darvel

Pie 194: The Darvel Pie

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Hello, and welcome to the latest dissection of match day pastry, this time from East Ayrshire side Darvel, a side with perhaps the biggest pie presence in Scottish football thanks to the fairly recent involvement of Browning’s the Bakers at the club.

Whilst the away dugout remains a squat little stone cover, with a bench for no more than three, or maybe four if they are particularly young and spindly, derrieres, the home dug out is big and plastic and modern, somewhat out of kilter with its modest but developing surroundings. The frame of which shouts in yellow the phrase, “Say Aye to a Kilmarnock Pie”.

Not “Killie Pie”, that particular colloquialism was removed from the Brownings product as a result of a dispute with the Scottish Premiership side however that hasn’t stopped every single person asking for one at the brightly decorated kiosk in Recreation Park from using it. If you want to read more about why that change in moniker came about then you can do so in my Scottish Football Histories piece about Scotland’s national pastry.

The Kilmarnock Pie is still big business though and it again featured well at the World Scotch Pie Championships, but I’ve had it on multiple occasions including at Rugby Park, and so instead I plumped for the original match day treat, the Scotch Pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Recreation Park: Darvel 2-1 Petershill, Recreation Park, Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round Replay

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Price: £1.20. A price that is not too much nor too little. Just right to sway those few who dither when on the search of sustenance following a pre-match pint or two. For reference, and because I had one too, the Kilmarnock Pie came in at £2, a decent price for a slice of luxury.

Presentation: Unusually for a scotch pie at junior level this pie came within a shiny foil sheath snuggly wrapped around the pastry. Below, a single, but ample, napkin. Ideal.

Meatiness: As was the case with the Kilmarnock Pie, this too was a pastry with much previous acclaim, in fact a Scotch Pie World Champion of competitions past and it was easy to understand why as the warming hint of pepper tingled across the tongue before lingering as the teams made their way out onto the pitch. The meat, with a texture that held to the bite, was laced with enough grease to keep each morsel moist without leaving a sheen across the lips.

Pastry: It looked good, well sealed on top and with a crispness to the edge that overhung slightly on one side, however the pastry within the casing had gone soft falling apart as it was lifted out of the place that it had called home for the 35-40 minutes spent in the bakers oven. It may have been a little too supple but it was certainly cooked through although the steaming that it had undergone at some point made for a distracting bite.

Brown Sauce: Unusually for this level there was no big squeezy bottle, branded or otherwise, but a cardboard dispensary bursting with little blue packs of HP Sauce of sufficient size that meant one was plenty.

Overall: A generous and well-balanced treat that was only let down by pastry that wilted under the weight of its plentiful bounty.

A delicious wee treat from Darvel, soft pastry aside, and all in all an enjoyable first trip to Recreation Park as the home side reached the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Finals for the first time since 1985. The pitch just about held up as the game wore on and those involved were clearly in the Scottish Cup spirit as I was also able to treat myself to very special Darvel themed Empire Biscuit, with Petershill versions also available for their Glaswegian visitors.

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Keep your eyes peeled for the next review, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer 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.

Pie 189: The Whittlets Victoria Pie

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I hope everyone has had/is having a wonderful festive period, celebrating in whatever way leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

The Christmas and New Year tends to be a boom time for the fixture schedulers at the top end of the Scottish game with the games coming thick and fast ahead of a winter’s break in January. The lower leagues and non-leagues plough on through though, when weather allows of course, and it was a combination of that ability to plough through and a miserable Saturday afternoon that saw me forced to divert away from my original plan and head to Ayr to take in Whitletts Victoria v Darvel in the West Region Championship.

The wind and rain lashed across Dam Park for the near duration of the game with even the back of the large concrete stand providing little shelter and even some of the visiting substitutes decided it would be wiser to shelter under the steps in the terraces than shiver on the uncovered bench acting as dugout.

It’s a credit then to both sides that they managed to serve up an entertaining encounter with the visitors coming out 4-1 victors before heading to Dublin for their team Christmas night out later that day.

Days like these are when a tasty pie really comes into it’s own, but was it tasty? Well without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Dam Park, Whitletts Victoria 1-4 Darvel, West Region Championship

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Price: £1.50. I’ve said it a few times now but a quid and a half is excellent value for your matchday treat.

Presentation: Presented on a large white napkin, ample for the pasty provided and for dabbing the lips.

Meatiness: This was indeed a tasty treat. The pie was well filled with a distinct peppery linger throughout. A couple of people around me passed comment that they thought it was a bit strong but for me it was judged just right. It held well in the bite and had a little grease to ensure the filling was suitably moist.

Pastry: The top was crispy as were the sides and base. A very good bake with the shaping suitably round although the colour maybe was a little bit dull.

Brown Sauce: Daddies. The great pretender to the HP condiment crown, very much does the job.

Overall: Well baked, well filled with a nice peppery kick. Wonderful on a chilly winter’s day.

This is the first of a double header from the Vics with their Onion Pie next to come under the pie-croscope with the review preceded by the 2019 Meat Filled Pastries Awards which is always exciting. They’ll drop on New Year’s Day.

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 Scottish Women’s Football writer 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.

Pie 158: The Troon “Chicken & Haggis” Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we delve back into the world of junior football with a Chicken & Haggis offering from a fairly dreich January afternoon at Portland Park in Troon. Before we get to that though a couple of things have happened since my last review.

Firstly I attended the World Scotch Pie Championships Awards Lunch where a new World Scotch Pie Champion was crowned. Whilst some well-earned congratulations should be sent to The Little Bakery based in Dumfries on being the 20th World Scotch Pie Champion on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries the real news was that Darvel FC based in Ayrshire won the Diamond Award for their Steak & Gravy Pie supplied by Browning’s the Bakers. As a vocal supporter of non-league football I was pleased to see the big boy’s given a hiding in this category but if you want to see how your club did then you can do so by clicking the list of winners across all categories here.

Whilst I was there I was also getting my latest project off the ground and recorded the second ever episode of The Scrancast where I spoke to some of the nominees, winners and men behind what is one of the biggest days in the Butcher/Baker calendar. If you would like to listen to what I hope will be the first of many tales about food and drink from Scotland and beyond then you can listen here. The website is just about up and running which includes a feature on why I’ve decided to do it and you can subscribe on iTunes and all your usual places by searching for “The Scrancast”.

Back to more pressing matters though and that is the quality of pie on offer at Portland Park. Will their Chicken & Haggis offering match up to the Steak Pie which got an honourable mention during the first ever MFP Awards? There’s only one way to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

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Price: There was a little bit of confusion around the price of this pie as I went to pay at the counter. To your average punter this pie would have appeared to have been £2.20 given the sheet saying as much stuck to the window however at point of payment the price quoted was £2.50. A quick chat later showed that the price list the girls behind the counter were working on was different from the one front in centre for all to view. I paid the £2.50 but I’m not sure I was entirely happy about it.

Presentation: A double duvet of large white napkins provided a solid and soft base for this large tin foil encased pie to sit on quite comfortably.

Meatiness: Chunky. I think that’s a good way to describe this filling with more than one piece of chicken requiring multiple bites to consume. It’s an odd thing to point out I know but this is a handheld snack, eating stood up with very few places to lean, so it made for a challenging bite. I was a little bit disappointed in the quantity of haggis but I liked the use of a stock based gravy. My main concern though was the use of pepper in this filling. It was too much, a little too spiky and killed the flavour of the haggis. That said it was an incredibly generous portion of pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty perfect. Slipped easily out of the tin foil case without even a whiff of it sticking to the sides or bottom. It also had a lovely golden tinge to it with the necessary substance to hold what was a fairly moist filling whilst still providing the light crunch a good pie pastry should.

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Overall: There were things to like about this pie. Generously filled with an excellent job on the bake but for my taste I could have done with a few less cracks of pepper.

Gravy Factor: Percy Piper picked a pie of pickled peppers.

An offering with a lot of potential from the Ayrshire coast but one for me that didn’t quite hit the heights I hoped it would. I’ll hopefully be back again with another pie review in the not too distant future but for now please go follow and subscribe to The Scrancast. If you’re into pies there might be something right up your street coming very soon.

However until next time from Meat Filled Pastries, 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. 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.