Football

Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie

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What’s up pastry posse!? Welcome to Pie Review 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie. These reviews were always a device designed to not only talk about pies and pastries but also to big up some of Scottish football’s lesser lights. I go to a lot of football grounds and over the past few months I’ve resolved to accept that I am indeed a bit of a groundhopper. Whilst some people get excited by a new series of Game of Thrones or the discovery that there is a new place to go hunting for Pokemon (that’s not a dated reference, I know people who still do it!) I get a buzz from an away cup draw to a place I’ve never been or the news that a spot in my midweek schedule has freed up and there’s a game of football to be had and a pie to be eaten.

This was my second visit to Winton Park having previously driven down a few years ago during one of those weekend’s where the fixture list had been decimated but the Rovers park had survived. As I had the car it was very much a case of ensuring that I had made it in for kick off and that I got myself a tasty pastry treat (Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie) but on this visit the supporters bus ensured I had ample time to explore the facilities. I was impressed. From the surprisingly large social club located within the stadium, the walls adorned with a potted history of this Ayrshire side, to the various little stadium quirks dotted around the place from the wheelbarrow beside the stand to the Winton Rovers wall at the far end of the stadium. It’s certainly a place with plenty of intrigue to be found. They also have a pretty well stocked pie hut courtesy of The Kandy Bar meaning that despite my previous visit there was still some new pastries to be had.

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

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1-2 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 1st Round

Price: At £1.50 this is a pretty standard pricing strategy for your core pastry range (pies, bridies and sausage rolls) and well within the bounds of acceptability for a junior football match in Scotland.

Presentation: Keeping things simple this bridie was presented on a large white napkin. Double layered for your eating pleasure.

Meatiness: I have had a very mixed past with bridies. I’ve only actually ever reviewed two on the site (Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie & Pie 93: The Rossvale Bridie) but when it has come to competition judging at Scottish Baker of the Year and the World Scotch Pie Championships I am continually amazed at how far out of whack the meat to pastry ratios is in some of the bridie products made by butchers and bakers across the country. It can be quite a hard thing to balance given the prominent use of puff pastry in their construction but thankfully with this offering the ratios were pretty good. The filling was generous and moist. It did perhaps make it a little bit difficult to eat as you continued to break down the pastry walls surrounding it but the flavour was very good. Strong and meaty with a hint of onion flavour that added a little layer of sweetness to the overall bite. Most importantly the ratio was right, and for that I was incredibly grateful.

Pastry: The pastry was, as you would expect with puff, lovely and flaky but it’s golden colour and restraint in volume are what made it really stand out on this bridie. It was unusual to see a hole on top of the pastry but part of me wonders if this is what helped in preventing an over-abundance. The base was well baked too meaning that the pastry here was also holding up it’s end of the bargain.

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Brown Sauce: Now, given that one of my main gripes with a bridie against a pie is that they can often be a little dry you would think I would be all about the condiments here but logistically they don’t really work. There is no place for the sauce to sit comfortably and no upper lip to catch the flow that occurs when you tip the pastry towards your mouth. With that in mind there is no sauce here.

Overall: Tasty filling and golden pastry on a bridie where the ratios were just about spot on made for an overall enjoyable eating experience.

Gravy Factor: Well balanced gravy.

So far the weather has held out as we head towards the 5 month extravaganza that is the Scottish winter time so we shall continue at pace on our journey of meat filled pastries. Next up will be a steak and gravy pie from St. Mirren Park as we jump on the road to France with the Scottish Women’s team as they take on the United States in a glamour friendly.

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 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.

 

 

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Pie 152: The Partick Thistle Pie

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Back one again with the Scottish pie master,

Brown sauce dribble, meaty in the middle.

Back one again with the Scottish pie master,

Brown sauce dribble and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries…

That’s right we are back once again with another pie review from Meat Filled Pastries. Much to my surprise pie 152 sees a first review from Firhill, home of Partick Thistle and for this visit, the home of the SSE Women’s Scottish Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell. I’ve gone on quite a bit about the need for people to support the women’s game and for those that run it to do their bit by making sure that the match day experience in as enticing as possible. It certainly feels like strides are being made in both those regards and I’ll be interested to see what the numbers are like when I see Scotland take on the USA on Tuesday 13th November at whatever they are calling New Love Street these days.

One of the biggest challenges women’s football faces in my eyes is how to address the quality gap from the very top of the domestic game (Glasgow City & Hibernian) to the rest. Whilst there was no doubting the Leith Lassies fully deserved their 8-0 win against the Women of Steel (love that nickname!) it did somewhat dampen the spectacle to see one side 3-0 up after only 15 minutes. Of course the game could have went differently but a quick look at the SWPL1 table shows that there is a gap there for the chasing pack to address.

Quality of competition not withstanding I’m really interested to see what impact the new entry criteria for next season will have on the – and I hate to use this word – product. 2019 is shaping up as a big year for women’s football in Scotland and I really hope that those in control grasp the opportunity to turn everything up a notch, not only for the fans but for all involved with their clubs too.

It’s also World Scotch Pie Championship Judging Day this week and this year’s event has had the good grace to fall on my birthday so whilst there won’t be any cake I will no doubt be pie-eyed by the end of the day.

That’s it for the pie-atribe this week so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Firhill Stadium, Hibernian Ladies 8-0 Motherwell Ladies, SSE Scottish Women’s Cup Final

Price: At £2.40 this is one of the more expensive scotch pies that I have had during my adventures. It will be interesting to see with the requirement for catering in the SWPL going forward the pricing strategy implemented by Scotland’s top female clubs.

Presentation: This scotch pie was presented in a tin foil case, common in the upper echelons but less so in the juniors, and with a small white napkin taken from one of those dispensers you see at large stadia.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled scotch pie. The meat reached almost every nook and cranny inside it’s pastry walls. The texture was both crumbly and firm meaning that each bite held well on initial impact before easily giving way as you made your way through. There was also a good pepper kick to this pastry, something has been feeling absent from the last few scotch pie reviews I’ve done. Not too strong to cause any harm to the overall taste experience but just warm enough to give your taste buds a little thrill on what was a pretty cold Sunday afternoon.

Pastry: The most impressive thing about this pastry was that it did not stick to the shiny base below. It was also golden on top with some lovely crispy edges accompanied by a little steam hole to give the filling some room to breath. Whilst the pastry didn’t stick it was perhaps a little soft on the bottom but it was nothing that would be of detriment to the overall eating experience.

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Brown Sauce: Small sachets of brown that helped bring the appropriate level of zing to this pastry party.

Overall: Good pastry with a generous and well seasoned filling that was complimented by a peppery kick means that this was a very good pie indeed, even if it was £2.40.

Gravy Factor: A scotch pie worthy of a cup final.

This was a top pie from Firhill. They actually had quite a wide range to choose from but for me it’s important that I always continue to give reference to the core pastry product, the one that you will find everywhere, the scotch pie. That said for those fans who do enjoy a bit of deviation you are in for a treat as next time out I review a bridie from Ardrossan Winton Rovers in the Scottish Juniors.

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 151: The Cumnock “Steak & Haggis” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where 150 pies were clearly never going to be enough.

As the years have ticked by I’ve had to keep track of those venues where I’ve had a pie before. When pulling together the infographic for Pie 150 I noticed I had somehow managed to do not one but two reviews from Rossvale. A stat made even more befuddlingly when you consider that neither had came from their current home at Huntershill  and that I had also managed to squeeze in a bridie review from the same club. At least with the bridie it could stand alone as part of the extended Meat Filled Pastries family. With that in mind I arrived at Cumnock knowing that I had previously reviewed both the scotch and onion pies fairly early in my journey and so I anticipated my culinary peak from Townhead Park to be the drinking of the rarely found 60/- from the Ayrshire side’s rather good social club.

My assumption however was wrong because as I approached the pie stall to get involved with some “Nock Nosh” I was greeted by the geuninely excited chatter from my fellow match day munchers that there were two new types of pies to sample. In the least surprising revelation of this post one of these new breeds managed to fall lovingly into my palm and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock 1-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round Replay

Price: At £2 this was at the top end of the junior pricing spectrum but given that I was on a promise of both steak and haggis I was more than willing to let this pastry whisper sweet nothings on my taste buds before deciding if I was getting value for money.

Presentation: Despite its steaky nature this pie went old school, presented as it was on a single medium-sized (maybe evem large) white napkin. As consumption progressed this proved more than plenty.

Meatiness: On entry to this pie I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Should there be lots of gravy? Will this marriage of haggis and steak mingle into a meaty morsel that will make my mouth moist with its magic?

I’m happy to report that the filling of this pie was indeed a belter. At first my taste buds were hit with a smooth but spicy punch of haggis, a flavour that is instantly recognisable to the initiated but almost indescribable to those yet to experience the joy of an offal stuffed lamb’s stomach. Immediately I deduced that there was no gravy to be found but that was not an issue as the moistness provided by all those bits that North America continue to hide from were ample and slowly gave way to large chunks of well cooked and tender steak. This filling was getting “the nod”. That moment when your head, mind and taste buds come together in unison to proclaim that the symphony of flavours that you are experiencing are in fact very, very good.

Pastry: The pastry on this pie was also very near the top end. The sides and base were well cooked and held firm against the moist filling although they were perhaps a little peely wally in colour. There was some boil out, and whilst that is sniffed at by some, I always feel it adds some character to a pastry. A little imperfection to help make it feel special. The colour shone as you gazed at this  pie from above, the top formed as it was with a lovely golden disc of puff pastry that broke off into buttery flakes whilst the underside merged with the filling below. This pie was pulling out all the stops.

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Brown Sauce: I’m almost compelled to say that brown sauce may have ruined this pie, which is a very bold statement indeed.

Overall: Steak + Haggis + Good Pastry = Happy Pie Punter.

Gravy Factor: No Gravy. Just good, good times.

This was a wonderful pastry surprise to come across on a dreich Saturday afternoon and it’s equally wonderful to see lower league football clubs and their providers identify the opportunity to expand their range. I will maintain until my dying days that a “killer” pie will do as much good for a side as a decent cup run or title challenge ever will especially when performance on the pitch is infinitely harder to control.

Next up I continue my quest to champion the women’s game as I attend the Scottish Women’s Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell where perhaps surprisingly I embark on my first review from Firhill, home of hipster’s choice Partick Thistle.

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. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast and  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.

 

 

 

Pie 150: The BSC Glasgow Pie

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So here it is. Pie 150!

I thought about going through the key stats of this “achievement” but I’ve instead decided to let the numbers speak for themselves in the form of this snazzy little infographic.

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It’s worth pointing out that I’ve gone for the cheapest/most expensive since the start of 2018 to negate the effects of inflation etc. There has been cheaper, there has been more expensive (although none more expensive in Scotland than the pie highlighted above).

When I started this it was just a bet, a way to pass the time, but over the years it has become a useful tool not just for me, but hopefully for others too. It’s kept my writing eye in when the new ideas stopped flowing and it has led to me becoming a regular judge at not just one but two national baking and pie making competitions. I’ve got to meet and talk to new people whether it be in the game or across the industry and I’ve been able to do my bit to help raise the profile of clubs who don’t always get a shot of the limelight throughout Scottish football.

There has been times where I’ve needed a break. When I’ve been worn out by pie and being known as the “pie guy” has certainly had its pluses and minuses but all in all I enjoy this and any time somebody acknowledges it or boosts my ego with a little bit of praise it emboldens me to carry on, evolve and to continue to support those who are going about their own personal adventures where I can.

For Pie 150 I thought about being fancy, trying to go to some far-flung place to have the ultimate pie experience, but then I thought about it and realised that would be wrong. It would be against one of the core values that I attribute to this site, championing the unheralded and unglamorous in the hope that it encourages a few more fans to visit or it sticks a couple extra quid in the till when matchday hunger strikes. With that thought firmly embedded in my mind I layered up and headed to Alloa for some Friday night football action and to see BSC Glasgow take on Vale of Leithen in the Lowland League.

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

Where: Recreation Park (aka The Indodrill Stadium) BSC Glasgow 4-0 Vale of Leithen, Scottish Lowland League

Price: At £2 this is perhaps a little bit expensive given the level but from what I could make out this was a circumstance of the home side sharing their ground with Championship side Alloa Athletic. As a footnote it was such a tease to see the list of pies on offer when the Wasps were at home but to then know that they weren’t on offer here. The Black & Gold Pie in particular had my interest well and truly piqued.

Presentation: A fitting style for pie 150 as it was presented simply on a large plain white napkin. A bit of understated grandeur never goes a miss.

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Meatiness: This was a well filled pie although for me the texture was a little off. I think this was a result of the mixture being over worked prior to baking and perhaps the chosen bread based padding being a little too prominent in the mix. This led to a fairly solid block of meat that under the pressure of the bite also appeared to crumble quite quickly. The flavour was there though. It perhaps could have benefited from a bit more seasoning via a twist of salt and a crack of pepper but if you were blindfolded and asked to guess what you were eating you would know it as a scotch pie, something that time has shown me hasn’t always been the case.

Pastry: The pastry was interesting. It was fairly neat however did have a slight chew to it. On further review the base and sides in particular had a deep golden brown glow to them that made this pastry look fried as opposed to baked, most likely as a result of there being too much fat in the pastry dough causing a fry effect in the oven where the pie had tucked the baking tray. That said in the main it held together with only the last couple of bites requiring some nimble finger work to prevent spillage.

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Brown Sauce: Did the job that brown sauce should do. As the sauce was held in a mystery brown squeezy bottle the brand of this codiment seems destined to remain forever unknown.

Overall: It wasn’t perfect. The filling needed a boost and the pastry a little more work but overall the elements for a good scotch pie were there. With a little more love this could be very good.

Gravy Factor: It’s pie 150 and I’m feeling generous so let’s call it good gravy.

So that’s pie 150 in the books. I’m currently contemplating some re-reviews of the early pies but I’m also currently working on some other projects so will see what happens. This blog has always been about having a bit of fun and shining a light on the many wonderful football clubs across our fair land so as long as that’s still happening I’ll be happy.

One last thing before I finish. I just want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who read, follow or ask me about my life of pie, without you this probably wouldn’t be half as much fun. I hope I can continue to keep you entertained but for now all that leaves me to say is…

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Peace and love.

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 and  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.

Pie 148: The Kilwinning Rangers “Buffs” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to another edition of your favourite (and not at all niche) Scotland based football pie review website, Meat Filled Pastries. This week’s review comes from Kilwininng Rangers in the form of the mysteriously named Buffs Pies.

Reviewing a mystery filled pie has come at quite the opportune time as this week I received my invite to once again form part of the judging panel at the World Scotch Pie Championships. A day where even I, a hardened pie muncher, long for a side salad and a pint of fruit smoothies. As always if you are a butcher or baker who makes meat filled pastries – and especially if you supply them to your local football club – then I encourage you to fire an entry in. The title of providing the best football pie in the land is one not to be sniffed at.

The question now though is whether or not The Buff’s Pie has the makings of a contender? Well there’s only one way to find out. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Abbey Park, Kilwinning Rangers 0-2 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £2.20 I’m almost certain that this was the most expensive junior pie I’ve ever purchased and with my curiosity already piqued by a name masking it’s content, my expectations continued to escalate given this high price point.

This pie, before I had even taken my first bite, was under a lot of pressure.

Presentation: This was a big unit and so I was surprised – but not disappointed – to see no tin foil case present for this pastry with its presentation being made simply on a large plain white napkin. This did add another level of intrigue though as with no concrete evidence of its contents present the pressure continued to build. Would the napkin be sufficient to keep the filling from spilling all over my arm on first bite? With anticipation, I lifted it towards my face.

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Meatiness: So what was behind this pie’s pastry curtains? Well the first bite was met with a burst of well seasoned and sufficiently viscous dark brown gravy with my teeth tearing through a medium-sized chunk of well cooked steak. So far, so steaky. I took another couple of bites, sometimes getting steak, sometimes just getting gravy, sometimes hoping for a wee bit more, before my palate was hit with a new taste sensation. Definitely meaty I pulled my head back a little and peered into this bakers cavern to see a couple of pink(ish) discs of sausage staring back at me. There was your point of differentiation, but yet, despite all these wonderful surprises, my initial reaction was that whilst this pie was good it wasn’t at the same level as The Troon: Steak Pie I had consumed a few weeks previously. I ploughed on though and as I continued to make my way through it its generosity of portion became apparent and the flavour layers started to build little by little. As I took my final bite I was happy to say that this filling was certainly something that I had enjoyed.

Pastry: As previously suggested there was a lot of pressure on the pastry here given the absence of the shiny safety sheath that often accompanies bigger pies but I’m pleased to report that it held really well. It had a sufficient golden tinge to the top although for me the puff pastry was a little too plentiful. That said, it’s plentifulness did lend itself to more of those wonderful moments where the component parts kissed to form that ever lovely symphony of gravy and pastry on the roof of the pie.

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Brown Sauce: On a Steak & Sausage Pie!? Are you condi-mental!?

Overall: At £2.20 and with a mystery name there was a lot of pressure on this pie to deliver and I’m pleased to report that it did. Whilst it might not be at the very top of the Meat Filled Pastry Pyramid it definitely deserves to be mentioned in the upper echelons.

Gravy Factor: The International Gravy of Mystery.

Got to love a dose of the ol’ mystery meat. I have not a clue where my next pie will be coming from. My basket is currently empty and the mid-week fixture list is beginning to look increasingly bare but have no fear as Pie 150 is not that far away and that of course will be monumental!

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. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast and  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.

Pie 147: The Rangers “Chicken & Chorizo” Pie

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Hello it’s not only time for another pie review but it’s also time for another pie of the month from the house that staunch built, Ibrox Stadium. When I turned up at Ibrox on Armed Forces Day I had told myself that no pies would be passing my lips as I had been well and truly burned out by not only the price but also the quality of pastries in Glasgow’s big three grounds over the years.

This came to a head at Hampden the other week. I had first reviewed the Hampden Steak Pie a long time ago now. In fact it was one of the very first pies I reviewed and it seemed to do OK under scrutiny however since then I have been subjected to a number of overpriced travesties with a particular shout out to the Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie – still possibly the worst pie to ever pass my lips. My last Steak Pie at Hampden though was quite frankly taking the piss.

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At £2.90 this…this thing(!) masquerading as food has almost certainly forever left me scarred in regards to the catering efforts at the current – and now future home – of Scottish football. The pastry was welded to the case so hard that I could turn it upside down without fear of it falling out. The lid came clean off and the filling was so sparse and dry I can only assume that when this was made that is was not so much as baked but chewed up and spat out into it’s pastry shell. It was an absolute liberty, and I hope when that whatever the renovated Hampden ends up looking like that a new catering contract with somebody who actually gives a f*ck about what they’re producing is dished out.

It made me proper angry and with it’s memory still scratched across my taste buds I turned up at Ibrox knowing that it was highly unlikely that I would be purchasing a pie, and I love pies! But then it happened. I fell into their trap. A new Pie of the Month was there to be had and so with some reluctance I cleaned out my savings and purchased, what was a promising sounding, Chicken & Chorizo Pie. Did I make the right decision though?

Without much further ado let’s rate some pie.

Where: Ibrox Stadium, Rangers 5-1 St. Johnstone, Scottish Premiership

Price: It was £3.50. I’ve already ranted about the price of pies at the top table of Scottish football in this post and many times before so I think you know my feelings on this by now.

Presentation: Having had August’s pie of the month – The Rangers Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie – I was struck with how this month’s edition looked exactly the same presented as it was in a round aluminium tin and on a fairly large white napkin. Before I attempted a first bite things were actually looking pretty good.

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Meatiness: There’s no hiding it, the filling of this pie looked like spew. It was that off white colour that years of television vomits has told us a right good whitey should be. There were some small chunks of chicken accompanied by smaller studs of chorizo sitting in a very thick paste-come-sauce. To be fair it actually smelled pretty good but given its appearance as the lid of the pie came clean off when I ventured to take my first bite (more on that shortly) I found myself debating whether or not I really wanted to dive in. A feeling that I sensed was being felt by the person sitting diagonally behind me as I tried to figure out what was going on inside this pastry.

Continuing with the flavours and I would challenge anyone to add chorizo to something and not manage to draw some kind of flavour out of the final culinary masterpiece. In this instance it was the saving grace as at one point I genuinely had to check that the chunks of white in the pie were indeed chicken due to the paucity of flavour they provided. It was also a little heavy handed on the salt meaning that somehow the final result was a filling that tasted of everything and nothing all at the same time.

 

Pastry: An anaemic looking disaster. The base so raw that it not only stuck to the bottom of the tin but that it could also be rolled up into wee balls between your thumb and index finger. Once mashed in with the paste masquerading as gravy it was not good. Whilst under baked pastry is a common fault the way in which the lid of my pastry came clean off was a novelty I hadn’t yet experienced. I’m not talking a little loose either, I’m talking about the fact the two parts were never stuck together in the first place. Whilst this would go down like a lead balloon in pie judging circles I was strangely grateful as it meant I had a full disc of pastry to try and spoon the filling out with. A relief given it was impossible to lift the thing from it’s shiny shell.

Brown Sauce: I think brown sauce would’ve actually made this pie even weirder.

Overall: A marketing masterstroke for a mug pie punter like me – yes. A tasty pie – afraid not.

Gravy Factor: Sigh.

I genuinely want to know what kind of checks gets done by these large scale event caterers on the day of the match because if they check some of the riots that I’ve mentioned in this post and say that they are good then clearly I’m in the wrong business.

Anyway I have another pie review lined up for next time from Ayrshire junior side Kilwinning Rangers and their eponymous “Buffs Pie”. Until then 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 and  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.

Pie 146: The Lesmahagow Pie

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The nights are drawing in and for midweek fixtures in particular I have noticed the returning requirement to layer up as Scotland settles into autumn. The change on the seasons also makes finding fixtures that little bit harder as most non league teams aren’t equipped with floodlights and so it’s a case of taking my opportunities when the time and my calendar allows me too, which brings us to Lesmahagow.

One of the joys of following non-league football is that there is always an interesting ground or two along the way. Lesmahagow’s Craighead Park is perhaps one of the oddest but also brilliant wee grounds I’ve visited. Hidden just off a main road the only real sign you’ll have that some football might be going on is the sight of some cars seemingly abandoned on some grass just off the main road. Once parked up you begin your descent following a winding path until the gap behind the trees opens up to the park below. Your journey to the terraces is not complete though as you then navigate your way down further via the rustic staircase or down the grass banks that sweep towards the pitch below. At the near side end there is the clubhouse, changing rooms and pie hut. The far side has a relatively large by junior standards enclosure, with high stepped terracing either side of it. The other side sees the dugouts and some gentler terracing along with a grass bank, and sort of car park, where you can watch the game from too. Perhaps the most intriguing feature is the far away end, a huge grass bank that disappears into the trees behind it, if you continued to walk up and past it who knows where it will take you.

There is a certain enchanted whimsy to Craighead Park that I think every football fan should experience but I have to encourage you to beware of those midges. I’m still sporting bite marks nearly two weeks later! The question now though is, should you also experience the Lesmahagow pie? Well, there’s only one way to find out, and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Craighead Park: Lesmahagow 3-1 Petershill, Sectional League Cup Semi Final

Price: At £1.50 this pastry from the Lesmahagow Snack Shak is priced in line with the most common junior scotch pie price point.

Presentation: This pastry hit me straight from the oven so I was very happy to accept my pie presented on a double layer of medium sized white napkins protecting my porcelain skinned fingertips and palm from the inferno.

Meatiness: This pastry was generously filled with the meat touching nearly all the edges. The texture was quite firm and as a result the meat wasn’t quite as forgiving to the bite staying staunchly in it’s pastry case with not a drop moving until your bite announced it was time. There was a very gentle pepper kick to the meat, perhaps a little too gentle for me, but by no means was it anything bad.

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Pastry: The kick off time had caught the pie stall staff off guard so there was a pre-ordering system on the go as the oven worked its magic. I suspect that this in part played into the pastry perhaps being a little soft on the bottom and the delivery speed required to catch up with demand meant it arrived a little crumpled. The pastry could have maybe done with getting that all important few minutes to rest after coming out of the oven just to crisp up a little further. Whilst it was soft it still held very well throughout consumption.

Brown Sauce: HP. After the Easthouses Lily experience is was good to be greeted with some condimental familiarity. It definitely helped to add an extra wee kick to this pastry.

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Overall: Generous portion size with solid pastry. Perhaps a couple of cracks of pepper and spice shy for me but brown sauce can be added for that extra punch.

Gravy Factor: A good dollop of gravy.

I’m not done reviewing from Lesmahagow yet though because I now bring to you the first ever BONUS EMPIRE BISCUIT REVIEW!

That’s right there were cake type things on my visit, and so I shunned the usual Snickers or Mars and plumped for an Empire Biscuit. At £1 you got a lot of biscuit for your buck. The shortbread had the right texture so that it was soft and crumbly to the bite (as can be seen by some of the cracks in the picture below) with a thick layer of white icing on top that left you buzzing for hours. On top was a small jelly sweet, this is perfectly acceptable on top of an empire biscuit as is a cherry however I do draw then line at any kind of chocolate button/smarties kind of deal. That’s not right.

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The only thing I’d change on this mammoth biscuit would be perhaps the jam content, as a slightly thicker layer in this sweet sandwich would really have smashed it out the park. Give me that over a chocolate bar any day though. More of that please folks!

Right that’s all for this time out. I’m hoping that something can be fitted in this week before I head to Sweden on Friday where I’ll be taking in IFK Gothenburg v IF Elfsborg and hopefully something a bit random too. What the Swedish trip does mean though is that the next edition in my International Soccer Scran Series is fast approaching, and it’s been a while since I have done one of those.

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 and  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.