scottish junior cup

Pie 194: The Darvel Pie

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Hello, and welcome to the latest dissection of match day pastry, this time from East Ayrshire side Darvel, a side with perhaps the biggest pie presence in Scottish football thanks to the fairly recent involvement of Browning’s the Bakers at the club.

Whilst the away dugout remains a squat little stone cover, with a bench for no more than three, or maybe four if they are particularly young and spindly, derrieres, the home dug out is big and plastic and modern, somewhat out of kilter with its modest but developing surroundings. The frame of which shouts in yellow the phrase, “Say Aye to a Kilmarnock Pie”.

Not “Killie Pie”, that particular colloquialism was removed from the Brownings product as a result of a dispute with the Scottish Premiership side however that hasn’t stopped every single person asking for one at the brightly decorated kiosk in Recreation Park from using it. If you want to read more about why that change in moniker came about then you can do so in my Scottish Football Histories piece about Scotland’s national pastry.

The Kilmarnock Pie is still big business though and it again featured well at the World Scotch Pie Championships, but I’ve had it on multiple occasions including at Rugby Park, and so instead I plumped for the original match day treat, the Scotch Pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Recreation Park: Darvel 2-1 Petershill, Recreation Park, Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round Replay

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Price: £1.20. A price that is not too much nor too little. Just right to sway those few who dither when on the search of sustenance following a pre-match pint or two. For reference, and because I had one too, the Kilmarnock Pie came in at £2, a decent price for a slice of luxury.

Presentation: Unusually for a scotch pie at junior level this pie came within a shiny foil sheath snuggly wrapped around the pastry. Below, a single, but ample, napkin. Ideal.

Meatiness: As was the case with the Kilmarnock Pie, this too was a pastry with much previous acclaim, in fact a Scotch Pie World Champion of competitions past and it was easy to understand why as the warming hint of pepper tingled across the tongue before lingering as the teams made their way out onto the pitch. The meat, with a texture that held to the bite, was laced with enough grease to keep each morsel moist without leaving a sheen across the lips.

Pastry: It looked good, well sealed on top and with a crispness to the edge that overhung slightly on one side, however the pastry within the casing had gone soft falling apart as it was lifted out of the place that it had called home for the 35-40 minutes spent in the bakers oven. It may have been a little too supple but it was certainly cooked through although the steaming that it had undergone at some point made for a distracting bite.

Brown Sauce: Unusually for this level there was no big squeezy bottle, branded or otherwise, but a cardboard dispensary bursting with little blue packs of HP Sauce of sufficient size that meant one was plenty.

Overall: A generous and well-balanced treat that was only let down by pastry that wilted under the weight of its plentiful bounty.

A delicious wee treat from Darvel, soft pastry aside, and all in all an enjoyable first trip to Recreation Park as the home side reached the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Finals for the first time since 1985. The pitch just about held up as the game wore on and those involved were clearly in the Scottish Cup spirit as I was also able to treat myself to very special Darvel themed Empire Biscuit, with Petershill versions also available for their Glaswegian visitors.

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Keep your eyes peeled for the next review, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 188: The Rossvale Macaroni Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Meat Macaroni Filled Pastries as we head to Glasgow’s southside for a piece of pasta pastry at New Tinto Park, current home of West Region Premiership side, Rossvale.

We’ve already reached that time of the season where the fixture list has taken a battering with ice, wind and rain all meaning that I have had to deviate from my usual match day routines at, or via Newlandsfield, and look for my football fix elsewhere. These deviations do however mean that I can go in search of new pastries, something I was able to do as the Vale took on Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Junior Cup with a bumper crowd in attendance given that it was one of only three fixtures across the grade to beat the weather on an icy late November afternoon.

Before we get to this latest pastry I need to give a wee plug to a podcast I appeared on whilst taking my now annual trip to Madrid. I spoke on Episode 5 of The Team on Tour – Real Football Stories pod about Scottish women’s football and of course pies and Roddy, your host, has done a fine job curating a wide range of guests for his debut podcast series so why not go have a listen and give him a follow.

Before I headed to Spain though I had time for one more Scottish match day bite and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: New Tinto Park, Rossvale 1-2 Auchinleck Talbot, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

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Price: £1.50. When I started this site, seven years ago, £1 was very much the base to work from when pricing up your pastry however for this season I think it’s fair to say that £1.50 is the new standard of value in the Scottish Junior game.

Presentation: A large white napkin provided the layer required to keep the burn of the fresh-from-the-oven tin foil casing at bay. The foil itself a not commonly seen presence on the Scottish non-league pie scene.

Pasta & Cheesiness: This pastry had a nice cheesy ooze when squeezing it between your thumb and forefinger with the cheese flavour prominent enough throughout. The top was perhaps a little overdone adding a bitter note to the bite but at the same time there is some joy to be had from the crunch of a crispy grate of cheddar. Whilst the ooze was there the texture of the macaroni curls was lost a little meaning that the odd bite was a little samey.

Pastry: Just about on the right side of golden brown, the base and sides held well and were very crisp. Perhaps a little misshapen from a perfect round but did the job required.

Brown Sauce: As has been covered on many a previous review, it’s a nostalgia heavy blob of ketchup that goes on my macaroni pie, a sweet complement to the salty filling.

Overall: Good cheese flavour but perhaps a little off in terms of texture.

Gravy Factor: A decent wee mouthful of macaroni.

I have no idea when Pie 200 will come, but it is certainly starting to feel like it’s not far away. The numbers will be boosted in the next couple of weeks by not just one, but two pie reviews from Whitletts Victoria on what was a minging day at Dam Park. 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 187: The Linlithgow Rose CFC Pie (c/o Linlithgow Rose)

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It’s been a wee while since I’ve written one of these, it’s not been intentional, but just a consequence of a busy end to the Scottish Women’s football season, one that reached a final spellbinding conclusion last Sunday. I write this review a week after what was perhaps, the greatest Scottish Women’s Cup Final in history, most certainly in my recordable life time, and the night before the end of season SWF Awards. If you’re here purely for the pastries you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs, although I hope you don’t.

Women’s football has been pretty good to me over the last few months, I’d like to think as much as I’ve tried to be good to it. There have been times, especially since the end of this summer’s World Cup in France, where rest has been an under-utilised aspect of my life and on more than one occasion I’ve probably needed to stop and take a moment. Instead though I ploughed on and, as the ticker tape parade that echoed round Tynecastle with Glasgow City claiming a first Scottish Cup triumph since 2015 came to an end, I felt a strange sense of pride and belonging.

Football is magic, no matter the level, venue or gender of those involved, I’ve always felt this way about it. I still remember a t-shirt I would wear religiously when I was nothing but a bairn that had emblazoned across it, “Football is life, the rest is just a game.” Of course that’s not strictly true, but it can be hard to deny the transformative effect a healthy relationship with the beautiful game can have for some. I include myself in that number but it’s only in these last couple of months that I’ve felt that maybe my relationship could be something more than just turning up for every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

As I took in my surroundings on Gorgie, as the last few fans got their cards and programmes signed by their heroes, some of the most accessible and generous people you will ever meet, both in victory and defeat, I suddenly realised just how tired I had been. I headed back to Glasgow, having one last convenience for dinner before completing a quick edit and heading to bed where I slept, for as long as the alarm set for the day job the following morning would allow, and then the next night I slept and then I slept again but as I headed to my slumber each evening I did so content, content that I took a chance and put myself out there and that people in turn took a chance on me. I have only really done this in full for one season, for some of those I’ve met over the campaign this has turned into their life’s work. I will never not be in awe of that and the manner in which they continue to tackle the hurdles they need to overcome.

I recently turned 34, and more than ever I’m acutely aware of my own neuroses but I also like to think I’m more comfortable with exactly who I am and football, in particular the women’s game, has helped me feel that way and I can tell you, that, that feels smashing.

Meat Filled Pastries has always played a part in this too, a constant when the well was running dry or the enthusiasm wained and so it will be nice, for a little while at least, to get back to writing about these meaty marvels, and so, without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Prestonfield, Linlithgow Rose CFC 0-2 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round

Price: £1.50, a pie price point I think we can all get on board with.

Presentation: Classic presentation, handed over the counter on top of a medium-sized white napkin, exactly what you need.

Meatiness: This was delicious, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has had the Curry Pie and/or the Steak & Haggis Pie at Linlithgow Rose, two standout pastries in their own right. The filling was moist with a texture that gave a little to the bite but still held itself well and was generously filled, seasoned to a tee with a light spicy linger as you ate. My disappointment that the two aforementioned were sold out was soon washed away by the flavours of this pie crashing over my taste buds.

Pastry: Well formed and round, the lid clearly having been pressed into the sides by the finger tips of its maker, a little cross on top to let the steam out. The pastry may have been perhaps a little thick for some but for me it’s sturdiness resulted in a very satisfying first bite.

Brown Sauce: HP, nothing to complain about with that as I adorned my pie with a swirl.

Overall: Linlithgow Rose have emerged over the last few months as a genuine contender as best matchday pastry provider around, with consistency of product and quality across the range being clear to see. This scotch pie is a very welcome addition to the Meat Filled Pastries scene.

Gravy Factor: Bangin’ Bisto.

A lovely return to the pie scene that, and a special mention to those involved with the Little Rosey Posey who really went all out for what would have been one of the biggest games in their short history in the junior game. There should have been a review from Firhill coming next but I’ve lost all my pictures and notes from that day so where next is as big a mystery to me as it will be to you, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A Scottish Women’s Football writer and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 183: The Forres Thistle Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the second review from the Scottish Highlands as we dive into, what turned out to be, a rather substantial scotch pie offering from Logie Park.

If you want to read about the epic steak pie from the same venue then you can do so here, that one was definitely worth the 400+ mile round trip but before we find out if it was a day for double delight I wanted to give you an insight into that journey, one that very nearly resulted in an overnight stay in Forres itself.

The day started early, arriving at The Quiach, the regular post match watering hole for half eight with a roll and coffee in hand. There is a regular bunch that take the bus to these away games, and our numbers were boosted by an extra few who wanted to leave their cars at home and enjoy what had turned out be a first trip north in over five years.

The drive north was fairly uneventful, we rolled into town a couple of hours before kick off and quickly assessed our surroundings in search of the nearest pub knowing that the ground itself, which was situated on the outskirts, had no social club to fall back on. Having had a few in The Thistle Bar we boarded the bus and headed towards the ground which was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area. There was no parking to speak off and so our driver Wullie made the bold – and what soon turned out to be foolhardy – decision to go off road and park up on the grass, 45 seconds later the bus was stuck.

The rain had been falling heavily the night before and in spells throughout the journey and whilst a couple of cars were already in situ there was a suspicion as the wheels moved away from the safety of concrete to swampy grass that trouble was imminent.

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It was. The wheels spun, and spun, and spun, the engine grunting and moaning as the gears were cranked over and over. Still in our seats we could feel the bus slip deeper and deeper into the mud, a look out the window showing the carnage being caused. We disembarked and did the only sensible thing by making our way into the ground hoping to resolve it at half time leaving a gaggle of bus drivers to get started. 45 minutes later, it was still stuck, and with Wullie looking more and more a broken man a few of us headed out and after some digging, some pushing and the snapping of at least two tow ropes (unused seatbelts) the bus was free, our camaraderie strengthened with the path home secure and our shoes a little muddied.

The trip itself was made by that bus story as the game was very little to write home about but as we made are way back towards the gate it was fair to say we had earned ourselves a pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Second Round

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Price: £2. I’ve noticed this is becoming a bit of a recurring trend where no matter the type of pie the price for each remains the same. £2 for a scotch pie is quite high for this level but then counter that with that being the same price as the steak and it all kind of balances out.

Presentation: Same as the steak on a double layer of kitchen roll.

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Meatiness: This pie was a whopper but quantity doesn’t always mean quality and to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with this one. The texture was what you would expect to see in a good scotch pie but my filling was a little cold meaning the flavours didn’t pop as much as you would want them too. The meat was a little pale and grey meaning that when eating your eyes that sense too felt a little underwhelmed.

Pastry: Much like the steak the top was a little loose from around the sides but it had a nice golden colour to it and held the substantial filling comfortably.

Brown Sauce: HP, elite sauce levels here.

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Overall: A big lump lacking a little a punch.

Gravy Factor: Bog standard bisto.

Think you have what it takes to be a judge at this year’s World Scotch Pie Championships, then luckily for you the organisers are running a competition which will see you become a judge for the day, details of which can be found below.

https://worldchampionshipscotchpieawards.org/be_a_judge_competition_.php

Next time out we are back in Ayrshire to cast our eyes over the Irvine Meadow Macaroni Pie. 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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 182: The Forres Thistle Steak Pie

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, this latest entry to the Pie Hall of Fame comes to you on Non League Day, a day where, with Scotland’s international exploits causing optical bleeding across the country, fans are afforded the opportunity to seek relief and turn their attention to the lower leagues of Scottish football.

Meat Filled Pastries was set up with a view on shining a light on these clubs, the players who graft by day and then train hard at night, the coaches who become WhatsApp admins and fine arbitrators, the fans who stand in the wind and the rain, who share pints in strange little corner bars with their chosen travelling few, the volunteers who line the park, run the gate, bellow out the prizes on offer during the half time draw and of course, dish out sustenance to the ravenous hoards from kiosks of all shapes and sizes. Every one of whom are happy to call the beautiful game their mistress.

With the gap between the rich and the poor ever widening, with the relationships between those at the top and those in the terraces becoming more strained and distant I am forever grateful to the home that non-league football has provided me to embrace my fandom. If you’re reading this and still not decided to head to a game today then I encourage you to fire up your mobile and see what’s on offer near by.

Or, if you prefer, a bit further afield, something I found myself doing a couple of weeks ago as Pollok made the trip north to face Forres Thistle in the Scottish Junior Cup. There will be more on that journey in the next review but naturally, after having had a few beers, I headed to the hatch and made my order.

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

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 2nd Round

Price: £2. An acceptable price for what was going to turn out to be an absolute belter of a steak pie.

Presentation: A double sheet of Kitchen roll. I assume more cost effective than a napkin but, having not yet fully investigated the finances behind this important part of the match day consumption process, an assumption is all that can be made. Either way those two sheets did the job required handily.

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Meatiness: Oh my, this was love at first bite. First the gravy, luscious and highly seasoned with a consistency that as you squeezed the pastry lid and base together gently let out a contented sigh of gravy, bulging the same way a full belly does after the belt has been loosened on a pair of trousers following a wholly satisfactory meal. The meat was tender and in generous sized chunks, toothsome, pleasingly tearing away from each other in strands exposing a wonderfully coloured steak still sporting a slight hue of pink. Multi-levelled deliciousness.

Pastry: Was it the prettiest pastry I had ever seen? No, the top was a little loose with the steam hole at the top showing signs of boil out as I peeled a salty sliver of what I like to call “gravy jerky” from the surface but it was beautifully baked. Thick enough to hold the filling but not too thick so that you end up with a raw inside coating with a lovely golden tinge all around.

Brown Sauce: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No.

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Overall: Generous helpings of steak wrapped in highly seasoned gravy and held within well baked pastry. Lovely.

Gravy Factor: 24 carat gravy.

I’ll be back with another review from Forres as I share what was an interesting match viewing experience.

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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. 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.

 

 

 

Pie 128: The Rossvale Pie

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They say there is nothing quite like the magic of the cup and in many respects that is true. In junior football at least, a great cup run can have a galvanising spirit not only on the club but the surrounding community too, with crowds gradually swelling as the rounds progress. For the supporter there are a few reasons that make cup football just that little bit special and it continues to baffle me that in the Premier League managers and owners seem happy with a 12th place finish and spending the last few weeks of the season mindlessly plodding along in the hope that fundamentally achieving nothing amounts to something.

The first reason, is the chance of something a bit different. There’s an old adage that familiarity brings contempt and in Scottish senior football in particular, where most teams play each other a minimum of 4 time a season, the change of drawing anyone outside of your league adds a certain level of excitement. In junior football, where the leagues are regionalised, there is no other competition other than the Scottish Junior Cup that could see teams traverse the country in the pursuit of glory from Burghead to Girvan and everywhere in between.

This brings us to reason number two, the away day. Now for some fans the cup draw should bring an endless run of home fixtures against teams they could easily dispatch. That for me is the ultimate disappointment and as far as the cup goes I’d take a 4 hour coach ride north over a walk round the corner on Scottish Cup day, new ground, new places and of course, new pies.

Pollok’s away tie to Rossvale was somewhere in between, a fairly regularly drawn foe from a lower division that was just a short 15 minutes’ drive from my Southside home. Luckily for me though, I hadn’t yet sampled a pie and so with gusto to Springburn I headed.

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

Where: Petershill Park, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

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Price: A second consecutive junior scotch pie at just one pound. Bargain.

Presentation: So I’m going to do a bit of assumption making here. When I arrived at Petershill Park I was interested to observe a fairly frustrated looking Burger Van vendor at the bottom of the quite substantial hill the pitch sits on. On entry to the ground it became apparent that nobody was holding a Bovril, or soup, or even worse a pie. 15 minutes later and the polystyrene cups and what looked like bags of pick’n’mix started to appear. Knowing that this could be my chance I headed over to a now open kiosk within the ground where two woman were bringing in crates of pies. Why’s this story significant? Because when you were served your pastry it came, not in a tin foil case or adorned with a white napkin but instead in a small white paper poke. I suspect some quick thinking had occurred and if so kudos has to be given in resolving the issue so quickly.

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Meatiness: Sometimes you can wax lyrically about the filling of a pie, other times you have to accept what you have been given is a perfectly good and tasty meat filled pastry product. The texture of the mince, spot on. The pepper kick, gentle and lingering. The grease, enough to be moist without a fatty flow creeping down your palm. This was not ground breaking but it was everything a scotch pie should be.

Pastry: Crisp and well baked throughout, sturdy enough to hold the filling during each bite. There was a golden tinge along the top edges and although the top was a little loose this in some way helped to cool the pie on its removal from the bag. Solid job.

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Brown Sauce: A wee sachet of the same brown sauce that I get in the work, completely irrelevant but entirely truthful factoid there for you.

Overall: Everything you’d expect from a scotch pie, meaty, little peppery and didn’t fall apart at the seams. I am however left with but one question as to whether the pie came from McGhee’s since the well-known Glasgow bakery is one of Rossvale’s principle sponsors.

Gravy Factor: Would go well with chips and beans.

A solid effort from Rossvale, and an example of how keeping a scotch pie simple can sometimes be the best thing. In an effort to expand my repertoire my next offering will be a Portuguese Football Scran Special focusing on the match day treats consumed during my trip to Lisbon where I took in Benfica v Rio Ave. I put it to you whether this was something that you were interested in and the unanimous feedback from Instagram and a strong favourable rating on Twitter means that this will be the first time I have written about non pie things on this site.

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, 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 109: The Benburb Pie

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

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

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

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

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

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

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

THE PIE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 92: The Hurlford United Pie

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

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

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

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

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

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

THE PIE

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

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

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

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

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

Gravy Factor: Peppered Gravy.

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

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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

Pie 90: The St. Andrews United ‘Steak’ Pie

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If this was cricket they would be talking about how nervous I should be getting as I head towards the magical ton but Meat Filled Pastries is just not cricket, it is a celebratory smorgasbord of all things pastry and this journey rolls on. So what’s been happening…

Well it’s #BritishPieWeek so I have been setting about spreading the good word of pie, starting with a piece on the return of Pollok’s Pie Hut, something this fan is particularly relieved about, it just feels a bit wrong to go to a match and not have a pie of some kind on offer. If there was ever a week for you to have a pie, this is it!

Also on a personal level, myself and a group of friends recently hosted a charity night for the Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund for our friend Stewart ‘Smit’ Smith who passed away aged 28. I’ve spoken about him a few times in the blog so I’ll restrain myself from eulogizing further but I thought I’d let you know we raised a fantastic £2400 and I just want to take the chance on the most far-reaching of my communicative forums to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and those who donated. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with our progress. In a month where not one, but two young footballers have died well before their time it is always important for this pie guy to remember that life is for living as you’ll never know when it could be taken away.

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

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Recreation Park, St Andrews United 0-4 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round

Price: You know it amazes me but even after 18 months of doing this, I forget what order I do these things in. I always have to re-visit the previous blog to get it right. Now you may be asking where the scotch pie offering is from the home of golf, well when getting the pie round in (I’m the pie guy, that’s what I do) I was greeted with 1 steak pie and 4 scotch. So in the interest of fairness and to save myself a bit of a quandary I took it upon myself to have the steak pie. Priced at £1.60 this was a relative bargain in the world of luxury pies.

Presentation: Presented on a large white napkin but without the tin foil cases usually found adorning a steak pie.

THE PIE

Wonder if they have one of these bad boys stoating round The Old Course
Wonder if they have one of these bad boys stoating round The Old Course

Meatiness: This was a savoury delight, quite salty but not in a bad way as it compensated for the lack of any real heat usually provided by a pepper-based kick. There was a good variety of chunks some big that required biting all the way through and some smaller that would pop straight into your mouth before bursting with its meaty goodness and yes, as I finish writing this sentence I realise that description is ripe for innuendo! The gravy was the right level of unctuous, thick enough to hold within the pie as it awaited its next bite but thin enough so that it did not feel floury or gloopy. This was a smashing example of a luxury meat filling.

Pastry: The pastry was golden perfection as I’m sure the picture above will testify too, a palette of golds and brown, like a puff pastry sunset setting over a sea of lovely, lovely gravy. It was crisp and the soft layers underneath melded beautifully with the filling within. Despite this pie being somewhat wetter in nature due to its steak based content the base and sides remained in tact throughout although they did sag just a little.

Overall: Great Filling. Great Pastry. Great Pie.

Gravy Factor: Not so much gravy but more a heavenly jus.

Well it’s safe to say St. Andrews United should be pleased with their efforts next time I’m there the scotch pie will be under the piecroscope. As it stands next time out is still a bit of a mystery but I assure you wherever it may be a pie will be consumed.

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.