pollok

Pie 168: The Cumnock Chicken & Haggis Pie

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We’ve reached the business end of the season and whilst I’ll be big game hunting over the next couple of weeks my side, Pollok, still have a few games to go in their pursuit of third place in the West Region Premiership.

It’s a trying time of the season for football fans whose sides have nothing to play for or no trophies to be won. For some the habit never goes away whilst for others a game without anything to play for is really no game at all. For me, a Saturday spent on the terraces is as much about catching up on the weeks events with your chosen few as it is pursuing glory. Fortunately with the nights getting lighter I’m still able to juggle the habit with the search for games that matter.

Last time I was at Townhead Park, home of Cumnock Juniors, I managed to nab myself one of their Steak & Haggis offerings so I was secretly quite pleased when they said that these had sold out and there was only Chicken & Haggis to go by. So, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Cumnock 1-4 Pollok, Townhead Park, West Region Premiership

Price: I think, this was £1.50, hands up here on my part as I totally lost track of what this pie cost but, using some algebra, I think this pastry came in at just a pound and a half, a bargain price for what we class here as a luxury pastry.

Presentation: Classic presentation style coming as it did on top of a single medium sized white napkin. Nothing to grumble about at all.

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Meatiness: No misnomers, this pie was most certainly chicken and haggis based. There were good sized chunks of white chicken meat surrounded by a generous portion of gently spiced haggis. The balance of flavours in this pie were spot on, the haggis not overpowering the chicken and although there was no real gravy to speak off it wasn’t necessarily needed here with sufficient moistness coming from the two component parts. It was very tasty.

Pastry: Oh this pie looked a mess, not that it had any detriment to the overall taste of the pie or the pastry but this one would definitely not go down as a looker. The puff pastry top had flaked away quite a bit from some rough handling and the sides may have had a couple of gaps but sometimes in the pie game it’s important to remember that looks aren’t everything.

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Brown Sauce: None mate, luxury pie.

Overall: Putting aside the rough and tumble nature of the pastry this was a really tasty pastry with it perhaps moving into pole position when it comes to Chicken & Haggis pastries on Scotland’s terraces.

Gravy Factor: None needed, just lots of lovely meat.

I suspect this might be my final junior pie review of the season but I’m not entirely sure at this stage. What I do know though is that next time out I will have not one, but two reviews from Galabank as Annan Athletic took on Stenhousemuir in the League One play-offs.

On last thing before I wrap up and that’s to point you in the direction of my piece for Pure Fitbaw assessing Scotland’s Women’s World Cup Squad. Linked it up right here for you so go have a look.

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.

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Pie 165: The Clydebank Breakfast Pie

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Hello pie fans I hope you enjoyed my saunter south of the border last time out as I took in the bright lights of Carlisle as the League Two promotion race in England heads towards it’s climax but it’s back to usual business this week with a return to the Scottish Juniors as Clydebank hosted Pollok at their temporary home of Lochburn Park in Maryhill.

One of the things that I have been focusing on since becoming more involved in women’s football is new and, let’s be honest, cost effective ways in which the game can be promoted. Lower leagues clubs across the country have to find ways to maximise their skills and resources in helping to attract new eyes to their club every day and so I thought I’d share just a few examples of that. St. Anthony’s, for example, have formed an alliance with clubs who have the initials S.A.F.C. in the make up of their name, this even involved their committee going down to the Stadium of Light after being welcomed down by Sunderland. Pollok are still (three years later) reaping the benefits of Tam Hanlon’s greatest hat trick ever scored which you can view here, a feat that garnered an appearance on Soccer AM and global attention. BSC Glasgow are one of a few clubs who now have an official eSports partner in the shape of @MozzaPlays who also went to the lengths of modding up the Lowland League for everyone’s favourite strategy game, Football Manager.

Clydebank themselves recently got in on the act with an excellently produced video celebrating Nicky Little becoming their club’s record goalscorer. Titled “Route 66” and shot exclusively on an iPhone it shows what can be done with a bit of time, care and willingness to learn. I encourage you to have a look at it here.

For my part, pies have become my default way to big up the beautiful game and over the next month or so I have some deadlines to meet to help share the story of pie even further. However for now, and without much further ado, let’s rate the first ever Breakfast Pie to enter the hallowed halls of Meat Filled Pastries!

Where: Clydebank 1-2 Pollok, Lochburn Park, West Region Premiership

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Price: I wasn’t expecting to have a new pie review to get my teeth into when I turned up at Lochburn Park however as the words, “What kind would you like?”, left the woman working the counter’s mouth an excited realisation spread across my face. Presented with the option of scotch, steak or breakfast there was really only going to be one winner and so I parted with £2, towards the top end of the non-league pie price scale, and went to find a spot in the shade so I could eat what was essentially my second breakfast of the day.

Presentation: This pie came wrapped in a double layer of large white napkins concealing the pastry at first sight, ample to help dab your mouth and lips as you made your way through what would turn out to be a pretty mammoth mouthful.

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Meatiness: The debate around what goes into a full breakfast – English, Scottish, Irish or otherwise – is a long and at times fairly tedious one. Some people froth at the concept of the inclusion of beans whilst to have a fry up without any bread and butter is seen as heresy by others. This pie though had enough of the commonly agreed upon component parts to keep everyone happy.

At the bottom there was a thick, maybe slightly too thick, slice of black pudding with that unmistakable texture and spicy kick. Above that was a layer of well textured and flavourful square sausage which of course had been made round to fit it inside the case. Above that again and to one side of the pastry was a slice of bacon as smoky and salty as bacon should be. Still going up you are then greeted by an egg, unfortunately no yolk porn here, as it would be near impossible to bake a pastry with an egg inside and keep the yolk runny before being topped with a few beans which had dried out a little in the oven but added that bean taste your mouth would recognise. Overall it made for a pretty tasty and exciting bite and if I could make any suggestions to improve the filling then I would pare back the black pudding a little and add a more generous spoonful of beans to add a little more moisture.

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Pastry: Let’s call it how it is, the pastry was a bit of a hot mess. I suspect partly driven by the desire to cram as many breakfast items as possible into its pastry walls and partly driven by some rough handling during transportation. Despite its ramshackle appearance it actually held surprisingly well adding the crispness required to help break up what was quite a rich filling.

Brown Sauce: It’s a luxury pie so there was no brown sauce added here but in retrospect I kind of wish I had given it a dollop, that spicy tang the sauce brings would have been a perfect partner for this pastry.

Overall: Generously filled with surprisingly sturdy construction despite appearances. I’d maybe alter the ratios of the filling slightly but as match day treats go I’m very much into it.

Gravy Factor: Gravy to get out of bed for.

A new pie style makes it’s way on to the pages of Meat Filled Pastries and there will be another new style next time out as I headed over the Irish Sea to see Bohemians take on Waterford in what the marketeers behind the League of Ireland are calling #TheGreatestLeagueInTheWorld. But does their Chilli Beef & Chorizo Pie really hit the mark, we’ll have to wait and see.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

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 161: The Glenafton Athletic Sausage Roll

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Hello pie fans, I had a funny old day down New Cumnock way on Saturday. Glenalfton Athletic took on Pollok in what should have been a fairly run of the mill end of season West Premiership encounter. Both clubs were well clear of any relegation thoughts a long time ago whilst simultaneously being short of making any kind of meaningful title challenge. It was the kind of game in which you board the supporter’s bus with the notion that at least you’ll get a decent Saturday afternoon out.

Fast forward to the full time whistle and what started off slowly turned into a whirlwind of a game. Pollok had taken the lead through a spectacular opener but ultimately is The Glens who persevere coming back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 with the winner coming in the 89th minute, both sides having finished the game with ten men amid a less than friendly atmosphere on the terraces.

In the main I love football. It’s been pretty kind to me and I consider myself lucky that when the final whistle blows I can shake off the result (well Scotland’s recent jaunt to Kazakhstan aside, sakes!) and get on with my life because at the end of the day, through the cheers and the tears, football is just a game. As I stood there, with some questionable phrases polluting the air from a minority, I am reminded that I will never ever forget that.

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On the life’s too short theme we recently had our latest Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund event where we edged ever closer to that £50,000 mark. Stewart “Smit” Smith died from Bowel Cancer just over five and half years ago now and to think that we have raised so much in his memory thanks to the support of everyone involved is all a little humbling. If you fancy flinging a few pennies our way then click the link above. I’ve mentioned it before but Smit was one of the early advocates of my meat filled ramblings so I’ll never apologise for giving the fund a plug from time to time. Anyway, that’s the preamble done so without much further ado let’s rate some sausage roll!

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-1 Pollok, West Region Premiership

Price: In a strange turn of events there were no pies available for purchase at Loch Park however there were some pretty mahoosive sausage rolls. Yours for just £1.50.

Presentation: Presented in a polystyrene tray with a medium sized white napkin, The tray was used for the sausage rolls and multiple chip variations but strangely not the burgers. From a pastry perspective this is perhaps one of the most secure methods of holding a match day snack safely although it’s important to ensure that you place your pastry back in the centre of the tray to prevent any accidental flippage.

Meatiness: So earlier I said that there were no pies at Loch Park this particular Saturday and I suspect when the good folk at the Glens went to pick up their match day meatiness there may not have been any sausage rolls either. So why do I suspect this? Well the filling in this sausage rolls appeared to be cut up rectangles of square sausage as opposed to the more traditional link style sausage meat filling. It was a very generous, moist and meaty portion of square sausage and whether this was done by design or as a result of some Saturday morning quick thinking I was a fan.

Pastry: My suspicions grew when I looked at the way the pastry was wrapped around the meat. No frills or crimping here, just a layer of puff pastry wrapped round the meat and pushed together to guarantee a full encasing. This roll had a good golden colouring to it although the bottom was a little greasy perhaps as a result of the higher fat content in a square sausage and what felt like a fairly generous ratio of butter in the pastry mix itself. Still though a big sausage filling needs a big pastry coating and this did the business.

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Brown Sauce: A sausage roll is not a pastry that receives saw easily and so for me I never do adorn it so.

Overall: Generous sized, decent price, good taste, golden pastry. Pretty pleased with this to be honest. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way.

Gravy Factor: Big sausage gravy.

Don’t do sausage roll reviews very often so this was a nice change of pace. As always keep up to date with Meat Filled Pastries by subscribing to get notifications and follow all my non-pie based going’s on over on Leading the Line, 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 158: The Troon “Chicken & Haggis” Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we delve back into the world of junior football with a Chicken & Haggis offering from a fairly dreich January afternoon at Portland Park in Troon. Before we get to that though a couple of things have happened since my last review.

Firstly I attended the World Scotch Pie Championships Awards Lunch where a new World Scotch Pie Champion was crowned. Whilst some well-earned congratulations should be sent to The Little Bakery based in Dumfries on being the 20th World Scotch Pie Champion on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries the real news was that Darvel FC based in Ayrshire won the Diamond Award for their Steak & Gravy Pie supplied by Browning’s the Bakers. As a vocal supporter of non-league football I was pleased to see the big boy’s given a hiding in this category but if you want to see how your club did then you can do so by clicking the list of winners across all categories here.

Whilst I was there I was also getting my latest project off the ground and recorded the second ever episode of The Scrancast where I spoke to some of the nominees, winners and men behind what is one of the biggest days in the Butcher/Baker calendar. If you would like to listen to what I hope will be the first of many tales about food and drink from Scotland and beyond then you can listen here. The website is just about up and running which includes a feature on why I’ve decided to do it and you can subscribe on iTunes and all your usual places by searching for “The Scrancast”.

Back to more pressing matters though and that is the quality of pie on offer at Portland Park. Will their Chicken & Haggis offering match up to the Steak Pie which got an honourable mention during the first ever MFP Awards? There’s only one way to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

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Price: There was a little bit of confusion around the price of this pie as I went to pay at the counter. To your average punter this pie would have appeared to have been £2.20 given the sheet saying as much stuck to the window however at point of payment the price quoted was £2.50. A quick chat later showed that the price list the girls behind the counter were working on was different from the one front in centre for all to view. I paid the £2.50 but I’m not sure I was entirely happy about it.

Presentation: A double duvet of large white napkins provided a solid and soft base for this large tin foil encased pie to sit on quite comfortably.

Meatiness: Chunky. I think that’s a good way to describe this filling with more than one piece of chicken requiring multiple bites to consume. It’s an odd thing to point out I know but this is a handheld snack, eating stood up with very few places to lean, so it made for a challenging bite. I was a little bit disappointed in the quantity of haggis but I liked the use of a stock based gravy. My main concern though was the use of pepper in this filling. It was too much, a little too spiky and killed the flavour of the haggis. That said it was an incredibly generous portion of pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty perfect. Slipped easily out of the tin foil case without even a whiff of it sticking to the sides or bottom. It also had a lovely golden tinge to it with the necessary substance to hold what was a fairly moist filling whilst still providing the light crunch a good pie pastry should.

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Overall: There were things to like about this pie. Generously filled with an excellent job on the bake but for my taste I could have done with a few less cracks of pepper.

Gravy Factor: Percy Piper picked a pie of pickled peppers.

An offering with a lot of potential from the Ayrshire coast but one for me that didn’t quite hit the heights I hoped it would. I’ll hopefully be back again with another pie review in the not too distant future but for now please go follow and subscribe to The Scrancast. If you’re into pies there might be something right up your street coming very soon.

However until next time from Meat Filled Pastries, 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.

Pie 155: The Beith Steak Pie

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Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten!

Have we all got that festive feeling? I know that you will have lathered your turkey in gravy, consumed a round dozen pig in blankets and developed a lactose intolerance after downing a full cattle’s worth of cheese but I think we all still have room to squeeze in a little meaty treat. Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries from the world of Scottish Football. This week we head to Ayrshire and to Bellsdale Park, the home of Beith Juniors, for a steak pie or two.

Bellsdale Park, as well as being renowned for its pretty strong pastry game, is even more famous for its very pronounced slope. Whilst Hibernian were required to flatten their Easter Road pitch back in the early 2000’s, the Bellsdale slope continues to endure. Often the topic of many a terrace conversation you first become aware of the park’s downhill tendencies as you make the approach to the ground with it being near impossible to leave the centre of town without gaining some downwards moment. This suspicion becomes a realisation as you enter and make your way through the turnstile, the two covered enclosures on the far side appearing to move further and further away from pitch level as the grass sweeps down towards the far corner.

I’ve been to Bellsdale at least a dozen times or so over my football watching career and I still find myself amazed that somebody hasn’t said they need to fix it, especially given their recent forays into the “Big Scottish” but I like it. It has character. There is no doubt some sporting advantage to playing down the slope in the second half during a mid-winter battle in the pouring rain whilst the opposition trudge upwards in the opposite direction – a mild exaggeration of course – but whilst the commerciality of new build all weather parks has its merits grounds such as Bellsdale Park need to continue to thrive to ensure those points of differentiation remain on the terraces across the country.

You know what else needs to continue to thrive? Tasty pastry treats. But was the steak pie from the home of The Mighty worthy of the side’s nickname?

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

Where: Bellsdale Park, Beith Juniors 1-3 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £2 this was towards the top end of the junior football pie pricing spectrum but within the same range as other luxury offerings across the grade. The same price as their previously reviewed Chicken & Haggis Pie (see picture above) which still remains one of the tastiest match day treats around.

Presentation: In the list of things I bang on about the lack of proper advertising by butchers and bakers that they provide the goods is right up there, so imagine my delight that Irvine’s Bakery continue to supply Bellsdale Park with large cream coloured napkins with their name emblazoned across it. The pie itself was contained within a tin foil case which, as we all know by now, is not uncommon when presented with a steak filled pastry.

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Meatiness: This pie was awash with gravy, savoury in flavour and from a consistency perspective near spot on, allowing me to squeeze the top and bottom to show a little ooze without a single drop being spilled to the gravel below. Especially impressive considering the deep fill that had been executed by the baker during construction. The meat was tender and had a nice variation of small and large chunks, tearing away in strands like a good steak bite should. For some it might feel a little over seasoned, but for me, once married up with its pastry surrounds it made for a tasty steaky mouthful.

Pastry: Anyone who has read some of my reviews from the senior game in Scotland will know that the tin foil case is often the scourge of a good steak pie so I was naturally nervous as I slipped my fingers around the edges and went to pick my pastry up. This nervousness was almost immediately alleviated though as the pastry popped clean out, the base golden, the sides intact and the top still glistening, although perhaps a little ragged in its placement. A small note on what was otherwise a very solidly constructed pie.

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Brown Sauce: Would have been utterly superfluous.

Overall: Unctuous gravy, well cooked and seasoned meat with a non-stick pastry surround. Lovely stuff.

Gravy Factor: Gies a Ladle.

Beith really is the place to be if you want some of the finest football pies around, it is genuinely one of the highlights of my fixture calendar. I’m hoping to squeeze another pie based jaunt in before year end but whether the review makes it before the dawning of 2019 we’ll have to wait to see, so for now I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy and prosperous new year.

Oh, 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. 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.

 

Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie

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What’s up pastry posse!? Welcome to Pie Review 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie. These reviews were always a device designed to not only talk about pies and pastries but also to big up some of Scottish football’s lesser lights. I go to a lot of football grounds and over the past few months I’ve resolved to accept that I am indeed a bit of a groundhopper. Whilst some people get excited by a new series of Game of Thrones or the discovery that there is a new place to go hunting for Pokemon (that’s not a dated reference, I know people who still do it!) I get a buzz from an away cup draw to a place I’ve never been or the news that a spot in my midweek schedule has freed up and there’s a game of football to be had and a pie to be eaten.

This was my second visit to Winton Park having previously driven down a few years ago during one of those weekend’s where the fixture list had been decimated but the Rovers park had survived. As I had the car it was very much a case of ensuring that I had made it in for kick off and that I got myself a tasty pastry treat (Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie) but on this visit the supporters bus ensured I had ample time to explore the facilities. I was impressed. From the surprisingly large social club located within the stadium, the walls adorned with a potted history of this Ayrshire side, to the various little stadium quirks dotted around the place from the wheelbarrow beside the stand to the Winton Rovers wall at the far end of the stadium. It’s certainly a place with plenty of intrigue to be found. They also have a pretty well stocked pie hut courtesy of The Kandy Bar meaning that despite my previous visit there was still some new pastries to be had.

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

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1-2 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 1st Round

Price: At £1.50 this is a pretty standard pricing strategy for your core pastry range (pies, bridies and sausage rolls) and well within the bounds of acceptability for a junior football match in Scotland.

Presentation: Keeping things simple this bridie was presented on a large white napkin. Double layered for your eating pleasure.

Meatiness: I have had a very mixed past with bridies. I’ve only actually ever reviewed two on the site (Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie & Pie 93: The Rossvale Bridie) but when it has come to competition judging at Scottish Baker of the Year and the World Scotch Pie Championships I am continually amazed at how far out of whack the meat to pastry ratios is in some of the bridie products made by butchers and bakers across the country. It can be quite a hard thing to balance given the prominent use of puff pastry in their construction but thankfully with this offering the ratios were pretty good. The filling was generous and moist. It did perhaps make it a little bit difficult to eat as you continued to break down the pastry walls surrounding it but the flavour was very good. Strong and meaty with a hint of onion flavour that added a little layer of sweetness to the overall bite. Most importantly the ratio was right, and for that I was incredibly grateful.

Pastry: The pastry was, as you would expect with puff, lovely and flaky but it’s golden colour and restraint in volume are what made it really stand out on this bridie. It was unusual to see a hole on top of the pastry but part of me wonders if this is what helped in preventing an over-abundance. The base was well baked too meaning that the pastry here was also holding up it’s end of the bargain.

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Brown Sauce: Now, given that one of my main gripes with a bridie against a pie is that they can often be a little dry you would think I would be all about the condiments here but logistically they don’t really work. There is no place for the sauce to sit comfortably and no upper lip to catch the flow that occurs when you tip the pastry towards your mouth. With that in mind there is no sauce here.

Overall: Tasty filling and golden pastry on a bridie where the ratios were just about spot on made for an overall enjoyable eating experience.

Gravy Factor: Well balanced gravy.

So far the weather has held out as we head towards the 5 month extravaganza that is the Scottish winter time so we shall continue at pace on our journey of meat filled pastries. Next up will be a steak and gravy pie from St. Mirren Park as we jump on the road to France with the Scottish Women’s team as they take on the United States in a glamour friendly.

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. 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.

 

 

Pie 151: The Cumnock “Steak & Haggis” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where 150 pies were clearly never going to be enough.

As the years have ticked by I’ve had to keep track of those venues where I’ve had a pie before. When pulling together the infographic for Pie 150 I noticed I had somehow managed to do not one but two reviews from Rossvale. A stat made even more befuddlingly when you consider that neither had came from their current home at Huntershill  and that I had also managed to squeeze in a bridie review from the same club. At least with the bridie it could stand alone as part of the extended Meat Filled Pastries family. With that in mind I arrived at Cumnock knowing that I had previously reviewed both the scotch and onion pies fairly early in my journey and so I anticipated my culinary peak from Townhead Park to be the drinking of the rarely found 60/- from the Ayrshire side’s rather good social club.

My assumption however was wrong because as I approached the pie stall to get involved with some “Nock Nosh” I was greeted by the geuninely excited chatter from my fellow match day munchers that there were two new types of pies to sample. In the least surprising revelation of this post one of these new breeds managed to fall lovingly into my palm and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock 1-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round Replay

Price: At £2 this was at the top end of the junior pricing spectrum but given that I was on a promise of both steak and haggis I was more than willing to let this pastry whisper sweet nothings on my taste buds before deciding if I was getting value for money.

Presentation: Despite its steaky nature this pie went old school, presented as it was on a single medium-sized (maybe evem large) white napkin. As consumption progressed this proved more than plenty.

Meatiness: On entry to this pie I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Should there be lots of gravy? Will this marriage of haggis and steak mingle into a meaty morsel that will make my mouth moist with its magic?

I’m happy to report that the filling of this pie was indeed a belter. At first my taste buds were hit with a smooth but spicy punch of haggis, a flavour that is instantly recognisable to the initiated but almost indescribable to those yet to experience the joy of an offal stuffed lamb’s stomach. Immediately I deduced that there was no gravy to be found but that was not an issue as the moistness provided by all those bits that North America continue to hide from were ample and slowly gave way to large chunks of well cooked and tender steak. This filling was getting “the nod”. That moment when your head, mind and taste buds come together in unison to proclaim that the symphony of flavours that you are experiencing are in fact very, very good.

Pastry: The pastry on this pie was also very near the top end. The sides and base were well cooked and held firm against the moist filling although they were perhaps a little peely wally in colour. There was some boil out, and whilst that is sniffed at by some, I always feel it adds some character to a pastry. A little imperfection to help make it feel special. The colour shone as you gazed at this  pie from above, the top formed as it was with a lovely golden disc of puff pastry that broke off into buttery flakes whilst the underside merged with the filling below. This pie was pulling out all the stops.

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Brown Sauce: I’m almost compelled to say that brown sauce may have ruined this pie, which is a very bold statement indeed.

Overall: Steak + Haggis + Good Pastry = Happy Pie Punter.

Gravy Factor: No Gravy. Just good, good times.

This was a wonderful pastry surprise to come across on a dreich Saturday afternoon and it’s equally wonderful to see lower league football clubs and their providers identify the opportunity to expand their range. I will maintain until my dying days that a “killer” pie will do as much good for a side as a decent cup run or title challenge ever will especially when performance on the pitch is infinitely harder to control.

Next up I continue my quest to champion the women’s game as I attend the Scottish Women’s Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell where perhaps surprisingly I embark on my first review from Firhill, home of hipster’s choice Partick Thistle.

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 and  The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. 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.