away days

Pie 183: The Forres Thistle Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the second review from the Scottish Highlands as we dive into, what turned out to be, a rather substantial scotch pie offering from Logie Park.

If you want to read about the epic steak pie from the same venue then you can do so here, that one was definitely worth the 400+ mile round trip but before we find out if it was a day for double delight I wanted to give you an insight into that journey, one that very nearly resulted in an overnight stay in Forres itself.

The day started early, arriving at The Quiach, the regular post match watering hole for half eight with a roll and coffee in hand. There is a regular bunch that take the bus to these away games, and our numbers were boosted by an extra few who wanted to leave their cars at home and enjoy what had turned out be a first trip north in over five years.

The drive north was fairly uneventful, we rolled into town a couple of hours before kick off and quickly assessed our surroundings in search of the nearest pub knowing that the ground itself, which was situated on the outskirts, had no social club to fall back on. Having had a few in The Thistle Bar we boarded the bus and headed towards the ground which was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area. There was no parking to speak off and so our driver Wullie made the bold – and what soon turned out to be foolhardy – decision to go off road and park up on the grass, 45 seconds later the bus was stuck.

The rain had been falling heavily the night before and in spells throughout the journey and whilst a couple of cars were already in situ there was a suspicion as the wheels moved away from the safety of concrete to swampy grass that trouble was imminent.

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It was. The wheels spun, and spun, and spun, the engine grunting and moaning as the gears were cranked over and over. Still in our seats we could feel the bus slip deeper and deeper into the mud, a look out the window showing the carnage being caused. We disembarked and did the only sensible thing by making our way into the ground hoping to resolve it at half time leaving a gaggle of bus drivers to get started. 45 minutes later, it was still stuck, and with Wullie looking more and more a broken man a few of us headed out and after some digging, some pushing and the snapping of at least two tow ropes (unused seatbelts) the bus was free, our camaraderie strengthened with the path home secure and our shoes a little muddied.

The trip itself was made by that bus story as the game was very little to write home about but as we made are way back towards the gate it was fair to say we had earned ourselves a pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Second Round

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Price: £2. I’ve noticed this is becoming a bit of a recurring trend where no matter the type of pie the price for each remains the same. £2 for a scotch pie is quite high for this level but then counter that with that being the same price as the steak and it all kind of balances out.

Presentation: Same as the steak on a double layer of kitchen roll.

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Meatiness: This pie was a whopper but quantity doesn’t always mean quality and to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with this one. The texture was what you would expect to see in a good scotch pie but my filling was a little cold meaning the flavours didn’t pop as much as you would want them too. The meat was a little pale and grey meaning that when eating your eyes that sense too felt a little underwhelmed.

Pastry: Much like the steak the top was a little loose from around the sides but it had a nice golden colour to it and held the substantial filling comfortably.

Brown Sauce: HP, elite sauce levels here.

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Overall: A big lump lacking a little a punch.

Gravy Factor: Bog standard bisto.

Think you have what it takes to be a judge at this year’s World Scotch Pie Championships, then luckily for you the organisers are running a competition which will see you become a judge for the day, details of which can be found below.

https://worldchampionshipscotchpieawards.org/be_a_judge_competition_.php

Next time out we are back in Ayrshire to cast our eyes over the Irvine Meadow Macaroni Pie. 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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Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?

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As some of you may know, I have spent the last year running two sites with football at their heart and soul. This one, a celebration of all things pie and a sister site titled ‘Leading The Line’ where I would muse over many of footballs little foibles that are not solely encased in pastry. As the season comes to a close and plans get set in motion for next year I have decided to amalgamate the two sites into a one stop shop for all things sporting and pie. Do not be afraid that pies will be off the menu for there is another two reviews working their way to you in the next few days but now I want to take this site and to the next stage. This may work, this may not, but either way I will still be your number one friend in pie. So without much further ado, let me welcome you to Meat Filled Pastries first non-pie piece, Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?.

Picture courtesy of The Football Blogging Awards
Picture courtesy of The Football Blogging Awards

When I was a much younger lad I had a t-shirt that read, ‘Football is life…the rest is just a game’. At the time I believed it to be true but as I have grown older with life continuing to throw its many curve balls, both good and bad, I know that the slogan sprawled across my chest in those most innocent of days was nothing but a clever play on words that only helped to serve as just another subtle enabler to my burgeoning football addiction. As I travelled back in the deathly silence of the supporters bus, the realisation dawning on the dozen or so of us on board that this was the season that relegation had finally come after what has felt like years of constant struggle, that t-shirt came screaming to the forefront of my mind and the question I asked myself as I looked around was ‘Why are we all so sad?’. ‘How can something that is in reality so fundamentally irrelevant when compared with matters of life and death cause a group of men to look so down trodden and broken?’

I could analyse what caused this communal depression but instead of staring down the pit of despair that relegation is meant to bring, and quite frankly to try and cheer me up a bit as much as anything else, let us try and put a positive spin on what without a shadow of a doubt is the most soul destroying aspect of the game we all love.

1. At Least it’s Over.

Relegation is not something that happens in an instant, it’s the culmination of a season or in some cases many seasons woes and struggles. There is no more false hope to cling to, no mathematical equation that can save you and no desperate voice in the back of your head screaming ‘Please, please, please just put me out of my misery!’. When that final goal that seals you’re fate goes in the misery finally comes and the grieving can begin. Now some people deal with this grief in different ways, some get misty eyed giving knowing nods and gentle applause to the players who have just not been quite good enough whilst some get angry, unable to contain the raw emotion that the ultimate in footballing failure causes to coarse through their veins. For me I go into quiet contemplation mode, dissect every single tactical decision made, every substitution, every player signed and sold, wonder what will happen next and where it all went wrong this. Three very different ways of coping but all of them finally end with taking solace in the fact that at least it’s all over.

2. A Fresh Start.

A summer of fine tuning and removing the perceived dead wood has you starting the season, albeit at a lower level, as one of the title favourites and not the easy three points that your rivals eyed on a Saturday afternoon. The grieving is over and the wave upon wave of new hope and optimism is near impossible to repress even for the most cynical of fans. There is always that one new signing that scores 3 hat-tricks in pre-season and who you pin your hopes on for the year ahead. If a player doesn’t look up to the task early on they get the benefit of the doubt that a new season brings and you convince yourself he’s bound to come good soon. Sometimes the manager changes, sometimes it doesn’t but who cares as long as we keep winning and the crowds come flooding back.The dread of Saturday is replaced by the excitement of another potential day of glory. The dark days are over, by the end of the year your team will be champions!

3. Road Trip, Baby!

Get the satnav out as your geographical knowledge of the great footballing beyond is about to increase exponentially. All of a sudden places you’ve never heard of become your desired destination on a Saturday afternoon. The roads less trodden become the roads you and your fellow footballing army tread upon with new hope and expectation. You get to meet new people, drink pints in new pubs, stand on new terraces and set your taste buds alight with a smorgasbord of new pies and pastries all season long. For any football fan even the familiarity of a fierce rivalry can still breed contempt and the chance to go somewhere new is often what piques the interest of even the most casual of fans.

4. You Still Have Each Other.

Whatever joys or miseries a new season may bring you can carry on supporting the team you love safe in the knowledge that those fans that were there with you at the bitter end of a previously fruitless season will be standing side be side with you when hope springs anew once again. The slightly un-PC pensioners, the people you can’t remember how or why you stand with but you continue to do so with ever willing acceptance and the generations of family both young and old that are usually the ones responsible for you finding yourself in this mess in the first place.

I had spent 28 years on this earth without suffering relegation. I hope to go at least another 28 more before it happens again but until then I’ll do my best to remember that no matter how big a part of my life this wonderful game is, when the final whistle blows, it’s all still just a game.

 

If this is the first time you have read a non pie piece from me, I hope you enjoyed it and an archive of my previous work will remain on the internet until the end of time at http://www.leadingtheline.wordpress.com. But do not fear I have a programme deadline to meet so a new pie review will be with you imminently.

As always though, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 33: The Stenhousemuir Pie

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No that's not mood lighting, it was just dark.
Look at the floodlights glisten in the brown sauce. Beautiful.

 

Hello! Do you love pie? I love pie, and that is why I am here once again to get elbows deep in another meat filled beauty.

A few things have happened since my last entry on Meat Filled Pastries. Firstly, I have a shiny new banner header, it’s good innit? I still need to tweak a couple of things but your pie man is now a Pac-man and a big thanks to the person who made my rather crude drawings come to life. Secondly, Meat Filled Pastries made its radio debut as a guest on ‘Nugent4Nil’ on Pulse 98.4′ It was good fun to speak to fellow junior football fans and obviously spread the word of pie. If any of you missed it here’s a link to the show, http://www39.zippyshare.com/v/72429430/file.html‘, I’m on it for the whole hour so no need to skip ahead. You may hear the odd reference to ‘Beastie’ and I think it will be more entertaining if I let you decide who or what he or she may be. Hopefully though a few good things will come out of the back of my appearance and I’m already pencilled in for an end of season review.

How do you celebrate these latest developments I hear you ask. By sitting back, relaxing and reading another story of football based snacking from the ever increasing tome of pie that is Meat Filled Pastries.

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

Where: Ochilview, Stenhousemuir v Rangers, Ramsdens Cup Semi Final

Price: £2 worth of pie, cheaper than some but more expensive the others within the SPFL set up.

Presentation: Simply presented in a medium sized white napkin, sufficient to hold the pie and provide you with a corner to dab your mouth.

Meatiness: I usually find this the easiest part of these reviews to write but in this instance I have very little to say. It was filled well enough but what lay inside lacked any real punch and would have been helped substantially if it was a little warmer. This would have let the fat soften and spread flavour throughout the meat. The addition of a particularly tangy version of brown sauce certainly helped to add some more flavour which was needed. There was nothing wrong with the meatinees of this pie but nothing that left me feeling more than ‘meh’ about it.

Pastry: And the feeling of ‘meh’ continues. The pastry was just there, it lacked any real crispness to give a satisfying bite and was slightly pale in colour suggesting it may have been underdone. One thing of note is that unlike most scotch pies there was no hole on top to let the steam out. That’s right this pie is so boring that this may be the most interesting thing you read about it!

Overall: It was just boring, I had been told of the wonderful steak pies at Ochilview but alas these were not on offer for my consumption. Instead I was left with a scotch pie that, while filling a dinner-shaped hole in my belly, did not result in any great feelings of excitement in my taste buds when going to take the next bite.

Gravy Factor: Made with value gravy granules, it does the job but you find yourself reaching for additional condiments straight away.

I feel like any time I give anything other than a positive review I need to put a disclaimer at the end of it to re-confirm that this is just my opinion. Other people may love this pie, others may not. It’s what this journey is all about, watching football and consuming meat filled pastries. Just like every game of football isn’t a 4-4 thriller nor is every pie going to leave you yearning for more but when the final whistle goes or the final bite is but a distant memory you still love it all the same.

Until next time my fellow pie munchers, 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, and remember to visit ‘MeatFilledMerch’ for all your pie fashion needs where any personal profit made will go to The Grambler: Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund’ a truly worthwhile cause.