Football

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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

Pie 145: The Easthouses Lily Pie

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Welcome to another meat filled adventure as we continue our journey into the heart of matchday cuisine. This time out we find ourselves in the land where the Borders and Lothians meet as Easthouses Lily take on Hawick Royal Albert in the newly formed EOSFL – Conference A. One of three leagues formed as a result of the great junior uprising that occurred in the summer of 2018. Don’t know anything about it? Then why not pre-order the latest issue of the The Football Pink (here) where I go into depth about the summer that was on the junior football scene in Scotland. It’s only £3 and there’s tons of other stuff too in this Brexit themed issue.

Also, rather excitingly, I now host a weekly podcast on the Heart & Hand Network looking at all things La Liga, this goes hand in hand (no pun intended) with my role as the Iberian Expert on the European Hangover and my weekly Iberian contributions to their website too, which – if you fancy it – you can find here.

This week I again take to the mic on the Nugent4Nil show with Robert Burns on Pulse FM where it will be the usual mix of pie and junior football based nonsense. If you want a listen you can tune in on Thursday night 7-8 using the old school wireless on 98.4FM if you’re in the region or online via the Pulse FM website if you live further afield.

Adding in the pie review you’re about to read, my desire to get a book done, get a regular La Liga feature column up, my weekly Infographics for Pollok, training for the Great Scottish Run and having a real job to deal with it’s all go at MFP Towers just now. Feels good but.

Anyway that’s all the shilling done for now, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Newbattle Complex, Easthouses Lily 1-0 Hawick Royal Albert, EOSFL – Conference A

 

Price: At £2 this could be viewed as tad on the dear side for a non league pastry however I have often said given that the provenance of the pie will be more traceable and the need for funds at this level more pressing an extra 20p or so isn’t really too much of a concern compared with some of the high priced atrocities that can be found in far bigger stadiums. Again a steak and scotch pie cost exactly the same here!

Presentation: Ever had a pie in a paper bowl? Well now I have. It looked great for framing a picture of the pie but is a little odd, small self service serviettes were available from the counter beside the pie stall and I did notice that later the bowls were replaced with paper plates. If this was an attempt to use up stuff they had lying around then I commend the intuition but I’d still say that a napkin is plenty.

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Meatiness: This was a tasty pie with a well textured meat filling. It didn’t have much of a pepper kick to it but had just enough spicing for it to pack some punch flavour wise. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but as you can see nothing to get overly verbose about either.

Pastry: The pastry held the meat well although was a little bit over on the bake meaning that the bottom was a tad chewy. There was some boil out present but personally, despite it being frowned upon at pie judging competitions, I like a bit of that as it often adds some character to the pie and sometimes a wee extra spike of something to the flavour.

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Brown Sauce: I think I got salt and sauce’d here as the brown sauce was a vinegary assault on my west coast tastebuds almost ruining the pie. In retrospect, given Easthouses location east of Edinburgh I should have used my noggin and perhaps given the sauce a miss here.

Overall: Decent pie, just watch out for that brown sauce.

Gravy Factor: Good Gravy.

One last thing before I wrap this review up and that’s a nod to the views from the far side of the Newbattle Complex ground out onto the Pentland Hills. Views like that are often the making of a lower league adventure and as the late summer sun came down it was hard not to find myself thinking that Scotland is awfy bonny sometimes. Next time up will be a review from Lesmahagow as they loooked to cause an upset in the Sectional League Cup.

However until next 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 144: The Livingston “Steak” Pie

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Another day, another pie. Hello to any new readers, and welcome back to those who have found themselves drawn in by these tales of pie.

Supporting Livingston must be hard, a thought that entered my head as I waited for kick off at the Tony Macaroni Arena, On the face of things they have done and gone through every possible thing that your traditional football fan thinks is wrong with the modern game. Founded after the demise of Meadowbank Thistle they essentially franchised themselves out to West Lothian. Following some fairly quick success they splurged out on a raft of players they couldn’t afford in the pursuit of the SPL and cup success, both of which they achieved, administration as a result of their unmanageable spending soon followed and they tumbled down the divisions before recovering and then going into administration once again. Their ground has one of the most ridiculous names in Scotland in the shape of the Tony Macaroni Arena thanks to the money that sponsorship brings and this season they have installed a plastic pitch that produces plumes of black rubber from it any time the ball has the audacity to touch it. They sacked their manager after only 7 weeks of the season and one of their current high-profile employees has had a sizeable stint in jail for a drugs conviction. The term banter years has never been more in vogue but down Almondvale way they have turned bantering into just another day in their 23 year existence.

As I, and the 459 others in attendance, watched their Colts side beat Forfar Athletic to book a trip to Sligo in the next round of the Irn Bru Cup I couldn’t help but have respect for those associated with the black and gold around me. Despite it all they still come, you might not agree with some of the things that have happened at Livingston over the last couple of decades, but if your club had gone through everything that the Lions had are you telling me you wouldn’t still be sitting there, scarf on, pie in hand and with hope in your heart that this season, this season could be the one?

But what of that pie in their hand, is it any good? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: The Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Colts 0-0 Forfar Athletic, Irn Bru Cup, First Round

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Price: I forgot my surroundings for a second as I looked on with shock at the £2.50 price tag but then I remembered that the games on show at the T Mac are currently of a Scottish Premiership nature and so while the price was high the context softened the blow  little. This was another ground where the pies had the same price across the board, which to be honest, removed scotch pie as an eating option fairly quickly for me.

Presentation: This pie was passed over the counter inside a brown paper bag – which was different. On opening the bag however there was a small white napkin present which this steak pie – without a tin foil case – sat.

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Meatiness: This was a very well filled pie with hardly a squeak of space to be seen after completing the first bite. The meat content was generous with a decent texture and the gravy was of the consistency a good steak pie gravy should be. Whilst the meat had a good flavour to it I felt it was a couple of shakes of salt shy of being a true top pie contender.

Pastry: Steak pie cases are usually found to be made from puff pastry or a combination of hot water sides with a puff pastry top. This was however a steak pie in a scotch pie surround. The top edge was a little ragged, no doubt in part due to the brown paper bag delivery method but was fairly sturdy everywhere else, particularly impressive considering the increased moisture that a steak filling brings to the pastry party. The texture was a little bit biscuity which did mean the odd shard was prone to break away from the body of the pie but all in all it was a solid job.

Brown Sauce: Luxury Pie. Condiment free since 2013.

Overall: Generous filling in a conventional scotch pie case, perhaps a little under on the seasoning but a tasty treat nonetheless.

Gravy Factor: Good Gravy!

A couple of things before I wrap up this review. Firstly a nod to Matthew’s Butchers who Livingston kindly advertised as providers of their pastries at the pie stall. This is something that I have banged on about before but it always feels like butchers and bakers don’t do enough to promote their matchday offerings. A great pie never goes unnoticed on the terraces so the chance to advertise to a captive audience should never be underestimated.

The second is to make you aware that the latest issue (Issue 21) of The Football Pink is now available to pre-order and it features an article by me around the great junior uprising from this east this summer, so if you fancy a copy you for only £3 then you can pre-order at the link here. Once they’re gone they’re gone!

That’s all from me for now though so until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink 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.