football writing

Pie 195: The Queen’s Park Cheesy Bean Pie

Posted on

Hello pie fans and welcome to the latest perusal of pastry brought to you by your friends at Meat Filled Pastries.

It would be easy to drone on about the weather to start this week’s blog but personally I find the discourse tedious and discarding the fact that Scotlan’s climate isn’t prone to bouts of heavy shiteness at least ten months of the year is a convenient way to fill up a few paragraphs with no match action to call on. Surely the free time that the players now have could be used to conduct long form interviews or go more in depth on previous game analysis, but why do that when you can smash the words SUMMER FOOTBALL repeatedly into your keyboard instead.

As part of this week’s introduction I want to plug the new series of A View From the Terrace, which I’m currently working on, and in particular the VT featuring BSC Glasgow from last Friday’s episode which is linked here for eternity. It’s genuinely fantastic and not only does it go behind the scenes at the club ahead of the biggest match in their short history but it also features a goal from Meat Filled Pastries very own Ross Smith. I recommend watching it.

Back to the weather for the briefest of moments and the conditions have led to me hitting the road a bit more recently although as it continued to rain sideways I decided to stay close to home a couple of weeks ago and head to Hampden as Queen’s Park hosted Elgin City in Scottish League Two.

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

Where: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park 2-0 Elgin City, Scottish League Two

Price: £2.80. As always at Hampden the surroundings come with a hefty price tag. I also had a Haggis, Neeps & Tatties Pie that was identical to the offering recently had at Ibrox, but was 60p more expensive. I would hope with the future move to Lesser Hampden the pricing will move in line with the level of competition the side are competing in.

Presentation: Pretty standard at large stadia in that it came within a tin foil case and on top of a small square white napkin.

CheesyBeaniness: I’ve spoke in the past about my lack of love for the Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie, so I approached Hampden’s vegetarian offering for the day with a bit of trepidation, a trepidation that would prove to be not entirely unwarranted. The consistency was the same as on that fateful afternoon, thick and gummy. The paste accompanied with an acrid kick of pepper on the back of the throat which had my hippocampus lurching back to bites of time past. There was the sweetness of the beans to play with this time although their presence was miserly and when an ingredient as humble as the baked bean can’t be splashed about then something isn’t quite right with your pie’s construction.

Pastry: A bit smashed up on delivery the top was loose and as can be seen by the first bite images the sides bucked a little underneath the biting pressure of my jaw. It was nice and crispy though, had a decent colour and mercifully was not stuck to the bottom of the case.

Overall: Not the greatest but an improvement on the Cheese & Onion Pie that still haunts my dreams. The providers need a lot more beans and significantly less pepper in the base mix used to throw these vegetarian offerings together and I would say that non-meat eaters deserver better.

The curse of the big stadium continues, next time out we head to Alliance Park, home of Caledonian Braves, as they host Lowland League title chasers Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.

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 194: The Darvel Pie

Posted on Updated on

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

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

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

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

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

20200201_1422538274102244092254421.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20200201_1343133545601753732556524.jpg

Keep your eyes peeled for the next review, however until then, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 192: The Benburb Macaroni Pie

Posted on

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.

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 09.51.54

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

img_20200104_165708_9682177792246109930162.jpg

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 186: The Port Glasgow Pie

Posted on Updated on

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

img_20191025_231938_3496952542129853498307.jpg

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 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie

Posted on Updated on

Ahoy my meat filled mateys, are we all ready to set sail on another voyage of pie. I’ve written nearly two hundred of these intros now, and I’ve just realised that this one – in linking sailor patter to the fact the team’s pie in question has the word “Port” in its name – is perhaps up there as being one of the most tenuous to date.

It had been a pretty full on week both work wise and in the world of Scottish women’s football and so I made the decision to take advantage of some Friday night junior football and head along the M8 to take in the Inverclyde Derby, the second of the season and the second to be played on a Friday night, a rare but increasing occurrence on the Scottish junior football scene. It’s something that I am very keen to see more of, especially in derby scenarios such as these, and there is no doubting the attendance at Parklea on what was a cold, but clear night, was considerably larger than it had been if it was competing with a full Saturday card. The atmosphere was good accompanies by a good media presence and with the return fixture earlier in the season being equally well received I hope to see more like this in the future.

Having dashed to the game straight from work, via home to pick up my car, I headed into the ground hoping to find a tasty pie or two to double as my dinner. But were they tasty? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate pie number one from the home of the Port.

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

20191025_1927526615733090373579071.jpg

Price: I was a little surprised at the £2.50 price point when told of the options available to me but on presentation of the pastry I felt like I was getting a decent amount of bang for my buck.

Presentation: This was very substantial indeed sitting within a large tin foil tray on top of  a single sheet of kitchen roll. The most interesting thing though, in a section of these reviews where I know things can be a bit samey, I was also given a little wooden fork. A utensil that I was initially sceptical of before being happy to receive.

20191025_1911237195245280581901699.jpg

Meatiness: I initially tried to eat this pastry without using my new wooden companion, however after a couple of bites it became apparent that there’s a reason it was there. The steak was well chunked, tender to the bite and generous enough to ensure (as previously intimated) you felt like you were getting your money’s worth. The gravy was smooth with a consistency the right side of both runny and thick to ensure it wrapped round the steak without causing an early explosion which was a relief because this meat and sauce combined made for a very tasty bite.

Pastry: A puff pastry case here the top golden with a lovely flake to the layers with the underside meshing with the filling exactly as you would want it to. The bottom was a little underbaked, a common challenge of putting your pie in tinfoil but it was solid enough to be lifted out the case clean and it was baked well enough to add the desired contribution to the overall taste profile.

20191025_1914193398115046638110857.jpg

Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean no brown sauce. I don’t think it was needed here either.

Overall: Substantial with a golden flaky top, with well cooked and seasoned meat and gravy.

Gravy Factor: I’ll take a gravy boat-full please captain. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Strong start. This is the first of two reviews from this game and next up is the more traditional scotch pie, the bastion of the scottish football catering scene, 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

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on

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.

20190928_1444151221055371765255753.jpg

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

img_20190928_193838_9957065427298455986658.jpg

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.

20190928_1420567068480034184604541.jpg

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.

20190928_1422245837174832141987820.jpg

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.

 

20190928_1444151221055371765255753.jpg