piehopper

Pie 196: The Caledonian Braves Pie

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Bonjour et bienvenue aux pâtisseries farcies à la viande.

After a little break due to a bustling schedule, a schedule that I will soon be pining after for a multitude of reasons, Meat Filled Pastries is back as we take another foray into the Lowland League heading to Bothwellhaugh, the home of Caledonian Braves, one of the most intriguing clubs in Scottish non-league football.

Formed in 2011 the club were re-anointed as the Caledonian Braves following a spell as Edusport Academy and there remains a distinctly gallic feel to matchday proceedings with both the pie hit and the sole turnstile run by French students from the academy. Their cross channel influence is not the only driver of curiosity though as their approach to fandom is one that also raises eyebrows, especially to died in the wool traditionalists.

The super-abbreviated version of events is that in 2018 they implemented an online membership scheme called Our Football Club, changing their name and switching focus from a traditional matchday fanbase towards a far reaching global community where participants have the option, for a fee to help shape the clubs future. If it’s more depth you seek then I would recommend clicking here.

How it works long term remains to be seen. As an unbiased observer and somebody who has seen similar plans fail to fully ignite at other clubs in the past, the ambition to ascend the Scottish football pyramid and reach the Premiership is admirable but seems a stretch in their current guise.

I wish them well, I have no reason not to, and at time of writing they remain comfortably situated in the middle of the fifth tier, a level of positional sustainability that should be commended given the continuous clashing of non-league football’s teutonic plates in Scotland.

But how are the pies? Well, with hands well and truly frozen, I headed back out the ground and into the hospitality room/pie hut and got ready to chow down.

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

Where: Alliance Park, Caledonian Braves 2-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Lowland League

Price: At £2, this is at the very top end for a non-league scotch pie, but you can always live with a little extra further down the pyramid, as long as the pastry matches up to it.

Presentation: You can maybe just see the plate keeking out under the large white napkin but if you can’t I can assure you there was one there. A bit superfluous in my opinion as the napkin was plenty, and when I went back for a second I politely said, “no, merci” to a paper platter.

Meatiness: This was a decent little pie. It was perhaps a little cool to the touch but it was well filled and had a gentle pepper kick, one that may have been more prominent if the pastry had a bit more heat. It held together well and all in all was a tasty enough bite.

Pastry: Well baked with a nice golden tinge to the edges. The top may be viewed as a little pale for some, and it definitely had a slight biscuity edge to it, but overall it did its primary role of containing the filling with minimal fuss.

Brown Sauce: If the pie was a little cool, the sauce was practically icy, with outdoor conditions playing a part for sure. One for those deviants who believe that condiments belong the fridge. Spicy enough though for a non-brand offering.

Overall: A solid if unspectacular effort from Alliance Park. I wouldn’t hesitate to have another should I manage to successfully take the right exit at the roundabout next time I’m in North Lanarkshire.

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while, for no other reason that I have been really busy with the women’s season kicking off just as the men’s one was getting to the best time of the season.

I write this now as I face the fact that I am soon set to find myself with an abundance of free time. Football has very much turned into my life and livelihood, something that an 8-year-old me would be marking the fuck out for, but just now it’s a case of battening down the hatches and making it to the other side.

Stay safe, look after one another, and if you ever feel yourself missing your football fix then remember there is a 196 pie reviews right here at your fingertips.

However until next time, and WE WILL get to Pie 200, 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 Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 195: The Queen’s Park Cheesy Bean Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the latest perusal of pastry brought to you by your friends at Meat Filled Pastries.

It would be easy to drone on about the weather to start this week’s blog but personally I find the discourse tedious and discarding the fact that Scotlan’s climate isn’t prone to bouts of heavy shiteness at least ten months of the year is a convenient way to fill up a few paragraphs with no match action to call on. Surely the free time that the players now have could be used to conduct long form interviews or go more in depth on previous game analysis, but why do that when you can smash the words SUMMER FOOTBALL repeatedly into your keyboard instead.

As part of this week’s introduction I want to plug the new series of A View From the Terrace, which I’m currently working on, and in particular the VT featuring BSC Glasgow from last Friday’s episode which is linked here for eternity. It’s genuinely fantastic and not only does it go behind the scenes at the club ahead of the biggest match in their short history but it also features a goal from Meat Filled Pastries very own Ross Smith. I recommend watching it.

Back to the weather for the briefest of moments and the conditions have led to me hitting the road a bit more recently although as it continued to rain sideways I decided to stay close to home a couple of weeks ago and head to Hampden as Queen’s Park hosted Elgin City in Scottish League Two.

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

Where: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park 2-0 Elgin City, Scottish League Two

Price: £2.80. As always at Hampden the surroundings come with a hefty price tag. I also had a Haggis, Neeps & Tatties Pie that was identical to the offering recently had at Ibrox, but was 60p more expensive. I would hope with the future move to Lesser Hampden the pricing will move in line with the level of competition the side are competing in.

Presentation: Pretty standard at large stadia in that it came within a tin foil case and on top of a small square white napkin.

CheesyBeaniness: I’ve spoke in the past about my lack of love for the Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie, so I approached Hampden’s vegetarian offering for the day with a bit of trepidation, a trepidation that would prove to be not entirely unwarranted. The consistency was the same as on that fateful afternoon, thick and gummy. The paste accompanied with an acrid kick of pepper on the back of the throat which had my hippocampus lurching back to bites of time past. There was the sweetness of the beans to play with this time although their presence was miserly and when an ingredient as humble as the baked bean can’t be splashed about then something isn’t quite right with your pie’s construction.

Pastry: A bit smashed up on delivery the top was loose and as can be seen by the first bite images the sides bucked a little underneath the biting pressure of my jaw. It was nice and crispy though, had a decent colour and mercifully was not stuck to the bottom of the case.

Overall: Not the greatest but an improvement on the Cheese & Onion Pie that still haunts my dreams. The providers need a lot more beans and significantly less pepper in the base mix used to throw these vegetarian offerings together and I would say that non-meat eaters deserver better.

The curse of the big stadium continues, next time out we head to Alliance Park, home of Caledonian Braves, as they host Lowland League title chasers Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 194: The Darvel Pie

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Hello, and welcome to the latest dissection of match day pastry, this time from East Ayrshire side Darvel, a side with perhaps the biggest pie presence in Scottish football thanks to the fairly recent involvement of Browning’s the Bakers at the club.

Whilst the away dugout remains a squat little stone cover, with a bench for no more than three, or maybe four if they are particularly young and spindly, derrieres, the home dug out is big and plastic and modern, somewhat out of kilter with its modest but developing surroundings. The frame of which shouts in yellow the phrase, “Say Aye to a Kilmarnock Pie”.

Not “Killie Pie”, that particular colloquialism was removed from the Brownings product as a result of a dispute with the Scottish Premiership side however that hasn’t stopped every single person asking for one at the brightly decorated kiosk in Recreation Park from using it. If you want to read more about why that change in moniker came about then you can do so in my Scottish Football Histories piece about Scotland’s national pastry.

The Kilmarnock Pie is still big business though and it again featured well at the World Scotch Pie Championships, but I’ve had it on multiple occasions including at Rugby Park, and so instead I plumped for the original match day treat, the Scotch Pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Recreation Park: Darvel 2-1 Petershill, Recreation Park, Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round Replay

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Price: £1.20. A price that is not too much nor too little. Just right to sway those few who dither when on the search of sustenance following a pre-match pint or two. For reference, and because I had one too, the Kilmarnock Pie came in at £2, a decent price for a slice of luxury.

Presentation: Unusually for a scotch pie at junior level this pie came within a shiny foil sheath snuggly wrapped around the pastry. Below, a single, but ample, napkin. Ideal.

Meatiness: As was the case with the Kilmarnock Pie, this too was a pastry with much previous acclaim, in fact a Scotch Pie World Champion of competitions past and it was easy to understand why as the warming hint of pepper tingled across the tongue before lingering as the teams made their way out onto the pitch. The meat, with a texture that held to the bite, was laced with enough grease to keep each morsel moist without leaving a sheen across the lips.

Pastry: It looked good, well sealed on top and with a crispness to the edge that overhung slightly on one side, however the pastry within the casing had gone soft falling apart as it was lifted out of the place that it had called home for the 35-40 minutes spent in the bakers oven. It may have been a little too supple but it was certainly cooked through although the steaming that it had undergone at some point made for a distracting bite.

Brown Sauce: Unusually for this level there was no big squeezy bottle, branded or otherwise, but a cardboard dispensary bursting with little blue packs of HP Sauce of sufficient size that meant one was plenty.

Overall: A generous and well-balanced treat that was only let down by pastry that wilted under the weight of its plentiful bounty.

A delicious wee treat from Darvel, soft pastry aside, and all in all an enjoyable first trip to Recreation Park as the home side reached the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Finals for the first time since 1985. The pitch just about held up as the game wore on and those involved were clearly in the Scottish Cup spirit as I was also able to treat myself to very special Darvel themed Empire Biscuit, with Petershill versions also available for their Glaswegian visitors.

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Keep your eyes peeled for the next review, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 191: The BSC Glasgow Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest review from Meat Filled Pastries, I hope this finds you well and that your start to the new year has been everything that you’ve wanted it to be and that your first game of the 202 has been an absolute rip-snorter.

After an hour or so at the artitist-formerly-known-as Recreation Park my first foot adventure to Clackmannanshire was looking like being anything but as BSC Glasgow and Bonnyrigg Rose cancelled each other out in this crucial Lowland League title clash. By the time the full time whistle had rung though my appetite for entertaining football had been suitable sated as the visitors from Midlothian let slip a two goal lead before snatching victory at the death, sparking wild scenes from a healthy travelling support and on the touchline, where the exuberance from Rose boss Robbie Horn and his staff saw the manager shown a second yellow card.

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Piehopping, or ground hopping if you don’t like pies (you maniac!), where you have no team to call your own can be a bit of a lottery in the entertainment stakes so to have a Friday night like this one in Alloa was a wonderful little treat.

But was the steak pie on offer a wonderful little treat too? There’s only one way to find out and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Indodrill Stadium, BSC Glasgow 2-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Lowland League

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Price: £2.50. Quite expensive for a non-league pastry but just about within range for a luxury pastry in what are currently Scottish Championship surroundings.

Presentation: Laid upon a large white napkin and uncased, a rare occurrence for a steak pie. Plenty of space to manoeuvre it on as you ate.

Meatiness: This was a well-filled pastry packed with lots of bite-sized pieces of steak, some requiring a little bit of a chew but in the main nice and tender. The gravy had the viscosity required to coat the meat, a good thing, without spilling from the shell unwillingly, also a good thing, and had the balance of salt and savoury just about right.

Pastry: The top was a little squashed at the sides meaning it didn’t look quite as neat as you would want by the puff pastry lid was well baked, golden and added that crunch on top along with a meld of sauce and soft pastry on the under layers. The botton half of the pastry was a little soft that meant a little juggling was required to ensure no mass meat departures to the ground below but all in all a pretty solid housing of pie here.

Brown Sauce: Luxury, there is none, and I think going forward I’ll just skip this section for luxury pies going forward.

Overall: Very tasty steak and gravy with pastry that was perhaps a little soft underneath but still sturdy enough nonetheless.

Gravy Factor: A steak pie worthy of a football first footing.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the second of my match day meals in Alloa here in the shape of a cup of piping hot homemade stovies. Slices of potato and onion in a gravy populated with chunks of mystery meat, a Scottish classic. Add in a blob of brown sauce and at £1.50 it was the perfect way to warm you on the terraces.

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Unfortunately Meat Filled Pastries sponsored player for the season, Ross Smith, was out injured but I did get a chance to speak to a couple of behind the scenes faces at half time. For some it’s easy to be dismissive of clubs such as BSC Glasgow and Caledonian Braves but for their supporters and those that devote a significant amount of their free time on keeping them going you can only hope for success and a sustainable future. Both of the sides mentioned above are amongst the most innovative at the level when it comes to fan engagement and content creation and they bring yet another dynamic to the Scottish game.

Next time out we will be back in Glasgow as Benburb take on Pollok in the West Region Premiership, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 190: The Whitletts Victoria Onion Pie

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Welcome to the first new pie review of the roaring twenties, the roaring of course coming from the well stoked fires of pie hut ovens across the land as we continue on our quest for Pie 200. We’re back at Dam Park for a second review from the home of Whitletts Victoria where, on this afternoon, the home side who usually play in red and black played in blue and the away side, Darvel, who usually play in blue, played in red as the eccentricities of modern football showed no discrimination irrespective of the grade.

The first review from the Vics earned an honourable mention in The 2019 Meaties published on New Year’s Day where, as well as crowning Meat Filled Pastries best Non-Pie Pastry, Meatfree Pastry, Luxury Pie and Scotch Pie of 2019, the first ever Outstanding Achievement Award was issued so why not go take a look.

For now though let’s head back to the windswept terraces of South Ayrshire, and without much further ado, rate some pie!

Where: Dam Park, Whitletts Victoria 1-4 Darvel, West Region Championship

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Price: Exactly the same as the Whitletts Victoria Scotch Pie coming in at a wholly reasonable £1.50.

Presentation: A rinse and repeat when compared with it’s scotch sibling, in fact, let’s just copy that same text “Presented on a large white napkin, ample for the pasty provided and for dabbing the lips.”

Meatiness: Much like the scotch offering this was a well filled pastry with a texture that was easy on the bite. There was a little peppery kick but to be honest if I hadn’t been called an onion pie by name I might not have known it at all. There was a couple of little slivers on inspection within but the sweetness that the onion usually brings to pastries of this nature wasn’t really there. It was tasty, just not quite what I was expecting.

Pastry: This pastry was well baked with a golden edge on the crust, the two steam holes that were the present the identifier that this should be an onion laced pastry. The bottom was sturdy and held the filling whilst the top was well sealed although not quite perfect in its presentation.

Brown Sauce: In a break from tradition when it comes to an onion pie I devoured this offering without going condimental. I reckon wee a blob or two of brown sauce wouldn’t have gone a miss though in retrospect.

Overall: Tasty enough but not very oniony.

Gravy Factor: A decent ladle full perhaps just missing that extra dimension.

It was a pretty decent double header from The Dam and I have high hopes that the 200 marker will come round in the not too distant future. What happens from there? Well we’ll have to wait and see as I have a couple of big changes coming up in my life soon that I suspect are going to take up quite a bit of my free time.

However until next time, and there’ll always be a 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 Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 171: The Kello Rovers Pie

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Hello and welcome to the first of a trio of slightly delayed reviews as I round out my 2018/19 season in pie. This time around I head to one of junior football’s most southerly outposts, Kirkconnel, where Kello Rovers hosted Rossvale in the West Region Championship with a victory for the visitors guaranteeing them promotion to the top tier of the West Region pyramid for the first time in their relatively short history.

The home side had already been condemned to relegation a number of weeks previous but they put up a more than adequate showing in a surprisingly feisty end of season encounter. In fact on more than one occasion I had to recoil such was the ferocity of some of the tackles flying in from the home side.

Nithside Park, for reasons I can’t fully articulate or understand has long been on my wish list to visit. The only conclusions I could come to as we rattled through the countryside was that 1. it’s a bit far away (in a wet region junior football context at least) and 2. I’d never been. Having never been it also meant that I had probably, sub-consciously at least, unlocked reason three I had never sampled their meat filled goods and so it was with some relief to find that on arrival the pie stall was fully stocked which is a scenario that is not always guaranteed come season end. With sides balancing the demands of those on the terraces with the reality of having a whole load of perishables and nobody to punt them to for the next month or so I have on occasion been left disappointed on my pastry quests. Anyway, Kello Rovers did have the pies on, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pies!

Where: Kello Rovers 0-3 Rossvale, Nithside Park, West Region Championship

Price: At £1.20 this was bang in line with the standard price point for a junior scotch pie.

Presentation: Classically presented on a single white medium sized napkin.

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Meatiness: This was a very tasty squat little pie. The filling had a moreish savoury flavour profile, not so strong on the pepper but well seasoned, with a slight leaning towards the salty for some but bang on for my palate. The texture made the four or five bites in which it took me to demolish this pie some of the best bites that I’ve taken this season. An unexpected delight.

Pastry: This pastry glistened amongst the late spring showers at Nithside Park. The top edge was crisp and golden. It did look a little rough around the edges and was certainly a tad fragile to handle (especially when you had two in your hands!) but it held together just enough to ensure a safe consumption could be completed.

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Brown Sauce: A giant bottle of brown sauce was available to ensure that despite it being the last fixture of the season for the home side there would be no shortages in the condiment department.

Overall: Tasty savoury filling with good texture that very much makes this the little pie that could…satisfy my early afternoon hunger.

Gravy Factor: A little flavour bomb.

As I said at the start this late burst of reviews from the back end of the 2018/19 season are going out a little later than planned as a result of a couple of things which I’ll share in the upcoming reviews. My season in pie will round out with a double feature from Prestonfield as the home of Linlithgow Rose played host to the King’s Cup Final between Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic and Tranent Juniors. A cracker of a game on a sunny Lothian day.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, 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 166: The Bohemians Chilli Beef & Chorizo Pie

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Hello pie fans, and that’s right I’ve been on my football travels again crossing over the Irish Sea to take in Bohemians v Waterford in what the League of Ireland marketeers will have you believe is #TheGreatestLeagueInTheWorld as I made a whistle stop visit to the Irish capital, Dublin. My path here came via listening to an Outside Write podcast and a couple of follow up conversations with Gerry who runs the A Bohemian Sporting Life website all about the north side club. Not only did Gerry keep me abreast of ticket availability, he also let me have a look around The Bohs home Dalymount Park as well as joining me in what turned out to be many, pre and post match beverages with his buddy Brendan.

This isn’t the first time where my widening football connections has lead to a solo travel experience turning into an even better one with new friends as in March, when I headed to the Basque Country, Dan who runs The Linesman helped to fully indoctrinate me into the Athletic Club pre and post-match atmosphere. Something that I would have done on my own but was made infinitely better with some local knowledge. These acts of kindness are ones I’d be more than willing to replicate in my fair city and if anyone ever does find themselves wanting to know a bit more about football in Glasgow’s Southside I’ll always be happy to show the way.

One of the nuggets of information that Gerry was able to reveal to me before everything got a little hazy was that Bohemians were perhaps the only club in Ireland to have pies on their match day menu thanks to an arrangement with The Pieman Cafe located in the Temple Bar area of the city. This was obviously met with much delight on my part, and so at half time after collecting my customary pin badge I made my way to the queue to experience my first Irish pie eating experience.

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

Where: Bohemians 0-0 Waterford, Dalymount Park, League of Ireland

Price: €10. Yes, on first glance this is a whooping price for a pastry when you consider the site average up until this point floats around the £1.70 mark but this was not just pie alone and while that was an option, the temptation of having my pie with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy truly was a temptation that my slightly tipsy and pretty hungry body could not resist. With a bottle of water thrown in too the €10 price tag seemed pretty good value in a city that has, what I think, a somewhat unfair reputation of being a bit pricey. Also, it was huge!

Presentation: Now given the component parts of pie, mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy it would have been lunacy to present this on the Meat Filled Pastries classic of a medium sized white napkin and so the brown box and fork combination were perfectly fitting in this scenario.

Meatiness: Chilli Beef and Chorizo is a new flavour sensation for the site and it is one that I think The Bohs, and of course The Pieman Cafe, executed admirably. The filling was exactly as a good chilli beef should be, there was a nice spice to the pie with beef and tomato undertones. There were kidney beans and onion present too and the texture was rich but smooth. If there was one small criticism then it would be that the promise of chorizo felt a little unfulfilled but it was still a super tasty filling nevertheless.

Pastry: Shortcrust pastry that seemed entirely in tact from what I could see. It’s sturdiness meant that it held up well to the many wet components around about it and as pastry goes it actually tasted pretty good on it’s own too. If you’re going to serve a pie this size with this assortment of sides a robust pastry shell is definitely the way to go.

Brown Sauce: There was no brown sauce but a couple of ladles of The Pieman’s homemade gravy which was just the ticket. I wouldn’t have added brown sauce as it would’ve been nothing but superfluous.

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Overall: Good filling in a massive pastry pie, really tasty beef chilli and gravy with just that little extra chorizo layer missing from it really delivering in every way. I would definitely have another one though.

Gravy Factor: There’s yer dinner!

Do Scottish football clubs limit themselves too much by just serving a single pie on a napkin? You know what, maybe. May be there are some out there but if the option to have a full pie dinner like this was on offer at our football grounds I would almost certainly be all in every time, especially after a few beers.

Next up is a review back in the Scottish Juniors as I visit Newmains United, a club who in recent seasons have shown they are not afraid to think outside the box when promoting their clubs name.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, 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.

For further queries or requests you contact Chris via email at chris_mersh@hotmail.com.