mince

Pie 87: The Rossvale Pie

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Is anyone else fed up with the weather playing absolute havoc with their Saturday fixture plans. I mean for a man who writes about football pies it’s been a minor inconvenience, if anything it has expanded my horizons as I go to games that would have been consigned to sporting history as I followed my team across the country. These ever burgeoning horizons I find myself heading towards resulted in my first pie related television appearance on The Riverside Show last week. It was a surreal, but thoroughly enjoyable, experience and one that perhaps reignited a fire that had been dampened somewhat as the grind of real life meanders oh so slowly by.

I don’t know if this means that I’ll be taking David Currie’s job on Sportscence any time soon but maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to get paid for all of this. I’ll never go begging and I’d like to think that the initiative (something that is forever championed as the best way to get your foot in the door) this project has shown will one day illuminate my path to, what some would call, legitimacy.

For now though I’m happy enough with the path that these pastries has led me on. Anyway we all know why we’re here, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Petershill Park, Rossvale v Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

Looking at this you wouldn't think there was hardly a game on that day!
Looking at this you wouldn’t think there was hardly a game on that day!

Now before I get too deep into this, I went to this game knowing that I had previously had a pie from the very same venue, one of my earliest reviews, Pie 16: The Petershill Pie and to be honest it didn’t go very well. Now retrospect suggests that having a tequila based hangover may have had a slightly adverse effect on my review but I still know that some things were fundamentally wrong and I was curious to see if much had changed from my visit 16 months previously.

Price: At £1.50 it was the top end of the junior scotch pie price spectrum but still reasonably priced for a football based pastry snack.

Presentation: On my last visit I bemoaned the use of a plastic and paper bag to store the pie in and once again I was presented with a pie in such a reciprocal. However differing from previously this pie was also surrounded by a tin foil sheath. Not a big deal I hear you say, but this aluminium shield stopped the pie in its entirety steaming against the plastic. I don’t know if there is a reason for the bags at Petershill Park but people’s pie lives would be enhanced further if the bag was taken out of the equation. There were some small white napkins available of the self-service variety for mopping your mouth with.

THE PIE

Well fired!
Well fired!

Meatiness: This pie was a well-formed, safely seasoned scotch pie. The filling fell apart a little as I chewed my way through and I was pleased to feel a peppery linger on my palate that slowly built up as I neared final consumption. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, it hit all the key points a decent pie should without moving on to the next level but it was definitely a marked improvement on the pie I had experienced the last time I visited the north of Glasgow.

Pastry: As can be seen the top edges were rather crispy. Well OK, they were burnt meaning that there was a slight bitter undertone to each bite. I’m sure if I visited another time this extreme crispiness would not have occurred. I previously mentioned how the tin foil case had helped reduce the moisture inside the bag however sadly there was still a slightly soggy bottom to this pie, however if you mixed it with the well fired top the texture was probably just right!

Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of mass-produced no-name sauce. Did the job.

Overall: A better effort from Petershill Park, and perhaps Rossvale deserve individual credit for providing their own pies. I’d love to know the right answer. That said it was a little burnt on top and a little soggy on the bottom but had an overall good pie flavour.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto. Just take it out the oven a bit quicker next time.

I literally have no idea where my next review will emanate from. Last week I was so convinced that my scheduled game would be on I got so sozzled on the Friday night that come the news that it has indeed been called off I was in no real fit state to drive. What I can assure you of though it will most definitely be pie number 88.

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 85: The East Kilbride FC Pie

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Needless to say if I want to get back to the 2016 World Scotch Pie Championships then I must plough forward on this journey and so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: K Park, East Kilbride FC v Preston Athletic, Scottish Lowland League

Game on, thanks to tractor power.
Game on, thanks to tractor power.

Price: Priced at £1.50 it was 50p cheaper than my only other Lowland League review to date from Stirling University but more expensive than a top end junior scotch pie. I find myself wondering if the increased cost of pie at these games is a consequence of SFA licensing costs as clubs strive to break into the closed shop that is the Scottish Professional Football League. Good luck to them all I say.

Presentation: Although East Kilbride FC are a club in its infancy it’s good to see that the ever classic medium-sized white napkin is king of the K Park terraces when it comes to presenting your pastry wares.

THE PIE

A Hot Pie on A Baltic Day
A Hot Pie on A Baltic Day

Meatiness: This pie had a contrasting, almost sweet, and savoury flavour. The filling was just about moist enough without being greasy but was also quite crumbly in texture meaning that a bit of jaw gyration was required to ensure that you didn’t lose any meaty morsels. As followers will know I like a peppery kick to my pie and although there was only a very faint linger of pepper heat in the background as a counter to the ever-increasing sweetness it didn’t mean that this pie wasn’t a tasty treat. A different kind of scotch pie.

Pastry: The pastry was soft, perhaps too soft as when lifting it from its paper napkin bedding it stuck a little leaving small blobs of pastry which then made it a bit difficult to use when it came to wiping your mouth on completing consumption. The pastry was however incredibly buttery, well from what I could tell anyway, and this added some extra moisture that perhaps the filling was lacking.

Brown Sauce: HP. From a bottle so cold that I’m surprised it didn’t come squirting out in little brown ice cubes it is still the king of pie condiments none the less. Maybe keep it inside the hut next time the snow’s falling.

Overall: An almost sweet pie with a buttery finish from the pastry, a welcoming hit of warmth on a bitterly cold day.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a teaspoon of sugar.

15 away from a ton. A ton of pie, how’s that for a mental image. Next pie up will most likely be from a venue with a different shaped ball as Meat Filled Pastries heads to Scoutston to watch Glasgow v Montpellier in the European Rugby Cup.

However until then, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie

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Hello and welcome to the last Meat Filled Pastries of 2014. What a year of pie it has been. I’ve managed to score a couple of freebies, spread my gospel of meat and pastry in a couple more match day programmes and, perhaps most significantly, got my taste buds around some of the best (and worst) football pies around at the 2015 World Scotch Pie Championships Judging Day.

This adventure just keeps rolling on and just when I think that the pastry laden path I meander along has made things as surreal as they could possibly be it has me hurtling down the rabbit hole like a pie starved Alice in a wonderland of mutton, mince, onion, pastry, steak and gravy. Thank you to those of you that have shared, printed, spoke about and, quite frankly, indulged me on this journey over the last 12 months. I hope you continue to do so in 2015.

Sentiments aside, the reason why you are all here is to once again dive head long into a wonderfully meaty treat. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Glenafton Athletic, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

Some Retro Signage
Some Retro Signage

Price: Priced at £1.20 this is perhaps a little more expensive than you would expect at an Ayrshire District League ground but the good folk at Ardrossan are packing a secret as the pie they stock is none other than the 2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner. Therefore making an apparently premium junior price seem like a bit of a bargain.

Here's the sign to prove it
Here’s the sign to prove it

Presentation: After a slightly strange array of offerings recently it is almost fitting that the last pie of the year should not only be a champion but also presented in the ever classical medium-sized white napkin leaving the pie neither over or under dressed. You know I’ve always wondered if Coco Chanel would approve of such paraphrasing when the subject matter it relates to is so big and meaty.

THE PIE

2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner
2014 World Scotch Pie Championship Winner

Meatiness: As I stared at the placard on the side of the pie stall that proclaimed the presence of a world champion pie my expectations were immediately raised. A reward for jumping in my car and seeing where the footballing gods wanted to guide me. It did not disappoint. The pie was moist but not greasy. There was a peppery hit that as opposed to being sharp and acrid was smooth and lingered long in the pallet. Once the pepper had dissipated you were left with a mutton finish that did indeed have you biting down for more. It was clear to me why this was considered a pie of the highest order.

Pastry: This is going to sound a bit odd but when reviewing my notes of this pie I’ve described the pastry as meaty. As I rack my brain trying to get my taste memories past Christmas Dinner I remember thinking that the pastry had managed to retain some of the juices from its meaty insides. It also had a light buttery finish with a nice crumble and sufficient enough to hold the filling as I munched my way through.

Brown Sauce: A sweet and tart offering from Spar presented in a squeezy bottle. If I’m being honest I felt the sauce, on this occasion, detracted from as opposed to enhancing the flavour of my pastry.

Overall: I would have like to have tasted this pie without knowing of its prestigious history just to see if it really was as good as it appears as I can’t help but feel a blind tasting would have brought a truer review unaffected by the fame of it all. That said there is no doubting that this was a belter of a pie.

Gravy Factor: King of Pies, for now. A contender for the 2015 crown we’ll have to wait and see but for now Michelin gravy.

Pie 84 is where this year’s tally will end, but there is no doubt in my mind Pie 100 will come to us all in 2015. I had planned an additional review from Ardeer Thistle however they had, rather upsettingly, ran out of pies when I finally reached the front of the queue 15 minutes after kick off. Whilst disappointed my sorrow was tempered when I was greeted with the same World Scotch Pie Championship Winner sign that had greeted me at Ardrossan just a couple of weeks earlier. I assumed they must be the same.

Anyway, here’s to 2015, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 83: The Thorniewood United Pie

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It’s Meat Filled Pastries Time! Let’s. Get. Meeeeatyyyy!

Hello, hope you’re well, I thought today I’d address just a couple of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received since starting my journey of pie. Just a couple though, I wouldn’t want to be struggling for words when it comes to writing my memoirs. I thought the best way to do this would be to answer the two questions that are asked by 90% of the people who hear my story, namely, “Who Does the Best Pies?” and “Don’t You Ever Get Sick of Pies?”. Consider it an end of year treat for you all.

Firstly let’s address the number one question I’m asked, “Who Does the Best Pies?”, but to be honest it’s far more complex than blurting out a name or venue. For starters there are lots of different types of pie available, some scotch, some steak and some completely different. To pick one, as a solo muncher of pies, when there is a multitude of parameters to consider would be reckless on my part. Secondly I like to think the best I’ve ever had is always the next one to pass by my lips, call it part of my relentless optimism to do with all things related to pie. That not a good enough answer? Sounding a little too measured and political? Well OK then, some standouts for me are ‘The Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie’ and one I haven’t ever reviewed on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries ‘The Burghead Thistle Mince Pie’. Two that still to this day linger long in the taste buds.

Secondly, ‘Do I Ever Get Sick of Pies?’ Course not silly, pies are awesome.

Seriously though, not really. Due to the volume I find myself consuming at football matches it’s not something I tend to have for my dinner or lunch. My favourite item from Greggs is a Roll and Chicken Bake and the amount of effort that goes into making a really good pie, pastry and all, means that they tend to get made as treat (usually for the amusement of others) as opposed to being a regular item on my homemade menu. I like pies but I love food and to limit myself to one item would be just too much to bear.

That said this one item has gave me a lot of stories and brought me a lot of fun, so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Robertson Park, Thorniewood United v Pollok, West of Scotland Super League First Division

Pretty sure I got trench foot...
Pretty sure I got trench foot…

Price: £1.20. Slap bang in the middle of the junior price range for a scotch pie. Can’t really have too many complaints with that.

Presentation: Aside from the ever classical medium-sized white napkin this scotch pie was presented in a tin foil case a somewhat unusual style for a scotch pie, even more unusual for a junior pie. Perhaps I have been doing this too long already but when I noticed its shiny silver surround a little part of me actually went, ‘oh, that’s new!’, and you know what, it was!

THE PIE

Oooooo silver, fancy!
Oooooo silver, fancy!

Meatiness: This pie was very moist but as I sit here typing this latest review I find it hard to remember anything standout about it, reviewing my short notes on the day moist is all I had written. Moist and pleasant (Mind out the gutter please folks). Something I will admit, and is apparent as I write this review, that if a pie filling is relatively tasty, has nice seasoning and doesn’t leave a waxy trail of grease glued to my arm then it’s fine by me. It just doesn’t give me a whole lot to write about. This pie is an example of that. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but not one to be stored in the vault.

Pastry: It had a nice crispy top with an even thickness of pastry all around. It was perhaps a little soft underneath. A consequence of the tin foil case it sat within but nothing went where it shouldn’t be as I ate. Did a job.

Brown Sauce: This brown sauce was a lot lighter in colour and was almost apple sweet, it had a gentle tang to it and was a nice complimentary flavour to the pastry and meat underneath.

Overall: Nice enough, but won’t live long in the memory.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

A solid if unspectacular effort from Tannochside, the junior pie bandwagon rolls on with an offering from Ardrossan Winton Rovers and it’s something that is a little bit special.

However until then though, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 78: The St. Mirren Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, apologies I’ve been a way for a wee while but this has been a deliberate manoeuvre on my part. As I explained in my last entry next Tuesday I will be a judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships, judging, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Football Pie category. This week a myriad of documents arrived via email and I have spent the last couple of days familiarising myself with the criteria these pies must aspire to. Conscious that some will have passed my lips already I resolved to take a short pie based sabbatical for the benefit of judging impartiality. Now for some people ten days without a pie isn’t really a big deal but when you spend a few hours a week talking about these pastry swathed beauties rationing becomes a difficult skill to master. I hope you can all understand.

With all that being said I still have a pie in my back pocket for your reading delectation, so without further ado, let’s rate some pie.

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: St Mirren Park, Scotland v Northern Ireland, Sky Sports Victory Shield

Give us a Song!
Give us a Song!

Price: A step up in surroundings saw a considerable step up in price with a scotch pie setting me back £2.10, admittedly only 10p more than the Stirling University Pie recently reviewed but still more than double the price of the junior pies that have been passing my lips this season. If I was still at university, and I was doing some kind of economics based course I am 95% certain I would try to do a statistical analysis of the price of pie even though the BBC do a decent, if not slightly flawed, job of it already. I mean Rangers for whatever reason still have their toys out of the pram and refuse to collaborate in these fan focused surveys at the moment but what was stopping a ‘journalist’ (somebody paid to investigate stories), going to Ibrox, buying a pie, a Bovril, a programme and a ticket and then whacking the information into their ‘Price of Football’ super computer. I mean the price of entry and cost of match day sundries once inside Ibrox are some of the few things down Govan way that aren’t shrouded in mystery these days. I tell you what BBC because I’m a nice guy next time I go I’ll get you a price list. Moving on.

Presentation: The traditional presentation style for a pie in the upper echelons of the Scottish game. A small white napkin with the pie snugly wedged into a silver tin foil case.

THE PIE

The Paisley Pie
The Paisley Pie.

Meatiness: I hope you can see from above this was a very will filled pie. The first bite was one where you could almost feel your teeth going through the layers. The meat was moist and the right balance was struck with it being firm enough to bite securely without being so firm that the meat didn’t give a little once you pulled your lips away. Where this meat really excelled though was with its peppery kick, something that has been sadly missing from my recent bout of pie tastings. It was almost instantaneous in hitting the palate not hot with fire but spicy with pepper, I was so impressed with this burst of flavour I decided to time how long the linger would last but at the 6 minute stage I was still waiting for the tang to subside and so I gave up suitably impressed with the enduring presence of the pepper within.

Pastry: The pastry was nice. The top disc was a little loose leading to some gaps around the side, in some ways this allows the pie to cool before eating but, on receipt of my pie judging forms this week, not something that you should consider as pie perfection. The upper lip of the crust was nice and crispy without being too hard and the base remained in tact. An impressive feat considering the penchant for destruction that a tin foil case has when it comes to pie pastry. .The all important pastry to pie ratio was just right although I’m not a fan of the dusty top that inexplicably makes it way on to some pies including this one. Often I feel this dusting subtracts flavour instead of adding it but all in all as a receptacle for the meat inside this did an admirable job.

Brown Sauce: The brown sauce provided came in the form of a large pump handle bottle, economically a sound move but logistically a bit of a nightmare as you often find yourself squinting your hand into all sorts of position to get the sauce coating you desire. This was especially true in this instance as this particular pump handle was only allowing a small spot of sauce out at a time. The sauce itself though was suitably tangy.

Overall: I had recently been going through a bit of a pie rut with nothing really capturing the imagination but this pie has been a mighty fine example of a football snack. Well filled, with an excellent peppery kick with the proportions of meat to pastry just right and if somebody could just blow off the floury sprinkles on top then this would be a true top pie contender.

Gravy Factor: Peppercorn Sauce. Love that Linger.

So another pie down and the next pie to pass my lips will be at the World Scotch Pie Championships to be held in Dunfermline next week. I plan to write about my experience after which my journey of pie will continue in full once again. Slated for review next will be the Glasgow City pie as they are in Women’s Champions League action at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. My latest Sporadic Scottish Football Round-Up will also be up on The Football Pink in the next few days.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 77: The Stirling University Pie

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Welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries one mans journey to champion the humblest of pastries, the pie, thanks for visiting and your continued support.

So what’s been the happy haps? Well since my last entry I have been awarded the honour of  judgeship at the 2015 World Scotch Pie Championships. To say I’m chuffed is a bit of an understatement, never in a million years did I think that when I started this little venture 16 months ago I would find myself responsible for helping crown a world champion in pies. I would like to thank Div at Pie and Bovril for giving me the call to arms and the Scotch Pie Club for accepting his recommendation. Judging takes place on the 11th November in Dunfermline and if you are reading this thinking you have a belter of pie to offer then you still have five days to enter at the link below:

http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/index.php?ID=2255&CATEGORY=6-News+and+Events

This championship does everything I want in highlighting the humble pie as the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions that it truly deserves to be. The winners will get announced in January and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it all goes.

My second piece of news involves another episode in my travels with the Tartan Army this time from Warsaw. Now I’ll save you the blow-by-blow account of whatever drunken debauchery I may or may not have got involved in but what I would like to share is my television debut on Sky Sports HQ. Accosted by David Tanner outside a rather swanky hotel after picking up tickets for the game myself and my fellow companions swiftly found ourselves in the media spotlight responding to a series questions about ticket prices and our predicted match outcome. Now in hindsight a shout to Meat Filled Pastries wouldn’t have gone a miss but it was all good fun in the end. If anybody happened to be recording Sky Sports HQ at about 3.15pm on the 14th October give me a shout would love to give it a watch.

So an eventful few days have been had. The last 3 days have been spent sleeping but here I am feeling semi-normal again so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Forthbank Stadium, Stirling University v Albion Rovers, Scottish Cup Second Round

Love a view of the hills in the background
Love a view of the hills in the background.

Price: £2, double the price of the pie fare I have encountered in the lower leagues of junior football and quite a bit more than even the most expensive of junior pies. It surprised me quite a bit considering the fledgling nature of the club and the Lowland League set up that it currently sits within. I’m sure the pricing will be for economical reasons but with a target audience made up mainly of students it could be cheaper.

Presentation: Remember when you were wee and you used to go to the shop and buy a 10p mix up from the local café or newsagent and it would actually have 10 sweets in it (oh for those halcyon days) well remember the bags that the sweets would come in, that is what this pie was presented on. Not in. On, like really. What made this all the stranger was that on the other side of the counter, out of reach of your average punter was a pile of small black napkins that every pie eater’s heart would have been desiring. Stranger still some people got given one of these napkins and some didn’t. As one of the unlucky few I soldiered on with my paper poke but a consistent approach to presentation in the future would be much appreciated.

THE PIE

Told you it was on a paper bag.
Told you it was on a paper bag.

Meatiness: This pie was a tasty treat, admittedly it’s tastiness boosted by my Sunday afternoon hunger. The meat inside was moist without being greasy and was well filled. There was a gentle peppery kick, not mind blowing but with enough of a presence to add another dimension to the flavour profile of this pie. Outside of that there wasn’t a great deal to be said about it to be honest, for two quid I was hoping for something a little more.

Pastry: Now when I first went to get a pie before kick off the lovely ladies at the Stirling Uni counter informed me that none were present and as such me and fifty or so others found ourselves waiting in the half time pie queue. This immediate need for pie I think then resulted in the pastry being ever so slightly underdone. It was  too soft and it missed the crunch of crispy edges. Due to the pastries softness it also splintered all the way round dividing this pie into loose wedges much like you would find on a deep dish pizza. It didn’t make it difficult to eat but stopped it from hitting any kind of pie perfection.

Brown Sauce: I’ve been a bit lax on this section I know but this seemed a good juncture to bring it back. The brown sauce provided in this instance was difficult to pinpoint as it was presented in a small white bowl in which you spooned your required dollop on with. At least it was different from a squeezy bottle or sachet.

Overall: A bit too pricey for my taste given the comparative surroundings but a solid effort none the less. The paper poke and bowl were a novel approach to match day pie preparation.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a few idiosyncrasies thrown in for good measure.

Another pie down, and the first of my Lowland League adventures complete, next up remains a mystery but until next time go forth and eat pie!

Pie 75: The Shettleston Pie

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Hi folks, I know I know it’s been a while I apologise, I had some battery recharging to do and some bits and pieces of non pie related stuff that needed some immediate attention but fear not Meat Filled Pastries is back to work with a review from Shettleston Juniors based in Glasgow’s east end but before that time for your regular pie-atribe.

As I am sure many of you will be aware that recently Scotland was in the midst of referendum fever and whilst I am disappointed with the outcome I am not here to go on a mini rant of gloom and doom. Firstly that’s not in my nature as I, like many others, am hopeful that whatever happens in the coming months will be beneficial for Scotland and its patrons at home and abroad but secondly, and most importantly, football and politics should not mix.

Let me explain.

As I have mentioned previously I have been known to frequent Ibrox on the odd occasion. On my last visit I was greeted on entry by a raft of ‘No’ paraphernalia making my intuitive decision not to display a ‘Yes’ badge all the wiser. On reaching my seat it was apparent that the partisan Broomloan Front section of the stadium were also very much for the union focusing more on chanting Rule Britannia and flashing ‘No Thanks’ signs than concentrating on what was actually a fairly competent Rangers performance. Now this is an easy illustrative example to make, and it would be even easier to think that the idiotic behaviour of the few in George Square the day after the vote was driven, in the main, by Rangers supporters. It would be impossible to ignore that there are some elements of truth in this assumption but to chastise the masses for the behaviours of a minority is downright ludicrous as for the minority of idiots on one side there can be no doubt that the counter argument will be home to just as many morons. I would have been no happier to go to a Scotland game to be met with ‘Yes’ campaigners thrusting ‘No to Trident’ posters in my face or calling me unpatriotic if, for whatever reason, I had chosen to vote the other way.

Tese behaviours were not solely reserve for the Old Firm or Tartan Army minded amongst and in the main any debates I saw, heard or were involved in where of a convivial nature at football grounds across the country but the fact they were happening still irked me. What right does a team you support have to thrust its political affiliations on you, why can you not support a team because they’re close by, because your grandfather and father supported them or because quite frankly you got so disillusioned that the idea of a new football team to follow signalled a fresh start toyour life as a supporter. This political posturing by fans and clubs is not reserved to independence either. Palestinian, Israeli, Irish, Northern Irish and Catalan flags have all been flown at grounds across Scotland as some kind of misguided solidarity with a situation that only a small percentage of those in attendance will fully comprehend.

I am not against political debate, I am all for it and I hope that the revitalised Scottish scene continues to grow but please, please, please when you wrap that scarf around your neck, push your arm through the turnstile and launch into the traditional kick off roar just please leave the politics at home and let the football fuel all the debates you need.

So yeah pack it in! Anyway we’re back to Shettleston so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Greenfield Park, Shettleston v Pollok, West of Scotland Superleague, First Division

The Green, Green Grass of Greenfield
The Green, Green Grass of Greenfield

Price: £1. Something that has quickly became the standard price in the West Superleague First Division. My, that’s a bit of a mouthful innit? Anyway one golden nugget for a pie can’t really grumble about that.

Presentation: This was just bizarre, as you will shortly see, this pie was presented in a polystyrene bowl with no napkin. I’ve heard of a roll and pie an often scoffed at delicacy, but a bowl and pie, no thank you. And the no napkin scenario is just lunacy. ( A slight exaggeration on my part as one contained after completing the prerequisite number of nods and winks). The pie etiquette here was just all wrong.

THE PIE

Seriously, A BOWL!
Seriously, A BOWL!

Meatiness: I am afraid to say this was not the finest example of a scotch pie I have ever encountered. There was a slim layer of mince within this pie but that was it. It had a slight savoury flavour but there was no distinct peppery kick and although it was moist all the moistness achieved was to wash away the meaty flavour found within. Texturally it was fine but I’d be a liar if I said that this particularly meaty filling was something I would go out my way to have again.

Brown Sauce: I mentioned earlier on about poor pie etiquette, this was in evidence once again when on the request for brown sauce I was not allowed the simple task of applying it myself but instead presented with a pre-sauced pie. My question is simple, how do you know how much sauce I like on my pie? For example, some people smear a layer so thick it looks like they’re icing a cake while others suffice with the merest of splodges. Let me sauce my own pie!.

Pastry: To be fair the meat was not the biggest problem and neither was the saucing debacle, the bowl, however, was and this had disastrous consequences for the pastry underneath. Politely put it was a bit soft but realistically it was a soggy mess. Here’s why. Because the pie was placed in a polystyrene bowl the steam was trapped in a pocket between the pies base and the bottom of the bowl, now as we know when steam gets trapped it forms condensation causing water droplets to form on or around the surface of an item, in this case the pie. This meant that as you bit the pie the bahookie fell out of it almost straight away. The more you bit into it the more mess it made. The pastry walls started crumbling and before I knew it theres was pits of pastry floating about everywhere in a mincy sea. It was just all a bit wrong.

Overall: See if this hadn’t been served in a bowl this would probably have been a perfectly serviceable bog standard Saturday snack, however it wasn’t and along with the fails in pie etiquette this pie did not leave many fond memories.

Gravy Factor: A Gravy Boat. But where’s the Gravy? Ditch the bowls.

I feel I have to say this ever time but I don’t like writing negative reviews, but I am nothing but honest and when it comes to all things football you will never find me blowing smoke up anyone’s orifice. Anyway the next review shall be from Ayrshire at Ladywell Park home of Maybole Juniors, I promise I’ll try to get this out a bit quicker.

However until next time. go forth and eat pie!

Interested in some non pie work then visit The Football Pink at,  http://footballpink.net/2014/09/22/the-sporadic-scottish-football-round-up-first-installment/ for the first of my Scottish football midseason reviews covering men’s, women’s, senior and junior football in Scotland.

Pie 74: The Greenock Pie – A Meat Filled Tribute

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries the home of pies, pies and a little bit of football chat. Usually I would have a light-hearted pre-amble about something that has irked me about the recent weeks football activities but today will be slightly different.

A year ago to the week one of my closest friends passed away after a 2 year battle with bowel cancer, last week I was asked to say a few words about him as a tribute and for once I struggled. Not because I didn’t miss him, because I do sometimes without even knowing it. No the reason I struggled, me, the man who once a week writes a 1000 word diatribe based around pies, is that for all the words I write and say they don’t really mean anything, not really. I’m glad it spreads a little happiness and I’ll continue to do for as long as its fun but it’s not going to change the world. Might change a few pie suppliers, but not the world. So here it is, inspired by the eloquent and heartfelt sentiments of his friends and family I do my best to truly articulate what my friend meant to me, a meat filled tribute if you will:

Smit was a wonderful man and friend. For all the time I knew him he never once changed who he was or how he acted for anyone and that’s because he didn’t have to. Every day eulogies appear where someone is dubbed as the kindest or the nicest or the most well liked person and I’m sure in their own way they are but in Smit there was a man who nobody could say a bad word about. He would always be there for some hijinks or there to call you an idiot, something I had much experience of but most importantly he was always there. Even through the traumas of chemotherapy, of endless doctors appointments and hospital stays I never one felt that he wanted you to be anything other than normal with him. To live life to the end with that strength is something that I can only aspire too.

Smit died aged just 28 an age at which no person should pass away. When something like that happens its hard not to evaluate your own sense of worth and the decisions you make, it’s just human nature, the sudden realisation that life is fleeting and then invincibility of youth is a cruel façade that can be so quickly and unfairly taken away. The words of Meat Filled Pastries may not have been here was it not for the likes of ‘The Grambler’ and ‘Rubbertoe Mankini’ some of Stewart’s finest creations and the choices I make now are not made with more than a thought to what he would do if he was standing there beside me. I’ve become a little braver and I’d like to think a little wiser but these changes pale in comparison against what my friend had to go through.  I will always remember, I will never forget.

A year down the line and the focus of Stewart’s friends and family are firmly focused on raising the profile of bowel cancer and The Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund has raised nearly £15,000 to date. If you want to donate then you can do so at the following link, https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3/, you don’t have to but if you do it will be greatly appreciated.

The Grambler  is still going strong left in the capable hands of Stewart’s father Kevin, who continues to produce the betting tips that will win one day win you millions and all it asks in return is you push a little of those winnings towards the funds way. Below is a link to those testimonies I described earlier, if you’ve got this far you might as well read a little further:

http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/08/week-4-tribute-to-our-founder.html

The next fund-raising event is scheduled for Sunday 7th September and below I’ve attached all the information you need to know for a fun filled family day out!

fit fun day

Thank you for bearing with me through all that if it’s not your cup of tea I understand but it would be remiss of me not to use my mild infamy to promote something close to my heart. But for now let’s have a change of pace and why many of you are, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock v Pollok, West of Scotland Superleague, First Division

A Tipsy Pie...
A Tipsy Pie…

Price: £1. One single golden nugget has to depart from your paw to be rewarded with a meat and pastry snack. That my friend, in today’s world of £59.7m Angle Di Marias and £16m Danny Welbecks , is an absolute bargain.

Presentation: Being a scotch pie this rode bare back in my hand with just a medium-sized white blanket playfully wrapped around it.

THE PIE

Pie day is Cheat Day!
Pie day is Cheat Day!

Meatiness: This was a traditional scotch pie but if I’m being honest it was all rather disappointing. There was definitely a meaty centre derived from the most aged of mutton but it lacked any real flavour. There was no peppery hit and neither was there a savoury note to the meat inside. It was moist but didn’t feel lubricated with the wafer thin film of grease that a good scotch pie should leave on your lips as you consume it. This was certainly an instance where I was thankful for a healthy dollop of HP to add some much needed spice and zing.

Pastry: The pastry was OK, it was a hot water crust and a little crispy but also managed to be a little too soft on the sides at the same time. There was no hole in top to let the heat escape although to be fair I am yet to be convinced those pies that give a sneak peek of the meat inside do so for no other reason than aesthetic appeal. There is nothing more frustrating than a pie that you can’t get enthused about when you spend a good chunk of your time reviewing them but the pastry on this pie did little to lift my apathy.

Overall: I ate it, but it’s not devastating to think that it could be another wee while before I have another one.

Gravy Factor: A little below bog standard Bisto. Disappointing.

The next helping of pie will be from an as yet undetermined location so keep your eye out by following me @MFPTasty.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 71: The Wishaw Juniors Pie

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Today’s entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame is a return to junior football one of the key inspirations for this journey of pie. Those who follow my adventures will have been now been able to piece together my allegiances at junior level and this season, mainly thanks to a pretty woeful one previously, a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me as my team face life in a new division. But before, a hopefully triumphant, league campaign gets underway there is a few friendlies to get out-of-the-way first.

I always find it really interest going to friendlies, not so much for the football which is usually pretty mundane, especially when you have no affiliation to any one team, but for the reactions of the crowd, because for every fan who see’s a friendly for what it is; a chance to warm up for the season, try new things and see new players there is another one who still treats it as the same kind of life and death scenario that a relegation six pointer in February would be. Personally I err on the side of the former. I mean just because Dundee beat Manchester City 2-0 it doesn’t automatically equate to Paul Hartley being the odds on favourite to be the next Chelsea or Barcelona manager nor does it mean that Manuel Pellegrini will be popping up in Falkirk or Hamilton anytime soon because he can’t hack it at the highest level any longer, football just doesn’t work that way.

The other thing that’s nice about friendlies, especially for a man who loves his football, is that there is pretty much a fixture within reach every couple of days and at this time in the season more than ever you find yourself at places that you wouldn’t normally be.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Beltane Park, Wishaw v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly: Entry Fee £3, Programme: None

Or as the natives call it Wishae'
Or as the natives call it Wishae’

Before continuing I just wanted to take time to thank the folk at Wishaw for their hospitality, they are clearly a club who are trying to set themselves up for a bright future after a previously nomadic existence and their generosity on Saturday did not go unappreciated. Good luck for the new season in a new division folks!

Price: At £1.20 this is priced at the same level as your average junior scotch pie from the 2013/14 season showing certain Scottish footballing associations that just because a new season is upon us and your team is on the rise there is still no need to fleece your fans.

Presentation: A simple presentation style found at many grounds of a medium-sized white napkin, certainly nothing to be sniffed at and on review of my one bite expose a napkin that now seems a little larger, although I wasn’t going to get my set square and measuring tape out to see if that indeed was the case.

THE PIE

The first junior pie of the new season
The first junior pie of the new season!

Meatiness: I hope the picture above does this pie justice in showing how incredibly well filled it was for a scotch pie, this might sound daft, which I know a lot of this usually does, but I could actually feel the weight of a slightly heavier pie in the hand as I made my way pack to my standing spot. As I bit down the meat held really well and was incredibly moist, not with grease but with lovely muttony juices. It was a little cold in the middle but I was pre-warned of this and it was only once I reached the very centre did I notice and in this occasion it didn’t have any real effect on the overall flavour. The other lovely thing that this pie brought me was the return of the long peppery linger that slowly built as I ate and lasted for such a time that it was worth remembering for this review. After the generosity of the club I was worried I was going to have the fudge this a bit to play nice, but I can honestly say this was a very tasty meat filling indeed.

 Pastry: The pastry was flaky but held just enough to support the ample mince inside. I was able to break off the top of the crust to dip into the safety of an HP sauce puddle without everything crumbling round about me. Perhaps if I was being hyper critical the sides were a little soft and it became a two hand consumption job by the end but that would be the most minor of grumbles.

Overall: After last weeks professional scotch pie disappointment it was great to feel the comforting bosom of a junior scotch pie to nestle into with its ample meat and long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bearing Gravy. A pleasing pie that has set a true benchmark for the season ahead.

So the first junior pie of the season is in the books and the second one is on its way from Castle Park, the home of Blantyre Victoria. Navigating my way round the south-east of Glasgow should be interesting now the Commonwealth Games are here but I love my football and I love me a pie.

So until next time go forth and eat pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

Pie 69: The Raith Rovers Pie

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Jings! That World Cup was rather good wasn’t it, although I don’t know if I would have fancied a roasting hot pie in the afternoon heat of Fortaleza or Salvador. That’s right folks, despite the doubters who thought this wouldn’t last a month Meat Filled Pastries is back for the 2014/15 season and I believe that this year the pastry is destined to be crisper, the gravy even messier, the meat oh so tender and the grease at a level that will mean I can keep my morning routine down to 1 cholesterol reducing yoghurt drink a day. I’m a season down and my standards have never been higher.

Before we get started on today’s review a few pieces of housekeeping for the new season:

  • For ease of communications you can now follow Meat Filled Pastries on Twitter @MFPTasty, also for any queries you can now contact pie HQ directly by emailing meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com. I want to spread the word of pie even further than before and by whatever medium I can so I am open to all offers.
  • The classic one bite expose will also this season be accompanied by a couple of pictures of my pie eating surroundings, whilst I’m sure larger venues like Ibrox, Hampden and Tynecastle will be familiar to many the aim of this ‘project’ is to shed some light on those venues where only the few will ever go, raise the profile of these clubs and spread the love about the beautiful game.
  • After a successful test towards the end of last season each week as well as a slice of pie based punditry there will be my take on whatever is prominent in the footballing world, perhaps there may be the odd match report and interview thrown in to but bear with me as I am just one man with a sizeable appetite for pies and live action football.

I will refrain from going on any longer at present and get on to the pastries, so without much further ado, say it loud and say it proud, LET’S RATE SOME PIE!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Starks Park, Raith Rovers v St Johnstone, Pre-Season Friendly, Entry Fee, £10.00. Programme, £1.50.

This may be the best looking picture I take all season..
This may be the best looking picture I take all season.

Price: Priced at £1.80 this will be the standard-bearer for pricing of pies towards the top end of the Scottish footballing pyramid. Instinct suggests to me that this may be about average for the season to come but we shall wait and see what the future brings.

Presentation: It may be a new season but its good to see that the medium-sized white napkin that I so often lauded as the little black dress of the football snacking world is still looming large over the humble pie, it was good to feel that soft paper between my fingers again.

THE PIE

I've missed you my friend.
I’ve missed you my friend.

Meatiness: I made a massive mistake with my first pie of the new season which both helped and hindered this review. Now as you all know all scotch pie tastings must be adorned with a splodge of brown sauce and as daft as this sounds but I probably could write a blog totally devoted to the different types of brown sauce you get at football grounds across the country but even I think that’s a step too far. Anyway to get back to my point such is my familiarity with this most delicious of condiments I often know exactly how much sauce to place on my pie. If I see a label or bottle I don’t recognise I’ll tread carefully as I’m not sure what version of this spice laden sauce is about to be bestowed upon my pastry. In this instance however I forgot about this rule and gaily smothered two-thirds of the pie lid with a few squirts of Bobby Brown probably in excitement more than anything else. This was my massive mistake.

The sauce was perhaps the tangiest thing I have ever put in my mouth, causing my cheeks to instantaneously suck themselves inwards resulting in pulling a duck face that 20-year-old lassies everywhere dream of putting on their Instagram accounts. It certainly added flavour but boy I wish I hadn’t been so generous, that said once I managed to find an area not so sauce laden I was slightly disappointed. The meat was a little under seasoned and that kick of pepper I had waited all summer for was nowhere to be found. I ate it pretty quickly as hunger was in full force after the drive to Kirkcaldy so my disappointment was only heightened when there was no discernible flavour left lingering in my mouth apart from the sting of the sauce. As a return to pie it was a little underwhelming.

Pastry: The pastry was soft which made it easy to eat. The softness was due to a well made pastry as opposed to it being underdone but I feel like it missed those crispy edges that I have a penchant for tearing off and dipping into the saucy pool above. Although I would have refrained from doing so on this occasion anyway. I had also noticed that on some of the pies around me there were small glistening puddles of grease that had leaked through but on mine the lid was dry and intact.

Overall: Starting the season with a Bog Standard Bisto offering was not what my heart desired but in truth this was nothing better than average although the good folk at Starks Park may be able to use their brown sauce to wake up any players knocked unconscious during the season. One sip of that bad boy and you’ll be wired to the moon.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a half pint of vinegar thrown in for good measure.

So there we have it your 2014/15 pie virginity has now been broken. Let me know what you think of the new format, I like it but I welcome all feedback good or bad. Once you’ve finished reading please remember to share it with your friends and spread the gravy.

The next review will be a second offering from Starks Park as the luxury pie makes it’s season debut whilst this week’s non pie piece will be in relation to the SFA’s interesting taking on ticket pricing for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and how UEFA’s ‘Week of Football’ philosophy only helps to compound the error in judgement made.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!