Pie 26: The Cowdenbeath ‘Steak’ Pie

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Back in the lap of luxury.
Back in the lap of luxury.

Well here we are again, as promised, the Cowdenbeath Steak Pie is next to go under the taste test of Meat Filled Pastries. The site is currently under some modifications, hopefully culminating in a snazzy new banner so don’t be scared of the change, embrace it. Anyway back to pies. One of the things that you learn to appreciate when you go to a lot of football games is the variety of food that a particular ground can offer. Whilst some will stock solely Scotch Pies, Bovril, Juice, Sweets and Crisps others are a bit more adventurous although I’ll never forget my disappointment that you couldn’t get Arbroath Smokies at Gayfield. Cowdenbeath, however, certainly fell into the more adventurous heading as can be seen below:

Variety is the spice of life, except when you want to review a pie.
Variety is the spice of life, except when you want to review a pie.

Please focus your attention past the Bacon Rolls and Lentil Soup to the bottom item on that list, Corn Beef Stovies. A truly unique addition to the footballing menu. Now in these circumstances I have a difficult decision to make and I have to remind myself that I need to put pies before what my stomach desires for the benefit of this little project. Normally I would have had my mits wrapped around a warm cup brimming with Corn Beef Stovies but knowing how unlikely it is that Central Park will bw somewhere that I will visit again soon, and knowing that this site is called ‘Meat Filled Pastries’ and not ‘Corn Beef in a Cup’, I selected a steak pie for my secondary consumption,

I know, I’m your hero. You’re Welcome.

Before we get into the review let me remind you of a couple of the rules that surround a ‘luxury’ pie. Firstly no brown sauce should be required and secondly as you are paying more than for your usual scotch pie the overall quality should be of a higher standard.

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

Where:  Central Park, Cowdenbeath v Dundee, SPFL Championship

Price: At £2 this ‘luxury’ steak pie is actually cheaper than the scotch equivalents found at Ibrox and Hampden getting this review off to a good start without a bite being taken,

Presentation: Identical in presentation to the Cowdenbeath Scotch Pie, presented in a silver tin foil case with a medium size white napkin, sufficient enough coverage of the case to prevent you dropping the pie due to excessive heat.

Meatiness: The steak inside the pie was smaller chunked than you would usually find in pies of similar ilk and also seemed to have some coarse mince running through it as well. I took this as an indication that the meat inside was incredibly fall apart tender something that I am happy to confirm after taking that first bite. The gravy was rich and flavoursome and was of a consistency that was sufficient to coat the meat and also ooze a little from the pastry without being runny and causing puddles in the tinfoil casing.

Pastry: The pastry was cooked well, with the underside of the top part of the casing willing enough to absorb that lovely gravy. Unfortunately it had caught a little on the bottom which meant that when I went to pick up the pie for it’s first bite I left 75% of it in the case! Once again, not a massive flavour flaw but more of a potential distraction when trying to watch a game of football. I am however happy to share a couple of tips I have used in the past to resolve this issue.

Tip 1: Break a piece of the outer crust off, if baked well enough this should be sturdy enough to use as a pastry spoon to scoop out that meaty goodness.

Tip 2: Eat all the topping of the pie using your fingers ensuring you have sufficient napkin support for the inevitable mess you get yourself into. Once the majority of the filling has been devoured use the now softened base to wrap up the remaining filling into a Steak and Gravy Taco.

In this instance I went for the pastry spoon option which worked just fine.

Overall: A tasty steak pie, with a well flavoured gravy meaning adding brown sauce never entered my mind. the meat was tender and well textured. The pastry fell apart a bit but as this was once again consumed before kick off provided an amusing aside to the pre-match routine.

Gravy Factor: Tasty but messy gravy although sometimes that’s the best way for it to be.

So that’s another pie quaffed, that’s 26 for the season as we enter the winter months, so until next time go forth and eat pie.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side. Finally if you could take some time to visit ‘The Grambler’ or make a donation to ‘The Booby Moore Fund’ it would be most appreciated.

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Pie 25: The Cowdenbeath Pie

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The tin foil case of doom strikes.
The tin foil case of doom strikes.

As we continue our review of the best pies on offer some personal milestones will be achieved that I will happily share with you  as and when it happens. This weekend with the Southside Juve  fixtureless I decided it was time to chalk off another ground on the list of ‘Never Been To’s’, specifically in relation to my quest to visit every senior ground in Scotland.

It’s something that I found with the benefit of Google Maps could be completed within 48 hours, you know if you didn’t sleep, eat or actually watch a game of football but in reality has been an on going project for a few years elongated by the fact that I actually follow one team in particular. Central Park was my 33rd senior venue, and when you throw in all the junior grounds I’ve visited that overall total number will be at least double that figure.

What can you, my fellow pie partakers, take away from this particular pre-amble to a new review?

Well, as long as there are games of football to go to I’ll be there, and as a result there shall be many more pies to be consumed and reviews to be made. So as always, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where:  Central Park, Cowdenbeath v Dundee, SPFL Championship

Price: This pie came in at a very reasonable £1.50, the cheapest in the SPFL to date.

Presentation: The pie came presented in a tin foil case, more of which will be discussed later, with a medium sized white napkin, just thick enough to prevent any potential finger burning situations.

Meatiness: This scotch pie had a good meaty flavour but I found it to be a tad on the greasy side which I think contributed for the multiple spillages that occurred once I had taken that first bite. It was nicely filled and the meat held well but lacked a bit of oomph. Luckily a table at the side of the kiosk provided a joyous sight to behold: an industrial sized vat of pump handle brown sauce, which when squirted on said pie helped to enhance the overall flavour.

Pastry: I’ll start by saying that the pastry at the top and edges was cooked to a perfect level of crispiness and had a golden colour, however unfortunately after the first bite there was some problems with the structural integrity of the pie as the underneath was very, very soft. this is the first pie since Meat Filled Pastries has started officially ‘touring’ that this issue has arisen and as such I thought it apt to take a photo for all your future references.

Mmmm Mutton Soup.
Finger Lickin’ Fun.

As can be seen from above, the pie fell to pieces just a smidgen. On closer inspection there was a couple of gaps in the outer shell but I think that can be discounted as having little effect on the collapse of the pie itself. No, unfortunately as stated before the meat was slightly greasy and when I got my fingers around the base of the pie my digits promptly popped through. Now the falling apart of the pie, in the main, shouldn’t really effect it’s flavour but what it does do is provide a MASSIVE distraction to everything else round about you, specifically the game of football going on in front of your eyes. Luckily in this instance my pie consumption was carried out well before kick off so all I missed was a few warm up exercises and a grown man dressed as a cow failing at keepie-ups but if this ever happens to you it’ll be found that I won’t be the only one wittering on about how apt the napkin size is. You have been warned.

Overall: I need to reiterate something at this point, I am not here to tell you every pie is brilliant, nor am I here to say they are all terrible, it’s just one man who has ate a lot of pie giving his opinion. With that being said, this was an adequate effort, nothing about it particularly blew me away. The meat was nice but not as peppery as I would like and slightly greasy. The pastry falling apart did make for a rather comical five minutes of eating and if the pastry base matched the top, this pie would have passed my lips without much fanfare or comment, perhaps falling victim of circumstance of being the first pie to fall foul of the meaty trapdoor caused by tin foil cases.

Gravy Factor: Supermarket own brand gravy, you’ll have it, but secretly you want just a little bit more of something else.

I have another pie blog about Cowdenbeath such was my appetite that day, and for only the second time Meat Filled Pastries will be dipping its tootsies in the luxury of a steak pie, but until then, go forth and eat pie!

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side.

Pie 23: The Motherwell Pie

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The discerning choice for young women who like fitba'.
The discerning choice for young women who like fitba’.

The next entry on Meat Filled Pastries is brought to you by the Scottish National Women’s Football team and their home for the Canada 2015 World Cup qualifiers, Fir Park, Motherwell. Now usually this paragraph is reserved for some absolute nonsense about the week that has just passed but this time I’m going for a slight change of pace.

Recently one of my closest friends passed away after a 2 year battle with bowel cancer and all the complications ensued, aged just 28. Throughout it all he refused to let it stop things he wanted to do and see the things he wanted to see. To pass many a bored hour in hospital or at home he busied himself with a number of internet projects. One of which is ‘The Grambler’, a bookie busting algorithm of randomnosity, that experiences varying levels of success, with any winnings that it procured going to The Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Awareness. The links are located on the right hand side of this page and I’ll put the full addresses at the end of this latest entry into the Pie Hall of Fame. Please take the time to have a look at these sites and if you like this, Leading the Line or The Grambler itself feel free to make a donation or have a flutter.

With all that being said let’s get into the business of talking about pies. My mate was a massive Motherwell fan, and so when it became apparent that things were not to go his way I made it an aim to get to Fir Park as quickly as possible as some kind of weird meat filled pastry tribute.

So without much further ado Lets Rate Some Pie!

Where: Fir Park (Home of Motherwell FC) Scotland Women v Bosnia and Herzegovina Women, World Cup Qualifying Group 4

Price: Priced at £2.00, while still expensive for a meat filled pastry when placed in comparison with both the Hampden and Rangers pie it actually comes in at 20p cheaper than these similarly levelled competitors.

Presentation: Came in a silver tin foil case, with a ‘help yourself to napkins’ policy, they were of adequate size so only one was required. Not really much to report here.

Meatiness: As always a scotch pie, this effort was something of a deep-filled beauty. What immediately struck me on first bite was that this was not the same generic fare I had experienced at grounds of similar stature previously. This is not to say the previous pies were not good, more an indication of the pleasant surprise that engulfed me on the realisation of this very point. The meat inside was really savoury and although that smack of pepper I usually like in my pie was not present the flavour of the mutton inside meant I did not miss it at all. The meat also held incredibly well and was soft to the bite.

Pastry: A nice even bake on the top of the pastry meant the all important crust was present with enough bite to provide texture but soft enough not to leave you wishing you had the denture work of a 1970’s Bond villain. Unfortunately, as does happen from time to time when a tin foil case is used to hold these meaty delicacies, the pastry at the bottom of the pie was ever so slightly soggy meaning there was some minor spillage when picking it up to take a bite. However that being said, this was a minor inconvenience in an otherwise delicious pie.

Overall: A very good effort, the meat was tasty and the pastry ratio was spot on combining to give this pie an ‘original’ taste, not like a Werther’s, but a taste that after enough time could be distinguishable as a ‘Motherwell Pie’, something that I feel is lost at the top end of the modern game. As a side note the Brown Sauce on offer was not provided by HP but by another company whose name is long forgotten but proved itself a dark, tangy and tasty alternative.

Gravy Factor: The ladies in the pie stall at Fir Park did just as well as the women on the field, as Scotland won 7-0, in providing a pie that fully deserves the rating of lovely lady gravy.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side and with all things going to plan will have a new article up tomorrow.

Finally and most importantly this week are a couple of links below that if you have a few minutes to spare I would love you to have a look at them and maybe make a wee donation:

Bobby Moore Fund: bobbymoorefund.cancerresearchuk.org

The Grambler: thegrambler.com

Just Giving ‘The Grambler’s ‘Kick Cancer’s Arse’ Fund: http://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3

That’s it for the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries, so until next time, Go Forth and Eat Pie!

Pie 21: The Maryhill Pie

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A pie worthy of a cup final
A pie worthy of a cup final.

 

Hi again! Did you think I’d forgot about these meat flavoured beauties? If you did, you’re probably of the macaroni pie quaffing variety and have no place here. I kid, obviously, as all pie’s are welcome here but let me rationalise why this pie blog has been a few extra days in the making. You see footballing pies have passed my lips on more than one occasion in the last week or so but a combination of work and a familiar looking fixture list meant that none of these pies have been new to the world of Meat Filled Pastries, finally on Sunday this changed.

So with the kind of abandon that will be outlawed at Qatar 2022 I headed to Glasgow’s west end for a new pie adventure. Lets Rate Some Pie!

Where: Lochburn Park (Home of Maryhill FC) Clydebank v Pollok, Euroscot Sectional League Cup Final

Price: £1.10, exactly half the price of the previously reviewed Hampden and Rangers Scotch Pies.

Presentation: Presented within a white napkin of sufficient size that a badger could snuggly hibernate in as the winter months draw closer without it’s wee toe sticking out the bottom. This thing was huge and for that I am always grateful.

Meatiness: A scotch pie rammed with muttony goodness from first bite to last in which the meat was incredibly well seasoned.  The mince was coarse and importantly still had enough texture to give it a satisfying bite. I think the highest praise I can give this pie is the following antidote. So, after consuming said pie I needed to visit the little boys room (also known as a well drained concrete wall behind the main stand), after doing the required business I started heading back to where I was standing when I suddenly noticed that the peppery after taste was still very clearly present within my mouth.  With that lingering taste this pie had now marked itself out as a top contender.

Pastry: The pastry was golden and cooked just to perfection, with a bite that required your teeth to break through but enough give that none of the mince inside was at risk of ending splatted on the concrete. The bake on the pastry was consistent and such was my satisfaction at my first one, I quickly purchased a second which again reached these same high standards of crispy perfection combining wonderfully again with the aforementioned meaty goodness.

Overall: This was a cracking pie, great texture and meaty flavour that managed to linger long after the last bite had been devoured. A pastry shell that managed to be both soft and crispy whilst the brown sauce provided was none other than HP, a cherry meatball on top of this pie flavoured cake.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you would make too much of deliberately so that after your dinner you could pour the remainder onto your plate and happily sook it all up with half a loaf of bread.

Pie 18: The Hampden ‘Steak’ Pie

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Meat Filled Pastries first venture into the 'luxury' pie market
Meat Filled Pastries first venture into the ‘luxury’ pie market

As promised here comes Pie #2 from Friday night’s adventure to Hampden. This pie is the first one to be reviewed that will be dubbed as a ‘Luxury Pie’. Now to be a luxury pie the criteria is very simple, you just have to not be a scotch pie. That’s it. You can be steak, chicken, mongoose and lingonberry, whatever you like as long as your not a basic scotch mince pie. The reason for this you ask? Well I go to many games of football, and many places more than once, some of these places offer more than one type of pie. Sometimes I’ll do two in one go like I have at Hampden, others I may review on separate occasions. Either way it’s good news because it will mean more pies to taste, and that’s why we’re all here because we love a good pie.

Before we start it is also important to note that unlike a scotch pie, with ‘luxury pies’ you do not use brown sauce, the filling should suffice, that’s why you pay extra, only when something has gone wrong should the ‘Pie Band Aid’ be applied.

That’s the rules of luxury so, Let’s Rate Some Pie!

Where: Hampden Park, Scotland v Belgium, World Cup Qualifying Group A

Price: At £2.60 this is 40p more expensive that it’s scotch equivalent but, as previously stated, is seen as a more high end product, something I will confirm one way or another in the next few paragraphs.

Presentation: Well that extra 40p doesn’t change how the pie gets handed to you, silver tinfoil case and a tiny, tiny napkin. However in this instance the case and napkin combo cause a couple of issues not encountered when consuming a scotch pie which will be covered further down.

Meatiness: Now this is not mutton, this is prime steak in an unctuous savoury gravy, well at least that’s the idea. I’m pleased to say that this was a perfectly acceptable attempt at it, the pie had clearly been baked for the appropriate amount of time as the gravy had not dried out and the meat was still pull-apart-at-your-teeth tender. There was a distinct taste of steak, although for me I would like a bit more pepper, but that’s personal preference as I like a bit of spice.

Pastry: Being a ‘luxury pie’ you are treated to a puff pastry top, which in this instance was sufficiently risen to be called puff pastry but not so much that the pastry to meat ratio was effected. However when picking up the pie the bottom completely fell out of it due in part to the plentifulness of the gravy. This is a common gripe I have with steak pies as it often results in you spending more time getting yourself in a right mess than focusing on the game in front of your eyes. Covering your fingers in gravy and steak rather than using the pie casing to do the work for you. This is why the reason the picture above is still sitting in the case. That being said the pastry complemented the filling very well and compared with some I have had in the past this crust was still relatively sturdy barring the very centre.

Overall: A first venture into luxury pies and it can be deemed a moderate success, tasty filling and nice pastry but while the bottom falling out doesn’t impact on flavour it does mean you get in a bit of a mess. You might even enjoy that. However I think its fair to say that in these circumstances a napkin the size of Papa Smurf’s bed sheets doesn’t really suffice.

Gravy Factor: Tasty Gravy. A good marker for all luxury pie’s to aspire to, need to sort that soggy bottom though.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side and with all things going to plan will have a new article up tomorrow.

One last thing before I go, whilst in ‘The International’ after the game, I came across this gem of a poster. A pie for 30p when you buy a pint. Bargain!

Discount Pies
Discount Pies

Pie 17: The Hampden Pie

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The Patriotic Pie
The Patriotic Pie

This week Meat Filled Pastries laughs in the face of the international break and all the problems it apparently causes football fans across the country by not just bringing you 1, but 2 Pie’s. That’s right I risked high cholesterol and possible meat induced coma’s for all you lovely, lovely pie munchers. (Editing Note: That last line was not a joke about lesbians).

I have split them into 2 reviews so that they both get the proper time and attention they deserve.

So without further ado, and with just a touch of man flu, mainly in part to the multiple drenching’s that I, like many others, experienced to and from Hampden on Friday night, Lets Rate Some Pie!

Where: Hampden Park, Scotland v Belgium, World Cup Qualifying Group A

Price: A Hampden Scotch Pie comes in at £2.20, I have touched on my feelings on the price of my pie at the upper echelons of the game so it’s safe to say I wasn’t overly enamoured at paying this, however when put in comparison to the recently reviewed Rangers Pie then this seems to be par for the course.

Presentation: Standard silver tinfoil and tiny napkin presentation here, and I mean a tiny napkin. It’s worth adding at this point that the pie was absolutely roasting making the napkin size even more impotent and which also in part explains the slightly misshapen ‘one bite expose’ taken above, I nearly dropped the thing twice!

Meatiness: A Scotch Pie. It was a nice meaty pie, but as you may or may not have noticed there is one thing missing for it to allow me to assess a full flavour profile. You Ready for this? Now bear in mind this was for a pie consumed at the home of our national football team, team of our national sport.

You Ready?

Here it goes, they had NO BROWN SAUCE! What the hell man?!? Seriously.

It’s bad enough that I was soaked and my team were getting pumped but to no be able to sauce my pie is just a travesty too far, especially when you right a blog about these pastry delights! And no, before you say it, tomato sauce is not just as good. It is an abomination to put such stuff on your pie, it doesn’t enhance the flavour as brown sauce can so often do. It totally changes it and anybody who uses tomato ketchup instead of eating their pie bareback needs to have a long hard look at themselves.

Anyway back to the pie, the meat was flavoursome without blowing me away, I have a feeling this may be a common occurrence when sampling pie’s higher up the footballing ladder but I didn’t feel my filling was terrible in anyway. Just a bit uninspiring.

Pastry: The top came a little loose under pressure but was overall cooked to the necessary level to retain its crispness whilst also allowing an easy bite. My one complaint would be the over exuberant sprinkling of flour that topped the pie, leaving in some bites a slightly chalky after taste.

Overall: Look, it’s not going to give you that, ‘Oh I must have it again feeling.’ but for something that is produced for the mass market it’s perfectly serviceable. Although it will take me a long time to forgive them for the no brown sauce fiasco.

Gravy Factor: Just below Bog Standard Bisto, and it’s standing just below is purely down to the lack of brown sauce provided. Once again for £2.20 you want a scotch pie that is more than nicely cooked mutton in a crust.

Pie 16: The Petershill Pie

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Hangover Pie.
Controversy, at Meat Filled Pastries HQ?

There is something that you should know before I continue this review:

I had drank a LOT of Tequila the previous evening.

Tequila is generally NOT conducive to wanting to feast on Meat Filled Pastries, however with that being said after a can of that well known Scottish elixir of life Irn Bru, I gathered myself and tucked right in. So without further ado, lets Rate Some Pie!

Where: Petershill Park, Petershill v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

Price: Now, got to be honest here. I was rather hungover folks and as such neglected to take a note of the individual price of my Meat Filled Pastry. However through the powers of deduction I can ascertain that as it was £4.80 for 2 Pies and 2 cans of juice, that the pie was at his cheapest £1.40 based on the fact a can of juice will be no more than £1 and to be honest those cans are usually less. Either way that is a pricey Junior pie. (UPDATE: Petershill have contacted me via Twitter and have kindly provided the price of the pie as £1.50.)

Presentation: The pie was presented in a half paper, half plastic bag, an unusual presentation technique for a pie and one that was not a success in this instance. For a start the paper was not enough to contain the pie’s heat, providing insufficient protection from the warmth that a napkin would, luckily they were on hand although were rather on the small side. Then we have the plastic, oh deary, deary me, the plastic. Helping to create what can only be described as a ‘sweaty’ pie, with a thin layer of grease wrapped all the way around the outside making the need for a napkin of greater substance even more paramount.

Meatiness: A Scotch Pie things were disappointing here as well. Somewhere there is a pie maker, in his hairnet and white coat, furiously grinding salt and pepper into an empty pie case because mine certainly was lacking the seasoning a good pie requires. Not even the saviour of many a poor pastry, Brown Sauce, could provide the flavour kick my heart desired.

Pastry: The pastry was ample, too ample for the meat that was provided. It was well browned but due to the way the pie was kept warm in the plastic and paper it took on the taste and crunch of something deep fried as opposed to lovingly baked in the oven. It like most of the rest of the pie left an unsatisfying layer of grease on your lips after every bite.

Overall: Look I want all pie’s to be meat filled delights, but I have to be honest and this is the first pie on my journey that didn’t hit the mark. It was never given a chance the moment it was left to steep under a heating lamp wrapped in plastic, whilst the filling was lacking in that meaty punch in the chops that every football fan is looking for.

Gravy Factor: Anaemic gravy, somebody used one scoop of the best Bisto they could get their hands on when 3 or 4 were required.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side.