league two

Pie 86: The Queens Park ‘Chicken & Tarragon’ Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries. Now STV approved, don’t believe me? Then just follow this link:

http://glasgow.stv.tv/articles/307195-chris-marshalls-blog-meat-filled-pastries-judges-nationwide-pies/

In fact, that’s not the end to this quasi-madness as on Monday 26th January I’ll be on The Riverside Show on STV Glasgow telling my story of pie. It’s a 7pm kick off, so if you’re reading this before it goes out live then why not have a swatch, it’s bound to be noteworthy. If you’ve missed it, then you might get lucky if you scout about the STV Player. Given my media exploits over the past week I’ve not really had time to let anything in the world of football really grind my gears, although if you’re into that kind of thing then I highly recommend The A-Z of Football Hates by Richard Foster it pretty much hits the nail on the head in every possible way. If I’m lucky I might get some input in a second edition.

But for now let’s focus on the pastry. Today a visit to the home of my first football memories, Hampden Park, and a chance to watch every romantics favourite team, Queens Park, playing for the sake of playing since 1967. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Hampden Park, Queens Park v Arbroath, Scottish League Two

It finished 2-1 to Queen's Park, but the Arbroath goal was so late they didn't bother updating the scoreboard so you have this shot instead.
It finished 2-1 to Queen’s Park, but the Arbroath goal was so late they didn’t bother updating the scoreboard so you have this shot instead.

Price: Get ready for this. A whopping £3.20. Equivalent to 3 junior pies in some cases and a massive jump in price when compared with the Spiders League Two rivals. Now the thing is I have reviewed pies from Hampden before during my Tartan Army visits and so I spent a wee while debating whether to dub this another Hampden Pie, but as my mantra for this project is just as much about the teams I visit as it is the humble pie Queens Park get a shout out on this occasion. I have no doubt in my mind that if this wasn’t a Hampden this pie wouldn’t be £3.20. It doesn’t make it right but it does, in part, give an explanation.

Presentation: The pie was placed in a heat retaining tin foil case with a small(ish) white napkin for after consumption dabbing. On a sub-zero Saturday I was grateful for the retained heat.

THE PIE

There was more than one bite to this expose
There was more than one bite to this expose

Meatiness: I was looking forward to this pie, partly because its always good for the cholesterol to see a chicken pie on offer and partly because I reckon my Chicken, Bacon and Tarragon Pie is the best in my repertoire. I’ve always loved that slight aniseed kick that the tarragon gives. Sadly I found this pie pretty disappointing, Firstly as I made my way through it I felt no pop of chicken flavour in my mouth, in fact I was so concerned about the lack of flavour I had to tilt my head back to have a look for the meat inside. It was there but it’s flavour remained weak. The gravy wasn’t as unctuous as you would expect but more like an underdone roux and if I’m being honest at some points I felt I was eating a frangipane such was it’s sweetness. There would be the occasional burst of tarragon but its presence was oh-so fleeting. I applaud the courage of the folk at Hampden for diversifying their pie menu but I think in this instance it needs a lot of work, perhaps my judgement was clouded by own attempts at making such a pastry. The filling wasn’t unpleasant but I wouldn’t be in a rush to have another one.

Pastry: Without doubt the pastry was the best part of this pie in that it was golden and flaky. It didn’t have a soggy bottom and stayed strong under the pressure of even the most greedy of bites. It was a solid foundation to a pie.

Overall: A bit off the mark but should be commended for being something different, I really do think a salty hit of bacon would lift the flavour of this pie exponentially. It’s also worth noting that the price may be a stumbling block for some.

Gravy Factor: Not quite ready gravy. A little more seasoning and some time spent on creating an unctuous mouth feel could have this pie on the path to pastry superstardom.

It’s always tough to write a review for a pie that doesn’t quite hit the mark, and this review should not be taken as an indication that the Hampden scotch and steak offerings are not up to par as previous reviews have shown these more than make the grade.

The plan was to do a Glasgow Warriors Pie but a couple of pints of Best soon put that idea to rest. Next up we return to the juniors and a pie from Central League side Rossvale.

However, until then, go forth and eat pie!

Oh, and tune in tomorrow, it may be the only chance you’ll ever get to see my face.

 

 

Pie 47: The Albion Rovers Pie

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'In next weeks programme...'
‘In next weeks programme…’

Guess what? It’s time for another entry into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame. Yay! Before we get started I want to share one of the many reasons why I enjoy venturing to football down the leagues on a weekly basis. My first game of football was part of generational tradition, my dad was taken by his dad, he then took me and, if I ever screw the nut and stop gibbering on about pies, I would like to keep that tradition going. We always stand in the same place, with the same people around us, different ages and backgrounds all gathered to take part in the joy of a Saturday afternoon at the football.

A lot of the time, the discussions would continue long after the final whistle had gone in the pub round the corner leaving me with people who have been watching football for 50, 60 years and regaling stories of a time when the team were so much better than they are today. I love that. The unity that football brings amongst those who would more often than not be strangers. Unfortunately this past week, one of those friends passed away, but instead of being sad about the life that’s been lost I’m thankful that I took the opportunities I had to listen to the stories he told and for the continual enjoyment that this ragtag group of football fans bring me. I’d strongly advise that if you’ve sat or stood beside somebody for years and never said hello then get your thumb out your bum and fling out a wave, if all else fails you can always talk about the football.

This week, as a small tribute, this review is for Bill. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Cliftonhill, Albion Rovers v Berwick Rangers, SPFL League Two

Price: £1.50, a price that I couldn’t see but one that the ladies behind the pie counter at Cliftonhill were happy to provide. About average for the level of football on offer in Scottish League Two.

Presentation: A break from the classic white napkin…well kind off. It was a bit smaller than usual and it appeared to be pulled from a larger roll as opposed to an individual offering, but it was most definitely white. I think the next pie I have that does not come wrapped in a white napkin of sorts, I will nominate for entry into Le Louvre.

Meatiness: I would call this a proper mutton pie, well filled without being overly so. The meat was moist from it’s own juices and fell apart like a good pie should once bitten, almost perfect in texture. There was a lovely hit of pepper, not spicy but enough to notice it and the taste itself was totally changed once a bite was taken with the incredibly tangy brown sauce that was provided to squirt on top. If I hadn’t already had my lunch I most likely would have got another one.

Pastry: The pastry was a standard crust, contributing to the overall pie eating experience without blowing me away. It held up well and there was no spillage as each bite was taken although the top was a little loose which meant the last two mouthfuls involved using both left and right hands. The pastry shouldn’t have to be the star of the show and in this case it wasn’t but deserves an honourable mention as part of the supporting cast in this mouthful of meat.

Overall: A tasty pie, with the right mix of meat, pastry and spice. The brown sauce, as I said earlier, was extremely tangy and I imagine for some palates would be a bit too much but for me added another dimension of flavour that my taste buds enjoyed.

Gravy Factor: Jolly good gravy with an optional brown sauce inspired tongue tingling kick.

One more thing before we scrunch up the napkin of pie 47 and set our sights on more meat filled pastries. I have often said that pie makers at football grounds should do more to advertise their meaty wares. Well, I’m happy to report that at Cliftonhill there was advertising a plenty championing the name of JB Christies, who after a bit of research turn out to be quite the pie makers. If you make the pies, then make sure we know about it.

Next stop for Meat Filled Pastries, weather permitting, will be Penicuik Athletic from the East Region of the junior football scene but should that fail then the next stop on this tour of pie could be you!

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

My latest piece for www.thefootballbloggingawards.co.uk looks at the new found tradition of kicking the ball out of play when a player goes down ‘injured’ go have a look it’s almost as good as all the pie chat.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while you are at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side, and remember to visit ‘MeatFilledMerch’ for all your pie fashion needs where any personal profit made will go to The Grambler: Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund’ a truly worthwhile cause.

Pie 42: The Berwick Rangers Pie

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'A Chippy Pie'
‘A Chippy Pie’

Hello to all my fellow pastry lovers, I hope you had a lovely festive period and that Santa brought you all the pie related gifts your heart desired. It’s been a couple of weeks since the last entry into the Pie of Hall of Fame but we have time to squeeze one more entry in before the bakers of 2013 close their oven doors one last time.

A couple of developments to make you aware of since the last review. Firstly as some of you may or may not be aware I don’t write solely about pies, but try to squeeze out some other football related pieces when time allows me to. These articles have been run primarily through my sister site Leading the Line, and while articles will still appear there from time to time an agreement has been reached with ‘The Football Blogging Awards’ to become a regular contributor in 2014. It will allow me to keep Meat Filled Pastries as a solely independent venture whilst also spreading the word of pie through other channels, something that I wouldn’t be able to do without the support of all you delightful folk that read it.

This brings me on to the second piece of news, for the remainder of the season my stories of pie can be found in the Albion Rovers match day programme. For Meat Filled Pastries to become a part of a fans match day experience is more than I could have wished for when I started this venture but now it’s happened I want more, and in 2014 I hope we will all see the growth of Meat Filled Pastries even further. So if you are interested in my tome of pie and would like me to contribute to your programme, magazine or website just drop me an email or send me a tweet.

So without much further ado, and with the PR Campaign out the way, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Shielfield Park, Berwick Rangers v Peterhead, SPFL League Two

Price: A rather expensive £2, a price that required asking as none was listed for a single pie.  The same price as the ‘Premiership’ pie from Motherwell but more expensive than the Cowdenbeath offering and the various junior equivalents this journey has provided us with.

Presentation: A break from the norm this pie was presented in a polystyrene tray. The reason for the polystyrene tray, you ask? Well this pie did not come from a loan standing pie hut at the side of the ground or from a kiosk in the bowels of the stand but from a chip shop van, a traditional one none the less, one of two conveniently located in the ground. Now this caused a small moment of panic in this pieman’s head, initially because I was unsure how traditional a Fish and Chip Van was at a football ground, but perhaps more pressing was the realisation that there may be no pies to review and as such this blog would have had more padding than Bobby Mann at the end of his playing career. That said I got a pie it was in a polystyrene tray, because usually they would have chips in them, and it came with a medium sized white napkin to mop up any meatfilled spillages. Disaster averted, let’s move on.

Meatiness: This pie was a slow burner on the taste front. On the initial one bite expose the taste, although definitively of pie, was rather underwhelming and I had concerns that this would be confounded to the status of ‘Bog Standard Bisto’. However as each bite was taken the warmth of spice and pepper became more prevalent and by the last bite I found myself wanting more. The meat was well packed inside and not very greasy at all which is impressive considering my suspicions were this was a deep fried pie, but more on that in a moment. Despite the initial concerns of the first bite this was a tasty morsel indeed.

Pastry: This is where my deep fried suspicions really started tingling. The pastry was incredibly golden and the pie lid itself had no hole in the top to let out steam that would be generated in an oven. Then there was the first bite, the pastry didn’t flake but more crumbled and where the pastry had tore away from the main body of the pie it had slightly disintegrated around the edges. It was of no detriment, although the further into the pie you got you became increasingly grateful for the polystyrene tray provided. Once again, just like the filling it was impressive how un-greasy the pastry tasted. If someone at Berwick can tell me if I’m right or wrong on the deep fried factor it’d be greatly appreciated.

Overall: This pie was a pleasant surprise after the obstacles it put in front of itself before its consumption was complete. It was slightly expensive for the surroundings and the fact it came from a chip van was something that caused a bit of initial confusion. The ‘potential’ deep frying left the pie suitably moist and crispy without being over greasy and with a long slow burning flavour of mutton and spice.

Gravy Factor: The marathon pie, remember pie eating is not a sprint, savour every bite and don’t discount it because your first bite wasn’t all your pie dreams were made of.

Another pie down, another five minutes added to the tread next time I’m in the gym. Work commitments mean that next weekends offering will most likely be either the first rugby pie of Meat Filled Pastries journey of pie or from the Scottish Premiership.

Either way, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side, and remember to visit ‘MeatFilledMerch’ for all your pie fashion needs where any personal profit made will go to The Grambler: Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund’ a truly worthwhile cause.