Welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries and my first foray into the Lowland League this season but before we get into that let’s talk about the Fringe. Edinburgh’s month-long festival of comedy, music, dance, arts, cinema etc. is not somewhere you would usually associate with the humble pie. I mean, there will almost certainly be a food stall or two offering you this meaty staple and the word pie itself is rife with the kind of innuendo that an easy joke is made for – I should know – but all in all, barring a rather grisly murder reference in the Shakespeare tragedy Titus Andronicus where two victims are baked into a pie, it isn’t necessarily renowned for its theatrical prowess. Enter The Pieman Cometh. A Scottish football comedy that I took a trip to see during the week.
It’s safe to say that I may have been one of the few people to fit into the middle part of their target audience Venn diagram, given my love for both football and pies, and if I didn’t know better then I would have thought this play had been wrote specifically with me in mind. Like most shows of which I have no prior knowledge of I went in with fairly low expectations but I am pleased to report this was actually pretty enjoyable. The story is an often told one around the pitfalls of football finance and for some it will be all to familiar. Although there was nothing overly ground-breaking the perspective and narrative were both good. Some of the characters especially the elderly fan were strong and in this instance particularly relatable. The jokes came round often enough to keep you going and although the ending felt a little abrupt I’d recommend it as a decent way to spend an hour in Edinburgh especially if you have a fondness for football.
Arts critique out the way let’s move on to some more familiar ground, and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld Colts 3-2 Kelty Hearts, Lowland League
Price: A fairly substantial £2 for a scotch pie sees this pastry priced more at a Scottish Championship level. It’s also extremely prudent for me to mention that I had to wait until just before half time for my pastry which – given the Friday night kick off – was also doubling as my dinner. I also noticed that they ran out before the half time interval was over, always a bone of contention for football fans.
Presentation: Presented on a medium-sized, if perhaps a little thin, white napkin. Just enough to support the pastry during consumption and mop up your face afterwards.
Meatiness: On first appearances I had my suspicions about where this pie came from, but what my meat filled trails have always taught me is always to take each pie on its individual merits. This pie was pretty good. The meat was well textured and had a good hit of pepper on the after bite. It was also the first pie in a very long time that had a little greasy dribble fall down my fingers. Not necessarily a bad thing, and in some ways it was weirdly nice to see the fat almost instantly harden in the ever Siberian-esque Broadwood conditions. It was perhaps a little flat in terms of quantity when checking the ratios against the pastry but all in all was tasty enough.
Pastry: This pie had a perfectly smooth top and the trim had earned itself a nice golden colour in the oven. Both the lid and base though were perhaps a bit too thick and as a result were slightly under done and a little bit doughy to the bite. It was however incredibly sturdy and I had little fears about losing and filling to the cold stone terracing below.
Brown Sauce: Yes, the pictures don’t lie. There was no sauce options on offer here. I don’t think in over six years of reviewing pies this had ever happened before and I’d hope it doesn’t happen again.
Overall: This pie tasted pretty good but the pastry was a little thick and the lack of condiments and running out are both match day catering faux pas’. Having managed to get one though I was happy enough.
Gravy Factor: I missed my brown sauce.
So a decent pie with a few teething problems on review of the overall pastry eating experience. Next up a return to the juniors for the first day of the new West Premiership season and a review from Renfrew.
So 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 as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. 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.
Hello pie fans, how are you? This question is entirely rhetorical as I won’t be able to respond, well unless you get in contact and if you do go to such extremes then I will (because I’m sound like that) get back to you. Anyway as regular readers will know I came back from Canada a couple of weeks ago and it’s safe to say some of my joie de vivre seems to have got lost on the flight back over the Atlantic.
Lazy people would attribute it to the holiday blues but for me it’s been part of a far longer malaise that a holiday only managed to put a temporary pin in. I can’t really put a finger on what has been gnawing away at me. It could be the realisation that as weddings and baby announcements become more frequent that I am now a proper adult, a proper adult who turns 30 later this year but still has next to no idea what he really wants to do with his life. I feel like I’ve lost my sense of purpose at the moment, not in some morbid kind of way where I’m getting the rusty razor blades out whilst turning Alanis Morissette’s Greatest Hits up to 11 ( Writers Note 1: I’ve just had a wee search on Google to see if such a thing exists and it does so in case you’re interested you can purchase The Collection for £4.45 on Amazon). (Writers Note 2: How good is Spinal Tap? Seriously it’s just great).
No, it’s not that but I have always had this belief that I’m destined to do something great, something that will leave my mark on the world for centuries to come. As much as we all have a laugh about it, Meat Filled Pastries (whilst obviously being the greatest thing on the internet today) is probably not going to be my coup de grace but at the moment I’m getting, just a little bit, impatient as I try to get the casserole of nonsense that floats about in my head to form some kind of sensible conclusions. I’m sure I will, it’s just going to take some time.
Anyway, apologies for using these hallowed pages to have a bit of a moan but sometimes man cannot communicate in pie alone. Ah pie, the one meaty constant in my life and the reason why most of you will have skipped to this part of today’s pieatribe upon the realisation that is not a football based tale of humour and whimsy.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Guys Meadow, Cumbernauld United 0-4 Pollok, West Superleague First Division
Price: £1.20 a diversion from the £1 offerings that have been gracing me these last few weeks. A 20% hike in price sounds whopping but in reality it”s only 20p and when you remember that for some pies at Hampden, the home of Scottish Football, they charge you up to £3.60 for a pastry then £1.20 isn’t all that bad really.
Presentation: Another paper plate and medium-sized white napkin offering here. Not quite sure why this has all of sudden sprung up as a key presentational technique towards the end of the season but it seems to be common none the less. This pie had the added bonus of being accompanied by a pint that you could quaff at your leisure during the game, which in Scottish football, is a very rare commodity indeed. It gets loads of extra points for that alone.
Meatiness: I know, I know. I need to calm down with the David Baileyesque attempts at pie based photography. I promise you that next time normal service will be resumed. Anyway, this was the first pie that I’ve had in a while that had a serious pepper kick to it, with a linger that lasted long into the night. The meat within was well-formed and suitably moist. That aside though I don’t really have much else to say to be honest, meat wise there was nothing wrong with it but it hasn’t lasted long in the memory.
Pastry: The pastry was slightly over-baked and being honest the top edges were burnt which gave the pie a slightly bitter and chalky finish. I try not to focus too much on the bake when reviewing pies at football grounds. It would be remiss of me not to pass comment as I believe all pies should be prepared with care and presented to fans in its optimum condition but I understand that sometimes a busy pie stall can result in the oven being left on a little bit longer than needed. If this pastry had been cooked to golden perfection I’m sure it would have been a suitably sturdy cup for its meaty contents as it was though, it was just a little bit frazzled.
Brown Sauce: In an opaque brown squeezy bottle this was a tangy version of this king of condiments.
Overall: The burnt pastry let it down a little but it was certainly a welcome return to the long peppery linger.
Gravy Factor: Peppery Bisto with a boozy finish.
Another pie down, a mere 3 steps away from the magic hundred, at which point the realities of writing a book about all of this will finally hit home. But before that pie 98 will be coming to you from Irvine Victoria in the Scottish Juniors. Remember to subscribe to the pie for all my latest meat filled coming and goings.
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.
It’s time once again to get meaty, and after a rather long run of luxury pies we return to where this all begun and a humble scotch pie offering this time from Rutherglen Glencairn. I’m continuing to squeeze every last drop out of this season that I can before the World Cup consumes all before it and as a result I have found myself at some really important and some not-so-important games. This one most definitely fell into the second category, an end of season mid-table clash that felt more like a friendly than anything else. In fact the friendly feel was enhanced further by the fact that I managed to return home with sunburn something I more commonly associate with the start of the season not the end.
To be honest though the significance of the came didn’t bother me. The sun was shining, the game was on and I had a pie in hand so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Clyde Gateway Stadium, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cumbernauld United, West Superleague First Division
Price: Priced at £1, this matches the price of the cheapest pies I’ve found on this journey and after parting with nearly £4 for Pie 66: The Fulham ‘Steak’ Pie, it felt good to get a handful of change from my fiver.
Presentation: A bareback pie presented in a medium-sized white napkin sufficient in size to hold the pie and leave parts of it untainted by crumbs and grease to wipe your mouth after consumption had been completed.
Meatiness: I’m not going to lie as the pie was presented to me I didn’t have high hopes, not only because it only cost £1 but also it looked a little anaemic, perhaps underdone, however after completing my first bite I was pleasantly surprised. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t going to win any prizes if I was an individual inclined to do end of season awards but it was pretty good. The meat was a pretty solid block but filled the case well enough. It was moist from the meats natural fats without being greasy and it had a peppery kick that almost felt alien so long it had been since I had experienced one. The flavour lingered long after my concentration had focused itself on the game going on in front of me and as such I felt no need to eat anything further. My suspicions were telling me that this was frozen, perhaps from a supermarket, but I’ll be happy to be told otherwise and if it was it didn’t stop it being a perfectly acceptable snack to have on a Saturday afternoon.
Pastry: My suspicions about the potentially frozen nature of the pie mainly came from the pastry. It was rather floury in taste suggesting it had been processed as opposed to handmade and it was rather thick all round breaking apart in shards as opposed to flaking as I bit into it. The final thing I noticed that had me wondering was the lack of a hole in the lid of the pastry to let out the steam something that would normally be placed there by a butcher or baker. The pastry didn’t feel right for a pie that should be consumed at a football ground.
Overall: For a quid, you would be hard pressed to complain, I didn’t love the pastry but it did a job with the addition of brown sauce helping to soften it slightly but I enjoyed the filling and the return of the long peppery linger.
Gravy Factor: Cheap and Cheerful Gravy!
I think I’m going to fall just shy of the 70 pie mark for the season but all going to plan the next review will be coming from Camelon Juniors on the last Saturday before Brasil 2014 kicks off in earnest. I also feel a non-pie related piece is long overdue and with a pretty quiet week ahead I’ll do my best to get something out.
However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!