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Pie 71: The Wishaw Juniors Pie

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Today’s entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame is a return to junior football one of the key inspirations for this journey of pie. Those who follow my adventures will have been now been able to piece together my allegiances at junior level and this season, mainly thanks to a pretty woeful one previously, a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me as my team face life in a new division. But before, a hopefully triumphant, league campaign gets underway there is a few friendlies to get out-of-the-way first.

I always find it really interest going to friendlies, not so much for the football which is usually pretty mundane, especially when you have no affiliation to any one team, but for the reactions of the crowd, because for every fan who see’s a friendly for what it is; a chance to warm up for the season, try new things and see new players there is another one who still treats it as the same kind of life and death scenario that a relegation six pointer in February would be. Personally I err on the side of the former. I mean just because Dundee beat Manchester City 2-0 it doesn’t automatically equate to Paul Hartley being the odds on favourite to be the next Chelsea or Barcelona manager nor does it mean that Manuel Pellegrini will be popping up in Falkirk or Hamilton anytime soon because he can’t hack it at the highest level any longer, football just doesn’t work that way.

The other thing that’s nice about friendlies, especially for a man who loves his football, is that there is pretty much a fixture within reach every couple of days and at this time in the season more than ever you find yourself at places that you wouldn’t normally be.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Beltane Park, Wishaw v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly: Entry Fee £3, Programme: None

Or as the natives call it Wishae'
Or as the natives call it Wishae’

Before continuing I just wanted to take time to thank the folk at Wishaw for their hospitality, they are clearly a club who are trying to set themselves up for a bright future after a previously nomadic existence and their generosity on Saturday did not go unappreciated. Good luck for the new season in a new division folks!

Price: At £1.20 this is priced at the same level as your average junior scotch pie from the 2013/14 season showing certain Scottish footballing associations that just because a new season is upon us and your team is on the rise there is still no need to fleece your fans.

Presentation: A simple presentation style found at many grounds of a medium-sized white napkin, certainly nothing to be sniffed at and on review of my one bite expose a napkin that now seems a little larger, although I wasn’t going to get my set square and measuring tape out to see if that indeed was the case.

THE PIE

The first junior pie of the new season
The first junior pie of the new season!

Meatiness: I hope the picture above does this pie justice in showing how incredibly well filled it was for a scotch pie, this might sound daft, which I know a lot of this usually does, but I could actually feel the weight of a slightly heavier pie in the hand as I made my way pack to my standing spot. As I bit down the meat held really well and was incredibly moist, not with grease but with lovely muttony juices. It was a little cold in the middle but I was pre-warned of this and it was only once I reached the very centre did I notice and in this occasion it didn’t have any real effect on the overall flavour. The other lovely thing that this pie brought me was the return of the long peppery linger that slowly built as I ate and lasted for such a time that it was worth remembering for this review. After the generosity of the club I was worried I was going to have the fudge this a bit to play nice, but I can honestly say this was a very tasty meat filling indeed.

 Pastry: The pastry was flaky but held just enough to support the ample mince inside. I was able to break off the top of the crust to dip into the safety of an HP sauce puddle without everything crumbling round about me. Perhaps if I was being hyper critical the sides were a little soft and it became a two hand consumption job by the end but that would be the most minor of grumbles.

Overall: After last weeks professional scotch pie disappointment it was great to feel the comforting bosom of a junior scotch pie to nestle into with its ample meat and long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bearing Gravy. A pleasing pie that has set a true benchmark for the season ahead.

So the first junior pie of the season is in the books and the second one is on its way from Castle Park, the home of Blantyre Victoria. Navigating my way round the south-east of Glasgow should be interesting now the Commonwealth Games are here but I love my football and I love me a pie.

So until next time go forth and eat pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

Pie 65: The Hamilton Accies ‘Steak’ Pie

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STEEEEAAAAAK!!!
STEEEEAAAAAK!!!

Not much of a pre-amble to this latest addition to my ever growing pynasty. It’s another pie review from that 12 goal extravaganza at New Douglas Park and a return to the luxury market. As it stands there will be at least 3 more reviews before the season ends but I’m going to keep their locations a secret for now.

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

Where: New Douglas Park, Hamilton Accies v Morton, SPFL Championship

Price: Breaking the £2 barrier at £2.10 not the cheapest steak pie that has been offered up to me but by no means the most expensive. A 30p upgrade on the standard scotch version at the home of the Accies.

Presentation: Much like Pie 64, (The Hamilton Accies Pie), this was presented in a tin foil cases and wrapped in a medium sized white napkin. There was no severe heat coming from the aluminium foil which is always a sweet relief when handling a pie presented in this nature. A point of note, something which may be present in all tin foil cases but has so far alluded my eyes, is that in the base of the cases there was 3 small holes pricked in the bottom. No big deal you would think but in actuality this is a rather ingenious way to prevent the pastry steaming and sticking to the bottom of the case, thus ensuring that your pie maintains it’s structural integrity. Something I will certainly be keeping my eye out for in the future.

Meatiness: A steak pie that was from the coarse mince school of luxury as opposed to earning its stripes with meaty chunks or a mixture of both. Personal preference dictates that I love a meaty chunk, the additional texture it provides is always a winner, but the benefit of getting a more mince like consistency within your pastry is that the sauce feels more oozy and generous. It was maybe a spoonful short of being filled to its optimum level but the taste was perfectly pleasant and well seasoned. It was however rather no frills, and although the extra 30p was worth it I was again left with a slightly generic memory of this pie.

Pastry: As is so often the case with a footballing steak pie this had  standard case with a puff pastry top.  The pastry fell apart a bit as I was eating it but that was more due to my appetite cajoling me into taking bites that my mouth clearly could not handle. Whilst the ceiling of the pastry was lovely, soft and flaky it did not mingle in as great as volume as I would have wanted with the gravy inside. Soft pastry kissed with meaty gravy is truly one of life’s pleasures and I felt in this instance I was a little robbed.

Overall: Once again my belly was full and my taste buds were suitably appeased but I felt this was a pie that was lacking in a bit of sparkle and pizzazz, although the discovery of holes in the tin foil is certainly something worth keeping an eye out for.

Gravy Factor: It’s a steak pie at the end of the day, and who doesn’t love a steak pie. Sustainable Gravy.

As the season comes to a close I have to admit to a bit of pie fatigue, it’s a hard thing for one man to write about on a weekly basis but the compliments and words of encouragement from those that read it drive me on to eat more pies. Such a hardship!

Anyway my next pie might taste like silver polish and confetti…..

Until next time go forth and eat pie!

Pie 64: The Hamilton Accies Pie

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A Pie for Scholars or Academics if you will
A Pie for Scholars or Academics if you will

 

For me there is nothing worse than the football season to still be running and then waking up in the morning with the realisation that your team is without a game. Sometimes you have some forethought and a Plan B is well and truly in place and other times it just creeps up on you. The other week it just crept up on me and I found myself at 12 o’clock on a Saturday scouring the fixture lists for something meaningful to attend. The hash tag #helicoptersaturday led me to New Douglas Park and to perhaps one of the most remarkable games I have ever seen. Needing an 8 goal swing and for Dundee to drop points I watched on with my jaw genuinely on the floor as goal after goal flowed in and the pipe dream became a distinct possibility. Alas it was not to be as at Dens Park Dundee claimed all 3 points but for me and the couple of thousand fans at Hamilton on that Saturday afternoon we all left with a story to tell. A story of Hamilton Academicals 10 (TEN) Greenock Morton 2.

My point? If you have a choice between a day in the pub watching Soccer Saturday or actually going to the game then the smell of the grass and the ringing of the tannoy should always win out because at the end of the day you could end up being there to witness a little piece of history.

Anyway, the other benefit of attending NDP on Saturday was a chance to consume yet another pie, or 2 as it happened and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: New Douglas Park, Hamilton Accies v Morton, SPFL Championship

Price: Focusing more on my belly than this here blog my initial pie purchase was done without taking a single bit of notice about the number of gold nuggets that had left my hands to pay for this meaty morsel. Luckily a cursory glance at the price list on a second trip to the refreshment stand revealed this scotch pie was priced at £1.80, competitively so for an SPFL Championship level pie.

Presentation: As classical as the medium sized white napkin is at non league level in Scotland the addition of a tin foil tray for your pie to sit in is the classical interpretation of presentation often presented to fans in the upper echelons of the game. Nothing ground breaking here.

Meatiness: I’m not going to lie, I had almost totally forgot to make my tasting notes about this pie and initially I felt guilty that I had let my tasting standards slip but now as I write this latest review my feelings have changed. You see, the reason why I almost forgot that I had a review to do was that this pie was almost instantly forgettable. Not to say that it wasn’t a perfectly serviceable footballing snack. It had all the right components. The meat was seasoned reasonably with a hint of pepper and it was packed snugly into its pastry surround however I found it lacked the moisture and natural lubrication that a little fat brings to your pie, praise the lord for the return of the brown knight of the pie table Mr. Sauce. As such it lacked a meaty punch and after the final bite had passed my lips I was left with that hollow feeling that only a mass produced pie could leave. It was just a little bit boring.

Pastry: The pastry was also achingly dull and sadly it also seemed incapable of holding the meat inside. As can be seen as soon as I lifted the pie to take my one crucial bite expose it felt apart limply when not supported by its shiny tinfoil shield.

Overall: Ach, it was just a bit dull. I didn’t hate it but when you consume as many pies as I do and then burden yourself with the task of writing about them then you need to find something exciting to write about these pastry jewels. In this case I was thankful for the game going on around me.

Gravy Factor: Sorry folks but it’s a Bog Standard Bisto.

Well this didn’t really meet the heights of the game I had the pleasure to attend but hopefully the next review, Hamilton’s Steak Pie offering can save the day.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 63: The Glenafton Athletic ‘Onion’ Pie

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Monday Night Pastries
Monday Night Pastries

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!