scotch pie

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 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 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.

The 2019 Meaties: The Meat Filled Pastries Awards

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Happy New Year! I wish you all a happy and adventure filled 2020. It’s the 1st of January 2020 and whilst this day signifies the start of a new decade for those that recognise that to be the case it also, more importantly, signifies the day that we find out the winners of the 2019 Meat Filled Pastries Awards, now dubbed The Meaties!

There are five categories this year, with the addition of a Meat Free Pastry Award as well as an award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Matchday Pastries, given to a pie that year on year continues to deliver recognising the pastries that I can’t help but go back for.

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As always I preface these awards by saying that these are the opinions of Meat Filled Pastries and thus subjective and if I haven’t eaten it, then I can’t give it an award. The awards are given to those pies reviews reviewed for the first time in 2019 and if you’re thinking of one that you feel is better then get in touch and I’ll see what I can do for 2020.

For now though, let’s get straight into dishing out some pie-gh fives!

Best Non – Pie Pastry 2019: Pie 161: The Glenafton Athletic Sausage Roll

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In what was a fairly disappointing category this year it is perhaps fitting that a sausage roll that I suspect was thrown together at short notice by those who supply hot goods to Loch Park has risen to the top of the miscellaneous meat filled marvel pile. A generous wrap of golden pastry snuggled around a slab of well seasoned Lorne sausage. It was huge, it was good value and after much perusing of my year in pie it was the only candidate to win this first award.

I find myself wondering as I write whether or not this is a pastry you can even buy in the here and now.

Best Meat Free Pastry 2019: Pie 184: The Irvine Meadow XI Macaroni Pie

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A squat little pie that had a strong cheesy kick. Not only was the sauce delicious but the texture of the pasta was exactly what you would want from a macaroni pie, toothsome and intact meaning that with each bite you got a little pop as the air rushed through. The thing that made this pie stand out over the others was the moreishness to the bite, if the kiosk under the stand at Meadow Park hadn’t been the other side of the ground from where I was situated I may have gone and got another that day.

Honourable Mention

Pie 180: The SWNT Macaroni Pie (c/o Hibernian FC) – A well constructed and generous macaroni based pastry.

Best Luxury Pie 2019: Pie 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

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There was a lot of agonising over this one in what was an exceptionally strong and far reaching category in 2019. Eventually it came down to which first bite I remembered with the most clarity, the taste that still lingers in my mind and the review that seemed the most gushing in praise of the time, and so with those criterion in mind St. Johnstone are awarded the 2019 Best Luxury Pie Award. The gravy was luscious, the steak tore tenderly as I ate with an undertone of paprika provided by chorizo which itself added another texture. The pastry was golden and that day I also got an empire biscuit too. A worthy winner.

Honourable Mentions (There’s a Few)

Pie 182: The Forres Thistle Steak Pie – A huge pie packed with lots of steak and tasty gravy.

Pie 166: The Bohemian FC Chilli & Chorizo Pie – The first ever international entry into the Meat Filled Pastries Hall of Fame. The Irish side’s Chilli & Chorizo behemoth served with mash, peas and gravy was a rare pie treat from the League of Ireland.

Pie 173: The Linlithgow Rose Curry Pie – The finest curry pie to grace these pages, delicately spiced with chicken present in every bite.

Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie – Whether you decide to use the wooden fork provided or not this generously proportioned steak pie has lots to love with a flaky golden top and layers of steak and gravy housed within.

Pie 165: The Clydebank Maryhill Breakfast Pie  Initially brought to my attention during the Bankies tenure at Lochburn Park if this award was to be dished out for concept alone it would be hard not to give it to this offering based in Glasgow’s West End. It might not have won this year but it is still a tremendous match day bite.

Best Scotch Pie 2019: Pie 171: The Kello Rovers Pie

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They say that controversy creates cash and for some this choice will prove to be somewhat controversial but for me in 2019 no scotch pie had me grabbing for more quite like this savoury little number from one of junior football’s most southerly outposts. Demolished in just a few bites this may not be a pie that fits into the most lauded of aesthetics with it’s misshapen casing and puddle of grease but it truly was a taste sensation.

Honourable Mentions

Pie 187: The Linlithgow Rose CFC Pie (c/o Linlithgow Rose) – Gentle with pepper and well textured, part of the excellent trio of pie options available at Prestonfield.

Pie 189: The Whittletts Victoria Pie – Packing a peppery punch this pie was well baked with a tasty filling and well complimented by a dod of Daddies Brown Sauce.

2019 Outstanding Acheivement in the field of Matchday Pastries: Pie 29: The Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie

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First reviewed five years ago now, there is no pie I look forward to more on a Pollok away day than the Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie. Chunks of chicken breast mixed with peppery haggis in a creamy well seasoned white sauce. The golden pastry egg washed and crimped on top lovingly finished with a piped swirl of mashed potato. Its year on year consistency making it a worthy winner of the first Outstanding Achievement Award.

So that’s it, the 2019 Meaties are over. What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the choices made? Where should I go next? What have been your pie-lights of 2019?

2020 will start as 2019 ended with a review from Whitletts Victoria as I look to close in on Pie 200 by taking on their Onion Pie, however until next time, go forth and have a smashing year as you maybe eat a pie or two!

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 189: The Whittlets Victoria Pie

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I hope everyone has had/is having a wonderful festive period, celebrating in whatever way leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

The Christmas and New Year tends to be a boom time for the fixture schedulers at the top end of the Scottish game with the games coming thick and fast ahead of a winter’s break in January. The lower leagues and non-leagues plough on through though, when weather allows of course, and it was a combination of that ability to plough through and a miserable Saturday afternoon that saw me forced to divert away from my original plan and head to Ayr to take in Whitletts Victoria v Darvel in the West Region Championship.

The wind and rain lashed across Dam Park for the near duration of the game with even the back of the large concrete stand providing little shelter and even some of the visiting substitutes decided it would be wiser to shelter under the steps in the terraces than shiver on the uncovered bench acting as dugout.

It’s a credit then to both sides that they managed to serve up an entertaining encounter with the visitors coming out 4-1 victors before heading to Dublin for their team Christmas night out later that day.

Days like these are when a tasty pie really comes into it’s own, but was it tasty? Well without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

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

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Price: £1.50. I’ve said it a few times now but a quid and a half is excellent value for your matchday treat.

Presentation: Presented on a large white napkin, ample for the pasty provided and for dabbing the lips.

Meatiness: This was indeed a tasty treat. The pie was well filled with a distinct peppery linger throughout. A couple of people around me passed comment that they thought it was a bit strong but for me it was judged just right. It held well in the bite and had a little grease to ensure the filling was suitably moist.

Pastry: The top was crispy as were the sides and base. A very good bake with the shaping suitably round although the colour maybe was a little bit dull.

Brown Sauce: Daddies. The great pretender to the HP condiment crown, very much does the job.

Overall: Well baked, well filled with a nice peppery kick. Wonderful on a chilly winter’s day.

This is the first of a double header from the Vics with their Onion Pie next to come under the pie-croscope with the review preceded by the 2019 Meat Filled Pastries Awards which is always exciting. They’ll drop on New Year’s Day.

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 187: The Linlithgow Rose CFC Pie (c/o Linlithgow Rose)

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It’s been a wee while since I’ve written one of these, it’s not been intentional, but just a consequence of a busy end to the Scottish Women’s football season, one that reached a final spellbinding conclusion last Sunday. I write this review a week after what was perhaps, the greatest Scottish Women’s Cup Final in history, most certainly in my recordable life time, and the night before the end of season SWF Awards. If you’re here purely for the pastries you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs, although I hope you don’t.

Women’s football has been pretty good to me over the last few months, I’d like to think as much as I’ve tried to be good to it. There have been times, especially since the end of this summer’s World Cup in France, where rest has been an under-utilised aspect of my life and on more than one occasion I’ve probably needed to stop and take a moment. Instead though I ploughed on and, as the ticker tape parade that echoed round Tynecastle with Glasgow City claiming a first Scottish Cup triumph since 2015 came to an end, I felt a strange sense of pride and belonging.

Football is magic, no matter the level, venue or gender of those involved, I’ve always felt this way about it. I still remember a t-shirt I would wear religiously when I was nothing but a bairn that had emblazoned across it, “Football is life, the rest is just a game.” Of course that’s not strictly true, but it can be hard to deny the transformative effect a healthy relationship with the beautiful game can have for some. I include myself in that number but it’s only in these last couple of months that I’ve felt that maybe my relationship could be something more than just turning up for every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

As I took in my surroundings on Gorgie, as the last few fans got their cards and programmes signed by their heroes, some of the most accessible and generous people you will ever meet, both in victory and defeat, I suddenly realised just how tired I had been. I headed back to Glasgow, having one last convenience for dinner before completing a quick edit and heading to bed where I slept, for as long as the alarm set for the day job the following morning would allow, and then the next night I slept and then I slept again but as I headed to my slumber each evening I did so content, content that I took a chance and put myself out there and that people in turn took a chance on me. I have only really done this in full for one season, for some of those I’ve met over the campaign this has turned into their life’s work. I will never not be in awe of that and the manner in which they continue to tackle the hurdles they need to overcome.

I recently turned 34, and more than ever I’m acutely aware of my own neuroses but I also like to think I’m more comfortable with exactly who I am and football, in particular the women’s game, has helped me feel that way and I can tell you, that, that feels smashing.

Meat Filled Pastries has always played a part in this too, a constant when the well was running dry or the enthusiasm wained and so it will be nice, for a little while at least, to get back to writing about these meaty marvels, and so, without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose CFC 0-2 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

Price: £1.50, a pie price point I think we can all get on board with.

Presentation: Classic presentation, handed over the counter on top of a medium-sized white napkin, exactly what you need.

Meatiness: This was delicious, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has had the Curry Pie and/or the Steak & Haggis Pie at Linlithgow Rose, two standout pastries in their own right. The filling was moist with a texture that gave a little to the bite but still held itself well and was generously filled, seasoned to a tee with a light spicy linger as you ate. My disappointment that the two aforementioned were sold out was soon washed away by the flavours of this pie crashing over my taste buds.

Pastry: Well formed and round, the lid clearly having been pressed into the sides by the finger tips of its maker, a little cross on top to let the steam out. The pastry may have been perhaps a little thick for some but for me it’s sturdiness resulted in a very satisfying first bite.

Brown Sauce: HP, nothing to complain about with that as I adorned my pie with a swirl.

Overall: Linlithgow Rose have emerged over the last few months as a genuine contender as best matchday pastry provider around, with consistency of product and quality across the range being clear to see. This scotch pie is a very welcome addition to the Meat Filled Pastries scene.

Gravy Factor: Bangin’ Bisto.

A lovely return to the pie scene that, and a special mention to those involved with the Little Rosey Posey who really went all out for what would have been one of the biggest games in their short history in the junior game. There should have been a review from Firhill coming next but I’ve lost all my pictures and notes from that day so where next is as big a mystery to me as it will be to you, 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 186: The Port Glasgow Pie

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Hello pie pals and welcome to the second of two reviews from the Inverclyde Riviera. I shared a little of my experience from that game last time out in Pie 185: The Port Glasgow Steak Pie, so go check that out as I write this fresh off another round of Friday Night Junior football. I continue to believe that it is a concept that junior sides with the capability to make happen explore.

I am now just two weeks away from World Pie Championships Judging Day and so with that in mind I thought I’d share a short audio piece I did at this year’s awards dinner. It’s a bit rough around the edges but it still tells a good wee story and features some of the biggest names in the Scottish pie making world so why not check it out.

 

I’m also still smashing out the content over on Leading the Line, so if you enjoy women’s football or are keen to learn more than go have a look and give it a subscribe as the season hurtles towards its close.

For now though and without much further ado, let’s get back to the pastries with review number two from Parklea, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Parklea Stadium, Port Glasgow 1-0 Greenock Juniors, West Region League One

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Price: £1.50 is a fair price for a scotch pie in the world of junior football. No complaints here.

Presentation: It was presented on a single sheet of white kitchen roll, fairly standard. Weirdly though, as was the case with the steak pie where it made some sense, I was offered a fork, a first in seven seasons of pie consumption. I politely turned it down but if you enjoy a fork to consume a scotch pie on the terraces with then please get in touch.

Meatiness: This was a good scotch pie. It had a strong pepper kick, a sensation I hadn’t felt for a while in a pie, with a long spicy linger that provided a strangely warming effect on a cold October evening. It was well formed and safe to the bite. Well filled, well seasoned, tasty, spicy and just a little bit moreish.

Pastry: There was a slight chew to the pastry but overall it was a well baked shell which held the filing securely with the top edges of the rim golden and crispy and the base sturdy.

Overall: A very good scotch pie with a nice pepper kick.

Gravy Factor: Aaaaah, bisto.

So it was not only a double dunt review from Port Glasgow but it was also a double dunt of tasty pastries too. Next time I head east once again to Linlithgow, the home of many a tasty pastry, as Pollok face Linlithgow Rose CFC in the Scottish Junior Cup. 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 183: The Forres Thistle Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the second review from the Scottish Highlands as we dive into, what turned out to be, a rather substantial scotch pie offering from Logie Park.

If you want to read about the epic steak pie from the same venue then you can do so here, that one was definitely worth the 400+ mile round trip but before we find out if it was a day for double delight I wanted to give you an insight into that journey, one that very nearly resulted in an overnight stay in Forres itself.

The day started early, arriving at The Quiach, the regular post match watering hole for half eight with a roll and coffee in hand. There is a regular bunch that take the bus to these away games, and our numbers were boosted by an extra few who wanted to leave their cars at home and enjoy what had turned out be a first trip north in over five years.

The drive north was fairly uneventful, we rolled into town a couple of hours before kick off and quickly assessed our surroundings in search of the nearest pub knowing that the ground itself, which was situated on the outskirts, had no social club to fall back on. Having had a few in The Thistle Bar we boarded the bus and headed towards the ground which was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area. There was no parking to speak off and so our driver Wullie made the bold – and what soon turned out to be foolhardy – decision to go off road and park up on the grass, 45 seconds later the bus was stuck.

The rain had been falling heavily the night before and in spells throughout the journey and whilst a couple of cars were already in situ there was a suspicion as the wheels moved away from the safety of concrete to swampy grass that trouble was imminent.

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It was. The wheels spun, and spun, and spun, the engine grunting and moaning as the gears were cranked over and over. Still in our seats we could feel the bus slip deeper and deeper into the mud, a look out the window showing the carnage being caused. We disembarked and did the only sensible thing by making our way into the ground hoping to resolve it at half time leaving a gaggle of bus drivers to get started. 45 minutes later, it was still stuck, and with Wullie looking more and more a broken man a few of us headed out and after some digging, some pushing and the snapping of at least two tow ropes (unused seatbelts) the bus was free, our camaraderie strengthened with the path home secure and our shoes a little muddied.

The trip itself was made by that bus story as the game was very little to write home about but as we made are way back towards the gate it was fair to say we had earned ourselves a pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Second Round

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Price: £2. I’ve noticed this is becoming a bit of a recurring trend where no matter the type of pie the price for each remains the same. £2 for a scotch pie is quite high for this level but then counter that with that being the same price as the steak and it all kind of balances out.

Presentation: Same as the steak on a double layer of kitchen roll.

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Meatiness: This pie was a whopper but quantity doesn’t always mean quality and to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with this one. The texture was what you would expect to see in a good scotch pie but my filling was a little cold meaning the flavours didn’t pop as much as you would want them too. The meat was a little pale and grey meaning that when eating your eyes that sense too felt a little underwhelmed.

Pastry: Much like the steak the top was a little loose from around the sides but it had a nice golden colour to it and held the substantial filling comfortably.

Brown Sauce: HP, elite sauce levels here.

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Overall: A big lump lacking a little a punch.

Gravy Factor: Bog standard bisto.

Think you have what it takes to be a judge at this year’s World Scotch Pie Championships, then luckily for you the organisers are running a competition which will see you become a judge for the day, details of which can be found below.

https://worldchampionshipscotchpieawards.org/be_a_judge_competition_.php

Next time out we are back in Ayrshire to cast our eyes over the Irvine Meadow Macaroni Pie. 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, 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.

 

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Scottish Football Histories: Pie and Bovril

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It’s just hit quarter to three on a Saturday afternoon and I’m hungry. I’m always hungry at this time on a Saturday. Years of conditioning have meant that my arrival on the terraces is almost immediately followed with me presenting the questions, “Pie?’, “Bovril?”, to those around me. They are after all, to quote one of the country’s most well known fans website, “The staple diet of Scottish Football”. I have seen the devastation should one, or even both, drop to the floor. The joy and disappointment of that first bite and, on one occasion, seen them sent flying towards an official after a disagreement about an offside decision. For many, myself included, no match day experience can be complete without this humble pair, but how did they come to be so intrinsically linked with our national game and what is it about them that has seen them endure?

Given how ubiquitous they are to each other it is perhaps no surprise to learn that references to both in the newspaper archives come from the same time over 120 years ago. In the Friday 23rd September edition of the Glasgow Evening Post from 1892 an advert for a “Grand Football Match” at Ibrox promised “Bovril Served Hot”, accompanied by the sub heading, “Guard yourself against the possibilities of the chill or cold by drinking Bovril.” A description that seemed to suggest a cup of Bovril, taken either before or after the match, could have the same kind of health boosting properties that would be much later attributed to a bottle of Lucozade and a punnet of grapes. The Ibrox chiefs hadn’t stopped there though. In the same week an article in Scottish Referee boldly announced the news of An Innovation” as cups of Bovril were to be accompanied by hot pies with Rangers Secretary Mr. McAndrew accredited with “looking after the football public by placing within their reach refreshments of the best kind.” The spread at Ibrox was again gaining praise in a 1902 edition of the Dundee Evening Post with Bovril Hot Chocolate now available, “vended by a small army of boys smartly dressed in chef’s uniforms.” The drink was so popular in Glasgow’s south side that for a while one of the stands at Ibrox would become affecteonality knows as the Bovril Stand thanks to the large advertising presence within it. Bovril, along with the increasingly present scotch pie, had been a hit, with a further article in The Perthshire Advertiser from the same year proclaiming that the beverage “crowns the enjoyment (of a football match), with thrilling, warming, sustaining and invigorating comfort”. The marketeers had struck gold.

I realise that at this point, for some, knowing both what Bovril is and what constitutes a Scottish football pie will be in themselves the revelations of this piece. For those in the know, of which I am sure there will be many, then view this next paragraph as a quick history lesson to help provide some further context.

Bovril is, when put in simple terms, a beef tea, however to simplify it would be to undermine the complexity of this highly salted beef extract. Originally developed as a paste by Scotsman John Lawson Johnston in the 1870s his Johnston’s Fluid Beef was created as a solution to the task of having to supply Napoleon’s French Army with one million cans of beef without having the meat to do so. It would prove to be a huge success and in 1889 the Bovril company was formed. The name Bovril translating itself to mean “strength of an ox”, derived from the first two letters of the word “Bovine” and the letters “vril” taken from the electromagnetically charged “Vril-ya”, a superior being in the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel The Coming Race.

With the brand now established it was often used to substitute meat during the war years and in the 1960s a granular form would hit the shelves to challenge more traditional stock starter products. A recipe change by current owners Unilever in 2004, means that Bovril is now vegetarian friendly however the taste remains the same and it’s that product that still hits the terraces to this day.

The history of pies is far longer but in some ways much easier to surmise as the concept of producing portable and time hardy meals date back tens of thousands of years. Even if we focus solely on the scotch pie, the quintessential match-day pastry, the date of first conception still remains fairly vague with a common consensus that they first appeared around 500 years ago, although whether they were first conceived in Scotland or England is still up for debate, much like all good Anglo-Scots origins stories.

Scotch pies are traditionally shaped into a round hot water crust shell and then filled with mutton and highly spiced with pepper, each butcher and baker in turn having their own variations on the theme. This variety led to the announcement of the first ever World Scotch Pie Championships in 1999 – founded by the Scotch Pie Club, an organisation itself formed just three years previous. The competition has grown considerably since with over 500 products entered at the 20th anniversary judging across 11 categories including, Best Football Pie and I am very fortunate that for a number of years now I have been part of these judging days as a result of my own pie obsession. It is also a commercial boon for any category winner. During an interview I conducted at the 2019 Awards, 2018 World Scotch Pie Champion Alan Pirie from the tiny village of Newtyle in Angus, told of how the day after he won the World Championship he received an order for 8000 of his winning pastries.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the scotch pie though as a recipe from a 1940 edition of the Daily Mirror showed. With meat supplies diminished during the Second World War, homemakers were encouraged to substitute mutton for beef and stretch their protein rations out even further with the addition of a can of tomato soup. A part soup/part beef pie would certainly raise a few eyebrows on the terraces these days but the scotch pie is not the only pastry vying for real estate on the tastebuds of Scottish football fans. Steak, haggis, curry, macaroni, vegan and novelty offerings such as The Breakfast Pie, a full Scottish breakfast wrapped in pastry, are just some of the variations that can be found in kiosks across the country but it is the legend of the Killie Pie that perhaps most endures.

Ask a question about pies in Scotland, and almost everyone will tell tales of The Killie Pie. A marriage of steak and gravy that transcends the terraces and has made its way into Scottish popular culture. When asking a fan the question, “Who does the best pies?” it will be often answered with a strong “Kilmarnock” despite the respondent having sampled a mere handful of its contemporaries, if any at all. Buyer beware though as The Killie Pie of today is not the same pie of Rugby Park Saturday’s past. A 2016 trademark dispute between Kilmarnock FC and suppliers Brownings the Bakers (who originally produced the two time Best Football Pie award winner) over the use of the word “Killie” meant that the original is no longer available with the Ayrshire side since changing supplier. The rebranded “Kilmarnock Pie” from Browning’s remains readily available outside of the KA1 postcode though and can even be bought in some supermarkets as well as popping up at a number of non-league venues in the region. Pies in Scotland mean business.

As does Bovril, especially in a country where football is usually viewed through a shivering lens, and there are more than a few idiosyncrasies that keep what constitutes a good and bad bovril distinct in the eyes of the consumer. For some, it isn’t complete without a few shakes of the pepper pot, done to add that little extra kick. For others there’s a kind of masochism in getting a really poorly mixed beverage. The paste or powder forming a ridiculously salty gloop at the bottom of the cup that you can’t help but stick your finger in before inevitably recoiling as a result of the over-exposure of savouriness that your taste buds have just undergone. Whilst big stadiums have high pressure water taps and scientifically costed measurements to do the mixing for you, the real joy of a Bovril comes from drinking it from an open polystyrene cup on a freezing cold day with the aroma visibly wafting across your cheeks and up your nostrils as you take those first few sips.

You can’t talk about the traditions of pie and bovril without acknowledging what the potential future may hold. The battle that clubs face in ensuring that their ground is where fans spend their free time has never been more contested, not just in a sporting context, but also when competing with lower cost, family friendly alternatives. In the 2018/19 Scotland Supporters Network Survey both cheaper catering and the sale of alcohol featured amongst the top five most suggested improvements to the match day experience and the presence of chips, burgers and hot dogs have long been a match day eating consideration. Whilst traditional tastes will always have their place it’s fair to ascertain that this diversification of the match day menu can only help to appease the demands of the fans. The same survey revealed that only 18% of them believe that Scottish Football is committed to a “high-quality fan experience.” and catering will be a significant consideration within that. For clubs to ignore this feedback would be at, best careless and at worst, ignorant.

I suspect though, that despite the competition, these items with over 120 years of history will continue to endure. In a 2012 interview with the Harvard Press author of The Omnivorous Mind, John Allen stated that, “The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting.” It’s a statement that resonated with me as I thought about my own experiences on the terrace.

The exchange of coins, followed by a squirt of sauce and that first joyous bite. The solidifying of the grease that has dribbled down your thumb on a freezing December afternoon. Taking a couple of blows on a piping hot Bovril before taking the tiniest of sips to condition your mouth and then the inevitable scalding that will ruin your tongue for the days that follow. Those disappointments when the sold out signs go up and the excitement you feel when striding towards an away day pie hut you have been waiting all season for. For this fan at least, those old familiar feelings, will never be replaced.

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. 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 176: The Dunipace Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest munchings from Meat Filled Pastries as we head east to Denny and Westfield Park, the recently renovated home of former West Region Juniors and current East of Scotland side, Dunipace. This week I want to take a slight detour from my new themed pieces to announce an exciting partnership between Meat Filled Pastries and BSC Glasgow.

The Glasgow club, based in Alloa, have been putting in the hard graft over the last month or so in an attempt to grow their presence not only online but also in the stands. One of their initiatives saw them raffling off the opportunity to sponsor one of the sides players or staff for just a fiver. This was a no brainer, and more in hope than expectation, I signed up and waited for the announcement to be made. A couple of weeks later, on a Friday afternoon train to Edinburgh as I escaped the chaos that only TRNSMT can bring, my email notifications blew up with the news that I had been drawn out and that for the 2019/20 season I would be sponsoring centre back sensation, Ross Smith. A bet involving him scoring 20,000 goals and free pies has already been made and of course I’ll be making my way down to the Rec at some point I’m sure.

The day of the announcement my Twitter feed was full with BSC Glasgow related content and references and it is perhaps no surprise to see that since then they have moved on to raffling off shirt sponsorship and I’m sure there will be even more ideas to come over the course of the season.

For now though, let’s get back to pie business with this scotch pie from Day 2 of the Westfield Tournament, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Westfield Park, Dunipace 1-0 Scone Thistle, Pre-Season Tournament Friendly

Price: I forgot to ask. This pie also doubled as my breakfast as a result of the Sunday noon kick off so I wasn’t operating at full capacity. I do know that it was £3 for a can of juice and my pie so using my pie based algorithms from years of consumption I’m going to say that this pastry can be yours for a slightly top heavy £2.

Presentation: Classically presented on a medium to large sized white napkin.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled pastry. The filling was well textured, not too firm and not too loose, meaning that a fairly low risk bite could be had. There was a very gentle pepper undertone that some would maybe like to see appear more prominently but overall I thought the filling made for a tasty meaty mouthful.

Pastry: Well formed and golden this pastry did the required job of safely holding the pie within. The edges were super crispy though which meant a little bit of gentle nibbling around the edge was required to ensure a safe and spill free bite but certainly more than adequate.

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Brown Sauce: As can be seen from the picture above they had gone condimental at Westfield Park including the Sophie’s Choice of picking between Daddies and HP. In the end, with the pressure of choosing too much to take, I went for the closest option and adorned my pie with a spiral of HP.

Overall: Neatly constructed with a good tasting filling supplemented by a swathe of sauce options.

Gravy Factor: A tasty way to start the day.

After a couple of so-so offerings it’s good to have something a bit better to get my teeth into. This would be my first of two games on that Sunday as just an hour after full time in Denny I would be sitting in the stands of McDiarmid Park to see St. Johnstone take on Ross County in the Betfred Cup and this one was something a little bit different.

However, 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.