Meat

Pie 141: The Renfrew Pie

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Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries, Scotland’s only premier football pastry reviewing website. The season is now fully underway in Scotland and given the sun is still shining that little bit later I’ve been able to build up a bank of pastries for your perusal over the next few weeks.

But for now a question for your consideration. When do you have a pie?

Do you have it at the start to help soak up some pre-match beverages safe in the knowledge that you won’t miss any of the game or do you wait until half time and gamble on the queue going down quick enough so that you’re back in your spot before the action re-commences? Some, the most gambly of gamblers, will wait until after half time, avoiding the queues but also running the risk that there will be no pastries to be found.

Routines exist across the globe. When I lived in Spain I was often amazed about some aspects of a fans match day repertoire but perhaps none more so than the tradition of “El Bocata por el Descanso” – the sandwich for the break – where even the mere suggestion of eating your jamon or chorizo piece before the mid game interval would be met with utter contempt. However as soon as the referee has removed the whistle from his lips to signal the end of the first 45 minutes en masse the crowd will go into their polybags brought from home, unwrap the tinfoil and tuck into the sandwich of their choice, no doubt explaining during each chew how much of a “puta” the referee is because nothing excites a Spanish fan more than being antagonised by the arbitro’s performance.

For me, I prefer the before match approach, it almost always guarantees receipt of a pastry which is helpful when you run a website reviewing them and – on a Saturday at least – it will double as my first “meal” of the day. So on arrival at New Western Park, that’s exactly what I did.

Which means, without much further ado, let’s rate some pre-match pie!

Where: New Western Park, Renfrew 1-1 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £1.50 this pie was once again in the junior pie pricing sweet spot. As an aside, I noticed that the steak pie, usually deemed as luxury on these pages, was exactly the same price. Bargain.

Presentation: In a recent review of the Kelty Hearts pie I had commended the Fife club on their use of colour coordinated napkins. At Renfrew, who’s large napkin was of substantial size to hold and mop with, it was not blue or white (the team’s colours) but a bright sunflower yellow. Given the proximity of IKEA to this ground, would I be wrong to speculate on the influence the Swedes may have had here? Almost certainly but I’m doing it anyway. Good napkin though.

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Meatiness: This was a pie that, for me anyway, hit all the right notes. The meat was of the right texture with a nice moistness to the fill meaning that it both held together but also broke away quite easily. It was also very savoury with a slight pepper kick to it as you went through without the heat ever building to anything more than a hum. I thought it was pretty good.

Pastry: This pie had a smooth top with no steam hole present. The edge was crisp on top and the base solid. There were a few cracks in the side of the pastry bringing it’s overall structural integrity into question and the top was perhaps a little thick but in general I would say that it was more than satisfactory.

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Brown Sauce: After the Cumbernauld Colts debacle we returned to routine with a splash of brown sauce to help enhance those spiced meat flavours.

Overall: Tasty meat that I did find myself keen to take another bite of with pastry that did the job despite a couple of small flaws. Feels like a while since I’ve been able to review a good solid scotch pie, but I would say this was one.

Gravy Factor: Ahhh, Bisto.

So a decent effort from Renfrew and the junior pie adventures continue as next up we have a behemoth of a steak pie from Troon FC before something a bit different from the senior ranks.

Until next time though, 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 as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

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Pie 125: The Greggs Pie

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Happy New Year from MFP Towers. I hope you all had a smashing time bringing in the bells whether you were out partying or having a quiet one. I hope that 2018 brings you all the joy you can handle and the success that you desire. I spent the bells on the top of a hill watching Reykjavik come alive with fireworks for a genuinely jaw dropping hour or so but now I’m back and it’s time to kick 2018 off with a bang by reviewing the one pie that has ruled the high street for as long as I can remember. It’s time to rate The Greggs’ Scotch Pie.

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

Where: Greggs. They have over 1750 locations throughout the UK but mine was purchased on Victoria Road, Glasgow.

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The Social: Website, Instagram, Twitter.

What’s it all about?: The largest bakery chain in the UK, Greggs is synonymous with providing you an array of pastries, sandwiches and sweet treats to go. However for every glorious Festive Bake there has been a not so glorious Chicken Katsu version has followed. But the big question is, as the UK’s favourite purveyor of pastry, how does their Scotch Pie fare?

What was on my plate: No plates at Greggs, instead it comes in a paper bag, with this particular bag still sporting the festive colours of red and white. Something which I had never considered until now was how odd it was that they never give you a napkin to capture the cascade of crumbs, grease and sugar that many of the bakers snacks cover you in. It’s actually kinda baffling.

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Price: £1.15. Inflation, rising costs and a little bit of greed may have meant that the cost of a Scotch Pie at Greggs surpassed the £1 mark a long time ago but it is still a relative bargain for a hot (more on that shortly) meal.

Let’s get some eats: Now before we go into the meat of this pie matter I think it’s important to address something that is very much specific to Greggs: the temperature of your pastries. I have purchased the majority of my Greggs in the Greater Glasgow area and over the years I have learned that there are not one, not two but three different temperatures in which your pie can come in:

  • Furnace Hot: This is where your pastry has gone straight from the oven and into the glass display cabinet, sometimes if you are lucky you will see this very action take place among cries of “WATCH YER BACK AGNES I’VE GOT A HOT TRAY HERE!”. Whilst there is no doubt heat can be good pie munchers beware as that first bite will strip the skin from your lips and burn a hole in your soul. No amount of blowing on it will prevent you from escaping this fate. You just have to suck it up and do your best monkey impression as you take your first few tentative bites.
  • Wee Bit of Heat in it: This pastry will be a victim of one of two sets of circumstances. Either the branch of Greggs you visit is outside and the door left open, no doubt letting whatever apocalyptic weather is raging outside in to instantly cool anything that has come from the aforementioned furnace. Or scenario two, where the pastry has been sitting out for a while perhaps as a result of an overbake ahead of the lunch time rush. You will know if your pastry has a “bit of heat in it” as the person behind the counter will touch the pastry with the back of their palm and ask you this eternal poser, “It’s only got a wee heat in it, is that alright?” Even if you think it’s not you say it will be.
  • Staun Cauld: When you get presented with something that you wouldn’t hesitate twice to cool yourself down with on the beach. These pastries feel like they have been taken straight from the heart of a glacier. If a pastry is “staun cauld” there’s a high chance that it’s been sitting there since time began and could be used as a blunt instrument in battle as well as providing a disappointing pastry experience.

My pie had a wee bit of heat in it, which for me is the best for speedy consumption. The first thing I noticed about my pie was the heavy dusting of raw flour on top of the pastry lid which itself had been subjected to some boil out from the meaty contents below adding a darkly shaded puddle to the floury snowfall.

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The next thing that became apparent was that the pie was overbaked, or to use regional parlance: well fired, particularly on the bottom and on the edges. Whilst this wasn’t blackened it did make for a super crispy and somewhat difficult bite. As I took my first chomp, dabbed with the traditional squirt of brown sauce, I looked forward in anticipation to the taste sensation from one of the UK’s biggest selling pies. The crescendo of expectation soon turned into instant disappointment as this was perhaps one of the most one note pastries I ever did try. No notes of sweet or savoury. No pepper kick to warm the cockles and tickle the taste buds just a fairly banal but perfectly edible block of meat (beef and mutton, although I’m not sure you’d know). To be honest I suspected as much, this after all is one of the most mass produced pies on the market, but it was still disappointing not to have a single flavour peak or trough to pass comment on.

For £1.15 it’s hard to grumble too much but really this should be better.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easily available
  • I got my favoured temperature profile

Cons

  • Just a bit dull

So a Greggs’ Scotch Pie, not the culinary delight my heart would desire but it won’t be going anywhere any time soon so if you’re in a bind you could do a lot worse than a pie. But then, I like pies. Anyway, next up is a return to the football field and a review of the Queens Park Cheese & Onion Pie.

However, until then, 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.

Pie 118: The Carluke Rovers Chicken Curry Pie

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Hello pie fans, let’s get straight to business. I am aware that in the past I have, on more than one occasion, intimated that this is the end of the road for Meat Filled Pastries only to then be drawn back in with spiels dedicated to that holy trinity of meat, pastry and gravy however this time, this time is different. I mean take a look at this review for example, this game took place in April, it’s July now and this is me just getting round to ticking it off. Something had to give and at the moment it seems to be the pies. That’s not to say I haven’t been at games and continued my adventures to  the back of beyond to watch 22 men(or women) kick about a polyester sphere whilst getting my pastry fix, it’s more the aftermath that has suffered. Whether that be an increase demand in work, to learning Spanish, from wanting to see the world and just generally hanging about with my friends and family all have taken precedent over a few hundred words about pie.

More relevantly, to those of you who have kept with me during this, I really do want to put this all together into one coherent collection of my journey. From the first foolhardy bet, to the awards and media appearances up until the right here and now where I’m stealing 30 minutes from my lunch to type up this review. I think it’s a good story to tell, but an impossible one to do if I don’t step back, take a breath and look what it’s achieved. So there you have it this is my swansong, not a forever goodbye, more I’ll catch you later.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The John Cumming Stadium, Carluke Rovers 0-3 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round

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Price: Dropped the ball here. This was somewhere between £1.20 – £1.70 and so if anyone want’s to correct me then please feel free. Given it’s chicken curry nature we can class this as a luxury pie and as such anywhere within the bracket I’ve just quoted is more than acceptable.

Presentation: This is a direct copy from my last review. Same place, same presentation. Medium sized white napkin that was bigger than the circumference of the pastry that sat on it. It’s all you need really.

THE PIE

I think this might glow in the dark...
I think this might glow in the dark…

Meatiness: Chunks of tender chicken breast awaited my gob replacing the normal crumbly mutton that a scotch pie possesses. Cubed into properly bite size chunks they were coated in a luminous yellow curry sauce that you would often find smattered on the pavement outside Central Station on a Friday night. As I discovered at the most recent edition of the World Scotch Pie Championships chip shop curry sauce is very much a controversial subject. For some it offers the comfort of home, providing that pick me up on a hungover Sunday evening as it’s smothered over a poke of chips. For others it is an atomic bomb to the senses, an overheated day-glow paste that stains everything it touches from your teeth to you trainers. I fall somewhere in the middle, appreciative of the joy it brings others whilst the food wanker lurking within wants something more complex and ‘real’. Stripping it back to what this pie is; a matchday snack. It does an amicable job of satisfying hunger whilst being slightly different from the norm.

Pastry: The pastry was interesting and perhaps a consequence of the different filling this pie offered. First thing that struck me was how pale it was, perhaps not subjected to the same boil out and fat that a scotch pie normally has meaning it was almost white in colour. Secondly was it’s texture, almost bread like with a biscuity crunch as opposed to buttery and flaky. With the pie filling it worked quite well although to this day I’m still not sold if it’s something I liked or not.

Brown Sauce: Imagine tangy brown sauce on a curry pie, that would be a sensory overload for even the most adventurous of palates. It didn’t happen here.

Overall: Nothing flashy here. Chicken that was well cooked and wrapped in a sunny wash of chip shop curry sauce contained within a biscuity base. When looking at all the elements it is perhaps the least luxurious luxury pie you might ever come across.

Gravy Factor: Ravy Gravy. Split this bad boy open, and raise it high in the air. It’s 1991 and you’re giving it large with this spicy yellow pastry.

So that’s it, no more…well except one more. An encore if you will from the Falkirk Stadium courtesy of the Scottish lassies. I hate goodbyes so just wanted to get that out the way now.

So until the final 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.

Pie 117: The Carluke Rovers Pie

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My apologies to the good folk at Carluke Rovers, I should have done this two weeks ago but as my fellow supporters of junior football know at this time of the season free time comes with an even greater premium as clubs play 2,3 or even 4 games a week! It can be a bit of a slog for players, managers and supporters alike as you jump from town to town in the mad dash to get the season wrapped up before the summer really comes. Whilst arguments cold be made about summer football and artificial pitched in truth the junior calendar doesn’t really help itself to begin with as cup after cup are played until even wee Jimmy the groundskeeper has won a trophy too.

In some way’s I understand it; the Sectional League Cup give fans guaranteed derbies whilst bigger clubs get to boost the coffers of their less fortunate neighbours every second season whilst the Central League Cup at the end of the season gives teams with not much to play for some meaningful fixtures to get their teeth into. At the same time though what is the need for a cup where the exact same participants take part in it twice, all be it with slightly altered formats. I’m coming at this from a Glasgow based perspective but I know that the same problem abides both west and east of the place I call home. As you may have gathered by now I’m not one to turn down a game of football but even I, as an individual who breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of a Saturday afternoon in Homebase, think something needs to be done to jazz up these perceived ‘diddy’ cups.

With all that being said, and to stick to my wholly contrary roots, today’s pie review comes from one of them and the Central League Cup 2nd Round, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The John Cumming Stadium, Carluke Rovers 0-3 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round

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Price: At £1.20 this pie was bang on message with the rest of junior football as a whole although it would be fair to say that it was perhaps a littler more expensive when compared to some of their previously visited divisional rivals.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin that was bigger than the circumference of the pastry that sat on it. It’s all you need really.

THE PIE

Meaty!
Meaty!

Meatiness: This was a substantially sized meat filled treat with coarsely ground mutton populating nearly every cavity of its pastry tomb. The meat was well-flavoured and if ever I was to describe mince as succulent this would be it. That said, with succulency (pretty sure I’ve just made up a word) comes grease and in this case the dreaded drip test very nearly put paid to a new pair of trainers. Luckily my time spent in St. Petersburg as Galloping Horse #2 in the Russian National Ballet production of Calamity Jane meant I tip toed my way around the fatty splashes trouble free. Grease never harms the flavour unless it’s excessive but it does make eating it that little bit more treacherous.

Pastry: The pastry was well-baked and sturdy enough to support this fairly moist pie. There was a little rim of boil out on the top but the base was near perfect in its cooking. To be honest not a lot to say here as it was a solid, if unspectacular, effort all round.

Brown Sauce: The bottle had all the hallmarks of being found in a popular high street frozen food chain, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good though. Zingy, spicy and fruity like a good brown sauce should be.

Overall: Nice flavoursome meat, solid pastry and a decent brown sauce makes this a good effort. A little less grease and you’re on to a winner.

Gravy Factor: Moist.

This is the first of an unintended double-header from Carluke as their Chicken Curry Pie gets ready to go under the Piecroscope.

So 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.

Pie 116: The Jeanfield Swifts Steak & Gravy Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Riverside Park, Jeanfield Swifts 2-2 Dundonald Bluebell, East of Scotland Premier League

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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.

THE PIE

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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!

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.

Pie 114: The Gartcairn Juniors Pie

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Sometimes I get accused of taking my love of a Saturday afternoon on the terraces a little too far. Most of the time I will fight my corner simply stating it’s my Saturday routine, I don’t judge others for their choice to spend a few hours in a superheated cesspool of screaming children and bargain shopping. Taking enough of a break just long enough to sit on half a Big Mac that the person who was sitting there beforehand has left behind, a smear of mustard yellow and gherkin indelibly left on your backside for all to see. No I would never judge you for that, that sounds just wonderful.

That said there is (very) rare occasions where I will be standing, shivering and drenched. Rain driving into my face so hard that I can’t even look up to watch the game in front of me. No cover protecting me from the elements and my umbrella lost to that big council bin in the sky that I go, maybe, just maybe I should have stayed at home or gone to the pub.

Gartcairn v Glasgow Perthshire in the Central League Second Division was one of those rare occasions. First of all no offence intended to the participating teams. It could have been another edition of El Clasico that was raging before my eyes at MTC Park but the fact remained that I was watching a game I had no real interest in for the sake of a match to go to and a new pie review. For the first time since I started this adventure, the need for pie had become a chore and one that I wasn’t particularly enjoying.

Now this is not to say I have fallen out of love with the pie or the game that has thrust these pastry delights into my consciousness but more to say that when something stops becoming fun you have to ask yourself is it really worth it. I’ve hinted many times in the past that I have a number of other interests. Things that I want to do, see and achieve, and so, it is with these things clear in my mind that I hereby give notice that 2015/16 season will be the last I spend reviewing pies, at the football at least.

So with that out the way, let’s make the final few count. Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: MTC Park, Gartcairn Juniors 1-1 Glasgow Perthshire, Central League Second Division (A not insignificant game as this was Gartcairn’s first at their home ground and with that the first competitive junior match played at the ground)

It was too mingin' too even consider taking in the view.
It was too mingin’ too even consider taking in the view.

Price: £1.50. Towards the top end of the junior spectrum, but considering this was Gartcairn’s first match at their true home AND the fact it was clear the SJFA had made them jump through some rather odd hoops to get there (including introducing crowd segregation and moving the change rooms to a school further away than the clubhouse was from the ground) I was willing to pay my way.

Presentation: A large white napkin, it would have benefited from having an umbrella built into it on this particular day, but unrealistic expectations aside this was a solid effort in the presentation stakes.

THE PIE

Take #2
Take #2

Meatiness: OK, so before I start here, truth time. Because the weather was so severe I couldn’t actually get my phone out my pocket to take a picture of my first pie so when one of the few brief breaks in the clouds occurred I rushed to get the pie pictured here, pie number #2. I’m glad I did. The filling was very tasty indeed, it was seasoned well and had a proper peppery linger, something that I feel has been long missed on my recent pie travels. The pie was generously filled and overall the taste was worth going back for another bite.

Pastry: These pies were perhaps a little bashed about by the time they got to my mouth. Now this could be due to the delivery method, a man rocking up in his Vauxhall Corsa to drop off his meaty bounty at the shipping container that was doubling as pie stall but more likely was my heavy-handedness whilst protecting it from the elements. The pastry was golden, perhaps a little soft at the sides but fell apart as it should. There was a slight saltiness to the pastry that I quite liked and overall it did a spot on job of keeping the meat within.

Brown Sauce: As it was the competitive game to be held at this ground I got the great honour of opening the HP bottle for the very first time. HP always does the job.

Overall: Soaking aside, this was a very tasty pie, well-flavoured meat with a peppery linger balanced out with a salty and soft pastry.

Gravy Factor: To be consumed on sunnier days.

Well that’s another pie down, what number this journey will finally end on I’m not sure but I promise you that I will see this through until I have my final bite.

So 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.

 

Pie 113: The Linlithgow Rose Steak Pie

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So a few weeks ago I went to Madrid with a couple of friends and I fell in love with it a little bit. With it’s party vibe, great (great!) food and passion for football it was the kind of place that makes me realise how much I missed out on whilst spending my younger years on the strips of Magaluf.

We visited almost every museum the city had to offer, drinking and eating our way through many tabernas and restaurant’s. We also made our way to, not just one, but two La Liga matches and I thought this is where I should focus my pre-amble today.

First up was Rayo Vallecano v Celta Vigo, the Partick Thistle of Madrid against that team John Guidetti now plays for. The day before the game we had to go and pick up some tickets and on arrival were treated to an open training session at the Estadio Vallecas. A funny 3 sided stadium slap bang in the middle of suburban Madrid. My Spanish lessons were of varying use throughout the trop but when it came to purchasing football tickets they were at their most potent. On match day we took the metro round to the stadium and as we walked up the steps you were greeted by an audible buzz, something far different from a game in the UK. It was loud and busy but safe feeling with stalls selling flags, scarves and perhaps most relevant to this website food. For this game I plumped for a bag of Chicharrons, deep fried pork rinds and a bottle of coke. The game itself was entertaining and the atmosphere was amped up by Rayo scoring a couple of early goals. Throughout the game it was near incessant even from the Celta fans just a couple of rows away from us bouncing, as they did, all the way through the game and the banter was good natured even with rival fans so close together.

The facilities were rather basic but for me it exemplified why the atmosphere was so great. There was no messing about here, you took to your seat, you watched the game and had a fiesta we even tried singing along a couple of times! It had got me excited for our trip to the Vicente Calderon the following day.

Game two was god awful. Truly, truly bad. Atletico Madrid known more for their stinginess at the back than their tacking prowess played a Sevilla team with exactly the same game plan. In truth, the most exciting thing to happen was when a Sevilla player getting set off prompting the home crowd to go as wild as if they had scored a goal. Amusement followed as we subsequently watched them go beserk as Sevilla went about wasting time in every way imaginable. It was also a pretty hot day and as we were sat halfway up the nonshaded side of the stadium an unexpected bout of January sunburn befell my body in the afternoon sun. My snack of choice for this game were, Pipas (Sunflower Seeds). I had noticed these all over the place at the Rayo game and ever one for a culinary adventure I took the plunge and proceeded to bite, spit and suck my way through these salty treats. I’m still not sure the risk of choking is worth the taste but as an authentic match day meal I think I nailed it.

I really enjoyed my La Liga adventures and I’ve already got Espanyol v Athletic Bilbao lined up for March whilst in Barcelona, the fans are passionate although incredibly biased and the atmosphere moves along even in the less glamorous of games. That said in Spain the empanadas are not a match day specialty, in fact, they didn’t even exist and as this site is called Meat Filled Pastries let’s return to our meaty home with pie review two from Linlithgow Rose.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose 3-3 Forfar Athletic, Scottish Cup 4th Round

Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.
Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.

Price: At £1.60 this was only 10p more than the scotch pie offering from the same venue, meaning by comparison this was a relative bargain although I would still say the pricing of the scotch pie is a little bit dearer than the equivalents found in the west region of junior football.

Presentation: I should really do a copy and paste job from my last review here as it was identical, in fact, I’m going to: “Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first (now second) pie of 2016 but even as I enter my 4th year of pie some things in the pie game never change and honestly I don’t think it needs to. Does the job.”

THE PIE

Steak Daft!
Steak Daft!

Meatiness: I ate this pie quite a while ago now so my memories of it are somewhat distant, however my expertly crafted notes (which as always I had texted to myself) have helped jog the memory.

This steak pie was different from many others that I had encountered before. Usually they are a mix of chunks and gravy but in this instance the meat was stewed and shredded creating an effect similar to pulled pork except with steak, I was a fan. That said I thought it was a little bland and lacking a smidge of seasoning. The filling was pleasant enough although it was lacking the punch that would truly elevate to a pie of the highest order.

Pastry: The bottom of this pie was rather burnt, enough to give a bitter note as I chomped my way through and I’m almost certain it was down to living to long in the oven. It did mean that you didn’t run the risk of the soggy bottom often caused by a moist pie such as steak but it did ultimately impact on the taste overall. The top, as can be seen, was a little loose meaning it would hit my nose as I took each bite but the puff pastry was golden and crisp. I think without the ‘well-firedness’ this would have been a pretty solid pastry effort from The Rosey Posey.

Overall: I liked the pulled steak texture and the filling was pleasant if perhaps lacking a bit of imagination. The pastry was a bit of a let down and as previously stated burning the bottom did add a bit of unwanted bitterness. Personally I would rather the bottom was a little softer and I had to do a bit of juggling over sturdy and burnt.

Gravy Factor: Well fired Gravy. Get your fish slice right under that bad boy!

I have no idea where my next review is coming from, this winter has been terrible for your favourite pie reviewer but I will come back with something soon I promise.

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.