Hello pie fans, I had a funny old day down New Cumnock way on Saturday. Glenalfton Athletic took on Pollok in what should have been a fairly run of the mill end of season West Premiership encounter. Both clubs were well clear of any relegation thoughts a long time ago whilst simultaneously being short of making any kind of meaningful title challenge. It was the kind of game in which you board the supporter’s bus with the notion that at least you’ll get a decent Saturday afternoon out.
Fast forward to the full time whistle and what started off slowly turned into a whirlwind of a game. Pollok had taken the lead through a spectacular opener but ultimately is The Glens who persevere coming back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 with the winner coming in the 89th minute, both sides having finished the game with ten men amid a less than friendly atmosphere on the terraces.
In the main I love football. It’s been pretty kind to me and I consider myself lucky that when the final whistle blows I can shake off the result (well Scotland’s recent jaunt to Kazakhstan aside, sakes!) and get on with my life because at the end of the day, through the cheers and the tears, football is just a game. As I stood there, with some questionable phrases polluting the air from a minority, I am reminded that I will never ever forget that.
On the life’s too short theme we recently had our latest Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund event where we edged ever closer to that £50,000 mark. Stewart “Smit” Smith died from Bowel Cancer just over five and half years ago now and to think that we have raised so much in his memory thanks to the support of everyone involved is all a little humbling. If you fancy flinging a few pennies our way then click the link above. I’ve mentioned it before but Smit was one of the early advocates of my meat filled ramblings so I’ll never apologise for giving the fund a plug from time to time. Anyway, that’s the preamble done so without much further ado let’s rate some sausage roll!
Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-1 Pollok, West Region Premiership
Price: In a strange turn of events there were no pies available for purchase at Loch Park however there were some pretty mahoosive sausage rolls. Yours for just £1.50.
Presentation: Presented in a polystyrene tray with a medium sized white napkin, The tray was used for the sausage rolls and multiple chip variations but strangely not the burgers. From a pastry perspective this is perhaps one of the most secure methods of holding a match day snack safely although it’s important to ensure that you place your pastry back in the centre of the tray to prevent any accidental flippage.
Meatiness: So earlier I said that there were no pies at Loch Park this particular Saturday and I suspect when the good folk at the Glens went to pick up their match day meatiness there may not have been any sausage rolls either. So why do I suspect this? Well the filling in this sausage rolls appeared to be cut up rectangles of square sausage as opposed to the more traditional link style sausage meat filling. It was a very generous, moist and meaty portion of square sausage and whether this was done by design or as a result of some Saturday morning quick thinking I was a fan.
Pastry: My suspicions grew when I looked at the way the pastry was wrapped around the meat. No frills or crimping here, just a layer of puff pastry wrapped round the meat and pushed together to guarantee a full encasing. This roll had a good golden colouring to it although the bottom was a little greasy perhaps as a result of the higher fat content in a square sausage and what felt like a fairly generous ratio of butter in the pastry mix itself. Still though a big sausage filling needs a big pastry coating and this did the business.
Brown Sauce: A sausage roll is not a pastry that receives saw easily and so for me I never do adorn it so.
Overall: Generous sized, decent price, good taste, golden pastry. Pretty pleased with this to be honest. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way.
Gravy Factor: Big sausage gravy.
Don’t do sausage roll reviews very often so this was a nice change of pace. As always keep up to date with Meat Filled Pastries by subscribing to get notifications and follow all my non-pie based going’s on over on Leading the Line, 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 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.
Aye alright I know this isn’t a pie, but it is a meat filled pastry, and given the successful tasting experience that was Pie 129: The Girvan Scotch Pie it would have been remiss of me not to give this a bash whilst I was in the area.
More on that in a minute but speaking of things that aren’t quite pies it would be equally remiss of me not to mention the launching of a new venture from your intrepid pie eater. For nearly five years I have travelled the country and beyond tasting a wide variety of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and bridies, casting judgement on what I believe to be a good meat filled pastry. I have also for a large part of that time been a frequent visitor (including a few months as an inhabitant) to Spain where they and their Latin American cousins share my passion for a good pastry.
So what does this all mean? Well I am happy to announce a new venture: Empanadas Escoces. My attempt to bring the best of hispanic pastries to Glasgow and who knows maybe beyond. I have no idea how this will go. It could be a disaster. It could be a runaway success. Either way I’m going to give it a bash and see what happens. I’ll no doubt post the odd update on here but if you want to keep up to date with everything as it happens then you can follow @empanadassco on Twitter & Instagram whilst you can also find news on Facebook by searching Empanadas Escoces. If this site has taught me anything over the last few years it’s that you never know until you have a go.
With that public service announcement out the way, let’s get back to the reason why you all came here in the first place. Without much further ado, let’s rate some sausage roll!
Where: Hamilton Park, Girvan 0-5 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division
Oh by the way, this is Ronnie, he’s one of the regular home and away crew when going to Pollok games. There you go son you are now pie famous. Anyway…
Price: £1.20. Exactly the same as a pie. It’s funny but sometimes the price of a sausage roll (or any other non pie pastry for that matter) can vary greatly when compared to the prince of pastries so it was good to see a consistent price point here.
Presentation: With a sausage roll the napkin has an added significance as instead of being used to place your pastry on it is almost an automatic reflex to wrap said roll in its soft white paper duvet. In this instance the size of the napkin was more than sufficient.
Meatiness: On first looks, as I hope this picture illustrates, this was a massive roll. This, perhaps surprisingly, had me a little concerned as usually big appearances mean that the meat to pastry ratio can be way off, and in some cases downright unacceptable. I am happy to report though that on this occasion the meat content just about made the grade. A puff pastry case will always struggle to compete with a hot water crust when it comes to meat content percentages but with this pastry I felt I was getting a decent sized banger for my buck. The sausage meat had a nice texture with the levels of fat just right to add moistness whilst the meat itself was very tasty. One thing I did notice as I made my way through was the presence of a yellow smear on top of the sausage meat. My only conclusion is that it had to be mustard and if it was it certainly didn’t distract my taste buds during the eating experience.
Pastry: Whilst there was lots of pastry (perhaps a little too much) there was no doubting the quality of the bake. The layers evenly split and flaky whilst the colour on the outside was golden and even. One of the common fall down points for a sausage roll can be the pastry slipping off and you being left with a limp sausage dangling from your fist shorn of its pastry sheath. In this case there was no risk of that happening.
Brown Sauce: Logistically, for me anyway, condiments on a sausage roll just don’t make sense. They slide off, have nowhere to realistically gather and in general are just a bit of a mess.
Overall: Excellent if slightly too plentiful pastry wrapped around some well-flavoured sausage meat. What was that yellow substance though?
Gravy Factor: A Bangin’ Banger.
Well I think it’s safe to say that Girvan has gone on the list of “good football eat locations” with a more than solid scotch pie and sausage roll offering. Well played. Moving on and for fans of the pie reviews this weekend I took a trip to Bathgate Thistle who’s pies are supplied by a former 2x winner of the World Scotch Pie Championship so that will be going on the site soon whilst my International Soccer Scran Series will next take us to Nuremberg. So plenty to look forward to but until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries. He’s now taken this passion further in the form of Empanadas Escoces a venture inspired by the taste of Spanish pies and a desire to bring them to Scottish Shores.
Now if I’m being honest my hand was forced a little so this new aspect to the blog is perhaps debuting a little earlier than I had anticipated. As a 5th week of non-league fixture call offs rolled in I found myself wrapped up in the magic of the cup and a trip to Edinburgh to see if Spartans or indeed Berwick Rangers could continue to defy the odds as for either of these clubs to be Scottish Cup quarter finalists is a feat not to be sniffed at. On my arrival to Ainslie Park I was greeted with a sea of humanity draped in red and white or black and gold. A crowd of over 2500 to see a game that in normal circumstances would be luck to even see a fifth of that. This is where the problem arrived. Usually I like to arrive early to the ground to ensure a pie is destined for my belly but on this, the most busy of days, the fates conspired against me. The incredulousness in my voice when I was offered a hot dog instead was perhaps a tad too far but it was then matched with relief that my trip to Edinburgh had not been in vain and a Haggis and Neeps Pasty was on offer.
So with a meat filled pastry in hand, all be it in a slightly altered format, let’s rate some pie! Eh, I mean pasty!
Where: Ainslie Park, Spartans 1-1 Berwick Rangers, Scottish Cup 5th Round
Price: We enter new territory here, as I have no point of reference for pasty prices. My inclination would be to say that these goods should be no more or no less than the humble pie but we’ll see how things pan out. This offering was £1.50 a relative bargain and certainly nothing to complain about.
Presentation: This was curiously placed on a paper plate with no accompanying napkin. Now I’m willing to let the absence of a napkin slide as a table just beside the hatch could well have been housing a batch of mouth cleaning softness but I have a small issue with the plate. For all the benefits it gives in gathering any meat and pastry spillages it is also an awkward thing to hold whilst juggling a drink and programme. You’re also unable to roll a plate into a ball and put it in your pocket should no bins be present thus resulting in a bit of impromptu origami. This is just personal preference, but unless you know what you’re providing has a high moisture content then wrapping your pasty round a napkin is fine by me.
Meatiness: It’s still a meat filled pastry so we shall still be assessing the meatiness of this offering and boy what a treat this was. Once you got to the filling, more on this later, you were greeted first with a lovely warm hit of smooth peppery haggis, spiced as you expect with the occasional pop of oats as you chewed through. Surprisingly though the real stars here were the small squares of neeps (in this case I’m guessing using swedes to take on the mantle, both by the colour and taste) tucked in and around the haggis adding little bursts of sweetness to cut through the spice. The filling here was sublime, an absolute triumph and lingered longer after completion had been completed.
Pastry: One of the good things about a pie is that by in large the pastry to filling ratio is pretty consistent aided by its hot water crust foundations with other pastries however, such as this pasty, the pastry will tend to be puff in nature and so the balance can vary quite significantly dependent on where you go. In this case there was perhaps a little too much pastry as my first, vegetarian friendly, bite would suggest with me unable to reach its meaty core until bite two was completed. Don’t get me wrong the pastry was flaky and tasted as golden as it looked it was just a little bit much although I’m pleased to report that it stayed together well at my mouths command.
Brown Sauce: With no obvious well for the sauce to sit in, as found atop a pie, no sauce would be forthcoming to this pasty.
Overall: A bit heavy on the pastry but wowsers what a filling, a helluva introduction to the world of non-pie based pastries.
Gravy Factor: Burns Night Gravy. Worthy of a national bard.
Well that is how you set the standard when you’re the first of a new breed, I look forward to seeing how others rise to the challenge. Next up though we will be returning to where it all started with a scotch pie offering from Airdrieonians.
Until next time go forth and eat pie! Or a pasty!
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.