scottish cup

Pie 113: The Linlithgow Rose Steak Pie

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So a few weeks ago I went to Madrid with a couple of friends and I fell in love with it a little bit. With it’s party vibe, great (great!) food and passion for football it was the kind of place that makes me realise how much I missed out on whilst spending my younger years on the strips of Magaluf.

We visited almost every museum the city had to offer, drinking and eating our way through many tabernas and restaurant’s. We also made our way to, not just one, but two La Liga matches and I thought this is where I should focus my pre-amble today.

First up was Rayo Vallecano v Celta Vigo, the Partick Thistle of Madrid against that team John Guidetti now plays for. The day before the game we had to go and pick up some tickets and on arrival were treated to an open training session at the Estadio Vallecas. A funny 3 sided stadium slap bang in the middle of suburban Madrid. My Spanish lessons were of varying use throughout the trop but when it came to purchasing football tickets they were at their most potent. On match day we took the metro round to the stadium and as we walked up the steps you were greeted by an audible buzz, something far different from a game in the UK. It was loud and busy but safe feeling with stalls selling flags, scarves and perhaps most relevant to this website food. For this game I plumped for a bag of Chicharrons, deep fried pork rinds and a bottle of coke. The game itself was entertaining and the atmosphere was amped up by Rayo scoring a couple of early goals. Throughout the game it was near incessant even from the Celta fans just a couple of rows away from us bouncing, as they did, all the way through the game and the banter was good natured even with rival fans so close together.

The facilities were rather basic but for me it exemplified why the atmosphere was so great. There was no messing about here, you took to your seat, you watched the game and had a fiesta we even tried singing along a couple of times! It had got me excited for our trip to the Vicente Calderon the following day.

Game two was god awful. Truly, truly bad. Atletico Madrid known more for their stinginess at the back than their tacking prowess played a Sevilla team with exactly the same game plan. In truth, the most exciting thing to happen was when a Sevilla player getting set off prompting the home crowd to go as wild as if they had scored a goal. Amusement followed as we subsequently watched them go beserk as Sevilla went about wasting time in every way imaginable. It was also a pretty hot day and as we were sat halfway up the nonshaded side of the stadium an unexpected bout of January sunburn befell my body in the afternoon sun. My snack of choice for this game were, Pipas (Sunflower Seeds). I had noticed these all over the place at the Rayo game and ever one for a culinary adventure I took the plunge and proceeded to bite, spit and suck my way through these salty treats. I’m still not sure the risk of choking is worth the taste but as an authentic match day meal I think I nailed it.

I really enjoyed my La Liga adventures and I’ve already got Espanyol v Athletic Bilbao lined up for March whilst in Barcelona, the fans are passionate although incredibly biased and the atmosphere moves along even in the less glamorous of games. That said in Spain the empanadas are not a match day specialty, in fact, they didn’t even exist and as this site is called Meat Filled Pastries let’s return to our meaty home with pie review two from Linlithgow Rose.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose 3-3 Forfar Athletic, Scottish Cup 4th Round

Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.
Chucking it down and near freezing but still queued out the door. It can only be the Scottish Cup.

Price: At £1.60 this was only 10p more than the scotch pie offering from the same venue, meaning by comparison this was a relative bargain although I would still say the pricing of the scotch pie is a little bit dearer than the equivalents found in the west region of junior football.

Presentation: I should really do a copy and paste job from my last review here as it was identical, in fact, I’m going to: “Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first (now second) pie of 2016 but even as I enter my 4th year of pie some things in the pie game never change and honestly I don’t think it needs to. Does the job.”

THE PIE

Steak Daft!
Steak Daft!

Meatiness: I ate this pie quite a while ago now so my memories of it are somewhat distant, however my expertly crafted notes (which as always I had texted to myself) have helped jog the memory.

This steak pie was different from many others that I had encountered before. Usually they are a mix of chunks and gravy but in this instance the meat was stewed and shredded creating an effect similar to pulled pork except with steak, I was a fan. That said I thought it was a little bland and lacking a smidge of seasoning. The filling was pleasant enough although it was lacking the punch that would truly elevate to a pie of the highest order.

Pastry: The bottom of this pie was rather burnt, enough to give a bitter note as I chomped my way through and I’m almost certain it was down to living to long in the oven. It did mean that you didn’t run the risk of the soggy bottom often caused by a moist pie such as steak but it did ultimately impact on the taste overall. The top, as can be seen, was a little loose meaning it would hit my nose as I took each bite but the puff pastry was golden and crisp. I think without the ‘well-firedness’ this would have been a pretty solid pastry effort from The Rosey Posey.

Overall: I liked the pulled steak texture and the filling was pleasant if perhaps lacking a bit of imagination. The pastry was a bit of a let down and as previously stated burning the bottom did add a bit of unwanted bitterness. Personally I would rather the bottom was a little softer and I had to do a bit of juggling over sturdy and burnt.

Gravy Factor: Well fired Gravy. Get your fish slice right under that bad boy!

I have no idea where my next review is coming from, this winter has been terrible for your favourite pie reviewer but I will come back with something soon I promise.

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.

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Pie 112: The Linlithgow Rose Pie

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This weather is absolutely brutal for trying to write pie reviews as weekend after weekend of lower league and non league football gets decimated by wind, rain and snow. This coupled with my local team visiting some familiar venues mean that I’ve had to resort to rationing the reviews I have stored in the bank. It’s been heavy going. Two weekends ago I watched in horror as my first, second and third choice alternative games all fell foul of the Scottish winter. Now, I love winter football when it gets played. There’s a sadistic pleasure in freezing your giblets off on a January afternoon, your toes going so numb they feel like Lego bricks and your breath doing it’s best Thomas the Tank Engine impression.

I’m not for summer football (it will be the death of the pie for a start) but I am for a winter break, some kind of provision that ensures thousands of fans are not left staring dead-eyed into the distance as their significant other asks if that is the right shade of terracotta for the dining room when all their heart yearns for is to cheer their team forwards to glory. That said I’ve managed to get about a bit and as such I bring to you today’s review from East Superleague heavyweights Linlithgow Rose.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose 3-3 Forfar Athletic, Scottish Cup 4th Round

2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!
2150 hardy souls in attendance, and I mean hardy, it was well dreich!

Quick note before I start. What a game this was! The kind of thing you dream of when you turn up to a match as a neutral. Controversial officiating, red cards, penalties, an underdog comeback and a ground rammed with people having good natured banter. I was so glad I went. It could have been a wee bit drier but for me that just added to the magic.

Price: A solid £1.50, about par for the top end of the junior game and a blessed relief from the burger disaster that occurred during my last review from Broadwood.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin. It may be the first pie of 2016 but even as I enter my 4th year of pie some things in the pie game never change and honestly I don’t think it needs to. Does the job.

THE PIE

FINALLY!
FINALLY!

Meatiness: Finally! After what felt like a lifetime a new pie at a football match was sitting in my paw. I would have been lying to myself and everyone who reads this site if I hadn’t made my first review of 2016 a scotch pie and this was a solid effort in the meatiness stakes. There was a strong mutton flavour present in this pie distinctive from lamb however it was perhaps just a little greasy. Not offensively so for this pie guy but enough for a dribble or two to be coming from this pastries meaty core. However as any good cook will tell you, fat means flavour! As long as it’s not too much. That said, despite the grease, the meat held together well and all in all this was a nice ‘welcome back’ to the world of football pastries.

Pastry: The pastry is perhaps where this pie was let down a little. The bottom was, in yer granny’s terms, well fired or, in layman’s terms, a bit burnt and it did add a bitter note to your bite which I’m not overly keen on. The top was interestingly the complete converse to the base. Almost chewy in texture, like the pastry you would find on a perogi or dumpling and when you bit into it some of the pastry you weren’t quite ready for came away too. A little bit crisper on top and a little bit softer on the bottom and this would have been spot on.

Overall: A solid effort. Nicely flavoured meaty centre slightly let down by the bake on the pastry around it.

Gravy Factor: It was my first football pie in a month, it tasted amazing even if it wasn’t the best example I’ve had. Nostalgic Gravy.

This is the first of two reviews from the Rosey Posey as I am forced to take the stack them high approach to my pie visits whilst the weather refuses to play ball. Next time out their steak pie will be under the microscope plus an insight into my trip to Madrid and my La Liga matchday experiences.

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. 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 88: The Spartans ‘Haggis & Neeps’ Pasty

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Now if I’m being honest my hand was forced a little so this new aspect to the blog is perhaps debuting a little earlier than I had anticipated. As a 5th week of non-league fixture call offs rolled in I found myself wrapped up in the magic of the cup and a trip to Edinburgh to see if Spartans or indeed Berwick Rangers could continue to defy the odds as for either of these clubs to be Scottish Cup quarter finalists is a feat not to be sniffed at. On my arrival to Ainslie Park I was greeted with a sea of humanity draped in red and white or black and gold. A crowd of over 2500 to see a game that in normal circumstances would be luck to even see a fifth of that. This is where the problem arrived. Usually I like to arrive early to the ground to ensure a pie is destined for my belly but on this, the most busy of days, the fates conspired against me. The incredulousness in my voice when I was offered a hot dog instead was perhaps a tad too far but it was then matched with relief that my trip to Edinburgh had not been in vain and a Haggis and Neeps Pasty was on offer.

So with a meat filled pastry in hand, all be it in a slightly altered format, let’s rate some pie! Eh, I mean pasty!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ainslie Park, Spartans 1-1 Berwick Rangers, Scottish Cup 5th Round

Standing Room Only.
Standing Room Only.

Price: We enter new territory here, as I have no point of reference for pasty prices. My inclination would be to say that these goods should be no more or no less than the humble pie but we’ll see how things pan out. This offering was £1.50 a relative bargain and certainly nothing to complain about.

Presentation: This was curiously placed on a paper plate with no accompanying napkin. Now I’m willing to let the absence of a napkin slide as a table just beside the hatch could well have been housing a batch of mouth cleaning softness but I have a small issue with the plate. For all the benefits it gives in gathering any meat and pastry spillages it is also an awkward thing to hold whilst juggling a drink and programme. You’re also unable to roll a plate into a ball and put it in your pocket should no bins be present thus resulting in a bit of impromptu origami. This is just personal preference, but unless you know what you’re providing has a high moisture content then wrapping your pasty round a napkin is fine by me.

THE PIE PASTY

It's a Pasty. Not a Pie.
It’s a Pasty. Not a Pie.

Meatiness: It’s still a meat filled pastry so we shall still be assessing the meatiness of this offering and boy what a treat this was. Once you got to the filling, more on this later, you were greeted first with a lovely warm hit of smooth peppery haggis, spiced as you expect with the occasional pop of oats as you chewed through. Surprisingly though the real stars here were the small squares of neeps (in this case I’m guessing using swedes to take on the mantle, both by the colour and taste) tucked in and around the haggis adding little bursts of sweetness to cut through the spice. The filling here was sublime, an absolute triumph and lingered longer after completion had been completed.

Pastry: One of the good things about a pie is that by in large the pastry to filling ratio is pretty consistent aided by its hot water crust foundations with other pastries however, such as this pasty, the pastry will tend to be puff in nature and so the balance can vary quite significantly dependent on where you go. In this case there was perhaps a little too much pastry as my first, vegetarian friendly, bite would suggest with me unable to reach its meaty core until bite two was completed. Don’t get me wrong the pastry was flaky and tasted as golden as it looked it was just a little bit much although I’m pleased to report that it stayed together well at my mouths command.

Brown Sauce: With no obvious well for the sauce to sit in, as found atop a pie, no sauce would be forthcoming to this pasty.

Overall: A bit heavy on the pastry but wowsers what a filling, a helluva introduction to the world of non-pie based pastries.

Gravy Factor: Burns Night Gravy. Worthy of a national bard.

Well that is how you set the standard when you’re the first of a new breed, I look forward to seeing how others rise to the challenge. Next up though we will be returning to where it all started with a scotch pie offering from Airdrieonians.

Until next time go forth and eat pie! Or a pasty!

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 79: The Alloa Athletic Pie

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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!

THE SURROUNDINGS

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

Recreation Park
Recreation Park

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.

THE PIE

Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!
Pie 50 of a Wonderful Day!

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!

Pie 77: The Stirling University Pie

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Welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries one mans journey to champion the humblest of pastries, the pie, thanks for visiting and your continued support.

So what’s been the happy haps? Well since my last entry I have been awarded the honour of  judgeship at the 2015 World Scotch Pie Championships. To say I’m chuffed is a bit of an understatement, never in a million years did I think that when I started this little venture 16 months ago I would find myself responsible for helping crown a world champion in pies. I would like to thank Div at Pie and Bovril for giving me the call to arms and the Scotch Pie Club for accepting his recommendation. Judging takes place on the 11th November in Dunfermline and if you are reading this thinking you have a belter of pie to offer then you still have five days to enter at the link below:

http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/index.php?ID=2255&CATEGORY=6-News+and+Events

This championship does everything I want in highlighting the humble pie as the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions that it truly deserves to be. The winners will get announced in January and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it all goes.

My second piece of news involves another episode in my travels with the Tartan Army this time from Warsaw. Now I’ll save you the blow-by-blow account of whatever drunken debauchery I may or may not have got involved in but what I would like to share is my television debut on Sky Sports HQ. Accosted by David Tanner outside a rather swanky hotel after picking up tickets for the game myself and my fellow companions swiftly found ourselves in the media spotlight responding to a series questions about ticket prices and our predicted match outcome. Now in hindsight a shout to Meat Filled Pastries wouldn’t have gone a miss but it was all good fun in the end. If anybody happened to be recording Sky Sports HQ at about 3.15pm on the 14th October give me a shout would love to give it a watch.

So an eventful few days have been had. The last 3 days have been spent sleeping but here I am feeling semi-normal again so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Forthbank Stadium, Stirling University v Albion Rovers, Scottish Cup Second Round

Love a view of the hills in the background
Love a view of the hills in the background.

Price: £2, double the price of the pie fare I have encountered in the lower leagues of junior football and quite a bit more than even the most expensive of junior pies. It surprised me quite a bit considering the fledgling nature of the club and the Lowland League set up that it currently sits within. I’m sure the pricing will be for economical reasons but with a target audience made up mainly of students it could be cheaper.

Presentation: Remember when you were wee and you used to go to the shop and buy a 10p mix up from the local café or newsagent and it would actually have 10 sweets in it (oh for those halcyon days) well remember the bags that the sweets would come in, that is what this pie was presented on. Not in. On, like really. What made this all the stranger was that on the other side of the counter, out of reach of your average punter was a pile of small black napkins that every pie eater’s heart would have been desiring. Stranger still some people got given one of these napkins and some didn’t. As one of the unlucky few I soldiered on with my paper poke but a consistent approach to presentation in the future would be much appreciated.

THE PIE

Told you it was on a paper bag.
Told you it was on a paper bag.

Meatiness: This pie was a tasty treat, admittedly it’s tastiness boosted by my Sunday afternoon hunger. The meat inside was moist without being greasy and was well filled. There was a gentle peppery kick, not mind blowing but with enough of a presence to add another dimension to the flavour profile of this pie. Outside of that there wasn’t a great deal to be said about it to be honest, for two quid I was hoping for something a little more.

Pastry: Now when I first went to get a pie before kick off the lovely ladies at the Stirling Uni counter informed me that none were present and as such me and fifty or so others found ourselves waiting in the half time pie queue. This immediate need for pie I think then resulted in the pastry being ever so slightly underdone. It was  too soft and it missed the crunch of crispy edges. Due to the pastries softness it also splintered all the way round dividing this pie into loose wedges much like you would find on a deep dish pizza. It didn’t make it difficult to eat but stopped it from hitting any kind of pie perfection.

Brown Sauce: I’ve been a bit lax on this section I know but this seemed a good juncture to bring it back. The brown sauce provided in this instance was difficult to pinpoint as it was presented in a small white bowl in which you spooned your required dollop on with. At least it was different from a squeezy bottle or sachet.

Overall: A bit too pricey for my taste given the comparative surroundings but a solid effort none the less. The paper poke and bowl were a novel approach to match day pie preparation.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a few idiosyncrasies thrown in for good measure.

Another pie down, and the first of my Lowland League adventures complete, next up remains a mystery but until next time go forth and eat pie!

Pie 65: The Scottish Cup Final ‘Steak & Ale’ Pie

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But that's not a Pie!
But that’s not a Pie!

Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, all about the pastry of all pastries the humble pie. This latest review comes from The Scottish Cup Final at Celtic Park between St. Johnstone and Dundee United and as you may have already noticed I have had a camera related mishap when it comes to the capturing the one bite expose that graces every review I do. Put simply I haven’t saved it. I took it. I know I did because I remember looking at the picture and thinking what a tiny looking bite I had taken but alas as I went to upload it there was no picture to be found. That however doesn’t mean there will be no pie review.  I ate a pie and you need to hear about it so instead of a pie glistening in the sun you have my view from the stands as Dave Mackay lifted the trophy for the first time in St. Johnstone’s 130 year history.

The other thing to make you aware of is that I have broken my own rules by not having a simple scotch pie on my first visit to Celtic Park since this blog has started. Instead as a fitting tribute to the celebratory feel that the cup final provided I dived head first into the luxury market safe in the knowledge that I will return to Celtic Park soon as a member of the Tartan Army.

So it’s a luxury steak and ale offering this time round, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Celtic Park, St Johnstone v Dundee United, Scottish Cup Final

Price: At £2.90 this pie certainly had a price that matched its luxury status with only Pie: 36, The Hampden Curry Pie, being more expensive on my journey so far. There was an option to combine as part of a meal deal which would save you 10p or so overall but I ignored this option. Even with a potential 10p deduction this pie had some pricey expectations to meat, and yes I am aware I’ve spelt ‘meet’ wrong but sometimes a pie pun is too good to miss. Moving on….

Presentation: Before I actually get to the pie itself I feel I should let you know how this pie arrived in my paw. Whilst standing in a queue that was clearly going nowhere fast I noticed a refreshment hut solely devoted to pies. I booming love this idea as I approached the counter there was no queue and I was served straight away. Obviously I was delighted to have my hands on some hot pie but saddened that the chips, burgers, hot dogs and even pizzas (which looked rotten by the way) brigade continue to force their way into the football snacking market. It wasn’t just that though there was also indian and mexican food stands each offering their own alternatives to our grizzly pie faced veteran. Some will say variety is the spice of life and, in general, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement but a football ground is not where you should experience your first taste of cuisines from around the world, it was all just a bit annoying. As for the pie itself it was presented in a tin foil case with a slightly larger than normal napkin, pretty standard although I couldn’t hep but notice the sheer size of it and suddenly £2.90 didn’t seem too bad at all.

Meatiness: Recently I have found the steak pies I have been offered have shied away from the tender meaty chunks approach of pie preferring a texture closer to the cheaper scotch pie equivalents, on this occasion however I am happy to report the return of the meaty chunks. It’s these chunks of pull apart tender steak that really make these pies worthy of the luxury name. There can be no debate about the fact you are eating meat and it means the gravy, that was well seasoned with a lovely malty background taste from the ale, can truly wrap itself around the chunks and be assessed independently in its own right as i have jsut done. This was a really tasty pie and as I have alluded to earlier the filling inside was generous to the extreme, this was no four bite wonder but a full ten minutes of happily nibbling away.

Pastry: The pastry was a classic puff all the way round with the top hanging over the edges of the tin foil case in which it resided. This however caused a problem with the lid coming clean off after a couple of bites, something which I will do if a pie is presented to me on a plate but not the most convenient of things when standing in a football ground. Luckily my years of pie eating experience meant that I could strategically place each bite so that by the end I was left with only a small mound of meat to scoop up with my fingers. The pastry was lovely although a few knobs of butter short of being truly great but given the volume of the meat it provided a well judged counter to the richness within. This pastry was far more than a receptacle for the meat inside.

Overall: I really liked this pie, especially the additional of ale in the gravy. The malty notes it gives when mixed with the chunks of gravy are a taste sensation that all pie lovers should at least get to try once. It was huge and  although still a bit pricey by the time I finished eating I certainly didn’t feel short-changed. The top was loose but what was inside more than made up for it, maybe not quite the best ‘Steak & Ale’ pie I’ve had but as an overall package I would certainly have it again.

Gravy Factor: Chunky Ale Gravy! Yum!

A pie certainly worthy of a cup final, my next review, alcohol intake permitting, will be from Craven Cottage as Scotland take on Nigeria. I’m disappointed that the Michael Jackson statue will not be there to pose beside but a Tartan Army trip away is always an adventure not to be missed.

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

Pie 57: The Rangers ‘Macaroni’ Pie

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Bursting with Meat......
A Macaroni Filled Pastry

Hello pie lovers and welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries and it’s continual quest to champion football’s only snack of choice the humble pie. Let’s address the elephant in the room straight away. I already know what you’re thinking, ‘How does he have the audacity to call this splendifirous journey of pie Meat Filled Pastries when it’s clear to see that this is a pasta packed pastry presented before me?’. Well firstly, I would ask you to take the bass out of your voice and secondly make you aware of the badgering I have been subject due to the fact I hadn’t reviewed a Macaroni Pie. So here it is, a macaroni pie, if you’re still a bit miffed I hope the small bit of upcoming pie-related word play in this further explanation will help ease your confusion.

‘Meat Filled Pastries’ is a celebration of pie, specifically pie at sporting venues across this fair land of ours. In the main these pies will be filled with meat in a variety of different concoctions that have been brought to the fore on these pages. Some of the most talked about reviews wherever I go are when pies wander from their conventional scotch format and start throwing such ingredients as steak, beans, haggis or potato at you. It’s these curveballs of content that nicely leads into the final point of this introduction. How can we, as connoisseurs of pie, really know which pie is right for us when we don’t give them all a bash; or to put it in pun form ‘Diversi-pie’. To ‘diversi-pie’ is to truly become one with the ethos of Meat Filled Pastries.

So without much further ado, and as requested by the proprietor of www.dedicaked.com your one stop shop for all things cake whether they be popped, cupped or celebratory, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Rangers v Albion Rovers, Scottish Cup Quarter Final

Price: £2.35. 15p cheaper than the previously reviewed steak offering but 15p more expensive than the also reviewed scotch effort from Ibrox. Already this pie is causing me problems on review. Is this a luxury pie? It’s price, greater than a scotch, would suggest yes but can we truly call a Macaroni Pie one of luxury on Meat Filled Pastries? At present I’m undecided so let’s move on.

Presentation: Medium sized white napkin with a snug fitting tin foil case surrounding the pastry. I actually successfully turned this pie upside down without anything falling out but more on that in a bit.

Meatiness: Erm, right…there was no meat in this pie. How am I meant to review it’s meatiness when there is no meat within? Time for some tenuous linkage. Now as we know meat in its purest form comes from animals, in the case of a scotch pie it will come from mutton. Mutton is a form of lamb. Lamb’s are most often located on farms, as are cows. Cows, another provider of delicious meaty sustenance, regularly need milked. Milk when separated is turned into two parts; curds and whey. Curds are acidified and drained resulting in the very beginnings of cheese. These are then pressed and matured to turn into the cheese that we recognise in shops, burgers and this macaroni pie that I am trying to review before you. Therefore as cheese is derived from milk which is taken from a cow which we butcher for meat then this is indeed a meat filled pastry, huzzah!

Anyway, onto the actual tasting and after a week that was very heavy on the pie consumption it was actually a nice change of pace to bite down on something that wasn’t bursting with gravy. It was very much how I had expected, a compression of macaroni in a pastry case. The pasta was cooked well and there was enough of a cheesy hit coming from it to add another layer of flavour. My only complaint was that after a couple of bites it felt rather dry and going against the usual rules I applied a splodge of tomato ketchup for moisture and as such helping the last few bites slide down easily. Was it better than a bona fide meat filled pastry? That really depends on the pie you’re comparing it against. Against a standout steak or scotch then not a chance but against a bog standard offering I would say at least this offers something different.

Pastry: The pastry was of a more complex structure than your average scotch or steak pie. Although the side and base casing weere still standard in nature there was no top. Instead a layer of cheese that had almost burnt created an extra punch of cheesy flavour which did wonders for the overall effect of the pie. On the down side though, due to the fat content within the cheese there was a little bit of tearing when taking the pie out of its tin foil case due to it melting through. However as a man who likes his cheese this was something I merrily picked away at after consumption.

Overall: It’s never going to replace a meat filled pastry but if you are ever wanting a change of taste with your Bovril then this is well worthy of your time and appreciation. It was a little dry inside but I loved the cheesy top and I could defiantly see potential in this to become something truly special with a little more of the cheesy gravy inside and the potential to add ingredients such as ham or chilli. All in all a bit of an eye opener really.

Gravy Factor: Not your usual meaty gravy here but its cheesy cousin Monsieur Béchamel. Worth a try and the type of gravy I am happy to bracket as luxury due to its unusual nature.

Well that was a bit different and it would be a fair assumption to make on your part that this won’t be the last Macaroni Pie you will see. That said the next two offering’s come from East Ayrshire and Auchinleck Talbot, will their pies be as good as their performances on the pitch? We’ll have to wait and see.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

My latest non pie piece ’Pretty in Pink’ is found not only on Leading The Line but also at www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk looking at some of the pinkest kits you’re eyes ever did see and the stories behind them. I also encourage you to look out for my piece ‘Defining World Class’ on the same site, you’ll have to scroll down a bit but it’s definitely worth a read. Something new will be coming soon.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply go to www.meatfilledpastries.com and hit the ‘Follow’ link on the right and you will get an email advising of the glorious news that a new pie blog is ready for your consumption and while you are at it why not have a look at ‘Leading The Line’ a blog not based solely on Pies, crazy I know! The link is on the left hand side, and remember to visit ‘MeatFilledMerch’ for all your pie fashion needs where any personal profit made will go to The Grambler: Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund’ a truly worthwhile cause.