pie hopper

Pie 174: The Forth Wanderers Pie

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The Road to Pie 200 continues…

And just as the 2018/19 season ends the 2019/20 season begins.

Hello and welcome to, a rather incredible, SEVENTH season of Meat Filled Pastries, Scotland’s premier pie-hopping site. At the start of every season I have to come to the decision as to whether or not I should continue on this journey of pie. This season was perhaps a little bit easier than some of the more recent ones have been as Pie 200 is now well within my sights and to stop now would seem like a missed opportunity. I already have a plan for when Pie 200 has been consumed but that will be revealed when the time arrives.

In the mean time though I’ve decided to add a new mini-feature in relation to the club’s I visit this season. I’ve dabbled with this a couple of times in the past but as I try and improve the quality of my content for both Scottish Women’s Football and over on Leading the Line it would seem remiss of me to not take this opportunity to share the tales of some of Scotland’s lesser football lights and Forth Wanderers’ 2017 pre-season friendly Real Kashmir seems as a good a place as any to start.

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The story of Real Kashmir is a relatively well known one in Scottish football circles these days thanks in part, to the BBC Scotland documentary which first aired in February 2019 following the clubs trials and tribulations as they looked to grow whilst also contesting games in one of the world’s most disputed areas. It sounds a weird choice of topic as an opening salvo for a new television channel but when you then discover that the manager is former Rangers and Aberdeen defender David Robertson and that one of their star players is his son Mason, the subject matter starts to become more clear in it’s relevance. Robertson took over at the Kashmiri side in January 2017 and promptly lead them to promotion from the I-League 2 to the top tier in Indian football within the space of six months. A feat made all the more remarkable given that the side funded by two local businessman – Shamim Mehraj and Sandeep Chattoo – had only been formed the year previous.

With the challenges of playing in India’s top tier to prepare for Robertson arranged for his side to make the 14,000 mile round trip to Scotland where fixtures were arranged to take on both Forth Wanderers and Scottish League side Stenhousemuir. Whilst The Snow Leopards had succumbed to a 6-0 defeat against Stenny a few days later their trip to Kingshill Park was more fruitful as goals from Ishfaq Ahmed and Prem Kumar earned the far-flung visitors a 2-2 draw in front of a curious crowd of 130. The newly promoted side would use their experience in Scotland to their advantage as they would go on to finish 3rd in their debut I-League season and are currently in the process of building a new stadium as well as recently agreeing a shirt sponsorship agreement with German sportswear giants Adidas, impressive again as the conflict continues to rage on in the region. It would be nice to think that one day the two sides could have a re-match. After all, nobody likes ending things on a draw.

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As I said these will be mini-pieces and for more fully fledged features then I, of course, encourage you to go follow Leading the Line but please let me know what you think about these mini-features and whether or not you would like to keep seeing them as the season progresses.

For now though let’s get back to the meat of the matter and get to reviewing some pastry. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Kingshill Park, Forth Wanderers 1-2 Larkhall Thistle, Friendly

Price: £1.20. The first pie of the new season always set the pricing bench mark for the season ahead so it’s interesting to see that this doesn’t deviate too far from what the junior average was in 2018/19.

Presentation: A slight variation on the theme here with the the medium sized white napkin changing shape from the more commonly found square, to rectangle. Still plenty of it there though to support consumption.

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Meatiness: I think I know where this pie comes from, in face I’m almost certain as it’s a pie I’ve had few times from this part of the country and from the odd supermarket shelf but I’ll let you join the dots to see if you can figure out where it came from though. The meat was moist and as is often the case with pies from this particular proprietor quite dark and a little grey. They are always perfectly serviceable and taste like a scotch pie should but never blow me away. I think that’s as verbose as I need to be in this case.

Pastry: The second indicator of this pie source was in the pastry. Slightly biscuity and crisp with a totally smooth top. It had a slight golden tinge too it and did the job of holding this pastry together.

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Brown Sauce: HP.

Overall: A safe start to the season from a well recognised brand.

Gravy Factor: No bells *wink, wink* and whistles just a safe little pastry.

I’d actually messaged the good folk at Forth the day before to see what the pastry situation may be at this very early stage of the season and the response of hopeful but not certain was enough to appease me and I was rewarded with this faith.

One last thing before I go and that is I’ve always had a dream that somewhere down the line I could earn just a little from these adventures, millions would be wildly optimistic, but enough to keep me breaking even. With that in mind I’ve added a Ko-fi link imaginatively Buy my Next Pie to the site where you can buy me a coffee pie to help keep me going. Zero obligation but if you’re feeling generous I’ll be very grateful, maybe one day I can get to writing that book.

That’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 173: The Linlithgow Rose Curry Pie

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And now, the end is near, and so we eat our final pastry…well of the 2018/19 season at least. It’s part two from Prestonfield where we take on the Curry Pie, a pie I very nearly didn’t purchase but boy am I glad that I did.

Before that though I’m a week a removed from my trip to France to see Scotland take part in a World Cup for the first time in over twenty years as Shelley Kerr and her squad headed to the tournament with all the best wishes the nation could muster. By now we know that sadly, it wasn’t meant to be, but I for one enjoyed my time in France, not only following Scotland in Rennes but also whilst taking in a couple of games in Paris too.

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I’ve talked about the Women’s World Cup a lot on Twitter, on Leading the Line (go subscribe) and on various podcasts including the Anyone’s Game Scottish Women’s Football Podcast where as well as breaking down Scotland’s performances and the Women’s World Cup in general we cover Scottish women’s football as a whole so go have a listen. One of the topics not to have come up during all these conversations though has been what there is to eat when you visited some of these World Cup venues? Well here at Meat Filled Pastries I couldn’t let the tournament pass without making reference to what scran was on offer.

As mentioned earlier my Gallic adventure took me to two venues, the Parc de Princes in Paris and the Roazhon Park in Rennes. Both venues were awash with your usual big event fare such as chips, sweets, burgers and popcorn, the last of which I’ve never been able to get on board with in life never mind during a game. In Paris, after a fairly traumatic experience trying to get into my Airbnb, I had a dinner of not one but two hot dogs along with a bottle of fizzy pop given to me in a Coca Cola branded novelty cup which now sits pride of place on my desk along with a similar cup from Rennes, both distinguishable by the fact that their place names and a well known landmark were on each.

The catering theme continued the next day in Rennes with one notable exception: The Galette Saucisse. A single speciality sausage from the Brittany region of France encased in a cold crepe which is then fired onto to a grill to give the outside edges some crispiness. Now it may have been the multiple pre-match beers but the fact that I ended up eating three of these bad boys should be an indication that they were a treat to be enjoyed. In amongst all the sponsor splattered options it was good to see that a little slice of Stade Rennais tradition had squeaked into the concessions at France 2019. If you’re ever in Brittany or visiting Roazhon Park I would highly recommend giving one a bash.

Of course because it was the World Cup everything was massively overpriced but I did take some humour from watching some people getting “MWI” on the alcohol free beer being served in every stadium. I’m not going to go any further into my experience because that is set to appear in print in the not too distant future so keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter feed to find out where and when you can read it.

Unfortunately there were no pies, but luckily back home there is always plenty to be had, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose v Tranent Juniors, Kings Cup Final

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Price: £1.50! For a luxury pie, bargain of the century.

Presentation: Much like the Steak & Haggis Pie from the same venue this pie came presented on a single medium-sized white napkin.

Meatiness: Jings this was good. This was advertised as just a Curry Pie but was bursting with well cooked chunks of chicken breast, white to the bite and tender. The sauce was well spiced, not too hot, but with a build of heat that had you take the occasional pause. There was sweetness here too both in the spicing and from the presence of fine slivers of slow cooked onion and the consistency was spot on for easy consumption. I was nodding my head as I was eating here.

Pastry: The pastry was perhaps a tad pale but the little steam hole revealing the golden curry filling waiting to burst all over your tastebuds was the kind of tease people queue up for at the peep shows of Amsterdam. The pastry held together well, sufficiently to hold a bite with the puff pastry top adding another textural layer.

Brown Sauce: In my head brown sauce on a curry pie is lunacy and then I saw the person in front of me do it and my world was turned upside down. Of course I didn’t, I had the integrity of Meat Filled Pastries to mantain, but please let me know if you do.

Overall: Really tasty filling making it probably the best curry pie I’ve had in the stands in all my years reviewing pies.

Gravy Factor: I’m not trying to curry favour here but this was a pie I would definitely eat again.

So there we have it, at the end of the 2018/19 season the Meat Filled Pastries pie counter now sits at 173. As I write this the new season has already started with friendly fixtures starting to crop up across the country. My football commitments have increased somewhat over the last few months which personally is a good thing but where it leaves the regularity of reviews on these pages I’m not quite sure. What I can confirm is that wherever I end up, if there’s a new pie to be had it will be consumed and a review will be written.

Thank you to everyone who reads, shares and talks about these reviews. I was sitting in a bistro in Paris where somebody said out of context and in mid-conversation, “Are you the pie guy?“. It’s still some buzz and it’s always encouraging to know that people still read these after nearly seven years.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 172: The Linlithgow Rose Steak & Haggis Pie

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Hello and welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries for the first of a double review from Prestonfield, home of Linlithgow Rose, as Tranent took on Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the final of the Kings Cup. A competition, that until the big junior uprising of Summer 2018, neither side had ever competed in.

As I previously mentioned these last batch of reviews from the season just done are coming out a little later than usual and that is partly due to some work on my original pet project, Leading the Line, with a view to re-launching the site with some more regular content as opposed to just dumping it on here, where really, pies should always be the princes of the page. On the revamped site there will be history and opinion focusing on Scottish, Spanish and women’s football mixed in with interviews and the odd novelty item, because quite frankly, if you’ve been reading Meat Filled Pastries for this long then novelties should really be expected.

For an inexplicably long time I have resisted the fact that being involved in football in some capacity is where I need to be and whilst I figure out exactly what it looks like going back to my writing roots seems as good a place to start as any. In my most recent piece I’ve taken a look at the news that Real Madrid are set to finally join the women’s football ranks and I’m also in the middle of a series looking at perceptions of the Scottish Women’s National Team before, during and after this summer’s Women’s World Cup.

I have a long list of ideas and concepts to work through so please subscribe to keep up to date with all the latest non-pie patter from your favourite pie rater. For now though let’s get back to business. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic v Tranent, Kings Cup Final

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Price: It goes without saying that marriage of steak and haggis will result in a heightened price point but at just £2 this is still a very reasonably priced pastry.

Presentation: A medium sized white napkin. Nothing more, nothing less required.

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Meatiness: I’ve had a few “Haggis and…” pies in my time and usually the mix is the same with the haggis put through the rest of the filling to give the occasional pop of spiced offaly goodness. This pie was different though in a couple of ways. Firstly, much like the Annan Athletic Steak Pie, the steak in this pastry was slow cooked and pull apart as opposed to the chunks that are often found in a steak filled offering. Secondly, the haggis wasn’t mixed through but instead presented in a separate and distinct layer in the base. The steaky strands were dense and meaty whilst the decision to keep the two fillings apart ensured that each bite had the hum of haggis (that sounds grim but honestly was pretty nice). Add to this the generosity of the filling and we were on our way to a very decent pie indeed.

Pastry: The pastry was a little rough in it’s constructions but it’s hard not to salute a little bit of crimping on your match day treat especially when accompanied with a couple of chevrons cut into the lid. The pastry tasted pretty good and was both substantial enough to hold the filling whilst being forgiving to the bite, an important feature when the there is potential for spillage.

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Brown Sauce: No brown sauce here. A luxury pie with lots of tasty component parts should stand on its own two feet.

Overall: Generously filled with all the tastes of steak and haggis present as advertised.

Gravy Factor: Less gravy boat but more a flavour double decker.

Strong start from the Rosey Posey but, in somewhat of a spoiler, I may have possibly left the season’s best to last. As well as looking at our final pie of the 2018/19 season I will also share my culinary experiences from my trip to France for the Women’s World Cup. Sausage in a crepe, anyone?

However until next 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 163: The Clyde Pie

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Welcome back to yet another edition of everyone’s favourite location for meat filled musings. This week I have myself the rare treat of getting to a review a pie for free, well kind of.

On Sunday 14th April Spartans took on Hibernian and Rangers took on Glasgow City at Broadwood in the SWPL Cup Semi Finals, as opposed to just turning up as a fan I was carrying out some duties as part of the SWPL Media Team creating some content and supporting with the running of the @ScotWFootball social media accounts. I’ve officially been involved for a couple of months now and it’s been interesting getting a view on the challenges often faced from the inside. A recent Scottish Supporters Network survey showed that of the 5,773 people surveyed only 1% (approx. 60 people) said they regularly attend women’s football. A complimentary question to this asked the reason for this apathy and I wanted to focus on the biggest two.

Knowing when and where the game was on (43% of respondents highlighted this as a reason for not attending)

As a long time supporter of women’s football I can sympathise greatly with this view point as in times past I have got to game day still unsure when and where a fixture would be. In this recent season though there has been massive strides made with the creation of an updated SWPL (Scottish Women’s Premier League) site as well as a refreshed Scottish Women’s Football website. The league have set up a partnership with the excellent Football Stadium Prints with the images he creates being used to promote every match day including date, time and location. On my part contextualising what these games mean and what kind of contest you can expect are equally important and so via the SWPL feed I now produce match cards giving this detail along with recent form, league positions and points to date. It’s getting better but the challenge is still there, a crowd of over 500 attended the two SWPL Cup Semi Finals combined, yet the Twitter following of the four competing sides alone is over 38,000 in number and converting those numbers into an increasing number of bums on seats is just one place where I think efforts should be focused.

Top Tips for Knowing when and where the Game is

  • Follow @SWPL and @ScotWFootball on Twitter
  • Visit the SWPL and Scottish Women’s Football websites

Better promotion from the media (39% of respondents highlighted this as a reason for not attending)

Currently as a result of the data provider used by the BBC to populate their feeds both SWPL fixtures and tables aren’t available on the BBC Sport Scotland website. It’s annoying but until the coverage and support for the game increases the incentive for these data providers to have this information available remains less than it would if there was millions of pounds at play. It’s a vicious cycle but one that again is improving.

BBC Alba provides regular live coverage of Friday night SWPL fixtures. Whether the scheduling of these against rival games could be better is a debate I could have for days but it is progress. The SWPL Media team is small in number but it is getting bigger and with that comes the opportunity for more coverage, more audio and more highlights. A subscription to The Scottish Women’s Football YouTube channel will not only give you access to match highlights but also provide with you post match reaction and coverage of cup draws amongst other things. There is also the recently launched Anyone’s Game Podcast devoted to Scottish Women’s football and I’d love to help get one set up for the league proper at some point. There is also a movement afoot to help heighten coverage of the game even further ahead of the national side’s World Cup farewell match against Jamaica at Hampden where a new record attendance will surely be obtained.

It’s not going to be easy, I along with many others, devotes hours of free time to help promote the game but for the moment you may still need to go looking for it just a little.

Top Tips for finding media relating to Scottish Women’s Football:

  • Subscribe to the Scottish Women’s Football YouTube Channel
  • Listen to the Anyone’s Game Podcast
  • Follow Leading the Line (I’ll be doing more women’s content as the men’s season comes to the end).

I make no apologies for using this forum to help promote the women’s game, it deserves the focus to last and to not just be a fleeting national notion with a World Cup on the horizon and I’ll continue to share what I can along the way but for now, let’s get back to the business of reviewing pies, and this scotch pie offering from Clyde FC.

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

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Spartans 0-3 Hibernian, Rangers 1-5 Glasgow City, SWPL Cup Semi Finals

Price: This Scotch Pie cost the equivalent of one full day’s work of manning the Scottish Women’s Football Social Media feeds. So if I put zero value on my time then this pie was indeed free. I very nearly didn’t get one in the media scramble but as the words you are reading can testify to, I did and I was glad because it would turn out to be both my breakfast and lunch that day.

Presentation: Mixed in with all the sandwiches on a plate in the media centre this pie came in a silver tin foil case, the kind of case that has housed pies across Scottish football for years now.

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Meatiness: Not one to wax lyrically about here, not that it was bad, in fact it was perfectly good. Nice level of spicing with a faint pepper kick in the background and with the texture you would want to find in a good scotch pie. It’s not going to see me rushing back to Broadwood for another but at the same time it didn’t leave my tastebuds disappointed either.

Pastry: Held well. Crispy edges, sufficient colour on it, did the job.

Brown Sauce: A tangy little sachet that added a zing to the overall eating experience.

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Overall: Absolutely nothing wrong with it but at the same time nothing that will have me champing at the bit to induct it into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame. These factors make for a pretty boring pie review but if you were to get hungry at Broadwood this pie would certainly do you no harm.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bisto.

Next up, I cross the border for some Good Friday fun where I take in Carlisle United vs Lincoln City in the League Two promotion race? 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. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 157: The East Stirlingshire Pie

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Hello and welcome to the second of two reviews from the terraces of The Falkirk Stadium. Last time out Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie went under the piecroscope as not only did we get to taste a new pastry sensation but also dished out the first ever Meat Filled Pastries Awards for 2018. If you want to know who won the key awards of Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie and Best Non-Pie Pastry then please go have a look. It stirred up the kind of debate between fans on Twitter that only a pie could do.

Before we get into the meat of this pie matter I wanted to take a little time to talk about East Stirlingshire. The first club to fall victim of the Scottish Pyramid promotion system they lost out to Edinburgh City at the end of the 2015/16 season bringing to a close a 61 year association within the current national league set up. Having left Firs Park, a ground I unfortunately never made it too, they moved to Ochilview home of Stenhousemuir before taking up residence at The Falkirk Stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season.

As I stood towards the back of the main stand on a pretty chilly December evening I was taken once again by the commitment that we as football fans show. Now to be fair, and to not over-romanticise, the crowd wasn’t that big and there was an air of apathy on the pitch that was permeating into the stands. An air that lifted when the on park casualness started to rile those watching on. It was even bugging me and I was a neutral! Don’t assume that this is reference to apathy is designed to diminish the support, all these supporters should be (and I have no doubt are) valued but instead probably more of an indication as to how their season had gone to date, sitting as the club did in the lower half of the Lowland League table. It’s not easy supporting a club at this level but there are always people that will bleed the colours when cut clean but for The Shire who – on the face of things – have been battered about as much as anyone has been over the past few seasons the support is even more impressive. From the 8 point season of 03/04 to the threat of losing full SFA member status after many a 42nd place finished in the league. They had to leave Firs Park, their home, due to rising costs and of course you cannot ignore the aforementioned relegation in 2016. It truly is testament to the commitment fans have to their teams that they continue to carry on.

The move to The Falkirk Stadium has been viewed positively and the ambition very much remains to see the club promoted back to League Two and always with any club I wish them the best in achieving their goals.

For now though let’s get back to the pies and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: The Falkirk Stadium, East Stirlingshire 2-2 University of Stirling, Lowland League

 

Price: At £2.20 this was 20p cheaper than the previously reviewed steak pie. I should note here that the picture above highlights the presence of a Steak & Stornoway Black Pudding Pie however my excitement soon disappeared as it became apparent that a trip to see East Stilringshire’s landlords would be required to take on board this potential tasty treat.

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Presentation: Identical in nature to its steak filled brother. Inside a silver tin foil carton and atop of some large white napkins.

Meatiness: This pie was laced with that unmistakable scotch pie flavour with the spicing adding a smidgen of heat and a dash of both sweet and savoury. There was a little peppery kick which I always enjoy at the terminal point of consumption. Not loads to say here but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a decent little filling.

Pastry: You could almost see the fingers of the baker as they hurriedly pushed the lid against the pastry walls and on top of the filling. It meant that it looked a little ragged but those undulating sides added a layer of crispness to the bite that a neatly tucked in lid wouldn’t have. The pastry was a little soft underneath with a dusting of flour again helping to prevent a sticky situation but overall it was well-baked.

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Brown Sauce: The sachets of sauce on offer were tangy and a little sweet adding some more notes of flavour to the overall experience. They were also an appropriate size to get a good coverage on top of your pastry. To often these sachet’s are tiny, and require multiples of to make them worth their while.

Overall: Not a looker, but a pretty decent example of a scotch pie.

Gravy Factor: Crispy Bisto

The pies at East Stirlingshire may not be particularly groundbreaking but you can do a lot worse than just offering up good, honest tasting pastries. I’m back to having an empty basket of which to draw reviews from but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some hot pie action to take on board. I will be attending the World Scotch Pie Awards on the 15th January and I’m hoping to be able to speak to some of the winners and do a bit more in-depth coverage on one of my favourite days of the year.

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. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.