scotch

Pie 109: The Benburb Pie

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I know. I failed in my aim of getting four reviews completed in a week. What can I say? Life, and turning 30 got in the way. Well that and the annual judging day at the World Scotch Pie Championships. This year I was let loose on the hot savoury section a veritable smorgasbord of pastries of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Whilst I was slightly disappointed not to be sticking to my football based roots it did ensure that my taste buds were taken to some glorious new places, both good and bad.

Confidentiality prevents me going into any further detail just now but after some fairly heated debate I’m quite happy with our hot savoury champion and hopefully you agree when the winners are revealed on the 13th January 2016. But for now it’s back to those aforementioned roots and to where it all started with a Scottish Junior football scotch pie from Benburb based in Govan a short walk from Iborx the home of one of Scotland’s biggest clubs Rangers. (I’ll leave it to you to debate if you believe they are the biggest or not, no time for that kind of chat here).

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: New Tinto Park, Benburb 3-3 Scone Thistle (Scone won 4-3 on penalties) Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round Replay

Having to replace the steep banks of 'Old' Tinto Park' is no mean feat in this new all weather era.
Having to replace the steep banks of ‘Old’ Tinto Park’ is no mean feat in this new all weather era.

Price: At £1.50 there’s no shame in admitting that I was a little taken aback by the price of this pastry. Sure it’s nowhere near the high £2 figures found at the top of the Scottish game but it is also a good sight more expensive than the litany of pound priced pies found throughout the junior game. It’s not a grumble, and I was still more than happy to pay it, but just a mere an observation.

Presentation: Free from the shackles of a tin foil cases this pie was presented on a couple of sheets of plain white kitchen roll.

THE PIE

Was it worth the wait?
Was it worth the wait?

Meatiness: This was a squat little pie that had a nice filling but that didn’t really blow me away. The meat was well seasoned and proportional when compared with the volume of the pastry but I felt it lacked some zing. Usually I have a fair bit to sat about a pie filling but my lack of words here should not be construed as a lack of care but more a feeling of ‘meh’. It was nice just not very memorable.

Pastry: The Pastry was golden around the sides, if a little blackened on top whilst being very well fired on the bottom, this juxtaposed with a strangely chewy top, almost perogi-like in texture, made for strange and sometimes awkward eating experience with my pie juggling skills out in full force.

Brown Sauce: Once a request was made, as initially there was no sauces of any kind on display, a bottle of HP was forthcoming.

Overall: A little pricey, but a perfectly serviceable pie.

Gravy Factor: Have to give this a gravy factor of Bog Standard Bisto.

Maybe I’ve been a little harsh on this pie with it having the misfortune of being the first pastry to be reviewed since judging day but at the end of the day it was still a tasty footballing treat. Better than any cheeseburger, chips or roll and sausage you can put before me on the terraces. My next review comes from Pollok, my local team, and a very special limited edition steak pie.

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. 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.

Pie 92: The Hurlford United Pie

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See, I promised you this review was coming soon. Welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries and another scotch pie offering from the world of junior football. One of the problems with writing so many reviews so close together, especially at the start of the week is that there isn’t usually much to say. Soooo…yeaaaaaahhhh, let’s just get on with it, eh? Let’s rate so…oh, wait! One thing, I’m writing a book, yeah that’s happening but I’m just going to leave that dangling out there for now.

Anyway, as I was saying, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Blair Park, Hurlford United 3-1 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final

The pitch wasn't that squinty. My hand was.
The pitch wasn’t that squinty. My hand was.

Price: Now Hurlford United have the unique distinction of not only selling their own pastry fare but also being proprietors of the much vaunted Killie Pie, and whilst I have no doubt their offering would be cheaper than one at its natural habitat of Rugby Park that particular delicacy will have to wait until I make a visit there so shunning popular opinion I settled on a scotch pie priced at £1. That’ll do for me.

Presentation: Keeping it simple with a not quite medium-sized white napkin and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

THE PIE

The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.
The new Brown Sauce technique continues at pace.

Meatiness: Now as you know I am always championing the importance of a peppery kick to my scotch pie. The warmth of pepper helps add a spicy edge to a pie’s already bountiful goodness but in this instance I found myself thinking the peppery hit was just a little too much. On the clear positives, of which there were many the meat was well packed and had a noticeable weight to it when placed in my hand andt had enough fat to keep it moist without it falling apart as you ate. The peppery kick though wasn’t quite right, initially a pleasant addition it started to form an ever building heat in my mouth that started working against this pastry. It was nothing to do with the heat, this pie guy put’s hot sauce on pretty much anything that makes sense to my taste buds but by the end of consumption it left my throat feeling rather dry due to the severity of the build. Given the quality of everything else about this pie I wonder if I was just unlucky and got that rogue pie in the batch where the mixture hasn’t melded together quite as well as the butcher/baker had desired.

Pastry: Although the base was a little soft there was no doubting the near perfect golden top and edges. The pastry held firm throughout consumption and was a solid support to the abundance of filling inside.

Brown Sauce: You may have noticed a new brown sauce dispatch technique in the last couple of reviews, it was suggested to me by one of the folk I regularly attend Pollok game’s with and it’s kind of stuck. This half and half method allows me to assess the pie on its own merits on one half while gauging the effect of the brown sauce on the other. In this instance the sauce was presented in an unmarked squeezy bottle and had just the right balance of tang, sweet and spice.

Overall: Lot’s about this pie was good. It was generously filled, had lovely golden pastry and held together well throughout. Yes it was perhaps a tad over-peppered but a beer at half time soon eased any lingering dryness and being honest I would rather my pie over seasoned than under.

Gravy Factor: Peppered Gravy.

I think what this pie shows that even if you really like your pie a certain way it’s still important to get the balance right, a message that was driven home to me repeatedly by the butchers and bakers present at the World Scotch Pie Championships at the start of this year. My next footballing visit is to see Scotland take on Northern Ireland however there’s a possibility I may have exhausted all my pastry based options at the home of Scottish football but fear not as with Meat Filled Pastries the next pie is never far away.

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.

Pie 74: The Greenock Pie – A Meat Filled Tribute

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries the home of pies, pies and a little bit of football chat. Usually I would have a light-hearted pre-amble about something that has irked me about the recent weeks football activities but today will be slightly different.

A year ago to the week one of my closest friends passed away after a 2 year battle with bowel cancer, last week I was asked to say a few words about him as a tribute and for once I struggled. Not because I didn’t miss him, because I do sometimes without even knowing it. No the reason I struggled, me, the man who once a week writes a 1000 word diatribe based around pies, is that for all the words I write and say they don’t really mean anything, not really. I’m glad it spreads a little happiness and I’ll continue to do for as long as its fun but it’s not going to change the world. Might change a few pie suppliers, but not the world. So here it is, inspired by the eloquent and heartfelt sentiments of his friends and family I do my best to truly articulate what my friend meant to me, a meat filled tribute if you will:

Smit was a wonderful man and friend. For all the time I knew him he never once changed who he was or how he acted for anyone and that’s because he didn’t have to. Every day eulogies appear where someone is dubbed as the kindest or the nicest or the most well liked person and I’m sure in their own way they are but in Smit there was a man who nobody could say a bad word about. He would always be there for some hijinks or there to call you an idiot, something I had much experience of but most importantly he was always there. Even through the traumas of chemotherapy, of endless doctors appointments and hospital stays I never one felt that he wanted you to be anything other than normal with him. To live life to the end with that strength is something that I can only aspire too.

Smit died aged just 28 an age at which no person should pass away. When something like that happens its hard not to evaluate your own sense of worth and the decisions you make, it’s just human nature, the sudden realisation that life is fleeting and then invincibility of youth is a cruel façade that can be so quickly and unfairly taken away. The words of Meat Filled Pastries may not have been here was it not for the likes of ‘The Grambler’ and ‘Rubbertoe Mankini’ some of Stewart’s finest creations and the choices I make now are not made with more than a thought to what he would do if he was standing there beside me. I’ve become a little braver and I’d like to think a little wiser but these changes pale in comparison against what my friend had to go through.  I will always remember, I will never forget.

A year down the line and the focus of Stewart’s friends and family are firmly focused on raising the profile of bowel cancer and The Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund has raised nearly £15,000 to date. If you want to donate then you can do so at the following link, https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3/, you don’t have to but if you do it will be greatly appreciated.

The Grambler  is still going strong left in the capable hands of Stewart’s father Kevin, who continues to produce the betting tips that will win one day win you millions and all it asks in return is you push a little of those winnings towards the funds way. Below is a link to those testimonies I described earlier, if you’ve got this far you might as well read a little further:

http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/08/week-4-tribute-to-our-founder.html

The next fund-raising event is scheduled for Sunday 7th September and below I’ve attached all the information you need to know for a fun filled family day out!

fit fun day

Thank you for bearing with me through all that if it’s not your cup of tea I understand but it would be remiss of me not to use my mild infamy to promote something close to my heart. But for now let’s have a change of pace and why many of you are, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock v Pollok, West of Scotland Superleague, First Division

A Tipsy Pie...
A Tipsy Pie…

Price: £1. One single golden nugget has to depart from your paw to be rewarded with a meat and pastry snack. That my friend, in today’s world of £59.7m Angle Di Marias and £16m Danny Welbecks , is an absolute bargain.

Presentation: Being a scotch pie this rode bare back in my hand with just a medium-sized white blanket playfully wrapped around it.

THE PIE

Pie day is Cheat Day!
Pie day is Cheat Day!

Meatiness: This was a traditional scotch pie but if I’m being honest it was all rather disappointing. There was definitely a meaty centre derived from the most aged of mutton but it lacked any real flavour. There was no peppery hit and neither was there a savoury note to the meat inside. It was moist but didn’t feel lubricated with the wafer thin film of grease that a good scotch pie should leave on your lips as you consume it. This was certainly an instance where I was thankful for a healthy dollop of HP to add some much needed spice and zing.

Pastry: The pastry was OK, it was a hot water crust and a little crispy but also managed to be a little too soft on the sides at the same time. There was no hole in top to let the heat escape although to be fair I am yet to be convinced those pies that give a sneak peek of the meat inside do so for no other reason than aesthetic appeal. There is nothing more frustrating than a pie that you can’t get enthused about when you spend a good chunk of your time reviewing them but the pastry on this pie did little to lift my apathy.

Overall: I ate it, but it’s not devastating to think that it could be another wee while before I have another one.

Gravy Factor: A little below bog standard Bisto. Disappointing.

The next helping of pie will be from an as yet undetermined location so keep your eye out by following me @MFPTasty.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 72: The Blantyre Victoria Pie

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Have you ever tried to eat a pie in 28 degree heat? Yeah me neither, until now that is.

For the unaware amongst you a heat wave hit the west coast of Scotland that left many reaching for the Factor 50 and as the Commonwealth Games rolled into town I had enough time to nip to Castle Park, home of Blantyre Victoria, for a pre-season friendly before getting home just in time to see a bunch of dancing teacakes look on in horror as SuBo fluffed her lines.

It could have been worse though, for all we know wee Susie could have looked out at the psychedelic nonsense going on before her and thought she had died and gone to Tunnock’s heaven, diving head first into an unsuspecting volunteer trying to first tear the wrapper off the marshmallowy behemoth before consuming it whole. This of course leads to the all important decision of whether or not to lay out the empty foil flat on the ground or to roll it up into a tiny ball before flicking it into the distance in no particular direction. The poor lassie.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there. The point I was aiming when I started out here was that a roasting hot day is not ideal pie eating conditions, but as always I found a way to bring a new pie review to you.

So after finding a shady spot to cool myself down, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Castle Park, Blantyre Victoria v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly. Entry: £3. Programme: None.

Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!
Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!

Price: There was no menu adorning the pie stall window, and in haste to get out the sun I forgot to ask how much I had to part with for my pastry. However using some simple algebra deducting the price of multiple cans of fizzy pop from the pie purchases of those around me I can confirm this pie can be yours for a solitary British pound. Bargain!

Presentation: It was white. It was medium-sized. It was a napkin. And that’s all I have to say about that.

THE PIE

Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!
Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!

Meatiness: This pie was perfectly pleasant. Nothing outstanding but a tasty meaty treat nonetheless. The meat was relatively well packed although did fall apart a little the more I bit into it. It was moist without being greasy and although the peppery linger didn’t last long on the palate it was still present after I’d finished. It was the kind of pie that is hard to get really enthused about but at the same time leaves you with nothing bad to say either.

Brown Sauce: That’s right we have a new section folks. It’s something I have toyed with in the past but my early season experiences have shown that the sauce itself is a stand alone feature of any pie whether it be good or bad. So how was the brown sauce at Castle Park? In a word: tangy, adding a sparkle of flavour that this pie was maybe slightly lacking. However be careful as too much and you could end up looking like your sucking an invisible milkshake through an equally invisible straw. It provided some added lubrication with a distinct tart tang.

Pastry: The pastry was soft and crumbly, the edges weren’t particularly crisp so there was no brown sauce dunking on this pie but it did mean that if you were in a rush you could eat this pie in a flash. This pastry would be a favourite with the pie eating sprinters but may disappoint those who are in it for the long haul.

Overall: New section about Brown Sauce aside this was a pretty standard pie, but for a pound you can’t really grumble.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

All things going well my next review will be from Beith, home of one of the best pies of last season the luxury Chicken and Haggis Pie and one of the worst the Scotch Pie. Hopefully the Steak Pie on offer is closer to the former as opposed to the latter. In other news I will be the Scottish correspondent for The Football Pink this season, a link to which can be found on the left hand side of the page, starting with an SPL review that I plan to get done this week. Give the site a visit and order a copy should you get the chance.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 67: The Rutherglen Glencairn Pie

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Mid Table, End of Season Pie
Mid Table, End of Season Pie

It’s time once again to get meaty, and after a rather long run of luxury pies we return to where this all begun and a humble scotch pie offering this time from Rutherglen Glencairn. I’m continuing to squeeze every last drop out of this season that I can before the World Cup consumes all before it and as a result I have found myself at some really important and some not-so-important games. This one most definitely fell into the second category, an end of season mid-table clash that felt more like a friendly than anything else. In fact the friendly feel was enhanced further by the fact that I managed to return home with sunburn something I more commonly associate with the start of the season not the end.

To be honest though the significance of the came didn’t bother me. The sun was shining, the game was on and I had a pie in hand so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Clyde Gateway Stadium, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cumbernauld United, West Superleague First Division

Price: Priced at £1, this matches the price of the cheapest pies I’ve found on this journey and after parting with nearly £4 for Pie 66: The Fulham ‘Steak’ Pie, it felt good to get a handful of change from my fiver.

Presentation: A bareback pie presented in a medium-sized white napkin sufficient in size to hold the pie and leave parts of it untainted by crumbs and grease to wipe your mouth after consumption had been completed.

Meatiness: I’m not going to lie as the pie was presented to me I didn’t have high hopes, not only because it only cost £1 but also it looked a little anaemic, perhaps underdone, however after completing my first bite I was pleasantly surprised. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t going to win any prizes if I was an individual inclined to do end of season awards but it was pretty good. The meat was a pretty solid block but filled the case well enough. It was moist from the meats natural fats without being greasy and it had a peppery kick that almost felt alien so long it had been since I had experienced one. The flavour lingered long after my concentration had focused itself on the game going on in front of me and as such I felt no need to eat anything further. My suspicions were telling me that this was frozen, perhaps from a supermarket, but I’ll be happy to be told otherwise and if it was it didn’t stop it being a perfectly acceptable snack to have on a Saturday afternoon.

Pastry: My suspicions about the potentially frozen nature of the pie mainly came from the pastry. It was rather floury in taste suggesting it had been processed as opposed to handmade and it was rather thick all round breaking apart in shards as opposed to flaking as I bit into it. The final thing I noticed that had me wondering was the lack of a hole in the lid of the pastry to let out the steam something that would normally be placed there by a butcher or baker. The pastry didn’t feel right for a pie that should be consumed at a football ground.

Overall: For a quid, you would be hard pressed to complain, I didn’t love the pastry but it did a job with the addition of brown sauce helping to soften it slightly but I enjoyed the filling and the return of the long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Cheap and Cheerful Gravy!

I think I’m going to fall just shy of the 70 pie mark for the season but all going to plan the next review will be coming from Camelon Juniors on the last Saturday before Brasil 2014 kicks off in earnest. I also feel a non-pie related piece is long overdue and with a pretty quiet week ahead I’ll do my best to get something out.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!