I’ve acquired a bit of a backlog in the last few weeks so I’m planning to get 4 reviews done in the next 5 days. All in preparation for my annual attendance at the World Scotch Pie Championship judging day on the 11th November in Dunfermline. I’ve been doing a bit of promotion and I hope that last years total of 49 football pies gets smashed to smithereens.
I’ve always been pretty open about how this started, a few too many beers, followed by a hangover and a challenge that the stupid boy on my shoulder couldn’t resist. As I head towards my thirtieth birthday (12 days away at the time of writing) I’m thankful for the journey I’ve gone on. When life has kicked me in the pasties I’ve taken solace in their meaty goodness, the opportunities they’ve provided, the people I’ve met and the often told joy it brings to people I’ve never known.
I’ve often toyed with hanging up my napkin and putting the top on the brown sauce bottle for one last time but no one thing other than the beautiful game itself can rile a football fan quite like the question of, “Who’s got the best pie?”. It’s a question I often get asked and one I’ll continue to be reluctant to answer until such time where this journey comes to end.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-4 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division
Price: £1.50. About average for a luxury pie at the top end of the junior game, I’ve paid more, I’ve paid less. Really I’m just adding words here to fill space, I could add a few more but that would be frivolous and a waste of all our time. So let’s move on from this particular section of the review,there’s no need to hang around. I’ll stop now….sorry.
Presentation: Confusingly served on a polystyrene tray with no napkin to speak of, nice for catching any stray drops of meaty goodness not so great for mopping your brow with after consumption is complete. A napkin would be nice but a polystyrene tray certainly has its merits.
Meatiness: Speculation was rife amongst our band of merry men that this was indeed the much sought after Killie Pie (Review 100) but with nothing to point me in that direction this pie will stand alone. The meat found inside was cubed into large chunks of steak and were wrapped in a thick and highly seasoned gravy. The kind of gravy that stayed within the pie even after a gaping wound has been left in its pastry exterior following the greediest of bites. Stick to your ribs stuff, and I like it. Of note this pie seemed at the larger end of the pastry spectrum and as such was a worthy substitute for my lack of lunch. Good stuff.
Pastry: This was the last steak pie on the shelf so I’m almost willing to forgive the slightly ragged nature of this pastry however as any good pie judge will tell you consistency is key from first order to last and this one looked a bit of a fright. That said the top layer of puff was golden and crispy whilst the remaining pastry was well baked if slightly flimsy when subjected to a substantial bite. Once again I liked it.
Brown Sauce: No, no, no. No sauce on a luxury pie, never forget this.
Overall: A generous size with thick well-seasoned gravy, chunky meat and well-baked pastry. Yes it was a bit ragged but it was tasty and at the end of the day taste is king as far as I’m concerned.
Gravy Factor: Stick-it-to-my-ribs-and-call-me-baby Gravy!
The first of a quadruple bill this week, next up a double-header from Fir Park as I watched the Scottish Ladies try to succeed where the men so sadly failed by qualifying for the European Championships. But 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 and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Hello and welcome to the last Meat Filled Pastries of 2014. What a year of pie it has been. I’ve managed to score a couple of freebies, spread my gospel of meat and pastry in a couple more match day programmes and, perhaps most significantly, got my taste buds around some of the best (and worst) football pies around at the 2015 World Scotch Pie Championships Judging Day.
This adventure just keeps rolling on and just when I think that the pastry laden path I meander along has made things as surreal as they could possibly be it has me hurtling down the rabbit hole like a pie starved Alice in a wonderland of mutton, mince, onion, pastry, steak and gravy. Thank you to those of you that have shared, printed, spoke about and, quite frankly, indulged me on this journey over the last 12 months. I hope you continue to do so in 2015.
Sentiments aside, the reason why you are all here is to once again dive head long into a wonderfully meaty treat. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Glenafton Athletic, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round
Price: Priced at £1.20 this is perhaps a little more expensive than you would expect at an Ayrshire District League ground but the good folk at Ardrossan are packing a secret as the pie they stock is none other than the 2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner. Therefore making an apparently premium junior price seem like a bit of a bargain.
Presentation: After a slightly strange array of offerings recently it is almost fitting that the last pie of the year should not only be a champion but also presented in the ever classical medium-sized white napkin leaving the pie neither over or under dressed. You know I’ve always wondered if Coco Chanel would approve of such paraphrasing when the subject matter it relates to is so big and meaty.
Meatiness: As I stared at the placard on the side of the pie stall that proclaimed the presence of a world champion pie my expectations were immediately raised. A reward for jumping in my car and seeing where the footballing gods wanted to guide me. It did not disappoint. The pie was moist but not greasy. There was a peppery hit that as opposed to being sharp and acrid was smooth and lingered long in the pallet. Once the pepper had dissipated you were left with a mutton finish that did indeed have you biting down for more. It was clear to me why this was considered a pie of the highest order.
Pastry: This is going to sound a bit odd but when reviewing my notes of this pie I’ve described the pastry as meaty. As I rack my brain trying to get my taste memories past Christmas Dinner I remember thinking that the pastry had managed to retain some of the juices from its meaty insides. It also had a light buttery finish with a nice crumble and sufficient enough to hold the filling as I munched my way through.
Brown Sauce: A sweet and tart offering from Spar presented in a squeezy bottle. If I’m being honest I felt the sauce, on this occasion, detracted from as opposed to enhancing the flavour of my pastry.
Overall: I would have like to have tasted this pie without knowing of its prestigious history just to see if it really was as good as it appears as I can’t help but feel a blind tasting would have brought a truer review unaffected by the fame of it all. That said there is no doubting that this was a belter of a pie.
Gravy Factor: King of Pies, for now. A contender for the 2015 crown we’ll have to wait and see but for now Michelin gravy.
Pie 84 is where this year’s tally will end, but there is no doubt in my mind Pie 100 will come to us all in 2015. I had planned an additional review from Ardeer Thistle however they had, rather upsettingly, ran out of pies when I finally reached the front of the queue 15 minutes after kick off. Whilst disappointed my sorrow was tempered when I was greeted with the same World Scotch Pie Championship Winner sign that had greeted me at Ardrossan just a couple of weeks earlier. I assumed they must be the same.
Anyway, here’s to 2015, go forth and eat pie!
Hello and welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries. Home of the greatest sporting snacks that Mother Earth has so generously bestowed upon us. This pie review is written with more than a splodge of sadness, not for the ketchup blob you see before you, but because this pie symbolised the end of my 28 year run as a football fan without suffering the heartache of relegation. I’ve put a positive spin on it in my latest non-pie piece for Meat Filled Pastries, ‘Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?’ (http://wp.me/p3Q7wL-34), and the fact a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me is one of the few shining lights at the end of a pretty terrible season. However let us not dwell on such matters, I am a pie professional and as such I will give a fair and honest assessment of this Monday evening offering from the world of Scottish football.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Divison
Price: You know what, I’m not even writing it. If you keep up to date with Meat Filled Pastries you know how much a junior football pie is………….
………OK, OK, it was £1.20 but the only reason I tell you know is because I realised half way through that previous sentence that some of you may not keep up to date with my stories of pie, and whilst I chastise you for doing so, I am nothing but a benevolent host.
Presentation: This was presented in a polystyrene try which when looking around also doubled as a chip holder. It meant that the pie’s heat was kept safe froom my palm although it also led to it not being held as securely as it would have been snugly fitted into my hand whilst wrapped in a napkin. Which brings me to the other point about the presentation, there was no napkin, meaning that I had to resort to the ‘rubbing-your-hands-together-really-fast-so-that-all-the-spillages-either-absorb-into-your-skin-or-drop-off-altogether-technique’. A slight distraction from the game going on around me. As I surveyed the pie before me I did find myself wondering that if this was a Saturday afternoon and not a Monday night things, in the presentation stakes at least, may have been very different.
Meatiness: Speaking of things that were different there was no brown sauce! No golden brown tang to smatter on my pie! Once again I put this down to it being a Monday night but it didn’t make it any less distressing. Saucing issues aside this was a tasty, well seasoned if somewhat wet pie. I say wet as opposed to greasy because although there was plenty of moisture within the pie at no point did I feel a tidal wave of grease flowing down my gullet although I did feel it crumble a little with every bite I took. As a result of this it was really messy to eat but I was enjoying it. The other thing that struck me was that despite no indication as to this being anything other than a standard scotch pie it was clearly of the oniony persuasion. It was laden with large pieces of translucent onion adding a note of sweetness I have came to expect from an onion pie. I kid myself that an onion pie counts as 1 of my five-a-day but I feel confident in saying this offering is the closest I have came to eating a vegetable on this journey. I just wish there was some brown sauce.
Pastry: As I said the pie filling itself was quite wet and as I hope you can see from the one bite expose above this caused the pie to fall apart somewhat as I ate. First the pastry walls, although crisp at the top, started to cave and then the base slowly fell apart in my hand. In the end I was actually quite thankful for the polystyrene tray as it provided a perfect boat shaped receptacle for this pastries meaty cargo.
Overall: As onion pies go this was pretty good it was incredibly moist without the flavour being washed away however I cannot condone the lack of napkins and brown sauce. A taste sensation in the mouth but more than a handful when it came to its consumption.
Gravy Factor: Can you get anything moister than gravy? If so this is it. Moist Gravy.
The next review from Meat Filled Pastries will be from New Douglas Park home of Hamilton Academicals where I had the pleasure of watching THAT game.
However until next time, go forth and eat pie!