mutton

Pie 117: The Carluke Rovers Pie

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

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

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

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

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

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

THE PIE

Meaty!
Meaty!

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

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

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

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

Gravy Factor: Moist.

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

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

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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 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 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 34: The Irvine Meadow Pie

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'One man went to mo, went to mo a pie down'
‘One man went to mow, went to mow a pie down’

‘If gravy be the food of love, let us pie munch on’

That’s right the next entry into the grease smattered pages of Meat Filled Pastries has started with a Shakespearean quote paraphrased from Twelfth Night, Wullie’s ode to cross dressing. A play that spawned the god awful ‘She’s the Man’ starting Vinnie Jones and Amanda Bynes, yet another perky Disney club kid that went a bit bonkers. How I know this film exists and the reason I have seen it twice are something I will never fully comprehend so I think we shall move on.

Luckily, unlike the aforementioned film, this will not be not god awful, this is a pie review and pies are tremendous! We are back on the Junior football trail for the first of 2 taste sensations from Irvine Meadow.

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

Where: Meadow Park, Irvine Meadow v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Divison

Price: £1.20, falling slap bang in the middle of the price range you can expect to pay for a Junior footballing pie.

Presentation: This pie sported the classic medium sized white napkin look. Not a lot wrong with that.

Meatiness: This pie, a standard mutton pie, was nicely flavoured inside. The meat was moist and heated to the temperature where the fat was able to add more flavour. In an ideal world it would have had a twist more pepper but it was perfectly fine without it. My one disappointment was that the meat in the pie was a little sparse. While this was well packed in the centre, round the edges there was space for more to fill, my disappointment is purely down to the fact that I would have liked more meat as it was very tasty.

Pastry: This may have been the best pastry I’ve had so far. The crust was golden brown and had a lovely crisp crunch although as the filling wasn’t as plentiful as I would have desired it took a big initial bite to capture the picture above. That said the pastry was buttery and was seasoned well something that I wouldn’t normally note in the pastry section but felt it significant enough to highlight in this instance. The base held well especially when taking into consideration the meat inside was very moist. The more I consider this pie, the more apparent it becomes to me that the pastry really was the stand out component of this very good meat filled pastry.

Overall: The high praise for the pastry should not mask the fact that the meat inside contributed to make this a delightful meaty morsel. The only tiny fault I could find is that the pie presented to me was a little light on filling but the overall quality was of a very high standard.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy you would make on Masterchef and receive the kind of compliment that involves Gregg Wallace making mouth love to his spoon with delight.

Well one Irvine based pie down, one more to go. Next time out it will be another trip into the lap of luxury and a return to the steak pie.

Until then. Go forth and eat pie!

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side, and remember to visit ‘MeatFilledMerch’ for all your pie fashion needs where any personal profit made will go to The Grambler: Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund’ a truly worthwhile cause.

Pie 25: The Cowdenbeath Pie

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The tin foil case of doom strikes.
The tin foil case of doom strikes.

As we continue our review of the best pies on offer some personal milestones will be achieved that I will happily share with you  as and when it happens. This weekend with the Southside Juve  fixtureless I decided it was time to chalk off another ground on the list of ‘Never Been To’s’, specifically in relation to my quest to visit every senior ground in Scotland.

It’s something that I found with the benefit of Google Maps could be completed within 48 hours, you know if you didn’t sleep, eat or actually watch a game of football but in reality has been an on going project for a few years elongated by the fact that I actually follow one team in particular. Central Park was my 33rd senior venue, and when you throw in all the junior grounds I’ve visited that overall total number will be at least double that figure.

What can you, my fellow pie partakers, take away from this particular pre-amble to a new review?

Well, as long as there are games of football to go to I’ll be there, and as a result there shall be many more pies to be consumed and reviews to be made. So as always, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where:  Central Park, Cowdenbeath v Dundee, SPFL Championship

Price: This pie came in at a very reasonable £1.50, the cheapest in the SPFL to date.

Presentation: The pie came presented in a tin foil case, more of which will be discussed later, with a medium sized white napkin, just thick enough to prevent any potential finger burning situations.

Meatiness: This scotch pie had a good meaty flavour but I found it to be a tad on the greasy side which I think contributed for the multiple spillages that occurred once I had taken that first bite. It was nicely filled and the meat held well but lacked a bit of oomph. Luckily a table at the side of the kiosk provided a joyous sight to behold: an industrial sized vat of pump handle brown sauce, which when squirted on said pie helped to enhance the overall flavour.

Pastry: I’ll start by saying that the pastry at the top and edges was cooked to a perfect level of crispiness and had a golden colour, however unfortunately after the first bite there was some problems with the structural integrity of the pie as the underneath was very, very soft. this is the first pie since Meat Filled Pastries has started officially ‘touring’ that this issue has arisen and as such I thought it apt to take a photo for all your future references.

Mmmm Mutton Soup.
Finger Lickin’ Fun.

As can be seen from above, the pie fell to pieces just a smidgen. On closer inspection there was a couple of gaps in the outer shell but I think that can be discounted as having little effect on the collapse of the pie itself. No, unfortunately as stated before the meat was slightly greasy and when I got my fingers around the base of the pie my digits promptly popped through. Now the falling apart of the pie, in the main, shouldn’t really effect it’s flavour but what it does do is provide a MASSIVE distraction to everything else round about you, specifically the game of football going on in front of your eyes. Luckily in this instance my pie consumption was carried out well before kick off so all I missed was a few warm up exercises and a grown man dressed as a cow failing at keepie-ups but if this ever happens to you it’ll be found that I won’t be the only one wittering on about how apt the napkin size is. You have been warned.

Overall: I need to reiterate something at this point, I am not here to tell you every pie is brilliant, nor am I here to say they are all terrible, it’s just one man who has ate a lot of pie giving his opinion. With that being said, this was an adequate effort, nothing about it particularly blew me away. The meat was nice but not as peppery as I would like and slightly greasy. The pastry falling apart did make for a rather comical five minutes of eating and if the pastry base matched the top, this pie would have passed my lips without much fanfare or comment, perhaps falling victim of circumstance of being the first pie to fall foul of the meaty trapdoor caused by tin foil cases.

Gravy Factor: Supermarket own brand gravy, you’ll have it, but secretly you want just a little bit more of something else.

I have another pie blog about Cowdenbeath such was my appetite that day, and for only the second time Meat Filled Pastries will be dipping its tootsies in the luxury of a steak pie, but until then, go forth and eat pie!

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while your at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side.

Pie 21: The Maryhill Pie

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A pie worthy of a cup final
A pie worthy of a cup final.

 

Hi again! Did you think I’d forgot about these meat flavoured beauties? If you did, you’re probably of the macaroni pie quaffing variety and have no place here. I kid, obviously, as all pie’s are welcome here but let me rationalise why this pie blog has been a few extra days in the making. You see footballing pies have passed my lips on more than one occasion in the last week or so but a combination of work and a familiar looking fixture list meant that none of these pies have been new to the world of Meat Filled Pastries, finally on Sunday this changed.

So with the kind of abandon that will be outlawed at Qatar 2022 I headed to Glasgow’s west end for a new pie adventure. Lets Rate Some Pie!

Where: Lochburn Park (Home of Maryhill FC) Clydebank v Pollok, Euroscot Sectional League Cup Final

Price: £1.10, exactly half the price of the previously reviewed Hampden and Rangers Scotch Pies.

Presentation: Presented within a white napkin of sufficient size that a badger could snuggly hibernate in as the winter months draw closer without it’s wee toe sticking out the bottom. This thing was huge and for that I am always grateful.

Meatiness: A scotch pie rammed with muttony goodness from first bite to last in which the meat was incredibly well seasoned.  The mince was coarse and importantly still had enough texture to give it a satisfying bite. I think the highest praise I can give this pie is the following antidote. So, after consuming said pie I needed to visit the little boys room (also known as a well drained concrete wall behind the main stand), after doing the required business I started heading back to where I was standing when I suddenly noticed that the peppery after taste was still very clearly present within my mouth.  With that lingering taste this pie had now marked itself out as a top contender.

Pastry: The pastry was golden and cooked just to perfection, with a bite that required your teeth to break through but enough give that none of the mince inside was at risk of ending splatted on the concrete. The bake on the pastry was consistent and such was my satisfaction at my first one, I quickly purchased a second which again reached these same high standards of crispy perfection combining wonderfully again with the aforementioned meaty goodness.

Overall: This was a cracking pie, great texture and meaty flavour that managed to linger long after the last bite had been devoured. A pastry shell that managed to be both soft and crispy whilst the brown sauce provided was none other than HP, a cherry meatball on top of this pie flavoured cake.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you would make too much of deliberately so that after your dinner you could pour the remainder onto your plate and happily sook it all up with half a loaf of bread.