraces at Newlandsfield Park back home.

Club Portugalete Soccer Scran Top Tips

· Don’t be afraid to grab for what you want and pay later.

· The beer is full fat and eminently drinkable so treat yourself, you’re probably on holiday.

· Bring a brolly.

· Once the game is done stick around the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas for a pintxo crawl through the streets, across the Puente Colgante and out onto the bay itself.

I really did enjoy my few days in Bilbao and the surrounding areas, if my numbers were right by the time I got my flight home back to Scotland I had managed to knock off around 25 bars in 72ish hours without ever once feeling like I was anything more than pleasantly tipsy or mildly full.

I hope you enjoyed this take on Basque football cuisine, the Madrid version is turning into a bit of an epic but I also have recently returned from Bavaria so will share my matchday experience from Nuremberg in the not too distant future. Also, (with all my fingers crossed) a trip to Girvan beckons at the weekend for a new pie review. Either way something will be on it’s way shortly.

So until next time go forth and eat pie (or Bocatas!)

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

Pie 99: The Hibernian Pie

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Hello and welcome to pie 99, The Hibernian Pie, on the home of all your Scottish football snack based needs Meat Filled Pastries. The 99th edition of this blog is brought to you by the Qatar Airways Cup as Scotland took part in one of the most insipid friendlies I’ve had the misfortune to attend. Not even the sight of a rotund individual channeling his inner Crazy in Love era Beyonce as he thrust his king prawn high (well not so high) into the Leith sky could stop this from feeling nothing more than a training exercise.

International friendlies are such a strange commodity in modern football. If put into a coaching context they are vital in preparing for competitive fixtures, especially at the end of a season where many of your squad have gone a few weeks without a game. As a football association they provide a much-needed boost to the coffers to help finances tick over during the summer whilst also providing the opportunity to build a new working relationship with associations across the globe, although why Scotland chose Qatar to do with this, only Stewart Reagan and his human ivory caviar spoon will only know. For fans though it often feels like a fixture too far, not so much when Scotland travel away where a friendly become an end of season jolly, but when you’re at home, to Qatar or a team of a similar ilk. The atmosphere was one of the strangest I had ever experienced, with the stands sounding like a crèche buzzing as it was with thousands of children not really paying any attention. A few slightly more inebriated members of the Tartan Army tried to rouse a song or two only to be met with apathy. It’s in this respect that the UEFA Nations League could very well be an innovation that prevents this malaise and lead to the banishment of the phrase ‘meaningless friendly’.

As it stood though any malaise I was experiencing was temporarily shaken off as I found a pie in my hand, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Easter Road, Scotland 1-0 Qatar, “Qatar Airways Cup” International Friendly

The Sunshine on Leith was shining straight into my eyes.
The Sunshine on Leith was shining straight into my eyes.

Price: At £2.30 this is at the very top end of the Scottish Scotch Pie Price Scale or the ‘Triple S Double P’ as I have just dubbed it. The equivalent of two junior scotch pies and of a similar price to those found at Hampden, Ibrox & Celtic Park. Pricey Pastry.

Presentation: Pretty standard presentational style here coming as it did in an aluminium tin with a medium-sized white napkin to mop your mouth and shelter your palms from the incinerator like heat that it is greeted you when the pie is placed in your possession.

THE PIE

Definitely feel liking my photography has got more imaginative as the 2014.15 season has come to an end.
Definitely feel liking my photography has got more imaginative as the 2014.15 season has come to an end.

Meatiness: After successfully avoiding dropping my pie following a totally unnecessary pyro and smoke show prior to kick off I was left with a pastry that was just a bit dull. Yes it had a peppery linger that should be present in a good scotch pie but it had all the quintessential hallmarks of a mass-produced pie. It was a tad grey in colour and lived short in the memory. As I finished it I had flashbacks of my time at the World Scotch Pie Championships Judging Day where an average scotch pie became a bad scotch pie the deeper into the competition I got.

Pastry: Safe. Golden. Perhaps a little soft and soggy bottomed due to the tin foil case it still held together just enough to make it a suitable bowl for the meat inside.

Brown Sauce: Much like the rest of this ‘big league’ pie it was a soulless small brown sachet.

Overall: It tasted like a pie, it had a peppery linger and it held together well but it left me cold come the end. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh but I have grown to view these mass-produced pies with a great degree of cynicism. When I eat these now I don’t feel the love of the butcher or baker, I taste the processing of the machines and the site of folk in white coats and hairnets are never far from my mind. I apologise to Hibernian for getting the brunt of this rant but it’s something that over this journey has niggled at me more and more.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

So there you have it Pie 99, and to celebrate the penultimate entry into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame I have borrowed part of a little ditty from Mr. Jay Z:

If you’re having pie problems I feel bad for you son
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’ve had none

I’m on the pie patrol, high cholesterol
Pies that wanna make sure my casket’s closed
“Cardiac Arrythmia is a risk”, I know!
But I love food stupid what type of facts are those
If you grew up with football and a thirst for goals
You’d celebrate each minute with meat wrapped in dough
I’m a fair minded critic I’ll give anything a go,
If you don’t like meat pies you can press fast forward
Got beef not lamb then it’s steak that’s on show
A pie innuendo is always the way to go, ayyyoooo
Whether, moist or deep it’s easy being crass,
And here’s another one just for the lads…munchers
I don’t know what you rate your pastries as
or understand the intelligence that a butcher, baker has
Don’t forget the brown sauce, that’d be dumb
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’ve had none
Gravy!

99 Pies but of fish I’ve had none
If you’re having pie problems I feel bad for you son
I’ve had 99 pies but of fish I’d have none
Gravy!

I could have done the whole song but I don’t think anybody would have wanted that, I’ve just tested it though and it actually fits pretty well so by all means have at it! Anyway pie 100 is in my sights today and at that point the celebrations really can get started.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 66: The Fulham ‘Steak’ Pie

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Down by the Riverside...
Down by the RiversPie…

It has taken nearly 16 hours of sleep and general slovenliness today but finally it is time to say welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries and Pie 66 on my quest to tell you about the best pies around. Today’s malaise has been brought as a result of a couple of days spent in London with the Tartan Army. This particular adventure took me to Craven Cottage a ground I have always wanted to visit for its refusal to turn itself into a cantilever carbon copy of so many grounds in the Premiership. The cottage in the corner with its 72-seat capacity, its sudden emergence from the heart of west London’s leafy suburbia and the river bubbling by at the side of the stand all designed to endear the ground to football traditionalists everywhere. At this stage I should probably confess this review may come across as a little fuzzy as a 7am flight from Glasgow meant that come kick off time at 8pm the same day I was rather well lubricated. I’ve also made the assumption that this pie would be the same pie provided should I attend an actual Fulham game, as I’m not sure if there is a long history of meat filled pastries in Nigerian culture.

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

Where: Craven Cottage, Nigeria v Scotland, International Friendly

Price: Considering Craven Cottage’s location in one of the more affluent areas of one of the most expensive cities in the world it should come as no surprise that this pie left a sizeable dent in your wallet. That dent was to the tune of £3.80, the equivalent of about 3 Scottish Junior Pies! Despite my suspicions being proven correct it still prompted an ‘Excuse Me!?’ (the language may have been tidied up a bit here), as the young chap behind the counter opened the till.

Presentation: I wonder if they would have knocked a pound of the price if I had just asked for a napkin?!? This pie was pimped. First at the base was a small cardboard holder producing additional shielding from the heat generated at the base of the pie transferring itself to the tinfoil case it was sitting within. Slotted between the cardboard holder and the tin foil case was a square of picnic-like greaseproof paper, totally superfluous to the consumption of the pie itself in that it did not help to hold the pie nor clean your face after its consumption, however, this was not the most ridiculous thing about it. Oh no, that was reserved for the plastic fork plonked, and I mean plonked, directly into the middle of the pie!

A B#**@@”ING FORK! Do the delicate digits of the nearby Belgravians not appreciate getting down and dirty when it comes to eating a pie? Look girls, take off the silk gloves, tuck in your pearls, get your hands on this meaty marvel and get right set about it, if you get a bit of gravy on your chin then wipe it off with the napkin provided and then touch up your make up in the closest WC. DO NOT EAT A PIE AT THE FOOTBALL WITH A B#**@@”ING FORK. I challenge anyone to try to eat a pie with a plastic fork and see how long you last before your throwing it away in anger and getting elbow deep in your pastry.

Meatiness: This is probably where this review is going to go downhill a bit as it is at this point that my review notes stop and my memory will have to come in to play, so I apologise for what may be about to follow. Reviewing my notes I am able to tell you that the meat inside was formed by large chunks of steak, my preference when eating a luxury steak pie, but from here though it’s a struggle. I’m assuming there was an abundance of gravy as when I woke up in the morning a gravy smattered napkin was in my jumper pocket and I do remember thinking that the pie was well seasoned within. Whether or not it was £3.80 worth of well seasoned? Well, a second trip may be required.

Pastry: Now for some reason I have a pretty good memory of the pastry. The top of the pie was a thick-ish layer of puff pastry, the kind of puff where you can noticeably see the layers and it flaked nicely as I bit down. The top of the filling and the bottom of the top crust mixed well and although there were a couple of spillages more than likely down to my compromised dexterity the pie held together well throughout. The edge of the crust where the walls and top met were a little thick for my liking, a minor grumble but that thick edging would have no doubt broken any plastic fork that attempted to break it down.

Overall: A good but pricey steak pie that kept this drunk man’s hunger at bay. It was presented like a box of chocolates and it would be remiss of me not to say that eating a pie by the riverside was how I’d like all my pie tastings to be. There was no scotch offering but that was to be expected.

Gravy Factor: Look, you just don’t eat gravy with a fork no matter how luxuriously it’s priced!

Another pie done, I’m almost tempted to call this a bonus pie, purely on the basis that I wasn’t expecting to remember it sufficiently for a coherent review but I think I’ve done a pretty good job considering. There’s still a few more pie reviews to come before things kick off in Rio at which point I’ll be taking a break from the pie chat for a few weeks.

However until, next time go forth an eat pie!

Pie 12: The Wembley Pie?

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We're The Famous Tartan Army and we came to Wembley!
We’re The Famous Tartan Army and we came to Wembley!

 

This is a Bonus Pie! Why a bonus pie I here you ask? Because this was a picture taken before the invention of ‘Meat Filled Pastries: A Tour of Pies’ and so therefore misses some of the key elements for a true ‘Gravy Factor’.

However with that being said, lets rate this pie!

Where: Wembley Stadium, England v Scotland 150th Anniversary of the FA

Price: Unknown, by this point both myself and my fellow TA soldier were heavily inebriated and I was not the purchaser of this particular pastry delicacy. The only comparison I have is that whilst Scotty was getting the pie’s in, I got the programmes, they were £6 a pop, more like a glossy magazine. Therefore this pie cost £6 actually it cost £12 as we had to share one because they had ran out, a cardinal sin at any football ground.

Presentation: As can be seen above I wasn’t able to get the ‘one bite expose’, however what can be seen already that this came in a long rectangular box that said ‘One Pie’ on it with handy finger guides in case you forget how to hold things I presume. Although it did keep it piping hot the creative genius who created said packaging forgot one vital, vital piece of information, ‘THAT’S NO’ A PIE’.

Meatiness: The best way to describe this is a Chicken Fajita Sausage Roll, with as much peppers and onions as there was chicken resulting in a meat content of about 50%.

Pastry: The Pastry was flaky, it was a good job the Marketing Graduate who designed the box did otherwise I feel the filling may have ended on the floor such was the floppy nature of the ‘pie’ (it’s still not a pie).

Overall: A spicy, tasty treat but NOT a Pie!

Gravy Factor: I am so confused that this was called a pie: As much gravy as a Sherry Trifle!

 

Bonus Note: Leading The Line: Scottish Football and the Rest of the Sporting World a blog not based solely on pies, I know a ridiculous idea, will be back to its regular best in the not to distant future. But until next time, MON THE PIES!