food writing

Pie 192: The Benburb Macaroni Pie

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Hello my little pastries and welcome to the latest review as we return to the junior ranks and New Tinto Park, home of west region stalwarts Benburb.

In the last week the winner of the 2020 Scotch Pie World Championship Awards was announced with James Pirie & Son from Newtyle claiming the overall Scotch Pie crown for the second time in three years.

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In the football pie category the gold, silver and bronze categories were filled with the usual mix of scotch and steak pie offerings but it was the Diamond winner that caused some waves with the Fish Pie from Fraserburgh FC claiming the overall crown. Social media reaction has been mixed, from disbelief that a fish pie can be the best that Scottish football has to offer to enthusiasm that something different has done the business in 2020. I know a few people who have marked a trip to the Broch in their calendar as a result of the outcome.

Personally, pie-versity can only be a good thing and if the pie is to remain the matchday treat of choice then calling on the produce of your locale to expand your range seems a sensible way to account for ever evolving punter tastes. A full list of winners from the awards can be found here.

One of these varieties, particularly traditional to Scotland, is the macaroni pie and it is one of these that now fall under the pie-croscope. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 1-1 Pollok, West Region Premiership

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Price: £1.50. A pleasantly priced pastry for perfect purchasing.

Presentation: The pie was housed in a silver tin foil case with a large white napkin underneath. Ideal.

Pasta & Chessiness: I suspect I’ve reviewed this pie recently in another guise, more on that later, but putting that aside overall this was a tasty effort. There was a strong cheese flavour throughout and the texture of past and sauce was spot on. Loose enough to create a little ooze but viscous enough for you to have ample time to catch a drip as it slowly makes it’s way to the terrace below. The top was well baked meaning that the cheese remained nice and stringy with the colour being a darker hue than the goodness inside.

Pastry: Perhaps a little soft on the bottom but nice and golden on the side walls and top, although one side appeared slightly better baked than the other. Did the job of holding the ample filling.

Brown Sauce: A swirl of ketchup to bring back memories of school day tea times at home.

Overall: A well baked melange of cheese and pasta. Lovely stuff.

Gravy Factor: It went down bechem-well.

This was lovely and an improvement on Pie 188: The Rossvale Macaroni Pie had a few weeks previous at the same venue. The difference, I think, being the length of time that the pie was left in the oven and it is why, for me, that until they do matchday testing on the football category at the World Championships the winner will always have a wee asterisk against their name. Football fans don’t get the pie straight from source, but from kiosks and pie huts across the land and whilst this might seem a minor gripe to some it is one that is never far from my mind.

Next up we travel just a few hundred metres down Edminston Drive to Ibrox as Rangers hosted Stranraer in the Scottish Cup 4th Round as I once again tackle, with much trepidation, their latest pie of the month offering. 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 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 186: The Port Glasgow Pie

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Hello pie pals and welcome to the second of two reviews from the Inverclyde Riviera. I shared a little of my experience from that game last time out in Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie, so go check that out as I write this fresh off another round of Friday Night Junior football. I continue to believe that it is a concept that junior sides with the capability to make happen explore.

I am now just two weeks away from World Pie Championships Judging Day and so with that in mind I thought I’d share a short audio piece I did at this year’s awards dinner. It’s a bit rough around the edges but it still tells a good wee story and features some of the biggest names in the Scottish pie making world so why not check it out.

 

I’m also still smashing out the content over on Leading the Line, so if you enjoy women’s football or are keen to learn more than go have a look and give it a subscribe as the season hurtles towards its close.

For now though and without much further ado, let’s get back to the pastries with review number two from Parklea, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Parklea Stadium, Port Glasgow 1-0 Greenock Juniors, West Region League One

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Price: £1.50 is a fair price for a scotch pie in the world of junior football. No complaints here.

Presentation: It was presented on a single sheet of white kitchen roll, fairly standard. Weirdly though, as was the case with the steak pie where it made some sense, I was offered a fork, a first in seven seasons of pie consumption. I politely turned it down but if you enjoy a fork to consume a scotch pie on the terraces with then please get in touch.

Meatiness: This was a good scotch pie. It had a strong pepper kick, a sensation I hadn’t felt for a while in a pie, with a long spicy linger that provided a strangely warming effect on a cold October evening. It was well formed and safe to the bite. Well filled, well seasoned, tasty, spicy and just a little bit moreish.

Pastry: There was a slight chew to the pastry but overall it was a well baked shell which held the filing securely with the top edges of the rim golden and crispy and the base sturdy.

Overall: A very good scotch pie with a nice pepper kick.

Gravy Factor: Aaaaah, bisto.

So it was not only a double dunt review from Port Glasgow but it was also a double dunt of tasty pastries too. Next time I head east once again to Linlithgow, the home of many a tasty pastry, as Pollok face Linlithgow Rose CFC in the Scottish Junior Cup. 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 184: The Irvine Meadow XI Macaroni Pie

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It’s another wonderful day to read about pie, and it’s the return of a personal favourite of mine in the form of the Macaroni Pie, this time from the West Region Juniors as Irvine Meadow took on Pollok in a top of the table Premiership clash.

Medda’ Park, or Meadow Park if you are a believer in the use of renounced pronunciation is one of the few venues in the West to have a seated stand and it is perhaps for money the most aesthetically pleasing, with it’s red brick base and the stylised writing on the near side wall advertising the presence of the Medda Lounge. They have also now installed a few more areas of cover around the ground and with the hot topic of how the juniors will eventually slide their way into the pyramid an ever present, spurred on further by the recent Scottish Cup exploits of former junior sides Penicuik Athletic and Broxburn Athletic, Meadow Park certainly has the feel of a ground gearing itself up for the bigger challenges to come.

They also have a pretty wide ranging, if a little short stocked on the day of my visit, pie hut and having reviewed the steak and scotch pies on offer many moons ago, when this site was still nothing more than an over elaborate bet, I was pleased to see a macaroni pie for me to feast my eyes upon.

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

Where: Meadow Park, Irvine Meadow 3-3 Pollok, West Region Premiership

Price: £1.50. A fair price for a non-league pastry.

Presentation: There was an interesting presentational differential on show at Meadow Park. If you got a steak pie you were afforded a plate to go along with your large white napkin, but for a macaroni offering the napkin alone was deemed to suffice, something which I probably agree with.

CheesyPastainess: This was very tasty. A squat little pie but was filled well enough with a macaroni mix that was heavy on the cheese and was well seasoned throughout. There could be an argument made to say that it was a little salty however I think that savoury tinge helped to add a moreishness to the bite. The integrity of the macaroni held up well and overall I would have quite happily smashed into this on a plate without the pastry surround.

Pastry: Not that there was anything wrong with the pastry. It was baked and held everything together amicably. The deep lip at the top suggested that maybe the pastry could have been filled a little more however to have done that may have compromised the integrity of the pie as a whole.

Brown Sauce: it’s a nostalgia dab for me once against so a squirt of Heinz Tomato Ketchup added a little sweetness to this savoury bite.

Overall: Good macaroni cheese inside a well baked pastry shell.

Gravy Factor: This pastry ranked very bechem-well indeed. (That pun is honking!)

This was a lovely mid-afternoon snack and once again show off the merits of a well made macaroni pie. Next up there will be a double dunt from Parklea, as Port Glasgow took on Greenock in the Inverclyde Derby underneath the Friday night lights.

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 183: The Forres Thistle Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the second review from the Scottish Highlands as we dive into, what turned out to be, a rather substantial scotch pie offering from Logie Park.

If you want to read about the epic steak pie from the same venue then you can do so here, that one was definitely worth the 400+ mile round trip but before we find out if it was a day for double delight I wanted to give you an insight into that journey, one that very nearly resulted in an overnight stay in Forres itself.

The day started early, arriving at The Quiach, the regular post match watering hole for half eight with a roll and coffee in hand. There is a regular bunch that take the bus to these away games, and our numbers were boosted by an extra few who wanted to leave their cars at home and enjoy what had turned out be a first trip north in over five years.

The drive north was fairly uneventful, we rolled into town a couple of hours before kick off and quickly assessed our surroundings in search of the nearest pub knowing that the ground itself, which was situated on the outskirts, had no social club to fall back on. Having had a few in The Thistle Bar we boarded the bus and headed towards the ground which was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area. There was no parking to speak off and so our driver Wullie made the bold – and what soon turned out to be foolhardy – decision to go off road and park up on the grass, 45 seconds later the bus was stuck.

The rain had been falling heavily the night before and in spells throughout the journey and whilst a couple of cars were already in situ there was a suspicion as the wheels moved away from the safety of concrete to swampy grass that trouble was imminent.

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It was. The wheels spun, and spun, and spun, the engine grunting and moaning as the gears were cranked over and over. Still in our seats we could feel the bus slip deeper and deeper into the mud, a look out the window showing the carnage being caused. We disembarked and did the only sensible thing by making our way into the ground hoping to resolve it at half time leaving a gaggle of bus drivers to get started. 45 minutes later, it was still stuck, and with Wullie looking more and more a broken man a few of us headed out and after some digging, some pushing and the snapping of at least two tow ropes (unused seatbelts) the bus was free, our camaraderie strengthened with the path home secure and our shoes a little muddied.

The trip itself was made by that bus story as the game was very little to write home about but as we made are way back towards the gate it was fair to say we had earned ourselves a pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Second Round

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Price: £2. I’ve noticed this is becoming a bit of a recurring trend where no matter the type of pie the price for each remains the same. £2 for a scotch pie is quite high for this level but then counter that with that being the same price as the steak and it all kind of balances out.

Presentation: Same as the steak on a double layer of kitchen roll.

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Meatiness: This pie was a whopper but quantity doesn’t always mean quality and to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with this one. The texture was what you would expect to see in a good scotch pie but my filling was a little cold meaning the flavours didn’t pop as much as you would want them too. The meat was a little pale and grey meaning that when eating your eyes that sense too felt a little underwhelmed.

Pastry: Much like the steak the top was a little loose from around the sides but it had a nice golden colour to it and held the substantial filling comfortably.

Brown Sauce: HP, elite sauce levels here.

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Overall: A big lump lacking a little a punch.

Gravy Factor: Bog standard bisto.

Think you have what it takes to be a judge at this year’s World Scotch Pie Championships, then luckily for you the organisers are running a competition which will see you become a judge for the day, details of which can be found below.

https://worldchampionshipscotchpieawards.org/be_a_judge_competition_.php

Next time out we are back in Ayrshire to cast our eyes over the Irvine Meadow Macaroni Pie. 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 Scottish Women’s Football Media Team 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.

 

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Pie 181: The Hibs Ladies Mince Pie (c/o Spartans FC)

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Hello again and I’m back with another Leith laced pie offering as I headed to the north of Edinburgh for some Scottish Women’s Cup Quarter Final action as Hibernian Ladies hosted Hamilton Academical. For me, knockout football is the best form of the game that we all love. A game of all-or-nothing (yes, I know about replays you fun sponge!) with heightened stakes and no guarantee of ultimate glory, it may not be the definitive indicator of who the best team in a tournament is week in and week out but come final day you can almost always find a narrative, whether it be an underdog’s story, an unexpected hero, the dawning of a new era or the crowning moment of a successful dynasty.

It should be the thing that everybody wants to be in and nobody wants to be out of and in Scotland, I believe that we are fortunate to be in a position that all clubs still approach these tournaments in that manner.

That is no different in the women’s game and so I headed east in search of some piping hot cup action and of course a cheeky little pastry. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Ainslie Park, Hibernian 3-0 Hamilton Academical, Scottish Women’s Cup Quarter Final

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Price: £2 is a top end price for what some may view as a standard pie offering whilst conversely for those of you that would view this as a luxury item £2 is pretty fair. I’m somewhere in the middle.

Presentation: This pie came served on an off white paper plate, always a bit of a novelty, with some self service deep-blue coloured napkins. Sturdy base for peak pie consumption.

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Meatiness: This was really moreish but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. The filling, being a mince pie as opposed to scotch, was a lot looser with a more gravy like consistency with beef being the star of the show. It was well seasoned and there was a spicing to it that made my taste buds curious whilst also yearning for more. Enjoyable stuff.

Pastry: The pastry was fairly standard, held well and had a smooth top bringing pack memories of Bell’s pies of reviews past. This though was a level up.

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Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of HP. I always feel the wee sachets are a bit stingey in terms of the volume of sauce within but it was help yourself so I could dab aaway to my hearts content.

Overall: Decent pastry with a moreish meaty filling.

Gravy Factor: Goodness gravy me.

Next up I have a double dunt from the North Region Juniors and Logie Park, home of Forres Thistle.

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 Scottish Women’s Football Media Team 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 180: The SWNT Macaroni Pie (c/o Hibernian)

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There is a very Hibs heavy theme to this most recent tranche of reviews. It’s not deliberate, but with the women’s side being involved in the league, Scottish Cup and Women’s Champions League and the national side playing their most recent Euro 2021 qualifier at Easter Road, the fates have seen the north of Edinburgh become a hub of meat filled musings.

I’ve mentioned before that I now cover Scottish women’s football fairly extensively and in the last couple of weeks I have made the decision to move Meat Filled Pastries sister site, Leading the Line, to exclusively cover women’s football, particularly in Scotland. If you’re into that kind of thing I would highly recommend giving it a follow and of course subscribing to the podcast too.

Catering is still an evolving concept in Scottish women’s football but at Easter Road it has long been a staple so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Easter Road, Scotland 8-0 Cyprus, Euro 2021 Qualifying Group E

Price: After driving from west to east through the torrential rush hour rain and, having forgot that dinner is a very important part of the day, I share no shame in claiming this pie for free as part of my role covering the game.

Presentation: Presented in the press lounge in a couple of big silver catering trays with on-brand large green napkins for moping any residuals from the corner of my mouth.

CheesyPastainess: Pretty tasty. It was generously filled with the cheese sauce wrapped around well cooked macaroni curls. There was no flouriness to the taste or the texture and the additional sprinkling of cheddar across the top had bubbled to just the right level, the best side of crispy to ensure the colour had changed but there was no burning on top or the cheese all coming off in one bite.

Pastry: Unlike a lot of macaroni pies the pastry here had a good golden tinge to it. There was a little bit of boil out which can be expected with cheese such a key component of the filling. It held the filling admirably and could be relied on in the tilt, a hand position that needs to be taken with the unpredictable macaroni potentially ready to tumble at any moment.

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Brown Sauce: As always with a macaroni pie I mix things up on the condiment front with a dod of tomato ketchup straight from a bottle of Heinz.

Overall: Pastry that held well encasing a nicely flavoured and generously portioned macaroni filling.

Gravy Factor: There’s a touch upon my lips, and that touch is a tasty macaroni pie.

I did say at the start that Hibernian would be a recurring theme and that theme continues as next up is a Mince Pie (not a Scotch pie) from Ainslie Park as Hibs Ladies hosted Hamilton Academical in the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Women’s Cup. As well as another new pie you can also look forward to me shoehorning some more Proclaimers based puns into this piping hot content. 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 member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team 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.