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Pie 131: The Bathgate Thistle Pie

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Hi folks, I’m finding myself starting to get a bit behind with these again, it’s the way of the junior football season. You go November to February with hardly a fixture to seek and then the clocks change and all of a sudden you are left with a veritable smorgasboard of fixtures to go to at the business end of the season.

I was having a look at the numbers behind the site and was staggered to learn that these here gospels of pie have reached 125(!) countries across the globe. It’s mad for me to think that somebody could be sitting and reading this with their feet up on the beach in St. Lucia, at base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal or whilst munching an arepa at a bar in Venezuela. The world is getting ever smaller and I’d love to think that somewhere somebody has read one of these stories and took it upon themselves to book a flight and head to Scotland all in search of the mythical scotch pie they have so often read about. It sounds mad, but is also the kind of thing I’d decide to do, and if I would then I know someone else out there would too.

That’s never going to happen though if I stop feeding their inspiration so let’s move on to a new pie review from Bathgate Thistle who have their scotch pies provided by a former two-time World Scotch Pie Champions in Boghall Butchers so no pressure here lads.

Without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Creamery Park, Bathgate Thistle 1-2 Dundee Downfield, East Premier League

Price: £1.50. Slowly creeping more and more into the pricing structures of a junior Scotch Pie, compared with some of the £2+ aboominations you get at senior grounds though it’s still decent.

Presentation: Standard presentational practices here, except it was doubled! That’s right, not just one, but two medium-sized white napkins, more than sufficient to hold the pastry and mop your lip afterwards.

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Meatiness: This was a well filled pastry with a little layer of air on top to allow the meat to breathe in its pastry tomb. The texture was just right, easy on the bite and with a little give to it. Minimal risk of spillage unless you started getting reckless. The taste was predominantly meaty and savoury with a light pepper kick that was pleasant and finished with a little linger. You can understand why this pie has seen success in the past, everything done very well from a meaty perspective.

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Pastry: The pastry was solid and held well throughout consumption. The base was firm and the top golden, there was a little bit of boil out but I’m OK with that and often believe it adds an extra wee note of flavour to your pastry. I’ve found that when I don’t have a lot to say about the pastry that tends to be a good sign.

Brown Sauce: A squeeze of Asda’s own brand was plenty for this pastry.

Overall: A Scotch Pie Hall of Famer and I can see why as all in all this was just a very good scotch pie, perhaps a little by the numbers, but ultimately you’d be super harsh to try to criticise it.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you’d be happy to give to everyone from your mates to your gran, nothing controversial, just a solid, well-executed scotch pie.

So a good bit of pie there from Bathgate Thistle. I now have just the two pie reviews and two editions of the International Soccer Scran series to get through over the coming couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for more updates. I also feel like there’s something to be done for the World Cup but haven’t fully formed an idea on that yet.

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 and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries. 

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Pie 81: The Dundee Violet Pie

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Hello and welcome. Not much of a pre-amble today, an Albion Rovers home double header has me working on this right to the wire after some technical issues with the laptop. That said the Christmas period is upon us and so in true festive spirit I thought I’d share a wee pie themed ditty from last year to celebrate this tide of yule:

‘Christmas Pie, Christmas Pie,

Meat Filled all the way.

Oh what fun it is to have the gravy on my face.’

‘Christmas Pie, Christmas Pie,

Pastry golden brown.

Oh the taste of a brown sauce squirt is by far the best around.’

You’re welcome. I’m still far prouder of that than a grown man should be, but as I’m sure you have already figured out my mind doesn’t always conform to normal sociable standards.

Anyway without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Glenesk Park, Dundee Violet v Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

Not my finest camera work here
Not my finest camera work here

Price: At £1.10 it was slightly more than some junior pies I have encountered this season but equally it was slightly less than some others and when compared with some of the prices found at SPFL grounds it’s still a bit of a bargain really.

Presentation: I don’t know how old you all are but when I was a nipper and had to use the facilities at school you were always forced to dry your hands on paper towels that would be better used to sand down that desk tidy you’d cobbled together in Craft & Daft. It was with this pie these paper towels resurfaced in Dundee as it sat proudly atop of one in a rather snazzy teal colour. It’s sometimes nice to be different but the harsh realities of scrubbing my face with these napkins of yore were not something to look forward to.

THE PIE

In fact, is this teal or blue> I'm now not sure?
In fact, is this teal or blue> I’m now not sure?

Meatiness: As can be seen by the greasy shadow on my paper towel there was a fair bit of fatty moisture in this pie. In fact being truthful on first appearances it wasn’t really a looker but that doesn’t mean it can’ be tasty and thankfully this wasn’t too bad. It was greasy but just about managed to be not overly so. It had quite a shallow fill of muttony goodness and I felt it was a tad under seasoned although there was still a prominent taste of meat. There was no peppery kick but all in all the filling tasted far better than it looked. Solid if unspectacular.

Pastry: The pastry was quite soft, perhaps a consequence of what looked like a significant amount of boil out causing some greasy puddles on top of the pie. The top edges were crisp and if memory serves me right the grease actually boosted some flavour back into the pastry. Once again it didn’t look great but there was enough flavour to keep a hungry man happy.

Brown Sauce: Suitably tangy with a touch of heat courtesy of The Happy Shopper.

Overall: A bit of a horror to look at but was a perfectly acceptable inductee to The Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy you sniff a few times before going, ‘ah it’ll be alright’.

Once again apologies for a slightly truncated edition this time out, there will be a fuller pre-amble in my next review, and a return of the luxury pie again from Dundee Violet.

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 71: The Wishaw Juniors Pie

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Today’s entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame is a return to junior football one of the key inspirations for this journey of pie. Those who follow my adventures will have been now been able to piece together my allegiances at junior level and this season, mainly thanks to a pretty woeful one previously, a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me as my team face life in a new division. But before, a hopefully triumphant, league campaign gets underway there is a few friendlies to get out-of-the-way first.

I always find it really interest going to friendlies, not so much for the football which is usually pretty mundane, especially when you have no affiliation to any one team, but for the reactions of the crowd, because for every fan who see’s a friendly for what it is; a chance to warm up for the season, try new things and see new players there is another one who still treats it as the same kind of life and death scenario that a relegation six pointer in February would be. Personally I err on the side of the former. I mean just because Dundee beat Manchester City 2-0 it doesn’t automatically equate to Paul Hartley being the odds on favourite to be the next Chelsea or Barcelona manager nor does it mean that Manuel Pellegrini will be popping up in Falkirk or Hamilton anytime soon because he can’t hack it at the highest level any longer, football just doesn’t work that way.

The other thing that’s nice about friendlies, especially for a man who loves his football, is that there is pretty much a fixture within reach every couple of days and at this time in the season more than ever you find yourself at places that you wouldn’t normally be.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Beltane Park, Wishaw v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly: Entry Fee £3, Programme: None

Or as the natives call it Wishae'
Or as the natives call it Wishae’

Before continuing I just wanted to take time to thank the folk at Wishaw for their hospitality, they are clearly a club who are trying to set themselves up for a bright future after a previously nomadic existence and their generosity on Saturday did not go unappreciated. Good luck for the new season in a new division folks!

Price: At £1.20 this is priced at the same level as your average junior scotch pie from the 2013/14 season showing certain Scottish footballing associations that just because a new season is upon us and your team is on the rise there is still no need to fleece your fans.

Presentation: A simple presentation style found at many grounds of a medium-sized white napkin, certainly nothing to be sniffed at and on review of my one bite expose a napkin that now seems a little larger, although I wasn’t going to get my set square and measuring tape out to see if that indeed was the case.

THE PIE

The first junior pie of the new season
The first junior pie of the new season!

Meatiness: I hope the picture above does this pie justice in showing how incredibly well filled it was for a scotch pie, this might sound daft, which I know a lot of this usually does, but I could actually feel the weight of a slightly heavier pie in the hand as I made my way pack to my standing spot. As I bit down the meat held really well and was incredibly moist, not with grease but with lovely muttony juices. It was a little cold in the middle but I was pre-warned of this and it was only once I reached the very centre did I notice and in this occasion it didn’t have any real effect on the overall flavour. The other lovely thing that this pie brought me was the return of the long peppery linger that slowly built as I ate and lasted for such a time that it was worth remembering for this review. After the generosity of the club I was worried I was going to have the fudge this a bit to play nice, but I can honestly say this was a very tasty meat filling indeed.

 Pastry: The pastry was flaky but held just enough to support the ample mince inside. I was able to break off the top of the crust to dip into the safety of an HP sauce puddle without everything crumbling round about me. Perhaps if I was being hyper critical the sides were a little soft and it became a two hand consumption job by the end but that would be the most minor of grumbles.

Overall: After last weeks professional scotch pie disappointment it was great to feel the comforting bosom of a junior scotch pie to nestle into with its ample meat and long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bearing Gravy. A pleasing pie that has set a true benchmark for the season ahead.

So the first junior pie of the season is in the books and the second one is on its way from Castle Park, the home of Blantyre Victoria. Navigating my way round the south-east of Glasgow should be interesting now the Commonwealth Games are here but I love my football and I love me a pie.

So until next time go forth and eat pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

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 25: The Cowdenbeath Pie

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The tin foil case of doom strikes.
The tin foil case of doom strikes.

As we continue our review of the best pies on offer some personal milestones will be achieved that I will happily share with you  as and when it happens. This weekend with the Southside Juve  fixtureless I decided it was time to chalk off another ground on the list of ‘Never Been To’s’, specifically in relation to my quest to visit every senior ground in Scotland.

It’s something that I found with the benefit of Google Maps could be completed within 48 hours, you know if you didn’t sleep, eat or actually watch a game of football but in reality has been an on going project for a few years elongated by the fact that I actually follow one team in particular. Central Park was my 33rd senior venue, and when you throw in all the junior grounds I’ve visited that overall total number will be at least double that figure.

What can you, my fellow pie partakers, take away from this particular pre-amble to a new review?

Well, as long as there are games of football to go to I’ll be there, and as a result there shall be many more pies to be consumed and reviews to be made. So as always, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where:  Central Park, Cowdenbeath v Dundee, SPFL Championship

Price: This pie came in at a very reasonable £1.50, the cheapest in the SPFL to date.

Presentation: The pie came presented in a tin foil case, more of which will be discussed later, with a medium sized white napkin, just thick enough to prevent any potential finger burning situations.

Meatiness: This scotch pie had a good meaty flavour but I found it to be a tad on the greasy side which I think contributed for the multiple spillages that occurred once I had taken that first bite. It was nicely filled and the meat held well but lacked a bit of oomph. Luckily a table at the side of the kiosk provided a joyous sight to behold: an industrial sized vat of pump handle brown sauce, which when squirted on said pie helped to enhance the overall flavour.

Pastry: I’ll start by saying that the pastry at the top and edges was cooked to a perfect level of crispiness and had a golden colour, however unfortunately after the first bite there was some problems with the structural integrity of the pie as the underneath was very, very soft. this is the first pie since Meat Filled Pastries has started officially ‘touring’ that this issue has arisen and as such I thought it apt to take a photo for all your future references.

Mmmm Mutton Soup.
Finger Lickin’ Fun.

As can be seen from above, the pie fell to pieces just a smidgen. On closer inspection there was a couple of gaps in the outer shell but I think that can be discounted as having little effect on the collapse of the pie itself. No, unfortunately as stated before the meat was slightly greasy and when I got my fingers around the base of the pie my digits promptly popped through. Now the falling apart of the pie, in the main, shouldn’t really effect it’s flavour but what it does do is provide a MASSIVE distraction to everything else round about you, specifically the game of football going on in front of your eyes. Luckily in this instance my pie consumption was carried out well before kick off so all I missed was a few warm up exercises and a grown man dressed as a cow failing at keepie-ups but if this ever happens to you it’ll be found that I won’t be the only one wittering on about how apt the napkin size is. You have been warned.

Overall: I need to reiterate something at this point, I am not here to tell you every pie is brilliant, nor am I here to say they are all terrible, it’s just one man who has ate a lot of pie giving his opinion. With that being said, this was an adequate effort, nothing about it particularly blew me away. The meat was nice but not as peppery as I would like and slightly greasy. The pastry falling apart did make for a rather comical five minutes of eating and if the pastry base matched the top, this pie would have passed my lips without much fanfare or comment, perhaps falling victim of circumstance of being the first pie to fall foul of the meaty trapdoor caused by tin foil cases.

Gravy Factor: Supermarket own brand gravy, you’ll have it, but secretly you want just a little bit more of something else.

I have another pie blog about Cowdenbeath such was my appetite that day, and for only the second time Meat Filled Pastries will be dipping its tootsies in the luxury of a steak pie, but until then, 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.