meat filled pastries
The “see you laters” have been said in my last post so I’m not going to labour the point. Instead, like all good encores this will be brief nod to the fans designed to keep those of you on who are interested on tenterhooks with the insinuation that in years to come an overpriced reunion tour will occur where a bedraggled version of me will rate pies through a straw as people stare and wonder, “Has he been on the smack?”
Anyway, before this tangent writes me off as dead in a pool of my own vomit let’s get on with the show.
Let’s rate some pie!
Where: The Falkirk Stadium, Scotland Women 0-4 Iceland Women, UEFA Women’s European Championship Qualifying Group 1
Price: £1.90. Not breaking through the two pound barrier makes this a cheaper luxury option although overall this is still at the top end of the matchday pie market.
Presentation: As oft found towards the upper echelons of the Scottish game this pie came in a silver foil case accompanied with a pick as you need selection of napkins from a dispenser beside the kiosk. I went for two. Two seemed right but not excessive.
CheesyPastainess – As a macaroni pie filling this was a very good effort. The tightly curled tubes of macaroni were soft to the bite without turning into a mushy pulp adding the right amount of texture to this filling. The cheese was also a lovely blend, with the right balance of savoury and salty. The texture here too was spot on, no gelatinous globules of tasteless cheese, instead long strings of fromage based goodness graced my presence with a crispy brown later on top Lovely stuff.
Pastry: I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again. Macaroni Pie pastry is pale and whilst the walls of this particular offering were I was intrigued to find that the top was a little browner and as such a little crisper. There was some issues towards the bottom of the pie meaning the pastry tore against the tin foil tin and a little bit of filling recovery was required but all in all this was a solid effort.
Brown Sauce: Nostalgia dictates that red sauce is used here. A wee sachet (all sachets are too wee for my liking) of perfectly serviceable tomato condimentation. (Note: pretty sure that’s a made up word).
Overall: A friend of mine swore to me that macaroni pies were the best thing ever, whilst I still disagree with that statement I feel confident in saying that they have more than earned their place on these hallowed pages.
Gravy Factor: Cheesy Gravy. And as we all know cheese, much like bacon, is always good.
So that’s it for now. Over the coming months I’ll be trying to pull 3 years of pie based jiggery pokery into something that people may pay for money for (or at the very least download for free from Amazon). There’s a lot of people to thank along the way but I think I’ll save that for the book.
Until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Hello pie fans. You hardy bunch of pastry connoisseurs and all around good eggs welcome to another rip-roaring edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we start to wind down towards the season end. You know what’s mental? It’s April and fixtures in the Junior calendar are still being wiped out by wind, rain, snow and abandoned tractors! You heard me right, if rumours are to believed along with the waterlogged pitch a tractor had found itself stranded on Hurlford United’s Blair Park pitch. I’ve yet to see any factual evidence to support this rationale for calling off a game a full day in advance but as a reasons go it’s pretty spectacular.
With that call off though I found myself with an unexpected fixture headache. Luckily at this time of year an important game is never too far away although the fact that I ended up in Perth an hour and a half away from where my journey started would suggest something to the contrary. Yes it was a crucial promotion clash in the battle to reach the East Region Supoerleague but the true siren song for this match was the two participants.
Jeanfield Swifts and Dundonald Bluebell.
I mean doesn’t it just sound like the kind of game that Thomas, Annie & Clarabell would chug by whilst wandering about the branch line on the Island of Sodor? The guard waving his flag from his brake van as a penalty goes skywards, the ball landing on Thomas’ funnel resting for only a second before he wheeshes it away in a puff of smoke and steam. The ball rolling into the opposing net as Tommy disappears into the distance giving it the maximum Alan Shearer finger point salute as he goes peep-peep-peep! No?..Just me?..I haven’t taken this too far have I?..
Oh, I have?..ehm OK, you’re probably right so without much further ado, and with that image of a chugging Thomas the Tank Engine in your head (don’t lie, you all went there), let’s rate some pie!
Where: Riverside Park, Jeanfield Swifts 2-2 Dundonald Bluebell, East of Scotland Premier League
Price: In an unexpected turn of events you couldn’t purchase a scotch pie. Instead you were left with the option of a mince round (that was huge) or a Steak and Gravy Pie (also very substantial). In the end I went fancy and plumped for steak parting with £1.80 for it’s meaty pleasure.
Presentation: Unusually no silver foil container instead just a medium-sized white napkin big enough to protect the hand from scalding.
Meatiness: A generous cascade of meat and gravy came washing down my gullet as I took my first bite into this toasty treat. There was buckets of tender steak here cut up in to mouth friendly bite size pieces. The meat wrapped in a gravy of a consistency that allowed it to ooze just a little without gushing all over your chin. It was absolutely boiling but it was also very tasty, the heat meaning I could savour every morsel over what felt like hours.
Pastry: Crisp and golden multi-layered puff pastry top. Just the right amount to stay crisp on top but have some soggy gravy tinged layers underneath. The sides were a little broken and perhaps slightly thicker than I was used to but in all honesty had zero detriment to the overall piey flavour.
Brown Sauce: Do we put brown sauce on luxury pies down at MFP HQ. No we do not. Moving on.
Overall: Generously sized with tender meat, unctuous gravy and a well layered puff pastry, the only slight flaw being a crack in one of the pastry walls. Overall though, delightful.
Gravy Factor: A tasty everlasting gobstopper of a pie. (Seriously I’m surprised I’m not still eating it!).
Once again I go into the unknown as with a stacked fixture card and familiar foes on the pierizon my next pie based report may be a while, but fear not as there will be one and lo, it will be good.
Until next time, go forth and eat pie!
I’m not going to lie folks, this is becoming a struggle, my pie based vocabulary is reaching its peak and I’m conscious repetition is almost always on the cards these days. That said I have an obligation to you, the people who have read, supported and shared this mad adventure, to see it through to season end. So let’s go out with a flurry of flour, a sprinkle of mace and a dollop of brown sauce.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Paisley 2021 Stadium (Christ what a name!), St. Mirren 2-2 Hibernian, Scottish Championship
Price: I’ve made a booboo here and totally forgot to check the price. I compounded this booboo when the following Friday I was at the same venue for Scotland Women’s victory against Slovenia and forgot to check again! If somebody wants to correct me then I’m all ears but for now I’m going to say around £2.40.
Presentation: Presented in a silver foil tin on a small to medium-sized napkin, standard presentational fayre.
Meatiness CheesyPastainess – As regular readers will know this section is usually reserved to the meatiness of my pie, however after tenuously linking meat to macaroni on not one but two separate occasions I decided now was the time to bite the bullet and create a new section. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the snazzily titled ‘CheesyPastainess’ section. So how cheesy and pasta like was this pastry. The answer my friends is very. Let’s start with the pasta, soft macaroni tender to the bite and tasting like pasta as opposed to bland tubes of rubber. The cheese sauce was also very good, distinctly cheesy and I’m confident there was a blend used but of what I’m not sure and there was no floury after taste. It was also lovely and stringy whilst still being easy to eat. I’ve had some rotten macaroni pies but this wasn’t one of them.
Pastry: I often find the pastry on a macaroni pie is paler in colour than that you find on a standard scotch offering and this was no different. That’s not to say it wasn’t baked as this pastry was cooked enough to hold together and fall apart nicely all at the same time. It also managed not to stick to the bottom of the tin, a fate that befalls many a pie encased in silver. Overall another solid effort.
Brown Sauce: Nostalgia dictates it’s always red sauce with my macaroni pie. Nothing has made me change that yet.
Overall: A very good effort from the Paisley Pandas. A sauce that was nice and cheesy, with soft pasta and a well-baked pastry case.
Gravy Factor: Cheese meltingly good gravy.
A third offering from Paisley in the books, the next one could have been number four but the menu was somewhat limited for the Women’s international but never fear a new pie is ready to pop. Next up a Steak & Gravy Pie from Perth based junior outfit, Jeanfield Swifts.
However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Happy New Year from Meat Filled Pastries! My apologies for a lack of activity recently, a fixture list that saw a string of home games for Pollok along with weather conditions that obliterated almost every game I had lined up to go and see meant that things have been rather quiet on the pie front so far in 2016 and my first offering of the year has not a drop of pastry in sight.
Before the review though let me share with you the outcome of this year’s 2016 Scotch Pie Awards hosted at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on the 13th January. Once again I was honoured to participate in the judging process to find the best pies and pastries from across our fair land, first judging in the hot savoury category and then taking part in the second round to find the World Scotch Pie Champion who this year is found at The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats. A full list of winners can be found at http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/ as well as by following me on Twitter (@MFPTasty). As always I had a blast both on the judging days and attending the awards themselves meeting numerous individuals who make my passion for pie look paltry. I left the ceremeony thinking that there is work to be done to promote pastries at our football grounds and with that in mind I thought I would share with you the 2016 Football Pie Winners, headed by Bruce of Broch’s steak pie offering, available at both Fraserburgh in the Highland League and Fraserburgh United in the North Region Juniors. The full list is below, I’m writing this on the move so apologise it’s only in picture form:
Congratulations again to everyone involved. So with that covered off, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie! (Or in this case a burger!)
Where: Broadwood Stadium, Clyde 0-1 Queens Park, Scottish League Two
Now usually I’ll go through a series of ratings before summing up my feelings on the quality of pastry I have been provided with but as this is ‘not a pie’ and has some key elements like pastry missing then the following is more of a long winded monologue (for ‘long winded monologue’ read as rant) on the state of non pie based catering at Scotland’s football grounds. I have no idea where this is going to go so I’ll try not to ramble.
I have always been one to build my Saturdays around a game of football, it’s always felt wrong to sit in the pub and watch Soccer Saturday, however since I have started this little venture a new variable has been added; have I reviewed a pie there before? In the case of Clyde I had not and with the Scotch Pie Club Awards ceremony happening just around the corner the following week I smelled the opportunity for a tie in.
Imagine my disappointment then as I walked into the main stand to find the shutters down and a steward ‘helpfully’ pointing me towards the corner of the stadium in the direction of a burger van. This isn’t the first time this is happened this season and my apologies to Clyde that they are getting the ones that have unleashed my ire but going to a ground and being able to get food, but not a pie, makes me sad and a little bit angry.
Now before people start getting defensive I understand a couple of variables may have been in play in this situation:
- It was January 2nd. A Scottish Bank Holiday. A day where the whole of Scotland sit in their pants and watch a Wallace and Gromit marathon whilst eating the remaining left over turkey and steak pie.
- Maybe the butcher wasn’t able to provide pies that day.
- As it is such a day of rest maybe wee Betty who runs the pie counter didn’t fancy hauling herself down to Cumbernauld to feed a bunch of folk for a fiver.
You know what? If any of the above are true then fair enough, everyone deserves a holiday. Maybe a bit of better planning would help in the future and I can almost, ALMOST accept the contingency of a burger van coming into play if the quality of the fare offered in the place of pastry is of an equivalent or higher standard. Sadly though, in this instance, and in many others, you are presented with a crunchy frozen burger heated up on a griddle and topped with a slice of limp processed cheese and some barely warmed through onions. Don’t believe me look at below:
Scotland, renowned for nurturing some of the best produce in the world, and this is what you get presented with. Then after discovering the one place where you always expect to ‘take a pie’ doesn’t provide one you are stung with the fact you have to pay more (£3!!) for the privilege to eat something that you wouldn’t look twice at it in the frozen meats section of your local supermarket.
I understand some people don’t like pies, these people are beyond help but understandably football clubs, in a bid to boost revenue streams, often provide alternatives. I don’t particularly like it but I don’t object to it. Burgers, fine. Hot Dogs, OK. Chilli, stovies, curry all easy to prepare in large quantities and warming to the soul on a cold day, I’d rather they weren’t there but they serve a purpose. All of them, all of them bar one: Chips. Sh*t chips. Really sh*t chips. Think about it, have you ever went to a game and walked out the ground thinking, ‘my, those chips were right braw!’. Football chips are an abomination and fall into one of two categories:
- Canteen style mass-produced tatties, usually found in larger stadiums. Available already sitting lukewarm under the heater for your tasting pleasure accompanied by sachet’s of sauce that are impossible to open because the smallest amount of grease on your fingers turn the small tear you need to pick at to get into the condiment of your choosing into some kind of water torture.
- Chips at smaller grounds where invariably a man stressfully fills the deep fat fryer he’s brought in from home with enough chips to serve one person at a time as an ever increasing queue populates itself with frustrated individuals unable to make their purchases until the 17 minutes required to cook these frozen beauties to just past raw perfection.
Chips! Do one.
I’ll stop here. You know my stance by now, I want pies, have your other things but I want pies. I want to protect the sanctity of a product that is so special to Scotland and ensure that at football matches in 2055 people are still letting the gravy smatter their face and the grease run down their elbow. With that in mind, and to support Scotland’s butchers and bakers I will be compiling the first ever (I think!) Scottish Football Pie Database. Telling you what pies you can get where and who can provide them. I want football clubs across the country to really champion there pies and the people who provide them. This year there were 53 pies entered in the Football Pie category, sounds grand doesn’t it, and yet there is:
- 42 SPFL clubs
- 18 Highland League clubs
- 15 Lowland League clubs
- 17 East of Scotland League clubs
- 14 South of Scotland League clubs
- 165 Junior clubs
Plus a plethora of amateur clubs I haven’t even mentioned, all of a sudden 53 out of 271 doesn’t sound that impressive. For the 2017 Scotch Pie Awards let’s get more involved!
Right that’s me. I’m off my soapbox and next time out I will be back with the first of two proper pie reviews from Linlithgow Rose but until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Hello and welcome to some what of a homecoming for Meat Filled Pastries because as many of you may have realised by now a great deal of my reviews are as a result of my travels around junior football supporting my local team, Pollok and today’s review comes from their home, Newlandsfield Park.
For as long as I’ve been going to Newlandsfield there has been only one pie on the menu, the humble scotch pie. Sure there has been sausage rolls and bridies, I’ve even been known to be partake in the odd hot dog or two but in the main it’s always a scotch pie that is left there sitting in my hand come game day. At the end of last years successful season, and after a few of Caledonia’s Best, I was asked my opinion on bringing a steak pie into the culinary fold. I immediately gave it my thumbs up before getting into a debate about what price it should be that drinking jaegermeister out of a trophy made me forget it’s outcome the very next day.
Jaegermeister: Makes you Tell Everyone Everything and Remember Nothing!
At the start of the season I was then somewhat disappointed to discover that no steak pies were to be found. I didn’t think much of it putting the conversation that was hazy in my memory down to one of those lost in the bottom of a pint glass. Imagine then how my heart soared when a few weeks ago a 24 steak pie trial took place. As the clubs resident pie expert I had to get involved.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Newlandsfield Park, Pollok 4-2 Beith, West Superleague Premier Division
Price: Piloted at a price of £1.60 this is about average for a luxury steak pie found at junior grounds in the west region. A pilot price that has since increased to £1.70 on full roll out, just in case next time you’re at Newlandsfield you feel short changed by the price of your pastry.
Presentation: Unusually for a steak pie there was no tin foil surround. At first it was presented on a medium-sized white napkin but as I began to walk away I was shouted back and advised ‘That might not be enough’, before being given an extra couple of sheets of kitchen roll. You don’t get that kind of consideration at Parkhead or Ibrox.
Meatiness: This pie was filled to the brim with some lovely and unctuous gravy. It was well seasoned although slightly salty but not offensively so and the consistency was near spot on, firm enough to hold should your conversation start getting a bit ‘handsy’. The meat was split across the pie into about a half dozen substantial chunks. Cooked well enough for you to bite through it tenderly without having to tug too hard, with your teeth tearing off the meat into the kind of thin strips of beef that only long and slow cooking can provide.
Pastry: The first thing I noticed that this wasn’t a puff pastry case that is most commonly attributed to a steak pie but instead something more akin to a scotch offering. Secondly this pie was the definition of golden brown in colour. It was immaculate in that sense without even a hint of boil out. It was also perfectly round, on first appearances it was very impressive. There were a couple of issues though. To accommodate the wetter filling of a steak pie the pastry was a little thicker than you would normally find on a scotch pie which, whilst not an issue on the sides and bottom, did result in the top ‘flapping’ a bit as you took a bite almost like a cracker on a pile of mince, not to the detriment of taste but just a little bit fidgety.
Brown Sauce: None. It’s a luxury pie.
Overall: A tasty steak filling with a slightly biscuity pastry top but perhaps one of the most attractive pies I ever did see.
Gravy Factor: Biscuits and Gravy. Tasty gravy.
I hope they let me in next week after that review. I’ll always be honest, even when it comes to my home town team and this is definitely a worthwhile addition to the matchday menu. The next review is yet to be determined as winter throws up all manner of possibilities in the footballing calender thanks to the never ending raft of call-offs and re-arrangements.
So until then, go forth and eat pie!
I know. I failed in my aim of getting four reviews completed in a week. What can I say? Life, and turning 30 got in the way. Well that and the annual judging day at the World Scotch Pie Championships. This year I was let loose on the hot savoury section a veritable smorgasbord of pastries of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Whilst I was slightly disappointed not to be sticking to my football based roots it did ensure that my taste buds were taken to some glorious new places, both good and bad.
Confidentiality prevents me going into any further detail just now but after some fairly heated debate I’m quite happy with our hot savoury champion and hopefully you agree when the winners are revealed on the 13th January 2016. But for now it’s back to those aforementioned roots and to where it all started with a Scottish Junior football scotch pie from Benburb based in Govan a short walk from Iborx the home of one of Scotland’s biggest clubs Rangers. (I’ll leave it to you to debate if you believe they are the biggest or not, no time for that kind of chat here).
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 3-3 Scone Thistle (Scone won 4-3 on penalties) Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round Replay
Price: At £1.50 there’s no shame in admitting that I was a little taken aback by the price of this pastry. Sure it’s nowhere near the high £2 figures found at the top of the Scottish game but it is also a good sight more expensive than the litany of pound priced pies found throughout the junior game. It’s not a grumble, and I was still more than happy to pay it, but just a mere an observation.
Presentation: Free from the shackles of a tin foil cases this pie was presented on a couple of sheets of plain white kitchen roll.
Meatiness: This was a squat little pie that had a nice filling but that didn’t really blow me away. The meat was well seasoned and proportional when compared with the volume of the pastry but I felt it lacked some zing. Usually I have a fair bit to sat about a pie filling but my lack of words here should not be construed as a lack of care but more a feeling of ‘meh’. It was nice just not very memorable.
Pastry: The Pastry was golden around the sides, if a little blackened on top whilst being very well fired on the bottom, this juxtaposed with a strangely chewy top, almost perogi-like in texture, made for strange and sometimes awkward eating experience with my pie juggling skills out in full force.
Brown Sauce: Once a request was made, as initially there was no sauces of any kind on display, a bottle of HP was forthcoming.
Overall: A little pricey, but a perfectly serviceable pie.
Gravy Factor: Have to give this a gravy factor of Bog Standard Bisto.
Maybe I’ve been a little harsh on this pie with it having the misfortune of being the first pastry to be reviewed since judging day but at the end of the day it was still a tasty footballing treat. Better than any cheeseburger, chips or roll and sausage you can put before me on the terraces. My next review comes from Pollok, my local team, and a very special limited edition steak pie.
So until next time, go forth and eat pie!
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!