scottish football

Pie 126: The Queens Park “Cheese & Onion” Pie

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Welcome back to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries where we’re always on the hunt for some meaty thrills whilst holding back on the spills because a spilled pie leads to a sad guy.

Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks we have seen the dawning of a new year and with it the thoughts of new hopes and expectations that it will bring. I’m not one for the phrase “New Year, New Me” philosophy that blights social media for those first few days of January but I do see it as an opportunity to set some goals and try new things.

It’s also the time of year where people declare their body a temple and health boards and charities across the country champion well-meaning campaigns such as “Dry January” and the awfully named “Veganuary”. Now this may perhaps come as a surprise to some but I am quite happy to eat a meal without meat, in fact when you consume the volume of Meat Filled Pastries that I do it is somewhat of a treat. However with that being said I cannot get on board with replacements such as “Facon” and “Tofurky”. I’ve got in to many a debate about this with non-meat eating friends before but for me if you don’t want to eat meat why are you then replacing it with things that look and (supposedly) taste like the things they don’t have any interest in eating? It’s an endless riddle to me. Most vegetarians are sound and rational people. Most vegans however, are in my experience (bar the odd exception), raving lunatics who must burn all of the 150 calories they consume a day telling the world that if you eat meat you deserve to burn in the depths of hell for having the audacity to like the occasional chicken nugget. It’s not my fault you’ve chosen a life of cauliflower “steaks”. I accept that as your life decision so don’t come preaching, and I mean preaching, to me because I don’t agree. All of which, kind of ironically, brings us to today’s pie review; The Queen’s Park Cheese & Onion Pie, a veggie (but not vegan) friendly option at the much debated home of Scottish football Hampden Park.

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

Where: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park 2-2 Albion Rovers, Scottish League One

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Price: A whooping £2.70. For a pie with zero meat in it. Now I’m making an assumption here but I’m guessing that pie prices for Queen’s Park games are dictated by someone other than the club as history has shown that a pie at a Scotland game will cost you exactly the same for a (supposedly) much higher level of football. I’m not even going to begin to claim to the understand the economics behind Queen’s Park playing at Hampden, and for what it’s worth I think they should continue to do so, but £2.70 for a pie definitely needs looking at when compared with their League One peers.

Presentation: The tin foil case of potential doom accompanied by a large white napkin for mopping up at this point the unknown treasures within.

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Meatiness Cheesy-Onionyness: Sigh. This was fairly rubbish. Always a disappointment in the pie game. Inside this pie was a mushy yellow and white paste that I presume was meant to be rich and cheesy with a strong onion linger in the background oozing as you pull away each bite and where you try to stop a small string of cheese getting stuck in your beard. Positively dreamy.

What actually happened was the appearance of a bland blob that tasted more of uncooked roux and a hint of cheese tainted with a pepper kick so offensively strong that the acrid burn stabbing at the back of my throat resulted me going and having to get a second beverage. On review fairly rubbish seems far too genteel. This was looking to be a bit of a disaster and then there was the pastry…

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Pastry: I have often talked about the pit falls of the tin foil case. A Sophie’s Choice of a decision for butchers and bakers between the appearance of uniformity and the risk of the pie sticking to the bottom of the case. It’s a risk that often backfires and in this instance the result was no different as half my pie stayed glued to the bottom as I lifted it to take my first bite. The pastry on the top edges was golden and crisp but at the base was as near to raw as I think I’ve ever had at a football game. So raw infact, that I could actually leave a thumbprint in the bottom with the mixture of filling and pastry creating a texture that I’m sure could be used as a Play-doh substitute at a nursery. I can’t think of the last time I thought, “I might not even finish this” but it was really that poor. I am however a trooper, and so I powered through like any good pie muncher should.

Brown Sauce: Regular readers will know that a luxury pie (i.e. a non-Scotch Pie) does not get dotted with some of the brown stuff but given how consumption had gone to this point I thought I’d grab a sachet to try and save it. Sadly, even this most wondrous of condiments couldn’t prevent me from experiencing culinary doom.

Overall: This was not very good. The filling was bland but yet somehow offensive and the pastry was near raw and stuck to the case. If you go to a Queen’s Park game I’d avoid this and stick to your traditional Scotch or Steak. If you’re feeling fancy wire into a Chicken Curry but if you’re a vegetarian I’d just settle for a Mars Bar.

Gravy Factor: Literally better off eating a spoonful of unwatered Bisto.

Well that was disappointing. It’s often said it’s easier to criticise than praise but for me the purpose of this site is to champion the best pies around the grounds and beyond and so when I’m met with something bad it’s a chore to break it down. That said, if I’m not honest and go about proclaiming every pie as the greatest I’ve ever had then I lose all credapie-ility.

Next up is a first review from Clydebank, something I couldn’t quite believe when checking the archives before the game so hopeful we see a return to pie glory. But until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

 

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Pie 118: The Carluke Rovers Chicken Curry Pie

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Hello pie fans, let’s get straight to business. I am aware that in the past I have, on more than one occasion, intimated that this is the end of the road for Meat Filled Pastries only to then be drawn back in with spiels dedicated to that holy trinity of meat, pastry and gravy however this time, this time is different. I mean take a look at this review for example, this game took place in April, it’s July now and this is me just getting round to ticking it off. Something had to give and at the moment it seems to be the pies. That’s not to say I haven’t been at games and continued my adventures to  the back of beyond to watch 22 men(or women) kick about a polyester sphere whilst getting my pastry fix, it’s more the aftermath that has suffered. Whether that be an increase demand in work, to learning Spanish, from wanting to see the world and just generally hanging about with my friends and family all have taken precedent over a few hundred words about pie.

More relevantly, to those of you who have kept with me during this, I really do want to put this all together into one coherent collection of my journey. From the first foolhardy bet, to the awards and media appearances up until the right here and now where I’m stealing 30 minutes from my lunch to type up this review. I think it’s a good story to tell, but an impossible one to do if I don’t step back, take a breath and look what it’s achieved. So there you have it this is my swansong, not a forever goodbye, more I’ll catch you later.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: The John Cumming Stadium, Carluke Rovers 0-3 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round

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Price: Dropped the ball here. This was somewhere between £1.20 – £1.70 and so if anyone want’s to correct me then please feel free. Given it’s chicken curry nature we can class this as a luxury pie and as such anywhere within the bracket I’ve just quoted is more than acceptable.

Presentation: This is a direct copy from my last review. Same place, same presentation. Medium sized white napkin that was bigger than the circumference of the pastry that sat on it. It’s all you need really.

THE PIE

I think this might glow in the dark...
I think this might glow in the dark…

Meatiness: Chunks of tender chicken breast awaited my gob replacing the normal crumbly mutton that a scotch pie possesses. Cubed into properly bite size chunks they were coated in a luminous yellow curry sauce that you would often find smattered on the pavement outside Central Station on a Friday night. As I discovered at the most recent edition of the World Scotch Pie Championships chip shop curry sauce is very much a controversial subject. For some it offers the comfort of home, providing that pick me up on a hungover Sunday evening as it’s smothered over a poke of chips. For others it is an atomic bomb to the senses, an overheated day-glow paste that stains everything it touches from your teeth to you trainers. I fall somewhere in the middle, appreciative of the joy it brings others whilst the food wanker lurking within wants something more complex and ‘real’. Stripping it back to what this pie is; a matchday snack. It does an amicable job of satisfying hunger whilst being slightly different from the norm.

Pastry: The pastry was interesting and perhaps a consequence of the different filling this pie offered. First thing that struck me was how pale it was, perhaps not subjected to the same boil out and fat that a scotch pie normally has meaning it was almost white in colour. Secondly was it’s texture, almost bread like with a biscuity crunch as opposed to buttery and flaky. With the pie filling it worked quite well although to this day I’m still not sold if it’s something I liked or not.

Brown Sauce: Imagine tangy brown sauce on a curry pie, that would be a sensory overload for even the most adventurous of palates. It didn’t happen here.

Overall: Nothing flashy here. Chicken that was well cooked and wrapped in a sunny wash of chip shop curry sauce contained within a biscuity base. When looking at all the elements it is perhaps the least luxurious luxury pie you might ever come across.

Gravy Factor: Ravy Gravy. Split this bad boy open, and raise it high in the air. It’s 1991 and you’re giving it large with this spicy yellow pastry.

So that’s it, no more…well except one more. An encore if you will from the Falkirk Stadium courtesy of the Scottish lassies. I hate goodbyes so just wanted to get that out the way now.

So until the final 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 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 111: The Clyde ‘Not Pie’ Pie: A Call to Arms

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Happy New Year from Meat Filled Pastries! My apologies for a lack of activity recently, a fixture list that saw a string of home games for Pollok along with weather conditions that obliterated almost every game I had lined up to go and see meant that things have been rather quiet on the pie front so far in 2016 and my first offering of the year has not a drop of pastry in sight.

Before the review though let me share with you the outcome of this year’s 2016 Scotch Pie Awards hosted at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on the 13th January. Once again I was honoured to participate in the judging process to find the best pies and pastries from across our fair land, first judging in the hot savoury category and then taking part in the second round to find the World Scotch Pie Champion who this year is found at The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats. A full list of winners can be found at http://www.scotchpieclub.co.uk/ as well as by following me on Twitter (@MFPTasty). As always I had a blast both on the judging days and attending the awards themselves meeting numerous individuals who make my passion for pie look paltry. I left the ceremeony thinking that there is work to be done to promote pastries at our football grounds and with that in mind I thought I would share with you the 2016 Football Pie Winners, headed by Bruce of Broch’s steak pie offering, available at both Fraserburgh in the Highland League and Fraserburgh United in the North Region Juniors. The full list is below, I’m writing this on the move so apologise it’s only in picture form:

Congratulations!
Congratulations!

Congratulations again to everyone involved. So with that covered off, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie! (Or in this case a burger!)

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Clyde 0-1 Queens Park, Scottish League Two

Disappointment awaits...
Disappointment awaits…

Now usually I’ll go through a series of ratings before summing up my feelings on the quality of pastry I have been provided with but as this is ‘not a pie’ and has some key elements like pastry missing then the following is more of a long winded monologue (for ‘long winded monologue’ read as rant) on the state of non pie based catering at Scotland’s football grounds. I have no idea where this is going to go so I’ll try not to ramble.

I have always been one to build my Saturdays around a game of football, it’s always felt wrong to sit in the pub and watch Soccer Saturday, however since I have started this little venture a new variable has been added; have I reviewed a pie there before? In the case of Clyde I had not and with the Scotch Pie Club Awards ceremony happening just around the corner the following week I smelled the opportunity for a tie in.

Imagine my disappointment then as I walked into the main stand to find the shutters down and a steward ‘helpfully’ pointing me towards the corner of the stadium in the direction of a burger van. This isn’t the first time this is happened this season and my apologies to Clyde that they are getting the ones that have unleashed my ire but going to a ground and being able to get food, but not a pie, makes me sad and a little bit angry.

Now before people start getting defensive I understand a couple of variables may have been in play in this situation:

  • It was January 2nd. A Scottish Bank Holiday. A day where the whole of Scotland sit in their pants and watch a Wallace and Gromit marathon whilst eating the remaining left over turkey and steak pie.
  • Maybe the butcher wasn’t able to provide pies that day.
  • As it is such a day of rest maybe wee Betty who runs the pie counter didn’t fancy hauling herself down to Cumbernauld to feed a bunch of folk for a fiver.

You know what? If any of the above are true then fair enough, everyone deserves a holiday. Maybe a bit of better planning would help in the future and I can almost, ALMOST accept the contingency of a burger van coming into play if the quality of the fare offered in the place of pastry is of an equivalent or higher standard. Sadly though, in this instance, and in many others, you are presented with a crunchy frozen burger heated up on a griddle and topped with a slice of limp processed cheese and some barely warmed through onions. Don’t believe me look at below:

Not a Pie.
Not a Pie.

Scotland, renowned for nurturing some of the best produce in the world, and this is what you get presented with. Then after discovering the one place where you always expect to ‘take a pie’ doesn’t provide one you are stung with the fact you have to pay more (£3!!) for the privilege to eat something that you wouldn’t look twice at it in the frozen meats section of your local supermarket.

I understand some people don’t like pies, these people are beyond help but understandably football clubs, in a bid to boost revenue streams, often provide alternatives. I don’t particularly like it but I don’t object to it. Burgers, fine. Hot Dogs, OK. Chilli, stovies, curry all easy to prepare in large quantities and warming to the soul on a cold day, I’d rather they weren’t there but they serve a purpose. All of them, all of them bar one: Chips. Sh*t chips. Really sh*t chips. Think about it, have you ever went to a game and walked out the ground thinking, ‘my, those chips were right braw!’. Football chips are an abomination and fall into one of two categories:

  1. Canteen style mass-produced tatties, usually found in larger stadiums. Available already sitting lukewarm under the heater for your tasting pleasure accompanied by sachet’s of sauce that are impossible to open because the smallest amount of grease on your fingers turn the small tear you need to pick at to get into the condiment of your choosing into some kind of water torture.
  2. Chips at smaller grounds where invariably a man stressfully fills the deep fat fryer he’s brought in from home with enough chips to serve one person at a time as an ever increasing queue populates itself with frustrated individuals unable to make their purchases until the 17 minutes required to cook these frozen beauties to just past raw perfection.

Chips! Do one.

I’ll stop here. You know my stance by now, I want pies, have your other things but I want pies. I want to protect the sanctity of a product that is so special to Scotland and ensure that at football matches in 2055 people are still letting the gravy smatter their face and the grease run down their elbow. With that in mind, and to support Scotland’s butchers and bakers I will be compiling the first ever (I think!) Scottish Football Pie Database. Telling you what pies you can get where and who can provide them. I want football clubs across the country to really champion there pies and the people who provide them. This year there were 53 pies entered in the Football Pie category, sounds grand doesn’t it, and yet there is:

  • 42 SPFL clubs
  • 18 Highland League clubs
  • 15 Lowland League clubs
  • 17 East of Scotland League clubs
  • 14 South of Scotland League clubs
  • 165 Junior clubs

Plus a plethora of amateur clubs I haven’t even mentioned, all of a sudden 53 out of 271 doesn’t sound that impressive. For the 2017 Scotch Pie Awards let’s get more involved!

Right that’s me. I’m off my soapbox and next time out I will be back with the first of two proper pie reviews from Linlithgow Rose but until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 106: The Glenafton Athletic ‘Steak’ Pie

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I’ve acquired a bit of a backlog in the last few weeks so I’m planning to get 4 reviews done in the next 5 days. All in preparation for my annual attendance at the World Scotch Pie Championship judging day on the 11th November in Dunfermline. I’ve been doing a bit of promotion and I hope that last years total of 49 football pies gets smashed to smithereens.

I’ve always been pretty open about how this started, a few too many beers, followed by a hangover and a challenge that the stupid boy on my shoulder couldn’t resist. As I head towards my thirtieth birthday (12 days away at the time of writing) I’m thankful for the journey I’ve gone on. When life has kicked me in the pasties I’ve taken solace in their meaty goodness, the opportunities they’ve provided, the people I’ve met and the often told joy it brings to people I’ve never known.

I’ve often toyed with hanging up my napkin and putting the top on the brown sauce bottle for one last time but no one thing other than the beautiful game itself can rile a football fan quite like the question of, “Who’s got the best pie?”. It’s a question I often get asked and one I’ll continue to be reluctant to answer until such time where this journey comes to end.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic 2-4 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives
A picture from the Meat Filled Pastries Archives

Price: £1.50. About average for a luxury pie at the top end of the junior game, I’ve paid more, I’ve paid less. Really I’m just adding words here to fill space, I could add a few more but that would be frivolous and a waste of all our time. So let’s move on from this particular section of the review,there’s no need to hang around. I’ll stop now….sorry.

Presentation: Confusingly served on a polystyrene tray with no napkin to speak of, nice for catching any stray drops of meaty goodness not so great for mopping your brow with after consumption is complete. A napkin would be nice but a polystyrene tray certainly has its merits.

THE PIE

A Two-Biter.
A Two-Biter.

Meatiness: Speculation was rife amongst our band of merry men that this was indeed the much sought after Killie Pie (Review 100) but with nothing to point me in that direction this pie will stand alone. The meat found inside was cubed into large chunks of steak and were wrapped in a thick and highly seasoned gravy. The kind of gravy that stayed within the pie even after a gaping wound has been left in its pastry exterior following the greediest of bites. Stick to your ribs stuff, and I like it. Of note this pie seemed at the larger end of the pastry spectrum and as such was a worthy substitute for my lack of lunch. Good stuff.

Pastry: This was the last steak pie on the shelf so I’m almost willing to forgive the slightly ragged nature of this pastry however as any good pie judge will tell you consistency is key from first order to last and this one looked a bit of a fright. That said the top layer of puff was golden and crispy whilst the remaining pastry was well baked if slightly flimsy when subjected to a substantial bite. Once again I liked it.

Brown Sauce: No, no, no. No sauce on a luxury pie, never forget this.

Overall: A generous size with thick well-seasoned gravy, chunky meat and well-baked pastry. Yes it was a bit ragged but it was tasty and at the end of the day taste is king as far as I’m concerned.

Gravy Factor: Stick-it-to-my-ribs-and-call-me-baby Gravy!

The first of a quadruple bill this week, next up a double-header from Fir Park as I watched the Scottish Ladies try to succeed where the men so sadly failed by qualifying for the European Championships. But until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 105: The Rangers ‘Seasonal Chicken & Ham’ Pie

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To really focus on writing a book something you need is time. That, or the ability to generate time by re-organising your life. Unfortunately time is something that is in short supply for me at the moment, well I say unfortunately but I don’t mean it. In the last few months I have been buzzing about visiting new places, working and generally having a good time all the while trying to get my life going where I want it to go. I’m pretty confident I’m going about things in the right way a sure sign of which can be identified in the fact that I have totally lost track of the plot lines and character intricacies found down Hollyoaks way.

Anyway the point is I’m aware the book isn’t coming along at the pace I first predicted but I can happily justify it with everything else that is going on. Which nicely brings me to this years World Pie Championship Judging Day. Once again I have the honour of being asked to judge at the championships and I want to do my bit to make sure the football category is the biggest one yet!

So if you think you have the best pie in town details on how to enter can be found at the following link: http://scottishbakers.org/news/search-has-started-2016-world-scotch-pie-champion. Last year there were 49 pies to judge and I would love to get my chops around some more.

However until then I still have a website to run so without further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Rangers 1-3 St. Johnstone, Scottish League Cup 3rd Round, Ibrox Stadium

wpid-20150922_191251.jpg

Price: As can be seen from the table below the Seasonal Pie (remembering at this point of my purchasing experience this pastry could have had anything from caviar to a combine harvester inside of it) was a whopping £3.40. The highest priced pie consumed in Scotland to date and a full 20p more expensive than the previous holder of this title The Queens Park Chicken & Tarragon Pie. This pie cost the equivalent of 3 junior scotch pies or two and a bit luxury offerings from the same level. Expensive.

Pies. Still cheaper than a burger.
Pies. Still cheaper than a burger or a CHICKEN WRAP!?.

Presentation: As is often found in senior Scottish football this pie was presented in a large aluminium foil container with the option of a small white napkin from the self-service dispenser on the counter. The kind of size where really you need 2 or 3 to get full mop-up-ability.

THE PIE

Let's be honest, that's not looking very bonny.
Let’s be honest, that’s not looking very bonny.

Meatiness: On the discovery that this was indeed a Chicken & Ham I got quite excited. I enjoy a chicken pie, in fact I’m still partial to a Roll and Chicken Bake often purchased from a well-known high street bakers and ham, of any kind, adds a salty meatiness to pretty much anything that I never fail to enjoy. I took a bite and was instantly disappointed. It was not filled with generously portioned large chunks of ham and chicken wrapped in a luscious creamy gravy. No, instead there were, from what I could count on my tongue, 4 pieces of smallish chicken and a half-dozen or so small cubes of ham lacking in both texture and flavour. Then there was the gravy a claggy mush of water and I assume flour again lacking in flavour.

I don’t often go for the jugular in these reviews as I like to find the good in every pie but this one really annoyed me. It wasn’t even well filled look at the gap there, LOOK AT IT! You could fit in another pie it’s so cavernous! This (for a premium price remember) is simply not good enough.

Pastry: The pastry was short crust on the sides and puff on the top of which I had no real issues. It would have greatly benefited from a proper gravy to help moisten it a bit as during consumption it did become dry but in honesty the pastry was not the issue here.

Brown Sauce: With it being a luxury pie I didn’t use any brown sauce, in retrospect perhaps I should have.

Overall: Yes it was massive, but it was bland, lacking in meat and not generously filled all whilst being rather pricy.

Gravy Factor: Like a melted down Smart Price Quiche but three times the price.

I should put a caveat at the end of this by saying I love the idea of seasonal pies but the execution in this instance wasn’t very good. Hopefully next time the seasonal offering from Ibrox is more of a taste sensation and this is not merely a tick box exercise to get more money out of fans. I’m still sussing out my next review at the moment. In Faro sustenance was provided in the form a hot dog topped with crisps, it sounds good but it wasn’t and I wished there was a pie instead. I love a Tartan Army trip but so far the ‘in-stadium’ dining experiences have been a bit of a let down.

These stories though are for another time so until then, go forth and eat pie! Oh, and remember to get those entries in if you think you are indeed the king of pies.

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 102: The Vale of Clyde Pie

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This week I’ve been collating some figures to find out exactly how much this little adventure has cost me so far as part of an elaborate (but yet to be fully designed) data centric centre spread. Including the review that I am about to bestow upon you this journey of pie has cost me £725.25, I can’t decide if that’s a lot or not yet. I’m sure come final edit I’ll reveal what has been my most costly pie as well as coming up with a list of ridiculous things I could have spent my final total on but for now I’m happy I’ve spent it on football and pies.

This figure has solely been calculated based on the cost of entry and the price of my pastry. Travel and beer costs are fully out with the destination clubs control so I thought it would be unfair to judge. However being one not to miss out on a vital statistical nugget I will be investigating how many miles I’ve covered since taking on this voyage of pastry discovery. However that will take some patience and a desire to spend hours on Google Maps which quite frankly is something I have no notion to pursue just now.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Fullarton Park, Vale of Clyde 0-2 Pollok, Friendly

#summerfootball
#summerfootball

Price: £1. Despite fears of a financial catastrophe on the Aegean coast, the bean counters at junior football grounds across Scotland have still stuck firmly to the ‘in and around a pound’ pricing policy which is just lovely.

Presentation: Like Hear’say’s debut single, pure and simple here. A medium-sized white napkin.

THE PIE

Chunky Pie
Chunky Pie

Meatiness: This was a deep filled pastry and then some. As soon as I lifted it off the counter and held it in my paw I knew immediately that I could skip a couple of arm curls at the gym later that day. The meaty block inside was rather solid however it was sufficiently moist that it didn’t crumble dryly but instead fall apart easily as you bit into the meat and pastry layers. It had that ever so classic pepper kick with a strong and long linger after the last bite was taken. As I reminisce about it now my thoughts are greeted with a joyful haze. I liked this pie.

Pastry: The pastry was golden. Perhaps a little to crisp for an older gentleman to get his gnashers around but for this pie guy it’s pastries golden tinge added just the right amount of texture. The top was a little misshapen and slightly too small to protect the filling which meant it popped up a little each bite you took but that is a minor gripe in what was a solid pastry effort. In fact if anything it added to its charm.

Brown Sauce: HP. Can’t go wrong with that.

Overall: If I was to describe this pie in one word it would be manly. Big hunk of meat. Big pepper kick. Crisp and rugged pastry.

Gravy Factor: Not for girls.*

(*obviously pies are for everyone please, including girls.)

Pie 102. With love from me to you.

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.