celtic

Pie 80: The Celtic Pie

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Hello and Welcome to the Oak Anniversary of Meat Filled Pastries, the marriage of one mans journey of football and his love of pie, let’s get into it.

I have decided that I want to become a professional sportsperson, in particular, a footballer, at 29 I know I am at the peak of my footballing powers with a left foot that can still ping a decent long ball cross field and the love of a good tackle but how do I get my foot in the door? Well, based on the antics of football authority figures in the UK alone then I have a few options:

1. Be a convicted rapist.

2. Be proficient in the art of racist, sexist and chauvinistic text messaging.

3. Be a bit flippant about practitioners of Judaism.

Look at the list. Seriously look at it, and that’s without considering the list of match fixers, assaulters and hit and runners to name just a few of the convincts currently plying their trade in professional football in the UK.  Could you imagine talking yourself out of a disciplinary hearing in your work if you were found guilty of any of those listed above, no me neither but yet in the realms of professional football, a place seen as the holy grail for idealistic youngsters kicking a battened Dr. Pepper can about a school playground, these crimes (because that’s what they are) result in almost instant redemption. It’s appalling.

Now let me clarify this by saying I am not against rehabilitation of individuals who have committed such crimes but for the process to be carried out in front of millions of people, many young and impressionable, whilst getting paid a small fortune for the privilege really has your head scratching at what goes through the minds of the people that run our game. The joke is there is no rehabilitation of these individuals, there’s no courses they have to go on, no donations being made, no consequences for their acts, instead these individuals are rehabilitated back into the game as if nothing has ever happened. If you need any evidence of the impressionability of these figures on others then just look at the moronic behaviour of a small minority of Sheffield United fans who took to social media to post about club patron, Jessica Ennis-Hill, because she had the audacity to say that rape isn’t very nice.

You know, I don’t know if I even blame the individuals, not for their actions which are clearly abhorrent, but for there willingness to accept the warm embrace of the football family, irrespective of their crimes. Why feel shame, when those around you behave like their is nothing to be ashamed of? I don’t know, sometimes it makes you think, why bother?

Luckily though I have never heard of pies committing hate crimes, so without further ado let’s rate some pies!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Celtic Park, Scotland v Republic of Ireland, Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D

 The battle rages on...

Price: Priced at £2.20 it was 10p more expensive than it’s most recent comparable (Pie 78: The St. Mirren Pie) and as such is at the top end of the scotch pie price scale for Scottish football, this price would no doubt be defended on the basis of the surroundings in which you consume it in.

Presentation: A small white napkin with a tin foil container, very much the standard at this level, although I’m still to be convinced the red hot nature of a pastry case is really what a football fan need to contend with as a game rages on before your eyes.

THE PIE

Rather blurry, sorry about that folks!
Rather blurry, sorry about that folks!

Meatiness: The level of notes I made about this pie on reflection could have been far more in depth, but as it was my birthday, and perhaps the biggest game of the year I was set to attend, I was rather full of the joys of life. That said though, notes were made and the memory is now accustomed to storing pie consumptions in a section of my brain, ready for removal come review time. The pie was filled nicely, there was room for more but you couldn’t accuse it of being skimpy. The meat was moist if not a little greasy, but had a nice texture. There was a long hot, peppery linger something that my palate yearns for but, as I discovered come judging day, would be too severe for those with tufts of grey hair poking out their ears. I lied it though, so that’s all that matters.

Pastry: Pretty non descript although I will say it felt and looked under baked and actually mashed together a bit in the mouth as you munched your way through. There was no crispy edges perhaps a symptom of trying to meet demand instead of providing a quality product. Could have been better, could have been worse.

Brown Sauce: A small brown sachet, the kind you see in work place canteens across the country, one is never quite enough but two is sometimes too much. Added tang.

Overall: A solid effort, long peppery kick, added the heat which I adore but some may not. Pastry could have been better baked. Preparation perhaps done in a somewhat slap dash manner.

Gravy Factor: Pepped up with pepper gravy!

Who knew that Oak is the item associated with an 80th wedding anniversary, and who knew I would get to 80 pies when this started, well 81 is on it’s way the first of a double dunt special from junior side Dundee Violet.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 79: The Alloa Athletic Pie

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Hello and Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, what a few days of pie it’s been, judging day has been and gone and 49 pies have passed my all-encompassing glare but 49 is not enough! I’ve only been undertaking this journey of pie for a mere 16 months and I have already found 79 meaty morsels to sample, 49 is barely the crust on the oozy meaty goodness that is the Scottish football pie scence. So I say to you, pie prince and princesses, producers of pastry that is merrily consumed on concrete terraces, grassy banks and in those damn plastic seats across our fair and bonny land get your finger out and champion your pie. You’re too late to be crowned the best Football Pie of 2015 but the 2016 title could be yours. Anyway, I’m going to try to do a separate piece on my day of judging in Dunfermline but it’s safe to say I had an absolute blast. Thanks again to The Scotch Pie Club, Scottish Bakers and The Scottish Meat Traders Association for having me and Div at Pie and Bovril for making it so. All questions asking what pie was the best will be met with a polite silence as I, much like the organisers, want to keep the winners and losers a secret until announcement day in January 2015.

Amazingly though after sampling 49 pies my hatred of rush hour traffic meant that a detour to Alloa provided me with the opportunity to partake in my 50th pie of the day! But this one would be judged on my terms, the terms you have all come to know and love.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The Indodrill Stadi…no wait, it’s not The Indodrill Stadium, it’s Recreation Park. Always has been always will be. I understand the economics of getting named sponsorship for your clubs ground but sometimes I just despair, what even is Indodrill? In my head it’s some kind of giant purple digging device. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to need one of those. It’s like watching the Champions League and thinking to myself I must remember to buy some Gazprom next time I’m getting my milk, is Gazprom something that you can buy in your local Glasgow convenience store? It’s one of the trappings of the modern game that I’ll have to deal with but it’s one that doesn’t leave me feeling super comfortable conflicting greatly with my traditionalist nature. Anyway this bit isn’t usually this long so…moving on.

Alloa Athletic v Ayr United, Scottish Cup 3rd Round Replay

Recreation Park
Recreation Park

Price: £1.50 a very reasonably priced pie given the club’s current Championship status, much cheaper than many competitor pies in the division and not a massive jump in price when compared with pies found at the top end of the junior game.

Presentation: It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say this but draped across this pie was a classically proportioned white napkin. A return to old faithful.

THE PIE

Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!
Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!

Meatiness: After a long day of pie tasting the idea of having a fiftieth pie seemed pretty ridiculous and my biggest fear was that this was going to be awful. Thankfully though this was a wee meaty delight. The meat was moist with a good texture, confirmed by employing a squeezing technique I had picked up earlier in the day. It was well filled with a gentle peppery kick and was of a temperature that allowed immediate consumption once my one bite expose was complete. The seasoning was good and all in all the filling inside didn’t have me regretting my decision to plough on with pie 50 of the day.

Pastry: The pastry was a little under done at the sides causing it to squash as you bit through it but the top was nice and golden. There was a little bit of grease seeping out the top but nothing that distracted from the pastry’s integrity. In fact you could say it added some extra flavour to it. It was well seasoned and held its meaty contents throughout the consumption process.

Brown Sauce: In a large diner-style squeezy brown bottle, there was no indication of what brand was squirted gaily on top of this pie but it did provide an additional tang of flavour.

Overall: For the 50th pie of the day this was a fine way to top off a day’s tasting. The meat was well seasoned, pastry crisp enough and had a peppery linger that, in my eyes, all good pies should have.

Gravy Factor: That extra bit of gravy that you shouldn’t have had but you tuck in any way because quite frankly who doesn’t love a bit of extra gravy?

Another one down. I know I’ve thrown a bit of a curve ball promising a Glasgow City pie and then producing this but that’s the life of pie for you, you never know what you’re going to get. Well until next time where I can definitely confirm that up for review will be the Celtic Pie.

However until then, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 65: The Scottish Cup Final ‘Steak & Ale’ Pie

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But that's not a Pie!
But that’s not a Pie!

Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, all about the pastry of all pastries the humble pie. This latest review comes from The Scottish Cup Final at Celtic Park between St. Johnstone and Dundee United and as you may have already noticed I have had a camera related mishap when it comes to the capturing the one bite expose that graces every review I do. Put simply I haven’t saved it. I took it. I know I did because I remember looking at the picture and thinking what a tiny looking bite I had taken but alas as I went to upload it there was no picture to be found. That however doesn’t mean there will be no pie review.  I ate a pie and you need to hear about it so instead of a pie glistening in the sun you have my view from the stands as Dave Mackay lifted the trophy for the first time in St. Johnstone’s 130 year history.

The other thing to make you aware of is that I have broken my own rules by not having a simple scotch pie on my first visit to Celtic Park since this blog has started. Instead as a fitting tribute to the celebratory feel that the cup final provided I dived head first into the luxury market safe in the knowledge that I will return to Celtic Park soon as a member of the Tartan Army.

So it’s a luxury steak and ale offering this time round, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Celtic Park, St Johnstone v Dundee United, Scottish Cup Final

Price: At £2.90 this pie certainly had a price that matched its luxury status with only Pie: 36, The Hampden Curry Pie, being more expensive on my journey so far. There was an option to combine as part of a meal deal which would save you 10p or so overall but I ignored this option. Even with a potential 10p deduction this pie had some pricey expectations to meat, and yes I am aware I’ve spelt ‘meet’ wrong but sometimes a pie pun is too good to miss. Moving on….

Presentation: Before I actually get to the pie itself I feel I should let you know how this pie arrived in my paw. Whilst standing in a queue that was clearly going nowhere fast I noticed a refreshment hut solely devoted to pies. I booming love this idea as I approached the counter there was no queue and I was served straight away. Obviously I was delighted to have my hands on some hot pie but saddened that the chips, burgers, hot dogs and even pizzas (which looked rotten by the way) brigade continue to force their way into the football snacking market. It wasn’t just that though there was also indian and mexican food stands each offering their own alternatives to our grizzly pie faced veteran. Some will say variety is the spice of life and, in general, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement but a football ground is not where you should experience your first taste of cuisines from around the world, it was all just a bit annoying. As for the pie itself it was presented in a tin foil case with a slightly larger than normal napkin, pretty standard although I couldn’t hep but notice the sheer size of it and suddenly £2.90 didn’t seem too bad at all.

Meatiness: Recently I have found the steak pies I have been offered have shied away from the tender meaty chunks approach of pie preferring a texture closer to the cheaper scotch pie equivalents, on this occasion however I am happy to report the return of the meaty chunks. It’s these chunks of pull apart tender steak that really make these pies worthy of the luxury name. There can be no debate about the fact you are eating meat and it means the gravy, that was well seasoned with a lovely malty background taste from the ale, can truly wrap itself around the chunks and be assessed independently in its own right as i have jsut done. This was a really tasty pie and as I have alluded to earlier the filling inside was generous to the extreme, this was no four bite wonder but a full ten minutes of happily nibbling away.

Pastry: The pastry was a classic puff all the way round with the top hanging over the edges of the tin foil case in which it resided. This however caused a problem with the lid coming clean off after a couple of bites, something which I will do if a pie is presented to me on a plate but not the most convenient of things when standing in a football ground. Luckily my years of pie eating experience meant that I could strategically place each bite so that by the end I was left with only a small mound of meat to scoop up with my fingers. The pastry was lovely although a few knobs of butter short of being truly great but given the volume of the meat it provided a well judged counter to the richness within. This pastry was far more than a receptacle for the meat inside.

Overall: I really liked this pie, especially the additional of ale in the gravy. The malty notes it gives when mixed with the chunks of gravy are a taste sensation that all pie lovers should at least get to try once. It was huge and  although still a bit pricey by the time I finished eating I certainly didn’t feel short-changed. The top was loose but what was inside more than made up for it, maybe not quite the best ‘Steak & Ale’ pie I’ve had but as an overall package I would certainly have it again.

Gravy Factor: Chunky Ale Gravy! Yum!

A pie certainly worthy of a cup final, my next review, alcohol intake permitting, will be from Craven Cottage as Scotland take on Nigeria. I’m disappointed that the Michael Jackson statue will not be there to pose beside but a Tartan Army trip away is always an adventure not to be missed.

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