scotch pie awards
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
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.
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.
Happy New Year from Meat Filled Pastries! My apologies for a lack of activity recently, a fixture list that saw a string of home games for Pollok along with weather conditions that obliterated almost every game I had lined up to go and see meant that things have been rather quiet on the pie front so far in 2016 and my first offering of the year has not a drop of pastry in sight.
Before the review though let me share with you the outcome of this year’s 2016 Scotch Pie Awards hosted at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on the 13th January. Once again I was honoured to participate in the judging process to find the best pies and pastries from across our fair land, first judging in the hot savoury category and then taking part in the second round to find the World Scotch Pie Champion who this year is found at The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats. A full list of winners can be found at http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/ as well as by following me on Twitter (@MFPTasty). As always I had a blast both on the judging days and attending the awards themselves meeting numerous individuals who make my passion for pie look paltry. I left the ceremeony thinking that there is work to be done to promote pastries at our football grounds and with that in mind I thought I would share with you the 2016 Football Pie Winners, headed by Bruce of Broch’s steak pie offering, available at both Fraserburgh in the Highland League and Fraserburgh United in the North Region Juniors. The full list is below, I’m writing this on the move so apologise it’s only in picture form:
Congratulations again to everyone involved. So with that covered off, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie! (Or in this case a burger!)
Where: Broadwood Stadium, Clyde 0-1 Queens Park, Scottish League Two
Now usually I’ll go through a series of ratings before summing up my feelings on the quality of pastry I have been provided with but as this is ‘not a pie’ and has some key elements like pastry missing then the following is more of a long winded monologue (for ‘long winded monologue’ read as rant) on the state of non pie based catering at Scotland’s football grounds. I have no idea where this is going to go so I’ll try not to ramble.
I have always been one to build my Saturdays around a game of football, it’s always felt wrong to sit in the pub and watch Soccer Saturday, however since I have started this little venture a new variable has been added; have I reviewed a pie there before? In the case of Clyde I had not and with the Scotch Pie Club Awards ceremony happening just around the corner the following week I smelled the opportunity for a tie in.
Imagine my disappointment then as I walked into the main stand to find the shutters down and a steward ‘helpfully’ pointing me towards the corner of the stadium in the direction of a burger van. This isn’t the first time this is happened this season and my apologies to Clyde that they are getting the ones that have unleashed my ire but going to a ground and being able to get food, but not a pie, makes me sad and a little bit angry.
Now before people start getting defensive I understand a couple of variables may have been in play in this situation:
- It was January 2nd. A Scottish Bank Holiday. A day where the whole of Scotland sit in their pants and watch a Wallace and Gromit marathon whilst eating the remaining left over turkey and steak pie.
- Maybe the butcher wasn’t able to provide pies that day.
- As it is such a day of rest maybe wee Betty who runs the pie counter didn’t fancy hauling herself down to Cumbernauld to feed a bunch of folk for a fiver.
You know what? If any of the above are true then fair enough, everyone deserves a holiday. Maybe a bit of better planning would help in the future and I can almost, ALMOST accept the contingency of a burger van coming into play if the quality of the fare offered in the place of pastry is of an equivalent or higher standard. Sadly though, in this instance, and in many others, you are presented with a crunchy frozen burger heated up on a griddle and topped with a slice of limp processed cheese and some barely warmed through onions. Don’t believe me look at below:
Scotland, renowned for nurturing some of the best produce in the world, and this is what you get presented with. Then after discovering the one place where you always expect to ‘take a pie’ doesn’t provide one you are stung with the fact you have to pay more (£3!!) for the privilege to eat something that you wouldn’t look twice at it in the frozen meats section of your local supermarket.
I understand some people don’t like pies, these people are beyond help but understandably football clubs, in a bid to boost revenue streams, often provide alternatives. I don’t particularly like it but I don’t object to it. Burgers, fine. Hot Dogs, OK. Chilli, stovies, curry all easy to prepare in large quantities and warming to the soul on a cold day, I’d rather they weren’t there but they serve a purpose. All of them, all of them bar one: Chips. Sh*t chips. Really sh*t chips. Think about it, have you ever went to a game and walked out the ground thinking, ‘my, those chips were right braw!’. Football chips are an abomination and fall into one of two categories:
- Canteen style mass-produced tatties, usually found in larger stadiums. Available already sitting lukewarm under the heater for your tasting pleasure accompanied by sachet’s of sauce that are impossible to open because the smallest amount of grease on your fingers turn the small tear you need to pick at to get into the condiment of your choosing into some kind of water torture.
- Chips at smaller grounds where invariably a man stressfully fills the deep fat fryer he’s brought in from home with enough chips to serve one person at a time as an ever increasing queue populates itself with frustrated individuals unable to make their purchases until the 17 minutes required to cook these frozen beauties to just past raw perfection.
Chips! Do one.
I’ll stop here. You know my stance by now, I want pies, have your other things but I want pies. I want to protect the sanctity of a product that is so special to Scotland and ensure that at football matches in 2055 people are still letting the gravy smatter their face and the grease run down their elbow. With that in mind, and to support Scotland’s butchers and bakers I will be compiling the first ever (I think!) Scottish Football Pie Database. Telling you what pies you can get where and who can provide them. I want football clubs across the country to really champion there pies and the people who provide them. This year there were 53 pies entered in the Football Pie category, sounds grand doesn’t it, and yet there is:
- 42 SPFL clubs
- 18 Highland League clubs
- 15 Lowland League clubs
- 17 East of Scotland League clubs
- 14 South of Scotland League clubs
- 165 Junior clubs
Plus a plethora of amateur clubs I haven’t even mentioned, all of a sudden 53 out of 271 doesn’t sound that impressive. For the 2017 Scotch Pie Awards let’s get more involved!
Right that’s me. I’m off my soapbox and next time out I will be back with the first of two proper pie reviews from Linlithgow Rose but until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Hello and Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, what a few days of pie it’s been, judging day has been and gone and 49 pies have passed my all-encompassing glare but 49 is not enough! I’ve only been undertaking this journey of pie for a mere 16 months and I have already found 79 meaty morsels to sample, 49 is barely the crust on the oozy meaty goodness that is the Scottish football pie scence. So I say to you, pie prince and princesses, producers of pastry that is merrily consumed on concrete terraces, grassy banks and in those damn plastic seats across our fair and bonny land get your finger out and champion your pie. You’re too late to be crowned the best Football Pie of 2015 but the 2016 title could be yours. Anyway, I’m going to try to do a separate piece on my day of judging in Dunfermline but it’s safe to say I had an absolute blast. Thanks again to The Scotch Pie Club, Scottish Bakers and The Scottish Meat Traders Association for having me and Div at Pie and Bovril for making it so. All questions asking what pie was the best will be met with a polite silence as I, much like the organisers, want to keep the winners and losers a secret until announcement day in January 2015.
Amazingly though after sampling 49 pies my hatred of rush hour traffic meant that a detour to Alloa provided me with the opportunity to partake in my 50th pie of the day! But this one would be judged on my terms, the terms you have all come to know and love.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: The Indodrill Stadi…no wait, it’s not The Indodrill Stadium, it’s Recreation Park. Always has been always will be. I understand the economics of getting named sponsorship for your clubs ground but sometimes I just despair, what even is Indodrill? In my head it’s some kind of giant purple digging device. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to need one of those. It’s like watching the Champions League and thinking to myself I must remember to buy some Gazprom next time I’m getting my milk, is Gazprom something that you can buy in your local Glasgow convenience store? It’s one of the trappings of the modern game that I’ll have to deal with but it’s one that doesn’t leave me feeling super comfortable conflicting greatly with my traditionalist nature. Anyway this bit isn’t usually this long so…moving on.
Alloa Athletic v Ayr United, Scottish Cup 3rd Round Replay
Price: £1.50 a very reasonably priced pie given the club’s current Championship status, much cheaper than many competitor pies in the division and not a massive jump in price when compared with pies found at the top end of the junior game.
Presentation: It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say this but draped across this pie was a classically proportioned white napkin. A return to old faithful.
Meatiness: After a long day of pie tasting the idea of having a fiftieth pie seemed pretty ridiculous and my biggest fear was that this was going to be awful. Thankfully though this was a wee meaty delight. The meat was moist with a good texture, confirmed by employing a squeezing technique I had picked up earlier in the day. It was well filled with a gentle peppery kick and was of a temperature that allowed immediate consumption once my one bite expose was complete. The seasoning was good and all in all the filling inside didn’t have me regretting my decision to plough on with pie 50 of the day.
Pastry: The pastry was a little under done at the sides causing it to squash as you bit through it but the top was nice and golden. There was a little bit of grease seeping out the top but nothing that distracted from the pastry’s integrity. In fact you could say it added some extra flavour to it. It was well seasoned and held its meaty contents throughout the consumption process.
Brown Sauce: In a large diner-style squeezy brown bottle, there was no indication of what brand was squirted gaily on top of this pie but it did provide an additional tang of flavour.
Overall: For the 50th pie of the day this was a fine way to top off a day’s tasting. The meat was well seasoned, pastry crisp enough and had a peppery linger that, in my eyes, all good pies should have.
Gravy Factor: That extra bit of gravy that you shouldn’t have had but you tuck in any way because quite frankly who doesn’t love a bit of extra gravy?
Another one down. I know I’ve thrown a bit of a curve ball promising a Glasgow City pie and then producing this but that’s the life of pie for you, you never know what you’re going to get. Well until next time where I can definitely confirm that up for review will be the Celtic Pie.
However until then, go forth and eat pie!