spread the gravy

Pie 69: The Raith Rovers Pie

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Jings! That World Cup was rather good wasn’t it, although I don’t know if I would have fancied a roasting hot pie in the afternoon heat of Fortaleza or Salvador. That’s right folks, despite the doubters who thought this wouldn’t last a month Meat Filled Pastries is back for the 2014/15 season and I believe that this year the pastry is destined to be crisper, the gravy even messier, the meat oh so tender and the grease at a level that will mean I can keep my morning routine down to 1 cholesterol reducing yoghurt drink a day. I’m a season down and my standards have never been higher.

Before we get started on today’s review a few pieces of housekeeping for the new season:

  • For ease of communications you can now follow Meat Filled Pastries on Twitter @MFPTasty, also for any queries you can now contact pie HQ directly by emailing meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com. I want to spread the word of pie even further than before and by whatever medium I can so I am open to all offers.
  • The classic one bite expose will also this season be accompanied by a couple of pictures of my pie eating surroundings, whilst I’m sure larger venues like Ibrox, Hampden and Tynecastle will be familiar to many the aim of this ‘project’ is to shed some light on those venues where only the few will ever go, raise the profile of these clubs and spread the love about the beautiful game.
  • After a successful test towards the end of last season each week as well as a slice of pie based punditry there will be my take on whatever is prominent in the footballing world, perhaps there may be the odd match report and interview thrown in to but bear with me as I am just one man with a sizeable appetite for pies and live action football.

I will refrain from going on any longer at present and get on to the pastries, so without much further ado, say it loud and say it proud, LET’S RATE SOME PIE!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Starks Park, Raith Rovers v St Johnstone, Pre-Season Friendly, Entry Fee, £10.00. Programme, £1.50.

This may be the best looking picture I take all season..
This may be the best looking picture I take all season.

Price: Priced at £1.80 this will be the standard-bearer for pricing of pies towards the top end of the Scottish footballing pyramid. Instinct suggests to me that this may be about average for the season to come but we shall wait and see what the future brings.

Presentation: It may be a new season but its good to see that the medium-sized white napkin that I so often lauded as the little black dress of the football snacking world is still looming large over the humble pie, it was good to feel that soft paper between my fingers again.

THE PIE

I've missed you my friend.
I’ve missed you my friend.

Meatiness: I made a massive mistake with my first pie of the new season which both helped and hindered this review. Now as you all know all scotch pie tastings must be adorned with a splodge of brown sauce and as daft as this sounds but I probably could write a blog totally devoted to the different types of brown sauce you get at football grounds across the country but even I think that’s a step too far. Anyway to get back to my point such is my familiarity with this most delicious of condiments I often know exactly how much sauce to place on my pie. If I see a label or bottle I don’t recognise I’ll tread carefully as I’m not sure what version of this spice laden sauce is about to be bestowed upon my pastry. In this instance however I forgot about this rule and gaily smothered two-thirds of the pie lid with a few squirts of Bobby Brown probably in excitement more than anything else. This was my massive mistake.

The sauce was perhaps the tangiest thing I have ever put in my mouth, causing my cheeks to instantaneously suck themselves inwards resulting in pulling a duck face that 20-year-old lassies everywhere dream of putting on their Instagram accounts. It certainly added flavour but boy I wish I hadn’t been so generous, that said once I managed to find an area not so sauce laden I was slightly disappointed. The meat was a little under seasoned and that kick of pepper I had waited all summer for was nowhere to be found. I ate it pretty quickly as hunger was in full force after the drive to Kirkcaldy so my disappointment was only heightened when there was no discernible flavour left lingering in my mouth apart from the sting of the sauce. As a return to pie it was a little underwhelming.

Pastry: The pastry was soft which made it easy to eat. The softness was due to a well made pastry as opposed to it being underdone but I feel like it missed those crispy edges that I have a penchant for tearing off and dipping into the saucy pool above. Although I would have refrained from doing so on this occasion anyway. I had also noticed that on some of the pies around me there were small glistening puddles of grease that had leaked through but on mine the lid was dry and intact.

Overall: Starting the season with a Bog Standard Bisto offering was not what my heart desired but in truth this was nothing better than average although the good folk at Starks Park may be able to use their brown sauce to wake up any players knocked unconscious during the season. One sip of that bad boy and you’ll be wired to the moon.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto with a half pint of vinegar thrown in for good measure.

So there we have it your 2014/15 pie virginity has now been broken. Let me know what you think of the new format, I like it but I welcome all feedback good or bad. Once you’ve finished reading please remember to share it with your friends and spread the gravy.

The next review will be a second offering from Starks Park as the luxury pie makes it’s season debut whilst this week’s non pie piece will be in relation to the SFA’s interesting taking on ticket pricing for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and how UEFA’s ‘Week of Football’ philosophy only helps to compound the error in judgement made.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

 

Pie 53: The Ayr United Pie

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It's a pie, honest!
It’s a pie, honest!

Happy British Pie Week everyone! That’s right, a week devoted entirely to pie and here at Meat Filled Pastries we are fully embracing the festive period with a plethora of pie lined up for your delectation over the coming week. This review is the first of two from the home of Ayr United, Somerset Park one of the few remaining senior grounds in Scotland with a proper old school feel to it. With a main stand that I swear hasn’t been touched since it was built and three sides of proper terracing. The home end, when even half full, can generate a proper atmosphere that only a pitch level terrace can. It will be a sad day when the inevitable move to a one or two-sided, Lego brick special in the middle of an industrial estate somewhere transpires and as such if you’ve never been I highly recommend a visit before that fateful day arrives.

As I say this is the first of two reviews from Ayr and as always in the case of double reviews we start with the humble scotch pie, the number one snack of choice across all of Scottish football.

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

Where: Somerset Park, Ayr United v Forfar Athletic, SPFL League One

Price: Priced at £1.50 this pie falls snugly into the price range found at grounds across the lower divisions in Scotland’s professional set up.

Presentation: After our flowery diversion at Kirkintilloch Rob Roy last time out (Pie 51), it is a return to the medium-sized plain white napkin, that classic pie look that will never go out of fashion. I should note here that this pie was roasting on receipt and as such my napkin was halved in my hand to prevent the potential disaster of a pie lying prone upside down on the floor beside me.

Meatiness: This pie was filled with mutton to near perfection, there was a small gap between meat and pastry to help cool the meaty innards as you ate. The meat held together excellently on first bite and continued to do so as I munched my way through. There was a definitive hint of spice in this pie but not through a big kick of pepper as normally would be the case but instead from something much sweeter. If you asked me to pinpoint it to one flavour I would speculate on a hint of smoked paprika but at the time of consumption I found it hard to really nail down exactly what I was tasting. What I can definitely confirm though is that this was a very tasty pie indeed and the flavour lingered all the way until pie number 2 was ready for consumption.

Pastry: The pastry was a lovely and golden in colour that managed to be just crisp enough to added a nice crunch at the top of the crust but soft enough that the pie could be gobbled up in two or three bites if the mood took you. It tore off from the main body of the pie with ease and as such at no point did I fear that a meaty dribble would cascade down my arm and fall heartbreakingly onto the floor below. One of the better pastries I have tasted on this journey.

Overall: This was an excellent scotch pie and a cracking way to start British Pie Week, it was a near perfect taste combination of meat and spice with a slight sweetness to be found the further you ate while the all important meat to pastry ratio was pretty much spot on too.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you would stick in a mug and drink while everybody around you pretends to enjoy their cup of tea that was handpicked by a spider monkey.

As you should be able to tell I liked this pie, and if it had been the only meat filled delight on offer I would have quite happily had another but I already had my eye on something far more luxurious, A Steak & Ale Pie and if you want to see what I thought of Pie 54 then tune in later in the week as Meat Filled Pastries celebration of pie continues to rumble on.

But until then go forth and eat pie!

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

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