scottish football

Pie 159: The Petershill “Steak Pie”

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Hello again pie fans and welcome to the latest pie review to beat the big freeze. This week I venture to Springburn in the north of Glasgow to take in one of only four junior games to beat the weather as Petershill took on junior football’s current standard bearer’s and Scottish Cup giant killers, Auchinleck Talbot.

I had actually turned up at Petershill Park not expecting to have a new pie to review. I had been up to see the Peasy, Rossvale and various women’s teams over the last few seasons and only ever been furnished with a standard scotch pie or, as was the case on one occasion, a bridie. However as I stood in the queue the murmers were that a steak pie could be in the offing. As I approached the counter my curiosity heightened and with no menu in sight, I asked, “Can I get a steak pie please, pal?”…

“Aye love, anything else?”. Yes, success! I had a new pie. A pie I wasn’t expecting to taste and savour but there in lies the key question, was it indeed, a pie I was looking to savour?

Well there’s only one way that we’re going to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Petershill Park, Petershill 0-7 Auchinleck Talbot

Price: I’ve totally dropped the ball here. I couldn’t see a price list and I had eaten yet that day so had bought some other things (a can of Diet Bru and a bag of cheese & onion in case you were wondering). I know that my final bill was £3.40 so the price of this pie is £3.40 minus the cost of a can of Diet Irn Bru minus the cost of a bag of Cheese & Onion crisps. One for all you algebra fans out there, if you know the cost of a can of Irn Bru and a bag of crisps at Petershill Park.

Presentation: Unusual in junior pie circles this steak offering was presented in a silver tin foil case and on top of a large white napkin although given the temperatures on the day I would have quite happily let the pie warm my hands and cool down naturally before I tucked in.

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Meatiness: This pie filling was pretty decent. There was a suitably fluid meat flavoured gravy wrapped around some various sized chunks of meat, from the size of dice to almost mince like in texture. The first bite revealed a little bit of a gap as can be seen in the accompanying picture but no bite was bare of meat and in a match day pastry that is something to be commended.

Pastry: A pie of two halves here. The top was well coloured with a little steam hole present to let out the heat. It slid out the pastry case with ease and without any sticky situations occurring. However the bottom was a little on the raw side meaning that it was a little bit claggy after a couple of bites. Luckily though the gravy and crispy side wall combination meant that it was still a perfectly serviceable mouthful.

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Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean naked pies, however on surveying the kiosk area surroundings I couldn’t immediately spy anything to go condimental about if that was your desire.

Overall: Decent filling, decent gravy, decent pastry, even if it was a little under on the bottom. Yeah, decent.

Gravy Factor: Better than a KFC Gravy scented candle (and yes that is a thing!)

Bonus pie reviews are often the best pie reviews, especially at this time of year where fixtures can become a little scarce. I am potentially (Saturday night exploits dependent) going to make my way yo Tynecastle next weekend to see if The ‘Bot can repeat their exploits from the previous round whilst also gain some revenge for a 1-0 defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Cup seven years ago.

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. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

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Pie 158: The Troon “Chicken & Haggis” Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries as we delve back into the world of junior football with a Chicken & Haggis offering from a fairly dreich January afternoon at Portland Park in Troon. Before we get to that though a couple of things have happened since my last review.

Firstly I attended the World Scotch Pie Championships Awards Lunch where a new World Scotch Pie Champion was crowned. Whilst some well-earned congratulations should be sent to The Little Bakery based in Dumfries on being the 20th World Scotch Pie Champion on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries the real news was that Darvel FC based in Ayrshire won the Diamond Award for their Steak & Gravy Pie supplied by Browning’s the Bakers. As a vocal supporter of non-league football I was pleased to see the big boy’s given a hiding in this category but if you want to see how your club did then you can do so by clicking the list of winners across all categories here.

Whilst I was there I was also getting my latest project off the ground and recorded the second ever episode of The Scrancast where I spoke to some of the nominees, winners and men behind what is one of the biggest days in the Butcher/Baker calendar. If you would like to listen to what I hope will be the first of many tales about food and drink from Scotland and beyond then you can listen here. The website is just about up and running which includes a feature on why I’ve decided to do it and you can subscribe on iTunes and all your usual places by searching for “The Scrancast”.

Back to more pressing matters though and that is the quality of pie on offer at Portland Park. Will their Chicken & Haggis offering match up to the Steak Pie which got an honourable mention during the first ever MFP Awards? There’s only one way to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 2nd Round

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Price: There was a little bit of confusion around the price of this pie as I went to pay at the counter. To your average punter this pie would have appeared to have been £2.20 given the sheet saying as much stuck to the window however at point of payment the price quoted was £2.50. A quick chat later showed that the price list the girls behind the counter were working on was different from the one front in centre for all to view. I paid the £2.50 but I’m not sure I was entirely happy about it.

Presentation: A double duvet of large white napkins provided a solid and soft base for this large tin foil encased pie to sit on quite comfortably.

Meatiness: Chunky. I think that’s a good way to describe this filling with more than one piece of chicken requiring multiple bites to consume. It’s an odd thing to point out I know but this is a handheld snack, eating stood up with very few places to lean, so it made for a challenging bite. I was a little bit disappointed in the quantity of haggis but I liked the use of a stock based gravy. My main concern though was the use of pepper in this filling. It was too much, a little too spiky and killed the flavour of the haggis. That said it was an incredibly generous portion of pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was pretty perfect. Slipped easily out of the tin foil case without even a whiff of it sticking to the sides or bottom. It also had a lovely golden tinge to it with the necessary substance to hold what was a fairly moist filling whilst still providing the light crunch a good pie pastry should.

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Overall: There were things to like about this pie. Generously filled with an excellent job on the bake but for my taste I could have done with a few less cracks of pepper.

Gravy Factor: Percy Piper picked a pie of pickled peppers.

An offering with a lot of potential from the Ayrshire coast but one for me that didn’t quite hit the heights I hoped it would. I’ll hopefully be back again with another pie review in the not too distant future but for now please go follow and subscribe to The Scrancast. If you’re into pies there might be something right up your street coming very soon.

However until next time from Meat Filled Pastries, 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. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 155: The Beith Steak Pie

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Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten!

Have we all got that festive feeling? I know that you will have lathered your turkey in gravy, consumed a round dozen pig in blankets and developed a lactose intolerance after downing a full cattle’s worth of cheese but I think we all still have room to squeeze in a little meaty treat. Welcome to the latest edition of Meat Filled Pastries from the world of Scottish Football. This week we head to Ayrshire and to Bellsdale Park, the home of Beith Juniors, for a steak pie or two.

Bellsdale Park, as well as being renowned for its pretty strong pastry game, is even more famous for its very pronounced slope. Whilst Hibernian were required to flatten their Easter Road pitch back in the early 2000’s, the Bellsdale slope continues to endure. Often the topic of many a terrace conversation you first become aware of the park’s downhill tendencies as you make the approach to the ground with it being near impossible to leave the centre of town without gaining some downwards moment. This suspicion becomes a realisation as you enter and make your way through the turnstile, the two covered enclosures on the far side appearing to move further and further away from pitch level as the grass sweeps down towards the far corner.

I’ve been to Bellsdale at least a dozen times or so over my football watching career and I still find myself amazed that somebody hasn’t said they need to fix it, especially given their recent forays into the “Big Scottish” but I like it. It has character. There is no doubt some sporting advantage to playing down the slope in the second half during a mid-winter battle in the pouring rain whilst the opposition trudge upwards in the opposite direction – a mild exaggeration of course – but whilst the commerciality of new build all weather parks has its merits grounds such as Bellsdale Park need to continue to thrive to ensure those points of differentiation remain on the terraces across the country.

You know what else needs to continue to thrive? Tasty pastry treats. But was the steak pie from the home of The Mighty worthy of the side’s nickname?

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

Where: Bellsdale Park, Beith Juniors 1-3 Pollok, West Premiership

Price: At £2 this was towards the top end of the junior football pie pricing spectrum but within the same range as other luxury offerings across the grade. The same price as their previously reviewed Chicken & Haggis Pie (see picture above) which still remains one of the tastiest match day treats around.

Presentation: In the list of things I bang on about the lack of proper advertising by butchers and bakers that they provide the goods is right up there, so imagine my delight that Irvine’s Bakery continue to supply Bellsdale Park with large cream coloured napkins with their name emblazoned across it. The pie itself was contained within a tin foil case which, as we all know by now, is not uncommon when presented with a steak filled pastry.

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Meatiness: This pie was awash with gravy, savoury in flavour and from a consistency perspective near spot on, allowing me to squeeze the top and bottom to show a little ooze without a single drop being spilled to the gravel below. Especially impressive considering the deep fill that had been executed by the baker during construction. The meat was tender and had a nice variation of small and large chunks, tearing away in strands like a good steak bite should. For some it might feel a little over seasoned, but for me, once married up with its pastry surrounds it made for a tasty steaky mouthful.

Pastry: Anyone who has read some of my reviews from the senior game in Scotland will know that the tin foil case is often the scourge of a good steak pie so I was naturally nervous as I slipped my fingers around the edges and went to pick my pastry up. This nervousness was almost immediately alleviated though as the pastry popped clean out, the base golden, the sides intact and the top still glistening, although perhaps a little ragged in its placement. A small note on what was otherwise a very solidly constructed pie.

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Brown Sauce: Would have been utterly superfluous.

Overall: Unctuous gravy, well cooked and seasoned meat with a non-stick pastry surround. Lovely stuff.

Gravy Factor: Gies a Ladle.

Beith really is the place to be if you want some of the finest football pies around, it is genuinely one of the highlights of my fixture calendar. I’m hoping to squeeze another pie based jaunt in before year end but whether the review makes it before the dawning of 2019 we’ll have to wait to see, so for now I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy and prosperous new year.

Oh, and of course, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 154: The St. Mirren Steak & Gravy Pie

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries. As I have often explained before I started Meat Filled Pastries as a result of a bet and a desire to not let any kind of flair for the written word leave me forever. I think I’ve made peace that this isn’t destined to be my “big idea” as I continue to try and plot an escape route from my life as Office Monkey #324 but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for it. Don’t get me wrong if it wasn’t for being an office monkey then some of the things I have seen and done over the last couple of years wouldn’t have been possible (or more pertinently financed) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want more from my life, to not still be sitting in that same desk doing the same thing in another five years time. I want to make a difference, leave a mark and not being lying on my death bed hopefully many, many years from now not wondering, what if? I’m just not entirely sure how.

My latest attempt at existential salvation comes in the form of The Scrancast. A new podcast looking at the best food and drinks creators in Glasgow, not necessarily focusing on the things they produce but the stories behind them and their journey’s until this point. Episode 1: Welcome to The Scrancast is now out on Soundcloud and you can follow it’s journey here. It’s currently pending iTunes approval and there’s a website in the works along with a whole host of other ideas relating to it so why not give it a follow from the links menu on the left hand side, there will almost certainly be some pie based content in there at one point in the future.

Speaking of the links menu, I’ve also added in a couple of new links to people I want to give a bit of a bump too. Firstly to Roddy Cons and his site “The Team on Tour” who I’m currently living vicariously through as he makes his way around the lower leagues of Spanish football, particularly in Madrid, something that I only ever really scratched the surface of. Secondly a shout out to Steven at Football Stadium Prints who has this week given up his job to pursue a career in stadium based artistry, he deserves all the support in the world for following a dream so why not take a look at that too. It’s good gear.

You know who else deserves our support? The Scotland Women’s national team as they head to their first ever Women’s World Cup Finals in France next summer. Preperations for the tournament are now in full swing, and the visit of the United States to Scotland for a glamour friendly is just another sign that the women’s game in Scotland is on the rise. So with that in mind I headed to Paisley to see how our girls would get on agaisnt the best in the world and, of course, scran a pie.

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

Where: St. Mirren Park, Scotland 0-1 USA, Women’s Friendly International

Price: Having experienced some truly awful pies down Hampden way over the not distant past I was hoping that a change of venue when it came to supporting my national side would see an increase in pastry quality. Having parted with a fairly substantial £2.70 for my pastry I went to take my first bite with some trepidation, knowing that high prices and all seater stadiums have not been a common recipe for success so far.

Presentation: As is common practice with a steak based pie this was presented within a silver tin foil case although the white napkin was much larger than you would expect at a stadia of this nature.

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Meatiness: Billing itself as a steak and gravy pie meant that the pressure was on to ensure that the gravy was forthcoming. The good news was that it was, however it perhaps lacked the punch of flavour that a £2.70 pie should really possess. The meat was good though. A varied size of chunks that kept your mouth interested as you made your way through with the texture suitably tender and forgiving to the bite. Whilst it might not necessarily be a Hall of Famer in the making this was a marked improvement on some of the mass catered pies of the past.

Pastry: Not masses to say here. It was a bit bashed about and the pastry, as is nearly always almost the way when a silver casing is present, was soft on the bottom but the sides held well and there was a nice golden tinge to the top. There was a little bit of boil out but I actually quite enjoy a bit of that.

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Brown Sauce: Wee brown sachets of a cash and carry owners dreams were available but of course this was a steak and gravy pie and so to do anything other than go bareback on this luxury pastry would be to go agaisnt everything these pages have stood for over the last five plus years.

Overall: You know what? A fairly good steak and gravy pie. It was perhaps lacking a little bit of punch but at least it didn’t disintegrate in your hands as soon as you pick up like many a match day pie does at the top end of the Scottish game.

Gravy Factor: Contextually good gravy.

A decent effort from The Saints, and a decent showing from Shelly Kerr and her side against the best the women’s game has to offer. As for the next review, who knows. It’s got to that tricky time of the year where the midweek card shrinks and the weather starts to play havoc too. Have no fear though, Meat Filled Pastries will be back.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie (and why not listen to The Scrancast whilst you’re doing it too).

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

 

Pie 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie

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What’s up pastry posse!? Welcome to Pie Review 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie. These reviews were always a device designed to not only talk about pies and pastries but also to big up some of Scottish football’s lesser lights. I go to a lot of football grounds and over the past few months I’ve resolved to accept that I am indeed a bit of a groundhopper. Whilst some people get excited by a new series of Game of Thrones or the discovery that there is a new place to go hunting for Pokemon (that’s not a dated reference, I know people who still do it!) I get a buzz from an away cup draw to a place I’ve never been or the news that a spot in my midweek schedule has freed up and there’s a game of football to be had and a pie to be eaten.

This was my second visit to Winton Park having previously driven down a few years ago during one of those weekend’s where the fixture list had been decimated but the Rovers park had survived. As I had the car it was very much a case of ensuring that I had made it in for kick off and that I got myself a tasty pastry treat (Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie) but on this visit the supporters bus ensured I had ample time to explore the facilities. I was impressed. From the surprisingly large social club located within the stadium, the walls adorned with a potted history of this Ayrshire side, to the various little stadium quirks dotted around the place from the wheelbarrow beside the stand to the Winton Rovers wall at the far end of the stadium. It’s certainly a place with plenty of intrigue to be found. They also have a pretty well stocked pie hut courtesy of The Kandy Bar meaning that despite my previous visit there was still some new pastries to be had.

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

Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1-2 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 1st Round

Price: At £1.50 this is a pretty standard pricing strategy for your core pastry range (pies, bridies and sausage rolls) and well within the bounds of acceptability for a junior football match in Scotland.

Presentation: Keeping things simple this bridie was presented on a large white napkin. Double layered for your eating pleasure.

Meatiness: I have had a very mixed past with bridies. I’ve only actually ever reviewed two on the site (Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie & Pie 93: The Rossvale Bridie) but when it has come to competition judging at Scottish Baker of the Year and the World Scotch Pie Championships I am continually amazed at how far out of whack the meat to pastry ratios is in some of the bridie products made by butchers and bakers across the country. It can be quite a hard thing to balance given the prominent use of puff pastry in their construction but thankfully with this offering the ratios were pretty good. The filling was generous and moist. It did perhaps make it a little bit difficult to eat as you continued to break down the pastry walls surrounding it but the flavour was very good. Strong and meaty with a hint of onion flavour that added a little layer of sweetness to the overall bite. Most importantly the ratio was right, and for that I was incredibly grateful.

Pastry: The pastry was, as you would expect with puff, lovely and flaky but it’s golden colour and restraint in volume are what made it really stand out on this bridie. It was unusual to see a hole on top of the pastry but part of me wonders if this is what helped in preventing an over-abundance. The base was well baked too meaning that the pastry here was also holding up it’s end of the bargain.

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Brown Sauce: Now, given that one of my main gripes with a bridie against a pie is that they can often be a little dry you would think I would be all about the condiments here but logistically they don’t really work. There is no place for the sauce to sit comfortably and no upper lip to catch the flow that occurs when you tip the pastry towards your mouth. With that in mind there is no sauce here.

Overall: Tasty filling and golden pastry on a bridie where the ratios were just about spot on made for an overall enjoyable eating experience.

Gravy Factor: Well balanced gravy.

So far the weather has held out as we head towards the 5 month extravaganza that is the Scottish winter time so we shall continue at pace on our journey of meat filled pastries. Next up will be a steak and gravy pie from St. Mirren Park as we jump on the road to France with the Scottish Women’s team as they take on the United States in a glamour friendly.

However until then, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

Pie 152: The Partick Thistle Pie

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Back once again with the Scottish pie master,

Brown sauce dribble, meaty in the middle.

Back one again with the Scottish pie master,

Brown sauce dribble and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries,

and the meat filled pastries…

That’s right we are back once again with another pie review from Meat Filled Pastries. Much to my surprise pie 152 sees a first review from Firhill, home of Partick Thistle and for this visit, the home of the SSE Women’s Scottish Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell. I’ve gone on quite a bit about the need for people to support the women’s game and for those that run it to do their bit by making sure that the match day experience in as enticing as possible. It certainly feels like strides are being made in both those regards and I’ll be interested to see what the numbers are like when I see Scotland take on the USA on Tuesday 13th November at whatever they are calling New Love Street these days.

One of the biggest challenges women’s football faces in my eyes is how to address the quality gap from the very top of the domestic game (Glasgow City & Hibernian) to the rest. Whilst there was no doubting the Leith Lassies fully deserved their 8-0 win against the Women of Steel (love that nickname!) it did somewhat dampen the spectacle to see one side 3-0 up after only 15 minutes. Of course the game could have went differently but a quick look at the SWPL1 table shows that there is a gap there for the chasing pack to address.

Quality of competition not withstanding I’m really interested to see what impact the new entry criteria for next season will have on the – and I hate to use this word – product. 2019 is shaping up as a big year for women’s football in Scotland and I really hope that those in control grasp the opportunity to turn everything up a notch, not only for the fans but for all involved with their clubs too.

It’s also World Scotch Pie Championship Judging Day this week and this year’s event has had the good grace to fall on my birthday so whilst there won’t be any cake I will no doubt be pie-eyed by the end of the day.

That’s it for the pie-atribe this week so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Firhill Stadium, Hibernian Ladies 8-0 Motherwell Ladies, SSE Scottish Women’s Cup Final

Price: At £2.40 this is one of the more expensive scotch pies that I have had during my adventures. It will be interesting to see with the requirement for catering in the SWPL going forward the pricing strategy implemented by Scotland’s top female clubs.

Presentation: This scotch pie was presented in a tin foil case, common in the upper echelons but less so in the juniors, and with a small white napkin taken from one of those dispensers you see at large stadia.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled scotch pie. The meat reached almost every nook and cranny inside it’s pastry walls. The texture was both crumbly and firm meaning that each bite held well on initial impact before easily giving way as you made your way through. There was also a good pepper kick to this pastry, something has been feeling absent from the last few scotch pie reviews I’ve done. Not too strong to cause any harm to the overall taste experience but just warm enough to give your taste buds a little thrill on what was a pretty cold Sunday afternoon.

Pastry: The most impressive thing about this pastry was that it did not stick to the shiny base below. It was also golden on top with some lovely crispy edges accompanied by a little steam hole to give the filling some room to breath. Whilst the pastry didn’t stick it was perhaps a little soft on the bottom but it was nothing that would be of detriment to the overall eating experience.

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Brown Sauce: Small sachets of brown that helped bring the appropriate level of zing to this pastry party.

Overall: Good pastry with a generous and well seasoned filling that was complimented by a peppery kick means that this was a very good pie indeed, even if it was £2.40.

Gravy Factor: A scotch pie worthy of a cup final.

This was a top pie from Firhill. They actually had quite a wide range to choose from but for me it’s important that I always continue to give reference to the core pastry product, the one that you will find everywhere, the scotch pie. That said for those fans who do enjoy a bit of deviation you are in for a treat as next time out I review a bridie from Ardrossan Winton Rovers in the Scottish Juniors.

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. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 151: The Cumnock “Steak & Haggis” Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where 150 pies were clearly never going to be enough.

As the years have ticked by I’ve had to keep track of those venues where I’ve had a pie before. When pulling together the infographic for Pie 150 I noticed I had somehow managed to do not one but two reviews from Rossvale. A stat made even more befuddlingly when you consider that neither had came from their current home at Huntershill  and that I had also managed to squeeze in a bridie review from the same club. At least with the bridie it could stand alone as part of the extended Meat Filled Pastries family. With that in mind I arrived at Cumnock knowing that I had previously reviewed both the scotch and onion pies fairly early in my journey and so I anticipated my culinary peak from Townhead Park to be the drinking of the rarely found 60/- from the Ayrshire side’s rather good social club.

My assumption however was wrong because as I approached the pie stall to get involved with some “Nock Nosh” I was greeted by the geuninely excited chatter from my fellow match day munchers that there were two new types of pies to sample. In the least surprising revelation of this post one of these new breeds managed to fall lovingly into my palm and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Townhead Park, Cumnock 1-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round Replay

Price: At £2 this was at the top end of the junior pricing spectrum but given that I was on a promise of both steak and haggis I was more than willing to let this pastry whisper sweet nothings on my taste buds before deciding if I was getting value for money.

Presentation: Despite its steaky nature this pie went old school, presented as it was on a single medium-sized (maybe evem large) white napkin. As consumption progressed this proved more than plenty.

Meatiness: On entry to this pie I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Should there be lots of gravy? Will this marriage of haggis and steak mingle into a meaty morsel that will make my mouth moist with its magic?

I’m happy to report that the filling of this pie was indeed a belter. At first my taste buds were hit with a smooth but spicy punch of haggis, a flavour that is instantly recognisable to the initiated but almost indescribable to those yet to experience the joy of an offal stuffed lamb’s stomach. Immediately I deduced that there was no gravy to be found but that was not an issue as the moistness provided by all those bits that North America continue to hide from were ample and slowly gave way to large chunks of well cooked and tender steak. This filling was getting “the nod”. That moment when your head, mind and taste buds come together in unison to proclaim that the symphony of flavours that you are experiencing are in fact very, very good.

Pastry: The pastry on this pie was also very near the top end. The sides and base were well cooked and held firm against the moist filling although they were perhaps a little peely wally in colour. There was some boil out, and whilst that is sniffed at by some, I always feel it adds some character to a pastry. A little imperfection to help make it feel special. The colour shone as you gazed at this  pie from above, the top formed as it was with a lovely golden disc of puff pastry that broke off into buttery flakes whilst the underside merged with the filling below. This pie was pulling out all the stops.

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Brown Sauce: I’m almost compelled to say that brown sauce may have ruined this pie, which is a very bold statement indeed.

Overall: Steak + Haggis + Good Pastry = Happy Pie Punter.

Gravy Factor: No Gravy. Just good, good times.

This was a wonderful pastry surprise to come across on a dreich Saturday afternoon and it’s equally wonderful to see lower league football clubs and their providers identify the opportunity to expand their range. I will maintain until my dying days that a “killer” pie will do as much good for a side as a decent cup run or title challenge ever will especially when performance on the pitch is infinitely harder to control.

Next up I continue my quest to champion the women’s game as I attend the Scottish Women’s Cup Final between Hibernian and Motherwell where perhaps surprisingly I embark on my first review from Firhill, home of hipster’s choice Partick Thistle.

However until then, go forth and eat pie!

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