food writing

Pie 164: The Carlisle United Steak & Ale Pie

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I’ve gone rogue! That’s right I’ve infringed on rival turf and this last Good Friday I took a train down to Brunton Park to take in Carlisle United v Lincoln City in the race to escape League Two.

I have to say as footballing day trips from Glasgow go the hour long train ride from Glasgow Central to the populous heart of Cumbria is a pretty good one. The journey is relatively cheap, there are a good number of pubs in and around the city centre as well around the ground with Brunton Park itself a short twenty minute walk from the station. I’d recommend it and as I found on the train back to Glasgow later that evening I wasn’t the only visitor from north of the border to the Cumbrian’s that day.

The rugby club beside the stadium was busier than usual with over 2,000 Lincoln City fans in attendance hoping that The Imps would lift the title and so, after deciding to not wait in a massive queue for the second time, I headed into the stadium where I continued my supping as well as, of course, having a meat filled pastry.

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

Where: Brunton Park, Carlisle United 1-0 Lincoln City, English League Two

Price: There were two pricing options for this pastry. Option 1 was to buy the pie on it’s own for £2.80 or Option 2, to buy a pie and a pint (I’m not going to get deep into the booze at football debate here) for £6. Obviously I like the economics behind option number two and so promptly set myself up with a Steak & Ale Pie and a pint of Strongbow because it was sunny and sunny equals cider. The BBC Price of Football survey recently calls this out as one of the cheapest pies in the English Football League which, considering this game was in the bottom tier of this set up, is quite frightening.

Presentation: This was weird as after putting away my change I was presented with one of those white silver lined heat retaining bags which I was assured had my pie within. After finding a spot to watch the end of the Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest game, I opened the bag to then find my pie wrapped in plastic. I remove the plastic to finally have in my hand a fairly large pie housed with a silver tin foil case. So odd.

Meatiness: Well once I got to a bite with some filling in, my first couple of bites heartbreakingly shy of both meat and/or gravy, this was a fairly tasty mouthful. The gravy was viscous and plentiful enough with the right hint of ale to the overall taste but for me the steak was a little sparse and the chunks a little small which meant they didn’t add that meaty tooth feel that really pushes a pie onto greatness.

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Pastry: It and nice golden tinge to it but it was too soft. Soft, almost spongy, on the bottom and soft on the top with the flakes of pastry a little soggy. As soon as you got through your initial bite every one that followed there after resulted in the gravy squirting out all over the shop. Pastry on a pie, on the top at the very least, should be crispy. With it being hosted in this multitude of bags the pie had clearly steamed under the heat lamps and so the pastry for me was all wrong.

Brown Sauce: None for a luxury pie. Them be the rules.

Overall: The filling tasted pretty good but the wasteful nature of the packaging and the softness of the pastry really holds this pie back. I was surprised to learn as I entered the Pioneer Stand that this was an “Award Winning” pie and my concern is that once again a pie that wins prizes on the shelf of a butcher’s or baker’s shop had been compromised in the face of mass catering.

Gravy Factor: Spongy Gravy.

Would love to have this pie without the heat bags and plastics but this site designated to the best pies you can have at the ground and as long as the pie continues to be presented in this way it will remain a fairly tasty but slightly wrong take on the wonder that is a meat filled pastry.

Next up, I have a first for the site as I get elbow deep into a Breakfast Pie from Scottish Junior side Clydebank as they took on Pollok at their temporary home of Lochburn Park in Glasgow’s West End.

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. 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.

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Pie 163: The Clyde Pie

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Welcome back to yet another edition of everyone’s favourite location for meat filled musings. This week I have myself the rare treat of getting to a review a pie for free, well kind of.

On Sunday 14th April Spartans took on Hibernian and Rangers took on Glasgow City at Broadwood in the SWPL Cup Semi Finals, as opposed to just turning up as a fan I was carrying out some duties as part of the SWPL Media Team creating some content and supporting with the running of the @ScotWFootball social media accounts. I’ve officially been involved for a couple of months now and it’s been interesting getting a view on the challenges often faced from the inside. A recent Scottish Supporters Network survey showed that of the 5,773 people surveyed only 1% (approx. 60 people) said they regularly attend women’s football. A complimentary question to this asked the reason for this apathy and I wanted to focus on the biggest two.

Knowing when and where the game was on (43% of respondents highlighted this as a reason for not attending)

As a long time supporter of women’s football I can sympathise greatly with this view point as in times past I have got to game day still unsure when and where a fixture would be. In this recent season though there has been massive strides made with the creation of an updated SWPL (Scottish Women’s Premier League) site as well as a refreshed Scottish Women’s Football website. The league have set up a partnership with the excellent Football Stadium Prints with the images he creates being used to promote every match day including date, time and location. On my part contextualising what these games mean and what kind of contest you can expect are equally important and so via the SWPL feed I now produce match cards giving this detail along with recent form, league positions and points to date. It’s getting better but the challenge is still there, a crowd of over 500 attended the two SWPL Cup Semi Finals combined, yet the Twitter following of the four competing sides alone is over 38,000 in number and converting those numbers into an increasing number of bums on seats is just one place where I think efforts should be focused.

Top Tips for Knowing when and where the Game is

  • Follow @SWPL and @ScotWFootball on Twitter
  • Visit the SWPL and Scottish Women’s Football websites

Better promotion from the media (39% of respondents highlighted this as a reason for not attending)

Currently as a result of the data provider used by the BBC to populate their feeds both SWPL fixtures and tables aren’t available on the BBC Sport Scotland website. It’s annoying but until the coverage and support for the game increases the incentive for these data providers to have this information available remains less than it would if there was millions of pounds at play. It’s a vicious cycle but one that again is improving.

BBC Alba provides regular live coverage of Friday night SWPL fixtures. Whether the scheduling of these against rival games could be better is a debate I could have for days but it is progress. The SWPL Media team is small in number but it is getting bigger and with that comes the opportunity for more coverage, more audio and more highlights. A subscription to The Scottish Women’s Football YouTube channel will not only give you access to match highlights but also provide with you post match reaction and coverage of cup draws amongst other things. There is also the recently launched Anyone’s Game Podcast devoted to Scottish Women’s football and I’d love to help get one set up for the league proper at some point. There is also a movement afoot to help heighten coverage of the game even further ahead of the national side’s World Cup farewell match against Jamaica at Hampden where a new record attendance will surely be obtained.

It’s not going to be easy, I along with many others, devotes hours of free time to help promote the game but for the moment you may still need to go looking for it just a little.

Top Tips for finding media relating to Scottish Women’s Football:

  • Subscribe to the Scottish Women’s Football YouTube Channel
  • Listen to the Anyone’s Game Podcast
  • Follow Leading the Line (I’ll be doing more women’s content as the men’s season comes to the end).

I make no apologies for using this forum to help promote the women’s game, it deserves the focus to last and to not just be a fleeting national notion with a World Cup on the horizon and I’ll continue to share what I can along the way but for now, let’s get back to the business of reviewing pies, and this scotch pie offering from Clyde FC.

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

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Spartans 0-3 Hibernian, Rangers 1-5 Glasgow City, SWPL Cup Semi Finals

Price: This Scotch Pie cost the equivalent of one full day’s work of manning the Scottish Women’s Football Social Media feeds. So if I put zero value on my time then this pie was indeed free. I very nearly didn’t get one in the media scramble but as the words you are reading can testify to, I did and I was glad because it would turn out to be both my breakfast and lunch that day.

Presentation: Mixed in with all the sandwiches on a plate in the media centre this pie came in a silver tin foil case, the kind of case that has housed pies across Scottish football for years now.

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Meatiness: Not one to wax lyrically about here, not that it was bad, in fact it was perfectly good. Nice level of spicing with a faint pepper kick in the background and with the texture you would want to find in a good scotch pie. It’s not going to see me rushing back to Broadwood for another but at the same time it didn’t leave my tastebuds disappointed either.

Pastry: Held well. Crispy edges, sufficient colour on it, did the job.

Brown Sauce: A tangy little sachet that added a zing to the overall eating experience.

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Overall: Absolutely nothing wrong with it but at the same time nothing that will have me champing at the bit to induct it into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame. These factors make for a pretty boring pie review but if you were to get hungry at Broadwood this pie would certainly do you no harm.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bisto.

Next up, I cross the border for some Good Friday fun where I take in Carlisle United vs Lincoln City in the League Two promotion race? 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. 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 162: The Sauchie Juniors Pie

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Hello my meat filled mates with the turning back of the clocks I’ve hit the road to try and once again find the best football pies in all of Scotland. Towards the end of last season I wrote a piece focusing on the great junior defection to the East of Scotland Football League that sits within the SPFL pyramid structure. My original piece can be viewed here in the final issue of The Football Pink which has recently been made free to download as an attempt to help shift those Brexit blues so why not give it a look.

As I stood, because I wasn’t paying the pound extra to sit in the stand, at Beechwood Park I tried to assess my feelings on how the first season of this new era of non league football in Scotland had went and what, if any, differences it has made.

It’s fair to say it has brought some freshness to proceedings for sides in the East of Scotland. The random drawing of conferences still seems to me an odd way of doing things but it has meant that sides now have a chance to face up to some less familiar foes. There has of course been renewed enthusiasm to promote the game with one Twitter user on a mission to gather the attendances from every EOSFL game this season but has it led to increased attendances? I’m not so sure. Next season will see the EOSFL conferences shuffled based on this term’s performance it still seems difficult for those clubs at the top of this new structure to break into the Lowland League, a league which perhaps still contains clubs that would struggle when pitted against some of the EOSFL’s biggest sides. The demise of Selkirk should also act as a note of warning to clubs that moving away from the juniors will not guarantee a one way ticket to the land of milk and honey but overall the change appears to have been a positive one.

I can’t finish on this topic though without putting my junior fan hat on and it’s fair to say that with almost all of the East of Scotland heavyweights now sitting within the pyramid the Scottish Junior Cup has this season felt like a diminished competition. Whilst the West Region has been dominant in recent years the removal of these sides from the mix has meant that the games have felt more familiar and the romance that is associated with a big time East v West encounter has been lost.

Sauchie Juniors home of Beechwood Park hosted one of these cross country clashes last season as they lost 1-0 to a visiting Hurlford United in the 5th Round of the competition. This chilly spring evening though they were in EOSFL – Conference B action against Dunipace, another one of the junior movers, in their opponents last game of the season as a crowd of just over 100 watched an entertaining 2-2 draw. The big question now though, how did their pies fair?

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

Where: Beechwood Park, Sauchie Juniors 2-2 Dunipace, EOSFL – Conference B

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Price: At £1.50 this pie falls slap bang in the middle of your non-league scotch pie price bracket. A price point my pocket appreciated given my forgetfulness in hitting up a cashpoint before entering the ground.

Presentation: This pie was placed on top of a thin, medium sized white napkin that just about held up under the weight of the pastry. Luckily there was also a small paper plate present. Sometimes a plate can feel superfluous but for this pastry I was thankful it was there.

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Meatiness: This was a very well filled pastry although I was taken with how dark the meat appeared to be, not in a negative way, but more as a curiosity. It was a very moist pastry that meant there was a good layer of fat throughout each bite adding a strong and savoury flavour punch. That fat though did mean that the filling was loose, closer to mince than a solid block of meat, and so fell apart a little as you broke down those pastry walls. Call me mad but there was, in my mind anyway, a touch of beefiness to this pie although I wonder if the darkness of the meat meant my tastebuds were deceiving me.

Pastry: The pastry despite the moistness of the filling held up well and once lifted from the plate was somehow both soft and crispy underneath. The top was a little pale and the sides were a little cracked but overall the construction of this pastry was sufficient to just about hold things together from within.

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Brown Sauce: A tangy surprise in a big brown bottle.

Overall: Pretty tasty. The filling had a good smack of meaty flavour, nice texture and the pastry just about held up its end of the bargain.

Gravy Factor: Dark and Strong.

Watching football as the sun sets brings a weird sense of zen into my thoughts with the view of the Ochil Hills afforded to you at Beechwood Park adding further calmness within. Next up is a review from Clyde, where I got myself a free pie, kind of, but more on that next time.

So 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. 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 161: The Glenafton Athletic Sausage Roll

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Hello pie fans, I had a funny old day down New Cumnock way on Saturday. Glenalfton Athletic took on Pollok in what should have been a fairly run of the mill end of season West Premiership encounter. Both clubs were well clear of any relegation thoughts a long time ago whilst simultaneously being short of making any kind of meaningful title challenge. It was the kind of game in which you board the supporter’s bus with the notion that at least you’ll get a decent Saturday afternoon out.

Fast forward to the full time whistle and what started off slowly turned into a whirlwind of a game. Pollok had taken the lead through a spectacular opener but ultimately is The Glens who persevere coming back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 with the winner coming in the 89th minute, both sides having finished the game with ten men amid a less than friendly atmosphere on the terraces.

In the main I love football. It’s been pretty kind to me and I consider myself lucky that when the final whistle blows I can shake off the result (well Scotland’s recent jaunt to Kazakhstan aside, sakes!) and get on with my life because at the end of the day, through the cheers and the tears, football is just a game. As I stood there, with some questionable phrases polluting the air from a minority, I am reminded that I will never ever forget that.

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On the life’s too short theme we recently had our latest Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund event where we edged ever closer to that £50,000 mark. Stewart “Smit” Smith died from Bowel Cancer just over five and half years ago now and to think that we have raised so much in his memory thanks to the support of everyone involved is all a little humbling. If you fancy flinging a few pennies our way then click the link above. I’ve mentioned it before but Smit was one of the early advocates of my meat filled ramblings so I’ll never apologise for giving the fund a plug from time to time. Anyway, that’s the preamble done so without much further ado let’s rate some sausage roll!

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-1 Pollok, West Region Premiership

Price: In a strange turn of events there were no pies available for purchase at Loch Park however there were some pretty mahoosive sausage rolls. Yours for just £1.50.

Presentation: Presented in a polystyrene tray with a medium sized white napkin, The tray was used for the sausage rolls and multiple chip variations but strangely not the burgers. From a pastry perspective this is perhaps one of the most secure methods of holding a match day snack safely although it’s important to ensure that you place your pastry back in the centre of the tray to prevent any accidental flippage.

Meatiness: So earlier I said that there were no pies at Loch Park this particular Saturday and I suspect when the good folk at the Glens went to pick up their match day meatiness there may not have been any sausage rolls either. So why do I suspect this? Well the filling in this sausage rolls appeared to be cut up rectangles of square sausage as opposed to the more traditional link style sausage meat filling. It was a very generous, moist and meaty portion of square sausage and whether this was done by design or as a result of some Saturday morning quick thinking I was a fan.

Pastry: My suspicions grew when I looked at the way the pastry was wrapped around the meat. No frills or crimping here, just a layer of puff pastry wrapped round the meat and pushed together to guarantee a full encasing. This roll had a good golden colouring to it although the bottom was a little greasy perhaps as a result of the higher fat content in a square sausage and what felt like a fairly generous ratio of butter in the pastry mix itself. Still though a big sausage filling needs a big pastry coating and this did the business.

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Brown Sauce: A sausage roll is not a pastry that receives saw easily and so for me I never do adorn it so.

Overall: Generous sized, decent price, good taste, golden pastry. Pretty pleased with this to be honest. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way.

Gravy Factor: Big sausage gravy.

Don’t do sausage roll reviews very often so this was a nice change of pace. As always keep up to date with Meat Filled Pastries by subscribing to get notifications and follow all my non-pie based going’s on over on Leading the Line, 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. 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 159: The Petershill “Steak Pie”

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Hello again pie fans and welcome to the latest pie review to beat the big freeze. This week I venture to Springburn in the north of Glasgow to take in one of only four junior games to beat the weather as Petershill took on junior football’s current standard bearer’s and Scottish Cup giant killers, Auchinleck Talbot.

I had actually turned up at Petershill Park not expecting to have a new pie to review. I had been up to see the Peasy, Rossvale and various women’s teams over the last few seasons and only ever been furnished with a standard scotch pie or, as was the case on one occasion, a bridie. However as I stood in the queue the murmers were that a steak pie could be in the offing. As I approached the counter my curiosity heightened and with no menu in sight, I asked, “Can I get a steak pie please, pal?”…

“Aye love, anything else?”. Yes, success! I had a new pie. A pie I wasn’t expecting to taste and savour but there in lies the key question, was it indeed, a pie I was looking to savour?

Well there’s only one way that we’re going to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Petershill Park, Petershill 0-7 Auchinleck Talbot

Price: I’ve totally dropped the ball here. I couldn’t see a price list and I had eaten yet that day so had bought some other things (a can of Diet Bru and a bag of cheese & onion in case you were wondering). I know that my final bill was £3.40 so the price of this pie is £3.40 minus the cost of a can of Diet Irn Bru minus the cost of a bag of Cheese & Onion crisps. One for all you algebra fans out there, if you know the cost of a can of Irn Bru and a bag of crisps at Petershill Park.

Presentation: Unusual in junior pie circles this steak offering was presented in a silver tin foil case and on top of a large white napkin although given the temperatures on the day I would have quite happily let the pie warm my hands and cool down naturally before I tucked in.

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Meatiness: This pie filling was pretty decent. There was a suitably fluid meat flavoured gravy wrapped around some various sized chunks of meat, from the size of dice to almost mince like in texture. The first bite revealed a little bit of a gap as can be seen in the accompanying picture but no bite was bare of meat and in a match day pastry that is something to be commended.

Pastry: A pie of two halves here. The top was well coloured with a little steam hole present to let out the heat. It slid out the pastry case with ease and without any sticky situations occurring. However the bottom was a little on the raw side meaning that it was a little bit claggy after a couple of bites. Luckily though the gravy and crispy side wall combination meant that it was still a perfectly serviceable mouthful.

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Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean naked pies, however on surveying the kiosk area surroundings I couldn’t immediately spy anything to go condimental about if that was your desire.

Overall: Decent filling, decent gravy, decent pastry, even if it was a little under on the bottom. Yeah, decent.

Gravy Factor: Better than a KFC Gravy scented candle (and yes that is a thing!)

Bonus pie reviews are often the best pie reviews, especially at this time of year where fixtures can become a little scarce. I am potentially (Saturday night exploits dependent) going to make my way yo Tynecastle next weekend to see if The ‘Bot can repeat their exploits from the previous round whilst also gain some revenge for a 1-0 defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Cup seven years ago.

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. 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 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.

Pie 157: The East Stirlingshire Pie

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Hello and welcome to the second of two reviews from the terraces of The Falkirk Stadium. Last time out Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie went under the piecroscope as not only did we get to taste a new pastry sensation but also dished out the first ever Meat Filled Pastries Awards for 2018. If you want to know who won the key awards of Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie and Best Non-Pie Pastry then please go have a look. It stirred up the kind of debate between fans on Twitter that only a pie could do.

Before we get into the meat of this pie matter I wanted to take a little time to talk about East Stirlingshire. The first club to fall victim of the Scottish Pyramid promotion system they lost out to Edinburgh City at the end of the 2015/16 season bringing to a close a 61 year association within the current national league set up. Having left Firs Park, a ground I unfortunately never made it too, they moved to Ochilview home of Stenhousemuir before taking up residence at The Falkirk Stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season.

As I stood towards the back of the main stand on a pretty chilly December evening I was taken once again by the commitment that we as football fans show. Now to be fair, and to not over-romanticise, the crowd wasn’t that big and there was an air of apathy on the pitch that was permeating into the stands. An air that lifted when the on park casualness started to rile those watching on. It was even bugging me and I was a neutral! Don’t assume that this is reference to apathy is designed to diminish the support, all these supporters should be (and I have no doubt are) valued but instead probably more of an indication as to how their season had gone to date, sitting as the club did in the lower half of the Lowland League table. It’s not easy supporting a club at this level but there are always people that will bleed the colours when cut clean but for The Shire who – on the face of things – have been battered about as much as anyone has been over the past few seasons the support is even more impressive. From the 8 point season of 03/04 to the threat of losing full SFA member status after many a 42nd place finished in the league. They had to leave Firs Park, their home, due to rising costs and of course you cannot ignore the aforementioned relegation in 2016. It truly is testament to the commitment fans have to their teams that they continue to carry on.

The move to The Falkirk Stadium has been viewed positively and the ambition very much remains to see the club promoted back to League Two and always with any club I wish them the best in achieving their goals.

For now though let’s get back to the pies and 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 £2.20 this was 20p cheaper than the previously reviewed steak pie. I should note here that the picture above highlights the presence of a Steak & Stornoway Black Pudding Pie however my excitement soon disappeared as it became apparent that a trip to see East Stilringshire’s landlords would be required to take on board this potential tasty treat.

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Presentation: Identical in nature to its steak filled brother. Inside a silver tin foil carton and atop of some large white napkins.

Meatiness: This pie was laced with that unmistakable scotch pie flavour with the spicing adding a smidgen of heat and a dash of both sweet and savoury. There was a little peppery kick which I always enjoy at the terminal point of consumption. Not loads to say here but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a decent little filling.

Pastry: You could almost see the fingers of the baker as they hurriedly pushed the lid against the pastry walls and on top of the filling. It meant that it looked a little ragged but those undulating sides added a layer of crispness to the bite that a neatly tucked in lid wouldn’t have. The pastry was a little soft underneath with a dusting of flour again helping to prevent a sticky situation but overall it was well-baked.

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Brown Sauce: The sachets of sauce on offer were tangy and a little sweet adding some more notes of flavour to the overall experience. They were also an appropriate size to get a good coverage on top of your pastry. To often these sachet’s are tiny, and require multiples of to make them worth their while.

Overall: Not a looker, but a pretty decent example of a scotch pie.

Gravy Factor: Crispy Bisto

The pies at East Stirlingshire may not be particularly groundbreaking but you can do a lot worse than just offering up good, honest tasting pastries. I’m back to having an empty basket of which to draw reviews from but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some hot pie action to take on board. I will be attending the World Scotch Pie Awards on the 15th January and I’m hoping to be able to speak to some of the winners and do a bit more in-depth coverage on one of my favourite days of the year.

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. 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.