cumnock

Pie 168: The Cumnock Chicken & Haggis Pie

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We’ve reached the business end of the season and whilst I’ll be big game hunting over the next couple of weeks my side, Pollok, still have a few games to go in their pursuit of third place in the West Region Premiership.

It’s a trying time of the season for football fans whose sides have nothing to play for or no trophies to be won. For some the habit never goes away whilst for others a game without anything to play for is really no game at all. For me, a Saturday spent on the terraces is as much about catching up on the weeks events with your chosen few as it is pursuing glory. Fortunately with the nights getting lighter I’m still able to juggle the habit with the search for games that matter.

Last time I was at Townhead Park, home of Cumnock Juniors, I managed to nab myself one of their Steak & Haggis offerings so I was secretly quite pleased when they said that these had sold out and there was only Chicken & Haggis to go by. So, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Cumnock 1-4 Pollok, Townhead Park, West Region Premiership

Price: I think, this was £1.50, hands up here on my part as I totally lost track of what this pie cost but, using some algebra, I think this pastry came in at just a pound and a half, a bargain price for what we class here as a luxury pastry.

Presentation: Classic presentation style coming as it did on top of a single medium sized white napkin. Nothing to grumble about at all.

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Meatiness: No misnomers, this pie was most certainly chicken and haggis based. There were good sized chunks of white chicken meat surrounded by a generous portion of gently spiced haggis. The balance of flavours in this pie were spot on, the haggis not overpowering the chicken and although there was no real gravy to speak off it wasn’t necessarily needed here with sufficient moistness coming from the two component parts. It was very tasty.

Pastry: Oh this pie looked a mess, not that it had any detriment to the overall taste of the pie or the pastry but this one would definitely not go down as a looker. The puff pastry top had flaked away quite a bit from some rough handling and the sides may have had a couple of gaps but sometimes in the pie game it’s important to remember that looks aren’t everything.

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Brown Sauce: None mate, luxury pie.

Overall: Putting aside the rough and tumble nature of the pastry this was a really tasty pastry with it perhaps moving into pole position when it comes to Chicken & Haggis pastries on Scotland’s terraces.

Gravy Factor: None needed, just lots of lovely meat.

I suspect this might be my final junior pie review of the season but I’m not entirely sure at this stage. What I do know though is that next time out I will have not one, but two reviews from Galabank as Annan Athletic took on Stenhousemuir in the League One play-offs.

On last thing before I wrap up and that’s to point you in the direction of my piece for Pure Fitbaw assessing Scotland’s Women’s World Cup Squad. Linked it up right here for you so go have a look.

However 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 SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. 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.

Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the first pie review of the new year. 2019 will see me continue to try to find the best match day pastries around. One of the questions I often get asked is who makes the best football pies. I’ve often shied away from it as I’m not sure what the right answer has been, but with a new year comes new ideas and for the very first time I present to you the 2018 Meat Filled Pastries Awards.

I’ve split this into 3 categories – Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie, Best Non-Pie Pastry. I should note that at this point that this is for only new pies consumed in 2018, to include pies tasted more than a year ago just doesn’t feel right. So here we go:

Best Scotch Pie 2018 – Pie 131: The Bathgate Thistle Pie

A former World Scotch Pie Champion this offering had all the key components a good scotch pie should have all just fine tuned and turned up a little. Honourable mention to Pie 153: The Partick Thistle Pie for keeping the senior flag flying.

Best Luxury Pie 2018 – Pie 151: The Cumnock Steak & Haggis Pie

A surprise winner here. Not because the combination of steak and haggis shouldn’t have been delicious, it definitely can be, and it was but because I turned up at Townhead Park with zero expectation of having a new pie to review. To be then greeted with this beauty was truly something wonderful. Honourable mention also goes to Pie 142: The Troon Steak Pie, a pie that could feed a million people quite easily such was its generosity in size and flavour.

Best Non-Pie Pastry 2018 – Pie 130: The Girvan Sausage Roll

This was a tough one to call as it easily could have also gone to Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie but this sausage roll just edges it with its size and neatness in construction tipping the balance in its favour. The smear of mustard inside the pastry an inspired addition.

A strong showing for the Scottish Juniors here. I had a slight concern that I was viewing these with a non-league bias but when I read back through the reviews the words really did speak for themselves. I’m writing this on the 1st January 2019 and so I thought it would be remiss of me not to welcome in the new year with a new steak pie review, this time from the Lowland League as I spent the Friday night between Christmas and New Year at the Falkirk Stadium as East Stirlingshire took on University of Stirling.

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

Where: The Falkirk Stadium, East Stirlingshire 2-2 University of Stirling, Lowland League

 

Price: At £2.40 it feels like this pastry pricing was a victim of its surroundings being as it was right at the very top end of the non-league pastry pricing structure whilst also being higher than many SPFL pastries.

Presentation: Presented in a tin foil case which sat on top of a super large double layered white napkin which helped to protect your hand from the oven fresh pie.

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Meatiness: There was a fairly decent filling held within this pastry. The gravy was well-flavoured and had a nice consistency to it that when you took a bite it popped up through the hole in the pastry. A little dark brown chimney of savouriness to help you power through a cold December evening. There perhaps could have been a bit more meat distributed throughout, and perhaps what was there could have been distributed a little more evenly but it was tasty enough nevertheless.

Pastry: One of the things I often reference when reviewing a pie that has been presented inside a tin foil case is that it’s often a challenge to both keep the pastry in tact and also ensure it is properly baked. One of the method’s of stopping this sticky situation is to line the bottom of the tin with a floury layer. This was what was applied here and whilst it meant the pastry didn’t stick the layer was a little too thick giving a slight raw flour taste to the bite and although it didn’t stick it was perhaps a little soft too although it did stay entirely intact which has to be commended.

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Brown Sauce: It’s a new year but the same rules apply. A luxury pie should provide you all the saucey substances you ever need.

Overall: A decent effort. Everything tasted fine but I would have liked to have seen a little more meat in the filling and a little more bake on the base.

Gravy Factor: Decent gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from East Stirlingshire, with review two focusing a bit more on the match day experience at the Falkirk Stadium as well as on another meat filled marvel.

However until then, go forth into 2019 and eat some pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pie 151: The Cumnock “Steak & Haggis” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where 150 pies were clearly never going to be enough.

As the years have ticked by I’ve had to keep track of those venues where I’ve had a pie before. When pulling together the infographic for Pie 150 I noticed I had somehow managed to do not one but two reviews from Rossvale. A stat made even more befuddlingly when you consider that neither had came from their current home at Huntershill  and that I had also managed to squeeze in a bridie review from the same club. At least with the bridie it could stand alone as part of the extended Meat Filled Pastries family. With that in mind I arrived at Cumnock knowing that I had previously reviewed both the scotch and onion pies fairly early in my journey and so I anticipated my culinary peak from Townhead Park to be the drinking of the rarely found 60/- from the Ayrshire side’s rather good social club.

My assumption however was wrong because as I approached the pie stall to get involved with some “Nock Nosh” I was greeted by the geuninely excited chatter from my fellow match day munchers that there were two new types of pies to sample. In the least surprising revelation of this post one of these new breeds managed to fall lovingly into my palm and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock 1-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round Replay

Price: At £2 this was at the top end of the junior pricing spectrum but given that I was on a promise of both steak and haggis I was more than willing to let this pastry whisper sweet nothings on my taste buds before deciding if I was getting value for money.

Presentation: Despite its steaky nature this pie went old school, presented as it was on a single medium-sized (maybe evem large) white napkin. As consumption progressed this proved more than plenty.

Meatiness: On entry to this pie I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Should there be lots of gravy? Will this marriage of haggis and steak mingle into a meaty morsel that will make my mouth moist with its magic?

I’m happy to report that the filling of this pie was indeed a belter. At first my taste buds were hit with a smooth but spicy punch of haggis, a flavour that is instantly recognisable to the initiated but almost indescribable to those yet to experience the joy of an offal stuffed lamb’s stomach. Immediately I deduced that there was no gravy to be found but that was not an issue as the moistness provided by all those bits that North America continue to hide from were ample and slowly gave way to large chunks of well cooked and tender steak. This filling was getting “the nod”. That moment when your head, mind and taste buds come together in unison to proclaim that the symphony of flavours that you are experiencing are in fact very, very good.

Pastry: The pastry on this pie was also very near the top end. The sides and base were well cooked and held firm against the moist filling although they were perhaps a little peely wally in colour. There was some boil out, and whilst that is sniffed at by some, I always feel it adds some character to a pastry. A little imperfection to help make it feel special. The colour shone as you gazed at this  pie from above, the top formed as it was with a lovely golden disc of puff pastry that broke off into buttery flakes whilst the underside merged with the filling below. This pie was pulling out all the stops.

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Brown Sauce: I’m almost compelled to say that brown sauce may have ruined this pie, which is a very bold statement indeed.

Overall: Steak + Haggis + Good Pastry = Happy Pie Punter.

Gravy Factor: No Gravy. Just good, good times.

This was a wonderful pastry surprise to come across on a dreich Saturday afternoon and it’s equally wonderful to see lower league football clubs and their providers identify the opportunity to expand their range. I will maintain until my dying days that a “killer” pie will do as much good for a side as a decent cup run or title challenge ever will especially when performance on the pitch is infinitely harder to control.

Next up I continue my quest to champion the women’s game as I attend the Scottish Women’s Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell where perhaps surprisingly I embark on my first review from Firhill, home of hipster’s choice Partick Thistle.

However until then, 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 and  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.

 

 

 

Pie 61: The Cumnock ‘Onion’ Pie

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'This pie represents a call to arms!'
‘This pie represents a call to arms!’

In 3 days time (Friday April 11th 2014) entry’s close for the 2014 British Pie Awards and I’m using this latest entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame to encourage all you pie fans to ensure that the tastiest football pastries are proudly presented at this annual extravaganza. If you read this then please let your club know, let your fellow fans know whether they be supporters of your club or another and let the friendly faces behind the pie stalls up and down the country know that this is the time for their pastries to shine.

More information can be found at this link, http://www.britishpieawards.co.uk so go and have a look but until then with much gust and little further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

Price: Priced at £1.20, this is the same price as the standard scotch offering, re-opening the debate as to whether or not an onion pie should be bracketed as one that is luxury in nature.

Presentation: I touched on the lovely ladies behind the counter in my previous review (Pie 60: The Cumnock Pie) so we can return our focus onto the ever classical but oh so minimalistic production values of the medium-sized white napkin in which this pie was nestled. Standard.

Meatiness: This pie had that distinctive waft of onion that I have come to associate with pies of this nature although not as strong as other similar offerings. The meat inside was formed in a way similar to a scotch pie, a seasoned block of mutton that whilst lacking in that distinctive peppery kick was laden with chucks of near translucent white onion. There was enough fat within the pie to keep it moist, perhaps a little greasy for some but nothing that a couple of extra steps on a treadmill couldn’t take care of. I would add that in this instance a dot of brown sauce would have definitely enhanced the overall taste experience due to the fact it’s meaty content was that of a scotch pie but as I am treating this as a luxury option not a drop was to be had on this occasion.

Pastry: The main distinguishing feature of this pie was the two holes on top of the classic scotch pie casing, this I assume helps to easily distinguish between the normal scotch and onion options available whilst serving. Outside of this it was a normal hot water pastry surround and top. It was a little bit caught around one edge but nothing that was too detrimental to the overall flavour of the pie. A solid pastry casing for the meat inside that tore apart as your mouth would expect it to on each bite.

Overall: A sweet onion pie that whilst different was also very much the same as the scotch pie effort. The large chunks of onion added extra flavour but maybe could have been a little more cooked through before adding to the mince. It would have benefitted from a glistening blob of brown sauce and perhaps being a tad less greasy but this was still a tasty treat.

Gravy Factor: Chunky Onion Gravy.

After a whistle-stop tour of East Ayrshire we have reached pie number 61, the next offering is to come from a yet undetermined location and as soon as I know the Meat Filled Pastries twitter, which you can follow on the right side of this page, will be the first place to tell you but until then go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ‘Deliberate Deliberations’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at what constitutes a deliberate handball in the modern game. An archive of all my non-pie pieces can be found on Leading the Line and on The FBA’s website.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit 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 you are 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.

Pie 60: The Cumnock Pie

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Brought to you by 'Nock Nosh'
Brought to you by ‘Nock Nosh’

 

A pie for every minute in an hour, that’s the stage we’ve got to as the season enters its final throngs and a pie on a warm sunny day becomes anever increasing possibility. If you weren’t aware of it already this is Meat Filled Pastries, one man’s mission to keep pies at the forefront of footballsnackage on the terraces up and down this wonderful land of ours. I write this as I sit and watch Barcelona vAthletico Madrid in the Champions League and I wonder what the pies are like at the Nou Camp? I assume the answer is non-existent; my only experience of Spanish football to date coming at Tenerife v Barcelona B where the snack of choice was sunflower seeds, husked at the teeth and available in a variety of flavours. A surprisingly tasty but very messy and distracting footballing snack. But what about snacks across the rest of the world, what do they eat there? What do they do when they need something to get them through to dinner time? The Germans are known for beer and sausage but outside of this is their any country in the world where a food stuff can be so intrinsically linked to football as the humble pie is in bonnie Scotland.

With a World Cup on the horizon and the barren pie weeks of the summer to contend with, perhaps we will look to find out more in the future, but for now, and without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

Price: Priced at £1.20, yeah £1.20 your average junior pie price. Let’s just move on.

Presentation: This pie was presented in the standard medium-sized white napkin that we have all come to know and love however the real stand out memory from this visit was the fierceness of the lassie behind the counter. Almost demanding the queue of men awaiting their post pint snack to announce themselves as the ‘First One’s There!’, if they dared to admit it. I would hate to think what kind of moist panted panic would have ran down the legs od the few that had got to the window and not known what they wanted. OK, I may be exaggerating a bit but for some I would imagine it could genuinely be a little bit frightening.

Meatiness: This was a proper scotch pie with a fairly solid meaty block held within the pastry. It was well textured and a had the peppery kick that I have oh so been missing in my recent pie based exploits. The meat was moist although for my taste perhaps just a little greasy as could be seen by the light pie stain on my napkin after completing consumption. Ignoring that though the meat was well seasoned and the brown sauce dollop that has caused me a few issues in recent weeks returned to its rightful place atop a scotch pie, adding another layer of flavour to the meat inside. Taking all these points into consideration this was a solid filling to a scotch mince pie.

Pastry: The pastry was more of receptacle to the pie as opposed to adding any great waves of flavour. As can be seen from the one bite expose it was a little well fired in places which for me is fine but for some others that may be disappointing. This meant that the pastry was incredibly crisp and on occasion broke off into small shards. No real inconvenience as sometimes I like to do dip the outer edge of the crusts into the puddle of brown sauce above, you know just to mix up the pie eating experience a bit. This pastry did the job it was intended for.

Overall: As previously stated it had been a while since I have had a scotch pie, in its truest form, in my hand. It had a nice pepper kick and lovely crispy pastry. It was a little bit greasy and if I’m being honest it won’t live long in the memory but it was a tasty version of a scotch pie and one that I wouldn’t be disappointed to have pass by my lips again.

Gravy Factor: The Return of the Snack, the scotch pie snack that is.

Another meat filled marvel down, and still so many more to go. The next one will be The Onion Pie offering from Cumnock. How will it stack up against the previously reviewed Onion Pie offering from near rivals Auchinleck Talbot, although I can assure you even I’m not brave enough to tell you which one I think is better. They are all pie and as such are welcomed gleefully into my belly.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ’Pretty in Pink’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at some of the pinkest kits you’re eyes ever did see and the stories behind them. I also encourage you to look out for my piece ‘Defining World Class’ on the same site, you’ll have to scroll down a bit but it’s definitely worth a read. Something new will be coming soon.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit 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 you are 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.

Pie 59: The Auchinleck Talbot ‘Onion’ Pie

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Did this pie make my eyes water?
Did this pie make my eyes water?

It’s pie time. A new review and a somewhat luxury offering from Auchinleck Talbot awaits. In my eyes a pie is plenty when it comes to match day sustenance,  maybe two but for some the option of a side dish is one that turns their trusty pastry snack into a full blown mid-afternoon dinner. Sides often include but are not limited to chips, soup or in this case a generous dollop of mushy peas. In fact whilst living in Brighton,  I often attended games at Lewes FC, where on one occasion a chap leaning on the barrier to my side advised me to poke a hole in my pie, which I should add was a steak and kidney delight, and pour my Bovril straight inside! People will have their own little pie eating rituals even if they don’t realise it but me; I like my pie to fly solo perhaps even more so since the creation of Meat Filled Pastries. Look out for your pie eating ritual next time you’re about to take a bite.

But anyway rituals aside and without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Beechwood Park, Auchinleck Talbot v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Divison

Price: £1.20. The same price as the standard pie offering from Auchinleck and as such almost single-handily throwing my theory out the window that a ‘luxury’ pie has to be significantly more expensive that its standardised contemporaries.

Presentation: Although this pie is packed with onion it was still lovingly dressed in the medium-sized white napkin often seen nestling snugly underneath many a pie across the land.

Meatiness: So what is the difference between a normal pie and an onion pie? Well the first thing you notice is the smell and I don’t mean that to cast a negative light on the filling inside this pie in any way. In fact to be honest I’ve never really though about how a pie smells until this one wafted past my nostrils with its distinctly sweet smell of onion almost immediately putting my taste buds on high alert.

Something new in the world of Meat Filled Pastries was about to happen.

I took my first bite and was greeted with a combination of fine mince and thick gravy rounded off with some clearly visible slivers of near translucent onion within. The taste was predominantly of meat but you could not ignore the distinct oniony undercurrent adding a layer of flavour not found in your standard scotch offerings. Ironically enough after saying in my last review (Pie 58: The Auchinleck Talbot Pie) that I didn’t require any brown sauce upon it I couldn’t help but wonder if this luxury offering would have been enhanced even further with a wee splodge of brown sauce but it’s was just fine without. I was worried this was a bit of a gimmick but it actually turned out to be a very different animal indeed.

Pastry: A puff pastry top with a golden pastry surround and base it was almost identical to the mince and gravy offering from the same club but for the two holes popped in the lid which in retrospect probably help the scent of onion enter into my nostrils. It held well in my hand and even after squeezing it a little to show more of the filling for that crucial one bite expose the pastry remained intact until my consumption was complete.

Overall: Is it a luxury pie? I’m still not 100%. sure In essence it was your standard pie with a few extra onions through it but it would be remiss to ignore the definitive deviation in flavour that these eye watering roots supplied. I would maybe add some brown sauce next time but it was perfectly lovely without it.

Gravy Factor: This is an easy one. Onion Gravy

Another pie done and as such I can concentrate on something that’s not pie related for the rest of this week. Your next helping of pie will come from Cumnock, Auchinleck’s nearest and fiercest rivals. Let pie battle commence!

Until next time go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ’Pretty in Pink’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at some of the pinkest kits you’re eyes ever did see and the stories behind them. I also encourage you to look out for my piece ‘Defining World Class’ on the same site, you’ll have to scroll down a bit but it’s definitely worth a read. Something new will be coming soon.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit 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 you are 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.