Meat

Pie 112: The Linlithgow Rose Pie

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This weather is absolutely brutal for trying to write pie reviews as weekend after weekend of lower league and non league football gets decimated by wind, rain and snow. This coupled with my local team visiting some familiar venues mean that I’ve had to resort to rationing the reviews I have stored in the bank. It’s been heavy going. Two weekends ago I watched in horror as my first, second and third choice alternative games all fell foul of the Scottish winter. Now, I love winter football when it gets played. There’s a sadistic pleasure in freezing your giblets off on a January afternoon, your toes going so numb they feel like Lego bricks and your breath doing it’s best Thomas the Tank Engine impression.

I’m not for summer football (it will be the death of the pie for a start) but I am for a winter break, some kind of provision that ensures thousands of fans are not left staring dead-eyed into the distance as their significant other asks if that is the right shade of terracotta for the dining room when all their heart yearns for is to cheer their team forwards to glory. That said I’ve managed to get about a bit and as such I bring to you today’s review from East Superleague heavyweights 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

2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!
2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!

Quick note before I start. What a game this was! The kind of thing you dream of when you turn up to a match as a neutral. Controversial officiating, red cards, penalties, an underdog comeback and a ground rammed with people having good natured banter. I was so glad I went. It could have been a wee bit drier but for me that just added to the magic.

Price: A solid £1.50, about par for the top end of the junior game and a blessed relief from the burger disaster that occurred during my last review from Broadwood.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first 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

FINALLY!
FINALLY!

Meatiness: Finally! After what felt like a lifetime a new pie at a football match was sitting in my paw. I would have been lying to myself and everyone who reads this site if I hadn’t made my first review of 2016 a scotch pie and this was a solid effort in the meatiness stakes. There was a strong mutton flavour present in this pie distinctive from lamb however it was perhaps just a little greasy. Not offensively so for this pie guy but enough for a dribble or two to be coming from this pastries meaty core. However as any good cook will tell you, fat means flavour! As long as it’s not too much. That said, despite the grease, the meat held together well and all in all this was a nice ‘welcome back’ to the world of football pastries.

Pastry: The pastry is perhaps where this pie was let down a little. The bottom was, in yer granny’s terms, well fired or, in layman’s terms, a bit burnt and it did add a bitter note to your bite which I’m not overly keen on. The top was interestingly the complete converse to the base. Almost chewy in texture, like the pastry you would find on a perogi or dumpling and when you bit into it some of the pastry you weren’t quite ready for came away too. A little bit crisper on top and a little bit softer on the bottom and this would have been spot on.

Overall: A solid effort. Nicely flavoured meaty centre slightly let down by the bake on the pastry around it.

Gravy Factor: It was my first football pie in a month, it tasted amazing even if it wasn’t the best example I’ve had. Nostalgic Gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from the Rosey Posey as I am forced to take the stack them high approach to my pie visits whilst the weather refuses to play ball. Next time out their steak pie will be under the microscope plus an insight into my trip to Madrid and my La Liga matchday experiences.

However 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 111: The Clyde ‘Not Pie’ Pie: A Call to Arms

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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!
Congratulations!

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!)

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Clyde 0-1 Queens Park, Scottish League Two

Disappointment awaits...
Disappointment awaits…

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:

Not a Pie.
Not a Pie.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

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 110: The Pollok ‘Steak’ Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Newlandsfield Park, Pollok 4-2 Beith, West Superleague Premier Division

One from the archives, forget to take a picture as I was in more familiar surroundings.
One from the archives, forget to take a picture as I was in more familiar surroundings.

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.

THE PIE

Like the baby Jesus wrapped up in his manger. Except this is a pie, and that's kitchen roll.
Like the baby Jesus wrapped up in his manger. Except this is a pie, and that’s kitchen roll.

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!

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 109: The Benburb Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 3-3 Scone Thistle (Scone won 4-3 on penalties) Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round Replay

Having to replace the steep banks of 'Old' Tinto Park' is no mean feat in this new all weather era.
Having to replace the steep banks of ‘Old’ Tinto Park’ is no mean feat in this new all weather era.

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.

THE PIE

Was it worth the wait?
Was it worth the wait?

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!

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 108: The Motherwell ‘Steak’ Pie

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Hello and welcome to pie number two from Fir Park consumed at the Scottish Women’s European Championship qualifier against Belarus. As promised I’m once again going to try to convince you to give women’s football a chance if you haven’t done so already. Here’s five reasons for starters:

  1. It’s cheap, with SWPL games costing a paltry some of £5.
  2. Games take place during the summer and on Sundays. No longer do you have to spend a July afternoon in IKEA, a dead-eyed stare across your face whilst somebody tells you that the Malm bedside cabinet collection is the hottest thing in Swedish design and innovation.
  3. Scotland actually tend to win more than they lose. Yes there is a few one-sided drubbings against the likes of Belarus and The Faroe Islands in there but it’s Scotland winning. The majority of the time. I’ll take that any day.
  4. If you have one child, and that child is a daughter, then what better way to trick her into getting the football bug than by taking her down to her local women’s football game so that she can find herself some new heroes. The fruit of your loins will play for Scotland after all!
  5. It will get you out the house and that can only be a good thing. Surely it can’t be any worse than sitting through Sunderland v West Brom on ‘Super’ Sunday.

There’s probably more reasons but I’m going to stop at 5, the season has just finished but the national side have their next home qualifier against FYR Macedonia on Sunday 29th November at St. Mirren Park. So go on, give it a go, you might like it.

Anyway with the soapbox tidied away until another day so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Fir Park, Scotland Women 7-0 Belarus Women, 2017 Women’s European Championship Qualifier

...aaaaaaand break!
…aaaaaaand break!

Price: A steak pie is your conventional luxury offering and this one was priced at £2.30, 30p more than the pasta and pastry hybrid available (Pie 107: The Motherwell Macaroni Pie”) from the same venue on the same evening. About average for the level of football normally on show here.

Presentation: The staple luxury arrangement of the pie being placed within a tin foil case and on top of a medium-sized white napkin, nothing too fancy here.

THE PIE

Fuzzy Pie!
Fuzzy Pie!

Meatiness: The meat within this pie was a tantalising mix of small and large chunks of tender steak, soft enough to easily bite through with the odd-shaped meaty bits bursting with a solid steak flavour. The gravy was fairly unctuous, not an absolute topper, but certainly nothing to be sniffy about and overall the whole thing was well proportioned and well seasoned.

Pastry: A classic puff pastry top, more dome like than usual suggesting a generous rise had occurred in the oven. The sides were nicely baked and the pastry had not stuck to the bottom of the case, an often found fundamental flaw at Scottish footballs top end pie establishments. Solid effort again.

Overall: This was a good pie, with a nice filling and well-baked pastry but as this journey continues to chug along it didn’t feel like it was anything out of the ordinary.

Gravy Factor: A premium supermarket brand. Good quality and definitely tasty but not quite at the very top of the game.

So that’s my Fir Park double dunt done and dusted and I return to my junior roots with a review from Benburb, with a classic scotch pie on offer from New Tinto Park. 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 106: The Glenafton Athletic ‘Steak’ Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-4 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives
A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives

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.

THE PIE

A Two-Biter.
A Two-Biter.

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!

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 104: The Neilston Pie

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I’m still powering through the Spanish classes at the moment so I’ve not had much time to let my meander too much but one thing I’ve still had time for is my football. Prior to this week’s match our group of merry men had set up camp in the local bowling club. Whilst supping a pre-match pint our conversation was halted by the unexpected sound of an elderly man gleefully ringing a bell.

It soon became apparent that the bell signalled the all important announcement of the pairings for that afternoons bowling session and so with the mystery solved we resumed our conversations, primarily focusing on how white all the participating bowlers jackets were only to be again interrupted. This time by a lady of later years who I can only assume took great pleasure in very sternly shushing our collective more aggressively than any person has done anything in their life ever. It was both comical and frightening but nonetheless effective as it brought instance silence and a clear understanding that you should never EVER mess with an old dear when it comes to her bowls. Needless to say 20 minutes later, and feeling like a group of naughty school children, we had finished our pints and it was off to the match we went.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Brig O’Lea Satdium, Neilston 1-8 Pollok, Sectional League Cup, Section 5

wpid-2015-08-24-19.50.49.jpg.jpeg

Price: At £1.20 this is a return to the average pricing of the 2014/15 season so nothing to really grumble about with that.

Presentation: Presented within an aluminium foil container (somewhat of a rarity at junior level) and with a medium-sized white napkin of sufficient size to prevent the foil melting into your hand and forming some kind of half man half meat robotic mandible that would protrude from the end of your arm.

THE PIE

Deep amongst the Renfrewshire hills there still are pies to be found...
Deep amongst the Renfrewshire hills there still are pies to be found…

Meatiness: This pie was huge and it was with some great relief that when I bit inside the pastry was not just a hollow shell but bursting to the seams with meaty goodness. The filling was sweet and spicy however the pepper kick wasn’t prevalent until the very end of consumption at which point there was some linger. Although the first bite was a little greasy, leaving that slightly unpleasant film on the lips that grease often does, the quality of this pie filling grew the further I munched my way through. There were some rumblings from others that I was being blinded by the (unusual for the juniors) ‘fancy’ tin foil casing but as an experienced pie connoisseur I can assure you that this was not the case, after a sluggish start on my palate this filling was very tasty indeed.

Pastry: The pastry was golden and crisp all round and did not fall victim to the soggy bottom that often befalls a tin foil encased pastry. It did become a little flimsy as you ate through but this can be attributed to the vastness of meat within and as such required one of my patented pie juggling techniques to consume successfully without spillage. The pastry was perhaps a little salty but other than that as pastry goes it was pretty sound.

Brown Sauce: HP in a squeezy bottle. How it should be at a football ground.

Overall: A big hunk of spicy sweet meat in a well-baked and sturdy pastry case that matured in flavour with every bite I took.

Gravy Factor: A hunk a hunk a tasty gravy!

Next time out will be a review from Ibrox and Meat Filled Pastries first ever ‘Seasonal’ Pie but 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 103: The St. Anthonys Pie

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Me llamo Chris. Yo como empanadas.

Sorry folks, the book has had to go on hold for a couple of weeks whilst I power through some intensive Spanish lessons. I drop to one lesson a week next month and the book writing can gather pace once again. My main focus just now is drawing an upside down question mark successfully, something that I’m finding far more difficult to do than the actual Spanish itself!

Anyway you’re here for pastry not paella patter so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: McKenna Park, St. Anthonys 0-4 Pollok, Sectional League Cup, Section 5

A 4 seasons in 90 minutes kind of afternoon
A 4 seasons in 90 minutes kind of afternoon

Price: At £1.50 this is at the top end of the junior scale, 50p more than the offerings from Cambuslang Rangers and Vale of Clyde we have already encountered this season. A loftier price is greeted with loftier expectations.

Presentation: Covering all the bases here this pie is presented on a polystyrene plate along with a fairly large white napkin. Whilst the plate will I’m sure appease those of a frailer disposition I felt it was superfluous when you consider the size of the napkin provided. A grumble for the sake of grumbing I think because as you will soon see I quite liked this pie.

THE PIE

To be fair the plates did help me build a two tiered pastry tower.
To be fair the plates did help me build a two tiered pastry tower.

Meatiness: The last time I visited McKenna Park (in those dark days where Meat Filled Pastries had yet to exist) I remember getting a pie and being slightly disheartened to see some empty boxes from a high street frozen food purveyor. The pie was serviceable but it was slightly disappointing to know that a baker somewhere may have had something better to offer. It was then to my great joy that the boxes were nowhere to be seen (disclaimer: if it turns out these are the same frozen pies I owe said frozen food retailer an apology). The meat was both sweet and spicy, the heat being provided by pepper along with something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Whilst I love a peppery kick, one too strong can leave an acrid dry taste in the back of your throat, something that this mystery ingredient helped to avoid with great aplomb. It was very well filled, held together well whilst I chewed through and was sufficiently moist. I had two, partly because I was hungover, but mainly because I really enjoyed this meaty treat.

Pastry: The pastry was golden and crisp. There was some boil out which may have put some people off however I enjoyed the wee squirts of mince that had poked through and been crisped up by the oven almost like the crispy edges on a freshly grilled lamb burger. It was a bit rough around the edges and the top wasn’t quite as secure as it could be, popping up as I ate but these are small niggles for a well-baked pastry.

Brown Sauce: HP. Squeezy bottle. Minimal mess. Maximum taste.

Overall: Tasty filling that was both spicy and sweet. Well cooked pastry and a dollop of HP, either this is the best mass-produced frozen pie ever or The Ants have upped their pastry game.

Gravy Factor: Great Gravy. The bar for the 2015/16 season has been set.

Next time out will be a review from the Renfrewshire hills as on offering from Neilston Juniors is on the cards.

But 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 102: The Vale of Clyde Pie

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This week I’ve been collating some figures to find out exactly how much this little adventure has cost me so far as part of an elaborate (but yet to be fully designed) data centric centre spread. Including the review that I am about to bestow upon you this journey of pie has cost me £725.25, I can’t decide if that’s a lot or not yet. I’m sure come final edit I’ll reveal what has been my most costly pie as well as coming up with a list of ridiculous things I could have spent my final total on but for now I’m happy I’ve spent it on football and pies.

This figure has solely been calculated based on the cost of entry and the price of my pastry. Travel and beer costs are fully out with the destination clubs control so I thought it would be unfair to judge. However being one not to miss out on a vital statistical nugget I will be investigating how many miles I’ve covered since taking on this voyage of pastry discovery. However that will take some patience and a desire to spend hours on Google Maps which quite frankly is something I have no notion to pursue just now.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Fullarton Park, Vale of Clyde 0-2 Pollok, Friendly

#summerfootball
#summerfootball

Price: £1. Despite fears of a financial catastrophe on the Aegean coast, the bean counters at junior football grounds across Scotland have still stuck firmly to the ‘in and around a pound’ pricing policy which is just lovely.

Presentation: Like Hear’say’s debut single, pure and simple here. A medium-sized white napkin.

THE PIE

Chunky Pie
Chunky Pie

Meatiness: This was a deep filled pastry and then some. As soon as I lifted it off the counter and held it in my paw I knew immediately that I could skip a couple of arm curls at the gym later that day. The meaty block inside was rather solid however it was sufficiently moist that it didn’t crumble dryly but instead fall apart easily as you bit into the meat and pastry layers. It had that ever so classic pepper kick with a strong and long linger after the last bite was taken. As I reminisce about it now my thoughts are greeted with a joyful haze. I liked this pie.

Pastry: The pastry was golden. Perhaps a little to crisp for an older gentleman to get his gnashers around but for this pie guy it’s pastries golden tinge added just the right amount of texture. The top was a little misshapen and slightly too small to protect the filling which meant it popped up a little each bite you took but that is a minor gripe in what was a solid pastry effort. In fact if anything it added to its charm.

Brown Sauce: HP. Can’t go wrong with that.

Overall: If I was to describe this pie in one word it would be manly. Big hunk of meat. Big pepper kick. Crisp and rugged pastry.

Gravy Factor: Not for girls.*

(*obviously pies are for everyone please, including girls.)

Pie 102. With love from me to you.

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 100: The Killie Pie

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It’s here! After two season of meat flavoured sweat and tears pie 100 in this enduring journey of pastry has finally arrived and for many there would be no pie more fitting to commemorate a century of meat filled wonder than by reviewing the much vaunted Killie Pie at the Scottish Junior Cup Final. A pie almost so legendary in nature that is often perceived as the best that Scottish football has to offer (although those that read my World Scotch Pie Championships Judges Story will know that wasn’t in fact the case) and the one, above all overs, that I get asked about the most.

This pie also signifies my last review of the season, and the last to grace these pages. Whilst I am conscious that there is still a plethora of pastry for me to plough through, not only in Scotland but across the globe, I have also been been starting to feel the need for a break from pastry based writing. Well a break of sorts anyway.

You see recently a discussion with a friend (which one I can’t remember but if you’re confident enough that you can take credit for this then let me know) about my journey’s and how I had become a little fatigued about the pie life at which point he/she asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book based on my adventures. At first I kind of laughed it off, as cult-like as Meat Filled Pastries has become would there really be an appetite (pun intended) to actually create a tome of pie? However the more I thought about it the more it made sense. When I looked back at old reviews I could see a story waiting to be written. One of my journey, of the people who I have shared each step with, of the places I’ve visited and some of the downright ridiculous situations I’ve found myself in all thanks to the humble pie.

It’s a month or so after I stared putting the feelers about what interest, if any, there was in hearing my story and to my surprise more than two people seemed keen, and so, considering I started this site on the premise of zero percent interest and watched it bloom, some genuine interest was all the incentive I needed to commit to sitting down and trying my hand at being an author. I haven’t started as of yet, work will begin as soon as this last review is posted, but it’s safe to say that I am as excited about this next chapter (another pun, this time unintentional) in my story as I have been about anything else related to Meat Filled Pastries for a while.

Although I will be taking a break from fresh pie reviews, I will still be keeping my quill in the ink pot when it comes to pies and football. I have recently been asked to review a bakers full range of pastries and I will continue to share my tuppence worth about the beautiful game when requested.

But for now I think I have rambled on enough, and so without much further ado, let’s rate not just any pie, but Pie 100, The Killie Pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Rugby Park, Auchinleck Tabot 2-1 Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup Final

The 'Theatre of Pies'.
The ‘Theatre of Pies’.

Price: Now such is the legend of this pie that in a handful of junior grounds in Scotland the Killie Pie is offered as an alternative to their own brand scotch variety, in fact Browning’s have done such an impressive job of bigging up their pastry that some have even escaped the terrace kitchens and made their way to the supermarket shelves. With such wide-ranging availability there was often a temptation to take the plunge at a venue other that Rugby Park, particularly due to the fact that a Killie Pie at the likes of Hurlford United, is cheaper than that found at Kilmarnock FC itself. I resisted those economically sound overtures however and awaited until I was in the aforementioned pies natural surroundings before taking the plunge and as such was required to part with £2.20 for my pie. A full 70p more expensive than those on offer at Blair Park but still considerably cheaper than those found at the big three of Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

Presentation: In a metal tin foil container to retain the heat with the option of a small napkin to be taken from the dispensers located at the back of the kiosk. Luckily these were self-service as realistically you needed at least two to provide full coverage and to prevent any spillages.

THE PIE

But if there's two hands holding the pie, how on earth did you take the picture?
But if there’s two hands holding the pie, how on earth did you take the picture?

Meatiness: So did it live up to the legend? Well, kind of. When it comes to luxury pies, I am forever going on about the sumptuousness of the gravy and with the Killie Pie there is very little risk of your lips remaining dry as there really is a gush of meaty flavour heading down your gullet as soon as you take that first bite. It was perhaps slightly salty for some if I’m being honest, the seasoning on the very edge for those with a blander set of tastebuds than myself. There were some nice chunks of well cooked tender steak in this pie, but the emphasis here should be placed on the word some and the none use of the word many or lots. Maybe some drops of gravy could have been sacrificed for a couple more bites of meat, that said it was still a very satisfying mouthful.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty tasty with a nice buttery finish, however a couple of things bugged me about it. Firstly the puff pastry top sagged a little in the middle. While that led to  strong mingle of gravy and pastry it meant that as you bit down it became really difficult to get a one bite expose. In fact the only way this was achieved was by squeezing the pie a little to open it up. The base had also fell foul of its tin foil container, and while not sticking this pies soggy bottom meant a fair bit of juggling was required to complete consumption.

Brown Sauce: It was a luxury pie. There is no brown sauce. If you were expecting sauce then quite frankly you should know better.

Overall: Was this a very good pie? Yes. Was it the best pie available on Scottish football’s ever critical terraces, I don’t think so. While the gravy was tasty it could have done with some more meat and if you insist on using a tinfoil safety net to house your pie then you must, must prevent the soggy bottom which this pie unfortunately had.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you’d get from Five Guys only to find later that actually a Big Mac is just as good. Tasty gravy but the best I’ve ever had, I’m afraid not.

So there you have it, The Killie Pie, finally reviewed and with that this journey sets off in a new direction. As I said I’ll still be keeping my toe in the water and you never know, after writing one book I might summon up the enthusiasm for another run at the life of pie, but for now the time is right to focus on taking over 70,000 pie based words and making some sense out of it all.

Before we wrap up I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped turn this into more than just a drunken notion and into a project that has been a lot of fun helping to re-ignite something within me that had been slowly dying as the 9-5 so many of us have to live to survive dragged me further in.

Until next time, whenever that may be, go forth and eat pie! I know I will.

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.