That’s right Bacon Mac & Cheese! I was excited, but more on that later. Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries and another instalment in this quest to search out the tastiest match day treats around. Over time I have learned to balance the consumption of pies – which aren’t actually that bad for you in moderation – with regular exercise to ensure the boy who eats pies doesn’t turn into one. I thought I was doing alright until a small child in the supermarket last week turned around to his mum, pointed at me and shouted, “Look Mummy, a fat man!”. Cheers kid…
In all seriousness though over the last couple of years I’ve ran some proper distances, completed a Kiltwalk, climbed a thing or two and generally tried to make sure that I live a little bit healthier. Luckily I have some pals who were that way inclined already which helped so when my mate suggested helping somebody out who was doing the same thing – with the added incentive of helping them to raise money for a good cause – I was more than up for joining in.
I’ll let Tony’s story speak for itself (click here) but at 62 he has set himself the target of Walking the West Highland Way whilst also climbing an Everest worth’s of munros as he goes all in aid of the Glasgow Children’s Hospital. The thing is he needs help, which is where me and my mates have come in and so next week we’ll be climbing Schiehallion along with Tony as he continues his preparations. It’s never easy to set yourself a goal like that, especially when you decide to do it on your own, so if you think you can help Tony out with either a donation or by giving him somebody to walk with then why not give him a shout. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
You know what else I’m sure Tony would appreciate at the end of a climb? A pie. But would he fancy this Bacon Mac & Cheese offering from Ibrox? Well let’s find out?
Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Ibrox, Rangers 2-0 St. Mirren, Scottish Premiership
Price: At £3.50 this was the most expensive pie on the menu, and to date, the most expensive match day pie I have ever eaten in Scotland. This was part of their “Pie of the Month” range where each month (unsurprisingly) a new and exotic pastry gets added to the menu. It’s an utter gimmick, and why it justified the price hike mystified me but it was a pie I hadn’t had before and so of course I dug deep and paid for this pastry.
Presentation: This pie was presented on a large white napkin and the pastry itself was contained in a fairly large circular tin foil case that’s diameter narrowed a little towards the bottom.
Meatiness: Now anybody who has read a Macaroni Pie review before will know that meatiness is usually replaced by the far more convoluted CheesyPastainess but given that this was a BACON Mac & Cheese Pie I’m comfortable that normal rules should apply. What I was not comfortable with though was how bereft of bacon this pastry was. Yes there was the odd, and I mean odd, fleck of pinky-brown in amongst the cheese sauce but if you’re charging me £3.50 for a motherporkin’ pie you better have a higher quantity of bacon than what was on offer here. The meat that was there did provide a subtle smoky taste to proceedings and the macaroni cheese itself was fairly decent boosted by the rather unattractive looking layer of not quite fully melted cheese on top but to call this a BACON Mac & Cheese Pie and have such of a paucity of swine within is near criminal. See picture below.
Pastry: Along with the part melted cheesy top the pastry also made for a fairly unappetising sight. It was near white in colour and didn’t wrap itself snugly round the filling like a good case should but to its credit it was just about cooked enough to support the filling even if it’s contribution to the overall taste of this pie was negligible.
Brown Sauce: No brown sauce here as technically this is a luxury pie but after a couple of bites to get a pure taste from it I added a squirt of tomato ketchup for an added spike of flavour.
Overall: I’ve gone in hard on this because it was three blinking fifty but if it was the price of a normal macaroni pie without the audacity to call it a Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie then it would be just about passable, not good, passable.
Gravy Factor: Not Bacon Gravy. Bacon Scented Gravy.
The search for a big ground pie that justifies it’s price tag in Scotland continues. I haven’t got anything in plan as I enter the sticky part of the season where the mid-week fixtures start to dry up and so we may be in for a spell of pie differentiation but what that actually looks like we’ll have to wait and see.
However until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink 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.
I’m not going to lie folks, this is becoming a struggle, my pie based vocabulary is reaching its peak and I’m conscious repetition is almost always on the cards these days. That said I have an obligation to you, the people who have read, supported and shared this mad adventure, to see it through to season end. So let’s go out with a flurry of flour, a sprinkle of mace and a dollop of brown sauce.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Paisley 2021 Stadium (Christ what a name!), St. Mirren 2-2 Hibernian, Scottish Championship
Price: I’ve made a booboo here and totally forgot to check the price. I compounded this booboo when the following Friday I was at the same venue for Scotland Women’s victory against Slovenia and forgot to check again! If somebody wants to correct me then I’m all ears but for now I’m going to say around £2.40.
Presentation: Presented in a silver foil tin on a small to medium-sized napkin, standard presentational fayre.
Meatiness CheesyPastainess – As regular readers will know this section is usually reserved to the meatiness of my pie, however after tenuously linking meat to macaroni on not one but two separate occasions I decided now was the time to bite the bullet and create a new section. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the snazzily titled ‘CheesyPastainess’ section. So how cheesy and pasta like was this pastry. The answer my friends is very. Let’s start with the pasta, soft macaroni tender to the bite and tasting like pasta as opposed to bland tubes of rubber. The cheese sauce was also very good, distinctly cheesy and I’m confident there was a blend used but of what I’m not sure and there was no floury after taste. It was also lovely and stringy whilst still being easy to eat. I’ve had some rotten macaroni pies but this wasn’t one of them.
Pastry: I often find the pastry on a macaroni pie is paler in colour than that you find on a standard scotch offering and this was no different. That’s not to say it wasn’t baked as this pastry was cooked enough to hold together and fall apart nicely all at the same time. It also managed not to stick to the bottom of the tin, a fate that befalls many a pie encased in silver. Overall another solid effort.
Brown Sauce: Nostalgia dictates it’s always red sauce with my macaroni pie. Nothing has made me change that yet.
Overall: A very good effort from the Paisley Pandas. A sauce that was nice and cheesy, with soft pasta and a well-baked pastry case.
Gravy Factor: Cheese meltingly good gravy.
A third offering from Paisley in the books, the next one could have been number four but the menu was somewhat limited for the Women’s international but never fear a new pie is ready to pop. Next up a Steak & Gravy Pie from Perth based junior outfit, Jeanfield Swifts.
However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, apologies I’ve been a way for a wee while but this has been a deliberate manoeuvre on my part. As I explained in my last entry next Tuesday I will be a judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships, judging, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Football Pie category. This week a myriad of documents arrived via email and I have spent the last couple of days familiarising myself with the criteria these pies must aspire to. Conscious that some will have passed my lips already I resolved to take a short pie based sabbatical for the benefit of judging impartiality. Now for some people ten days without a pie isn’t really a big deal but when you spend a few hours a week talking about these pastry swathed beauties rationing becomes a difficult skill to master. I hope you can all understand.
With all that being said I still have a pie in my back pocket for your reading delectation, so without further ado, let’s rate some pie.
Where: St Mirren Park, Scotland v Northern Ireland, Sky Sports Victory Shield
Price: A step up in surroundings saw a considerable step up in price with a scotch pie setting me back £2.10, admittedly only 10p more than the Stirling University Pie recently reviewed but still more than double the price of the junior pies that have been passing my lips this season. If I was still at university, and I was doing some kind of economics based course I am 95% certain I would try to do a statistical analysis of the price of pie even though the BBC do a decent, if not slightly flawed, job of it already. I mean Rangers for whatever reason still have their toys out of the pram and refuse to collaborate in these fan focused surveys at the moment but what was stopping a ‘journalist’ (somebody paid to investigate stories), going to Ibrox, buying a pie, a Bovril, a programme and a ticket and then whacking the information into their ‘Price of Football’ super computer. I mean the price of entry and cost of match day sundries once inside Ibrox are some of the few things down Govan way that aren’t shrouded in mystery these days. I tell you what BBC because I’m a nice guy next time I go I’ll get you a price list. Moving on.
Presentation: The traditional presentation style for a pie in the upper echelons of the Scottish game. A small white napkin with the pie snugly wedged into a silver tin foil case.
Meatiness: I hope you can see from above this was a very will filled pie. The first bite was one where you could almost feel your teeth going through the layers. The meat was moist and the right balance was struck with it being firm enough to bite securely without being so firm that the meat didn’t give a little once you pulled your lips away. Where this meat really excelled though was with its peppery kick, something that has been sadly missing from my recent bout of pie tastings. It was almost instantaneous in hitting the palate not hot with fire but spicy with pepper, I was so impressed with this burst of flavour I decided to time how long the linger would last but at the 6 minute stage I was still waiting for the tang to subside and so I gave up suitably impressed with the enduring presence of the pepper within.
Pastry: The pastry was nice. The top disc was a little loose leading to some gaps around the side, in some ways this allows the pie to cool before eating but, on receipt of my pie judging forms this week, not something that you should consider as pie perfection. The upper lip of the crust was nice and crispy without being too hard and the base remained in tact. An impressive feat considering the penchant for destruction that a tin foil case has when it comes to pie pastry. .The all important pastry to pie ratio was just right although I’m not a fan of the dusty top that inexplicably makes it way on to some pies including this one. Often I feel this dusting subtracts flavour instead of adding it but all in all as a receptacle for the meat inside this did an admirable job.
Brown Sauce: The brown sauce provided came in the form of a large pump handle bottle, economically a sound move but logistically a bit of a nightmare as you often find yourself squinting your hand into all sorts of position to get the sauce coating you desire. This was especially true in this instance as this particular pump handle was only allowing a small spot of sauce out at a time. The sauce itself though was suitably tangy.
Overall: I had recently been going through a bit of a pie rut with nothing really capturing the imagination but this pie has been a mighty fine example of a football snack. Well filled, with an excellent peppery kick with the proportions of meat to pastry just right and if somebody could just blow off the floury sprinkles on top then this would be a true top pie contender.
Gravy Factor: Peppercorn Sauce. Love that Linger.
So another pie down and the next pie to pass my lips will be at the World Scotch Pie Championships to be held in Dunfermline next week. I plan to write about my experience after which my journey of pie will continue in full once again. Slated for review next will be the Glasgow City pie as they are in Women’s Champions League action at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. My latest Sporadic Scottish Football Round-Up will also be up on The Football Pink in the next few days.
However until next time, go forth and eat pie!