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Pie 141: The Renfrew Pie

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Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries, Scotland’s only premier football pastry reviewing website. The season is now fully underway in Scotland and given the sun is still shining that little bit later I’ve been able to build up a bank of pastries for your perusal over the next few weeks.

But for now a question for your consideration. When do you have a pie?

Do you have it at the start to help soak up some pre-match beverages safe in the knowledge that you won’t miss any of the game or do you wait until half time and gamble on the queue going down quick enough so that you’re back in your spot before the action re-commences? Some, the most gambly of gamblers, will wait until after half time, avoiding the queues but also running the risk that there will be no pastries to be found.

Routines exist across the globe. When I lived in Spain I was often amazed about some aspects of a fans match day repertoire but perhaps none more so than the tradition of “El Bocata por el Descanso” – the sandwich for the break – where even the mere suggestion of eating your jamon or chorizo piece before the mid game interval would be met with utter contempt. However as soon as the referee has removed the whistle from his lips to signal the end of the first 45 minutes en masse the crowd will go into their polybags brought from home, unwrap the tinfoil and tuck into the sandwich of their choice, no doubt explaining during each chew how much of a “puta” the referee is because nothing excites a Spanish fan more than being antagonised by the arbitro’s performance.

For me, I prefer the before match approach, it almost always guarantees receipt of a pastry which is helpful when you run a website reviewing them and – on a Saturday at least – it will double as my first “meal” of the day. So on arrival at New Western Park, that’s exactly what I did.

Which means, without much further ado, let’s rate some pre-match pie!

Where: New Western Park, Renfrew 1-1 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £1.50 this pie was once again in the junior pie pricing sweet spot. As an aside, I noticed that the steak pie, usually deemed as luxury on these pages, was exactly the same price. Bargain.

Presentation: In a recent review of the Kelty Hearts pie I had commended the Fife club on their use of colour coordinated napkins. At Renfrew, who’s large napkin was of substantial size to hold and mop with, it was not blue or white (the team’s colours) but a bright sunflower yellow. Given the proximity of IKEA to this ground, would I be wrong to speculate on the influence the Swedes may have had here? Almost certainly but I’m doing it anyway. Good napkin though.

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Meatiness: This was a pie that, for me anyway, hit all the right notes. The meat was of the right texture with a nice moistness to the fill meaning that it both held together but also broke away quite easily. It was also very savoury with a slight pepper kick to it as you went through without the heat ever building to anything more than a hum. I thought it was pretty good.

Pastry: This pie had a smooth top with no steam hole present. The edge was crisp on top and the base solid. There were a few cracks in the side of the pastry bringing it’s overall structural integrity into question and the top was perhaps a little thick but in general I would say that it was more than satisfactory.

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Brown Sauce: After the Cumbernauld Colts debacle we returned to routine with a splash of brown sauce to help enhance those spiced meat flavours.

Overall: Tasty meat that I did find myself keen to take another bite of with pastry that did the job despite a couple of small flaws. Feels like a while since I’ve been able to review a good solid scotch pie, but I would say this was one.

Gravy Factor: Ahhh, Bisto.

So a decent effort from Renfrew and the junior pie adventures continue as next up we have a behemoth of a steak pie from Troon FC before something a bit different from the senior ranks.

Until next time though, 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.

 

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Pie 133: The Saltcoats Victoria Pie

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I’m making use of a rare hangover free Saturday morning to bring you another edition of Meat Filled Pastries. The original plan was to head out for a Park Run but I have been wiped this week so I’ve swapped the tarmac for typing. In two weeks time however I won’t have that option as I take part in the Glasgow Men’s 10K (the running shoes are on stand by for tomorrow morning). Once upon a time I couldn’t run ten metres without my body questioning what madness had taken over. There’s still times when that madness still descends so to keep me right I always run for the Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund in memory of my mate Smit who died aged 28 from bowel cancer.

If you like my stories of pie, think cancer is a bastard or have a few pennies to spare then the link above takes you to our fundraising site. All donations go direct to the Bobby Moore Fund for Bowel Cancer Research. We’ve raised over £40,000 since his death and I continue to be astounded by the generosity people can show. If you’ve read this and have donated then thank you.

Right, charity shilling complete let’s get into the meat of this matter and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Campbell Park, Saltcoats Victoria 0-11 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup, 2nd Round

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Price: £1.70. Yes this is expensive for a junior pie but in some way, as I watched the players of Saltcoats chase shadows during an 11-0 defeat, I was at peace with this. If I have to pay an extra 20p to help keep these players playing (at the very bottom rung of the junior ladder where glory is seldom an option) for another season then no worries. I’d be the first one to bemoan a club going to the wall due to a lack of funding. As an aside Saltcoats are yet another Ayrshire based junior outfit who offer up a Killie Pie for consumption, albeit at a slightly higher price point.

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Presentation: A rarely seen in the juniors shiny silver case meant that on this, one of Scotland’s sunnier days, the pie seemed to retain its heat for eternity. A single sheet of white kitchen roll provided some respite from juggling the straight out of the oven case.

Meatiness: I think if I had to describe the filling of this pie it would be as functional. The meat was decently textured and flavoured with no stand out contributing factors. There was no discernible kick to speak of but the filling held well inside the pastry case and as my first meal of the day after a few pints it more than did the job of satisfying my hunger.

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Pastry: Again another functional piece of pie making, kudos for ensuring that the pie was sealed well enough that it didn’t stick to the bottom of the tin and it did have a nice crisp texture to the bite. The kind of crispness where you can break a bit off and dip it into the condiment of choice atop of your pie. Which brings us neatly to…

Brown Sauce: I was a bit reckless with my squirt and so a thicker than normal layer of Asda’s (I think!) finest added the vinegary, spicy tang that only brown sauce can.

Overall: If you’re hungry and want a pie. This will do the job.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bisto.

Another pie bites the crust (love a pun!). I have a bridie review lined up next from my hometown club and the Southside’s finest, Pollok. I’ve decided that whilst the junior season wraps up I’m going to get through as many pastry reviews as possible knowing that I have a couple of long reads and a World Cup of Scran to look forward to.

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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries. 

 

 

Pie 132: The Hurlford United “Onion” Pie

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Sometimes, I forget where I have and haven’t eaten a pie before. Well that’s not strictly true, I will have almost always have eaten a pie but have I reviewed it? My latest trip to Hurlford United is a good example of this occasional quandary.

I have visited Blair Park a number of times since I started this website/blog/travel guide of Scotland’s most random villages and towns and I know that I had at least written one review of their standard Scotch Pie. I also knew that they stocked the infamous Killie Pie, or The Kilmarnock Pie to use modern parlance, but I had never reviewed it here as naturally, I waited until I had reached this pies natural home of Rugby Park, which turned out to be just a few weeks later.

Some places are known for their variety of pastries. Offering not only pies in a variety of flavours but sausage rolls, pasties and bridies too. Others less so often focusing on one core product, the majestic Scotch Pie. Hurlford United (in my head anyway) were always somewhere in between so it was with some slight befuddlement in my voice I responded with “Aye mate!”, when propositioned with an Onion Pie from their Pie Hut that greets you as you enter the ground. How had I missed this? Has this always been here? Have I been depriving myself of the best pastry that The Ford have to offer for years? I had to know!

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

Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-3 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

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Price: £1.50. As previously discussed in my most recent review from Bathgate Thistle a quid and a half is a growing trend in the pie pricing world. Onion Pie’s are a particularly strange breed when it comes to categorising. In theory it’s a luxury pie what with it not being a Scotch Pie pure breed but at the same time it’s essence is essentically scotch with some onion chucked in and so my expectation would be that the price remains much the same. In most cases (including this one) that is always the case and even if you were to grumble you’re still only paying £1.50 for a hot lunch of perfectly balanced carbohydrates and protein. Never to be sniffed at.

Presentation: There seems to be an excess of napkins floating around the junior football scene as for the second review in a row I was presented with not one, but two sheets of white paper goodness. The added benefit being that you not only get to have a napkin to hold your pastry in but you also have an almost un-splattered second one to clean your top lip.

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Meatiness: So with an onion pie, I always find that the ratio of meat to onion can vary. Anywhere from 75/25 in favour of meat to more than 50/50 in favour of onion. I don’t think there’s a right answer on this as it totally depends on the type and pungency of your onion but for me a good ratio can be told by the smell of the pie, and this pie, undoubtedly had an oniony tinge on the nose and with further inspection it’s presence clearly visible ingredient as a pastry filling. Once I took my first bite there was a slight hint of sweet onion flavour however what was more predominant was a fiery pepper kick, for me a bit too strong as it overpowered the meat, which whilst had a fairly decent texture, lacked the oomph to compete. The onion also soon wilted against the power of pepper and by the end the kick had turn to a slight burn in the back of the throat. Which ultimately, was a little bit disappointing.

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Pastry: The pastry was a little patchy but had crisped up nicely on the top edges to a lovely golden colour. What was a joy was the unexpected chew of a jerky like substance that had boiled out of the pie a little, like a little nugget of fatty onion flavour. The tell tale two holes of an onion pie were also present and all in all at no point did I fear losing the meaty morsels within.

Brown Sauce: Hands up! I can’t remember the brand but given the taste and appearance it’s slightly vinegar tang added a nice layer to the overall eat.

Overall: Variety is the spice of life so it was good to see another pie offering from Hurlford United, if I was to eat one of these again I’d like to see a little less of that pepper spice just to smooth out the taste.

Gravy Factor: Onion Gravy with a hefty kick!

I think it’s fair to say I haven’t fully got back in to the rhythm of regularly writing. I have quite the backlog at the moment of ideas and concepts but when I hit a mental block I always ensure there’s a pie or two in reserve to try to get the juices flowing. With that in mind I have another review from Ayrshire coming in the not distant future, this time from Saltcoats Victoria, the games are coming thick and fast, and where possible I’m hunting out a new review before the season ends 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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.