meat filled pastries

Pie 54: The Ayr United ‘Steak & Ale’ Pie

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There be booze in this here pie!
There be booze in this here pie!

I’m back and it’s still British Pie Week so that means that once again Meat Filled Pastries is delving headfirst into a meaty masterpiece. You may think I’m being presumptuous, I mean I haven’t even reviewed this offering yet, but let us not forget that a pie no matter how beautiful or tasty is still a masterpiece. A story of man’s struggle to create a crisp but soft pastry golden to the eye and flaky to the touch. To find the finest cuts of meat, to chop or mince them whilst seasoning them sympathetically to enhance the flavours inside whilst providing you, the luck recipient, with an extra dimension of spice, sweet or savoury at the behest of the artist’s moods and tastes. A pie is indeed a masterpiece and one day Meat Filled Pastries will be their Louvre.

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

Where: Somerset Park, Ayr United v Forfar Athletic, SPFL League One

Price: This was priced at £2 and much like the Ayr United’s Scotch Pie (Pie 53) it is priced slap bang in the middle of the range most applicable for luxury pies in the Scottish lower leagues.

Presentation: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a new leader in the presentation stakes. Look at this, that’s right I’m about to drop a second picture on you.

Just Wow!
Just Wow!

I mean wow, just wow, what is this!?!? Well in its simplest form it is a cardboard sleeve in which the pie was sitting comfortably, but to look at it in its simplest form would be a total waste of a pie review. Is it the front cover of a pie themed trance album that never quite took off? Is it a full-grown version of Sooty’s best friend forever Sweep after an acid trip? Or is it simply a felt tip and highlighter portrait of the first nun who decided she was quite fond of a meat filled pastry every now and again? Either way this provided plenty of entertainment during the pre match build up. Underneath the sleeve the pie was in a simple tin foil case but there was no napkin provided, a first in this journey of pie and could be considered by some as a pie eating faux pas.

Meatiness: Just like the presentation, the meaty filling inside this luxury pie was super fancy. It was a dark, stormy concoction of steak and thick unctuous gravy. Far darker than your normal steak pie which I can only assume was a result of the ale that the meat was cooked with adding a depth of colour and a lovely malty back note to each bite. A common flaw in ale based gravies is that there is no hint of the specially crafted ale that a brewer had spent weeks and months sweating over so it was a delight to taste its presence in this offering. Then there was the meat, not only wonderfully tender with a good mix of shreds and dice but it also had some wonderful crispy bits where the meat had obviously caught in the pan. It really helped to add a homemade feel to the pie whilst adding another dimension of this flavour. I know I’m gushing a bit but wowzers this was good pie!

Pastry: The pastry was lovely and golden. Soft and crispy with a small hole to let the steam out the top. The most impressive part though was that there was no soggy bottom and no catching on the tin foil case just a lovely layer of crisp soft pastry from top to bottom. It may appear, when looking at it, that it was a little pale but in reality this was the crowning glory on this belter of a pie.

Overall: This pie came with a lot of hype and before consumption I was nervous that it would be nothing but a disappointment. I am delighted to report that I had no need for nerves as this was delightful from first bite to last. Great Meat. Great Gravy. Great Pastry. And the kind of presentation that requires 3D glasses and a time machine back to the sixties. If you go to Somerset Park this pie is a must. Well played Boaby, whoever you are!

Gravy Factor: Bathe me in this gravy, wash me down with a towel and then ring it dry straight into my wide open gob!

This pie definitely made a midweek drive to South Ayrshire a trip worthwhile. A review this good only goes to encourage me to go further with these pie adventures and as such my next stop on Saturday will be Dunterlie Park home of Arthurlie, let’s just hope the rain eases up a bit.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ’Pretty in Pink’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at some of the pinkest kits you’re eyes ever did see and the stories behind them. I also encourage you to look out for my piece ‘Defining World Class’ on the same site, you’ll have to scroll down a bit but it’s definitely worth a read.

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.

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Pie 53: The Ayr United Pie

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It's a pie, honest!
It’s a pie, honest!

Happy British Pie Week everyone! That’s right, a week devoted entirely to pie and here at Meat Filled Pastries we are fully embracing the festive period with a plethora of pie lined up for your delectation over the coming week. This review is the first of two from the home of Ayr United, Somerset Park one of the few remaining senior grounds in Scotland with a proper old school feel to it. With a main stand that I swear hasn’t been touched since it was built and three sides of proper terracing. The home end, when even half full, can generate a proper atmosphere that only a pitch level terrace can. It will be a sad day when the inevitable move to a one or two-sided, Lego brick special in the middle of an industrial estate somewhere transpires and as such if you’ve never been I highly recommend a visit before that fateful day arrives.

As I say this is the first of two reviews from Ayr and as always in the case of double reviews we start with the humble scotch pie, the number one snack of choice across all of Scottish football.

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

Where: Somerset Park, Ayr United v Forfar Athletic, SPFL League One

Price: Priced at £1.50 this pie falls snugly into the price range found at grounds across the lower divisions in Scotland’s professional set up.

Presentation: After our flowery diversion at Kirkintilloch Rob Roy last time out (Pie 51), it is a return to the medium-sized plain white napkin, that classic pie look that will never go out of fashion. I should note here that this pie was roasting on receipt and as such my napkin was halved in my hand to prevent the potential disaster of a pie lying prone upside down on the floor beside me.

Meatiness: This pie was filled with mutton to near perfection, there was a small gap between meat and pastry to help cool the meaty innards as you ate. The meat held together excellently on first bite and continued to do so as I munched my way through. There was a definitive hint of spice in this pie but not through a big kick of pepper as normally would be the case but instead from something much sweeter. If you asked me to pinpoint it to one flavour I would speculate on a hint of smoked paprika but at the time of consumption I found it hard to really nail down exactly what I was tasting. What I can definitely confirm though is that this was a very tasty pie indeed and the flavour lingered all the way until pie number 2 was ready for consumption.

Pastry: The pastry was a lovely and golden in colour that managed to be just crisp enough to added a nice crunch at the top of the crust but soft enough that the pie could be gobbled up in two or three bites if the mood took you. It tore off from the main body of the pie with ease and as such at no point did I fear that a meaty dribble would cascade down my arm and fall heartbreakingly onto the floor below. One of the better pastries I have tasted on this journey.

Overall: This was an excellent scotch pie and a cracking way to start British Pie Week, it was a near perfect taste combination of meat and spice with a slight sweetness to be found the further you ate while the all important meat to pastry ratio was pretty much spot on too.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you would stick in a mug and drink while everybody around you pretends to enjoy their cup of tea that was handpicked by a spider monkey.

As you should be able to tell I liked this pie, and if it had been the only meat filled delight on offer I would have quite happily had another but I already had my eye on something far more luxurious, A Steak & Ale Pie and if you want to see what I thought of Pie 54 then tune in later in the week as Meat Filled Pastries celebration of pie continues to rumble on.

But until then go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ‘Pretty in Pink’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at some of the pinkest kits you’re eyes ever did see and the stories behind them. I also encourage you to look out for my piece ‘Defining World Class’ on the same site, you’ll have to scroll down a bit but it’s definitely worth a read.

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 51: The Kirkintilloch Rob Roy Pie

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Back where it all began
Back where it all began

Hello pie lovers, have you been missing your meat filled fix of pastry based ramblings? I know have. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks meaning that footballing visits have been restricted to Saturdays and as such the pie trail has gone a little cold recently, but fear not I’m back with a wee special edition for you, the Kirkintilloch Rob Roy pie. What makes this pie special? This pie is where it all began, the very first pie reviewed on Meat Filled Pastries. So why am I reviewing it again, I though this was only for new pies? Well quite simply I want to do a proper job of it this time. When looking back on the review it is apparent that this pie review had suffered for the pressures of being the debut edition as it  turned out to be a little sparse in its detail. So on this occasion I want to give it the full beans, something which appropriately enough goes rather well with a steaming hot pie.

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

Where: Adamslie Park, Rob Roy v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

Price: A bargain price of £1 ranking it as one of the cheapest pies found on the menus of kiosks up and down the country.

Presentation: Much like the first time this pie was presented in a single sheet of floral print kitchen roll, a welcome distraction from the usual monotony of the medium sized white napkin.

Meatiness: This was a perfectly pleasant meaty morsel. The meat was of a coarse mince texture but held together very well meaning the bite you took was a true representation of the amount of pie that actually ended up in your mouth. The base taste was more savoury over the usual peppery nature of a scotch pie but there was also a background note of sweetness to it something I assumed was coming from some well softened onions deep within the mix. It would have been easy to attribute the sweetness to the dollop of brown sauce sitting proudly on top of the pastry but the taste was definitely coming from this pie’s meaty core.

Pastry: When I do these reviews I send myself a quick text message with the price, presentation, tasting notes etc. As I review my notes on this pie I notice that I have nothing about the pastry. Zilch. Nada. Nienti. Hee-to-the-Haw. Now when this happen it usually means one thing, and as I rack my brains going back to the moment my lips were caressed by a combination of pastry and meat I believe that this one thing is applicable on this occasion. That one thing being that the pastry was alright. Nothing better or worse and sometimes that’s all a pie needs. Let’s move on.

Overall: As a return to pies goes this one was defiantly worth a re-visit. It certainly appears in retrospect my first assessment may have been a tad harsh on this little pie. It was tasty, tasted of meat and the note of sweetness differentiates it from the rest of the pack.

Gravy Factor: Better than Bog Standard Bisto.

That felt good, I was worried I’d forgotten how to write about pie for a minute there. Next weekend I have the pleasure of a ski focused stag do to go to so where the next pie will come from at this time I just don’t know, Strathspey Thistle are at home and just down the road from our lodge so if the snow doesn’t play ball you might get something from the Pighlands (rubbish pun!).

But as always, 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 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 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 26: The Cowdenbeath ‘Steak’ Pie

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Back in the lap of luxury.
Back in the lap of luxury.

Well here we are again, as promised, the Cowdenbeath Steak Pie is next to go under the taste test of Meat Filled Pastries. The site is currently under some modifications, hopefully culminating in a snazzy new banner so don’t be scared of the change, embrace it. Anyway back to pies. One of the things that you learn to appreciate when you go to a lot of football games is the variety of food that a particular ground can offer. Whilst some will stock solely Scotch Pies, Bovril, Juice, Sweets and Crisps others are a bit more adventurous although I’ll never forget my disappointment that you couldn’t get Arbroath Smokies at Gayfield. Cowdenbeath, however, certainly fell into the more adventurous heading as can be seen below:

Variety is the spice of life, except when you want to review a pie.
Variety is the spice of life, except when you want to review a pie.

Please focus your attention past the Bacon Rolls and Lentil Soup to the bottom item on that list, Corn Beef Stovies. A truly unique addition to the footballing menu. Now in these circumstances I have a difficult decision to make and I have to remind myself that I need to put pies before what my stomach desires for the benefit of this little project. Normally I would have had my mits wrapped around a warm cup brimming with Corn Beef Stovies but knowing how unlikely it is that Central Park will bw somewhere that I will visit again soon, and knowing that this site is called ‘Meat Filled Pastries’ and not ‘Corn Beef in a Cup’, I selected a steak pie for my secondary consumption,

I know, I’m your hero. You’re Welcome.

Before we get into the review let me remind you of a couple of the rules that surround a ‘luxury’ pie. Firstly no brown sauce should be required and secondly as you are paying more than for your usual scotch pie the overall quality should be of a higher standard.

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

Where:  Central Park, Cowdenbeath v Dundee, SPFL Championship

Price: At £2 this ‘luxury’ steak pie is actually cheaper than the scotch equivalents found at Ibrox and Hampden getting this review off to a good start without a bite being taken,

Presentation: Identical in presentation to the Cowdenbeath Scotch Pie, presented in a silver tin foil case with a medium size white napkin, sufficient enough coverage of the case to prevent you dropping the pie due to excessive heat.

Meatiness: The steak inside the pie was smaller chunked than you would usually find in pies of similar ilk and also seemed to have some coarse mince running through it as well. I took this as an indication that the meat inside was incredibly fall apart tender something that I am happy to confirm after taking that first bite. The gravy was rich and flavoursome and was of a consistency that was sufficient to coat the meat and also ooze a little from the pastry without being runny and causing puddles in the tinfoil casing.

Pastry: The pastry was cooked well, with the underside of the top part of the casing willing enough to absorb that lovely gravy. Unfortunately it had caught a little on the bottom which meant that when I went to pick up the pie for it’s first bite I left 75% of it in the case! Once again, not a massive flavour flaw but more of a potential distraction when trying to watch a game of football. I am however happy to share a couple of tips I have used in the past to resolve this issue.

Tip 1: Break a piece of the outer crust off, if baked well enough this should be sturdy enough to use as a pastry spoon to scoop out that meaty goodness.

Tip 2: Eat all the topping of the pie using your fingers ensuring you have sufficient napkin support for the inevitable mess you get yourself into. Once the majority of the filling has been devoured use the now softened base to wrap up the remaining filling into a Steak and Gravy Taco.

In this instance I went for the pastry spoon option which worked just fine.

Overall: A tasty steak pie, with a well flavoured gravy meaning adding brown sauce never entered my mind. the meat was tender and well textured. The pastry fell apart a bit but as this was once again consumed before kick off provided an amusing aside to the pre-match routine.

Gravy Factor: Tasty but messy gravy although sometimes that’s the best way for it to be.

So that’s another pie quaffed, that’s 26 for the season as we enter the winter months, so until next time go forth and eat pie.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on 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. Finally if you could take some time to visit ‘The Grambler’ or make a donation to ‘The Booby Moore Fund’ it would be most appreciated.