scottish cup

Pie 149: The Stirling Albion “Steak” Pie

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Welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we induct the 149th baked good into these hallowed pastry halls. This week’s offering comes from Stirling Albion but instead of seeing the Binos do battle I was present for semi-final one of a SSE Scottish Women’s Cup semi-final double-header. I had got out my bed fairly early for a Sunday to take in Glasgow City and Hibernian as the two dominant forces in Scottish women’s football went head to head at noon before Motherwell and The Spartans kicked off four hours later for a place in the final to be played on Sunday 4th November at Firhill. A two game semi-final double header at the same venue on the same day. Can’t think where I’ve heard that before…

I’ve talked at length about what I think needs to be done to really capitalise on the success of Shelley Kerr’s World Cup bound national side and the need to move the domestic game in Scotland forward. If you haven’t read those then conveniently there is a link right here where I gave my opinion a couple of months ago. At this point though I want to commend some of what I saw at Forthbank Stadium that certainly seem to suggest things are moving in the right direction, especially after the introduction of the new entry criteria for the 2019 season.

Firstly, whilst the announcement that the 4 semi-finalists in the Betfred Cup would all play on the same day had people proclaiming the end of days, the idea of a Semi Final Super Sunday works in a Scottish women’s football context and although the announced attendance of 364 sounds meagre it is considerably higher than your average SWPL match day turnout. They had also struck a deal with the BBC similar to the one currently being exercised for the early rounds of the FA Cup to stream both games live on the BBC Sport website accompanied by some proper english speaking commentary. There were team sheets available for each game and whilst it was good that these were free there was perhaps a missed opportunity for a double edition programme to be sold. The historic problem of kick off times clashing with big games on the men’s side did rear its head again though as the crowd appeared noticeably smaller as I watched game two in my flat prior to Scotlands’ 1-3 defeat to Portugal “B”. A game that kicked off only an hour after Motherwell and Spartans did so making it impossible to properly engage in both.

The biggest thing though, and the one that is most relevant to this site, is that there was some hot food to be had and national team aside this feels like a bit of a first. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Forthbank Stadium, Glasgow City 1-2 Hibernian Ladies, SSE Scottish Women’s Cup Semi Final

Price: At £2.50 this was perhaps a bit pricier than I was expecting given the Scottish League Two surroundings. The price becoming a greater bone of contention as I started my consumption.

Presentation: Presented in a tin foil case, the napkins were a self-service job from the table beside the counter. Plenty of large white napkins to choose from so you could go wild in a totally environmentally friendly way.

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Meatiness: Ooft, this was dry, which was a little upsetting. There was some large chunks of steak present but these meaty morsels were quite tough which – coupled with the lack of gravy – didn’t make for the most joyous of bites and an overuse of your jaw muscles. The seasoning wasn’t much cop either and it’s fair to say that I was a little disappointed when I looked at the empty napkin and foil tin that sat in my hand. I know this is a luxury pie but I wish I had whacked some brown sauce on it.

Pastry: The pastry was a bit weird. Whist the scotch pie shell with puff pastry lid has been seen before the puff had seemed to forget to do its growing thing and the shell had a strange grey-brown-yellow sheen to it. Structurally it was sound but again it wasn’t much of a taste sensation.

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Overall: This wasn’t a classic. The meat was a little tough and the paucity of gravy meant that it was all just a little dry, especially when paired with the slightly odd pastry combination surrounding it. I’m not going to lie, part of me thought that these were left over from a Saturday somewhere, and that’s not a great sign.

Gravy Factor: Just a mirage of gravy in this pastry desert.

Well with us one pastry away from 150 there is some pressure to be had on our next hosts after this underwhelming effort. Who that host will be I genuinely don’t know but what I can assure you of is that there will be a pie celebration to be had and maybe I’ll knock something up a little bit special too.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast and  The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

 

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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.

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!