Bobby Moore Fund

Pie 74: The Greenock Pie – A Meat Filled Tribute

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries the home of pies, pies and a little bit of football chat. Usually I would have a light-hearted pre-amble about something that has irked me about the recent weeks football activities but today will be slightly different.

A year ago to the week one of my closest friends passed away after a 2 year battle with bowel cancer, last week I was asked to say a few words about him as a tribute and for once I struggled. Not because I didn’t miss him, because I do sometimes without even knowing it. No the reason I struggled, me, the man who once a week writes a 1000 word diatribe based around pies, is that for all the words I write and say they don’t really mean anything, not really. I’m glad it spreads a little happiness and I’ll continue to do for as long as its fun but it’s not going to change the world. Might change a few pie suppliers, but not the world. So here it is, inspired by the eloquent and heartfelt sentiments of his friends and family I do my best to truly articulate what my friend meant to me, a meat filled tribute if you will:

Smit was a wonderful man and friend. For all the time I knew him he never once changed who he was or how he acted for anyone and that’s because he didn’t have to. Every day eulogies appear where someone is dubbed as the kindest or the nicest or the most well liked person and I’m sure in their own way they are but in Smit there was a man who nobody could say a bad word about. He would always be there for some hijinks or there to call you an idiot, something I had much experience of but most importantly he was always there. Even through the traumas of chemotherapy, of endless doctors appointments and hospital stays I never one felt that he wanted you to be anything other than normal with him. To live life to the end with that strength is something that I can only aspire too.

Smit died aged just 28 an age at which no person should pass away. When something like that happens its hard not to evaluate your own sense of worth and the decisions you make, it’s just human nature, the sudden realisation that life is fleeting and then invincibility of youth is a cruel façade that can be so quickly and unfairly taken away. The words of Meat Filled Pastries may not have been here was it not for the likes of ‘The Grambler’ and ‘Rubbertoe Mankini’ some of Stewart’s finest creations and the choices I make now are not made with more than a thought to what he would do if he was standing there beside me. I’ve become a little braver and I’d like to think a little wiser but these changes pale in comparison against what my friend had to go through.  I will always remember, I will never forget.

A year down the line and the focus of Stewart’s friends and family are firmly focused on raising the profile of bowel cancer and The Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund has raised nearly £15,000 to date. If you want to donate then you can do so at the following link, https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3/, you don’t have to but if you do it will be greatly appreciated.

The Grambler  is still going strong left in the capable hands of Stewart’s father Kevin, who continues to produce the betting tips that will win one day win you millions and all it asks in return is you push a little of those winnings towards the funds way. Below is a link to those testimonies I described earlier, if you’ve got this far you might as well read a little further:

http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/08/week-4-tribute-to-our-founder.html

The next fund-raising event is scheduled for Sunday 7th September and below I’ve attached all the information you need to know for a fun filled family day out!

fit fun day

Thank you for bearing with me through all that if it’s not your cup of tea I understand but it would be remiss of me not to use my mild infamy to promote something close to my heart. But for now let’s have a change of pace and why many of you are, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock v Pollok, West of Scotland Superleague, First Division

A Tipsy Pie...
A Tipsy Pie…

Price: £1. One single golden nugget has to depart from your paw to be rewarded with a meat and pastry snack. That my friend, in today’s world of £59.7m Angle Di Marias and £16m Danny Welbecks , is an absolute bargain.

Presentation: Being a scotch pie this rode bare back in my hand with just a medium-sized white blanket playfully wrapped around it.

THE PIE

Pie day is Cheat Day!
Pie day is Cheat Day!

Meatiness: This was a traditional scotch pie but if I’m being honest it was all rather disappointing. There was definitely a meaty centre derived from the most aged of mutton but it lacked any real flavour. There was no peppery hit and neither was there a savoury note to the meat inside. It was moist but didn’t feel lubricated with the wafer thin film of grease that a good scotch pie should leave on your lips as you consume it. This was certainly an instance where I was thankful for a healthy dollop of HP to add some much needed spice and zing.

Pastry: The pastry was OK, it was a hot water crust and a little crispy but also managed to be a little too soft on the sides at the same time. There was no hole in top to let the heat escape although to be fair I am yet to be convinced those pies that give a sneak peek of the meat inside do so for no other reason than aesthetic appeal. There is nothing more frustrating than a pie that you can’t get enthused about when you spend a good chunk of your time reviewing them but the pastry on this pie did little to lift my apathy.

Overall: I ate it, but it’s not devastating to think that it could be another wee while before I have another one.

Gravy Factor: A little below bog standard Bisto. Disappointing.

The next helping of pie will be from an as yet undetermined location so keep your eye out by following me @MFPTasty.

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

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.

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!