Those three days between the end of the World Cup and the start of my football season were some of the most challenging of my life. Yes, it was almost certainly the best tournament I had lived through but nothing ever really beats being at an actual game. I was excited to start at a new ground in Bo’ness and of course with a new pie review as I followed my team Pollok east for some friendly action. Imagine then my disappointment as I scanned the terraces of Newtown Park to see that my post work dash to West Lothian was not going to be rewarded with a meat filled pastry dinner. I really hoped this wasn’t going to be a sign of things to come.
Fast forward to the following Saturday and a message exchange with my Kilmarnock supporting mate from uni saw me off to Dumbarton. Going “undercover” as an away fan is always a unique experience, the fans tend to be that little bit more boisterous, fuelled by a travel beer or two, the characters slightly more eclectic and the whole day just that little bit more enjoyable than taking seat with some of the home team regulars.
Despite the pies selling out at half time due to the volume of travelling fans I had snagged a pie just past the half hour mark, and with it securely wrapped inside my paw I welcome you to Season 6 of Meat Filled Pastries with Pie 138: The Dumbarton Steak & Gravy Pie.
Without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: The C&G Systems Stadium, Dumbarton 2-4 KIlmarnock, Betfred Cup Group Stage
Price: As it was the first pie of a new season I thought I would treat myself to a little bit of luxury but at a whopping £2.60 – a full 70p more than a scotch pie – I was slightly aghast. Now maybe it’s because this was the first game of the season but when I looked up at the price board an audible “whit!” could be heard coming out my mouth. Remember this is Scottish League One fayre, not Ibrox or Parkhead. I was quite taken aback.
Presentation: A common presentation style for a steak based pie of a tinfoil case and medium-sized white napkin although the mis-shapen nature of the case (more pear shaped than round) should have hinted about the taste experience that was about to follow.
Meatiness: The meat content of this pie was dispersed in some what of a higgledy piggledy manner meaning that at one side you were biting into some pastry lightly tickled by gravy whilst at the other there was a wealth of meaty treasure to be found. Various sized chunks of meat wrapped in a well seasoned if not particularly mind-blowing gravy. The meat was cooked well but didn’t leave you yearning for more nor wishing you’d never took a bite. It was just there.
Pastry: The pastry was on the surface fine. A nice golden tinge to the edges although the top was perhaps looking a little under-baked. The side walls had cracked quite a bit leaving its structural integrity in question but all in all it was holding and seemed passable without being in any danger of making it on “the best pies I have eaten” list. Then I took a bite. A bite of raw, sticking to the tinfoil bottom layer of something that was…well it was awful. Claggy to the bite and with the ability to roll it up in a ball between my fingers. By the time I had finished my pie I needed more than a few slurps of fizzy pop to wash my mouth clean and seperate the paste from my teeth. Poor.
Brown Sauce: Just a reminder that luxury pies require no brown sauce although in this instance it may have helped with the pastry.
Gravy Factor: We were on our way to an OK steak and gravy pie, with a golden if under-baked top and a decent filling however that base. That mush of paste masquerading as pastry was the definition of, no nice.
Overall: Not a fan.
Well I hope that’s not the season standard going forward. Luckily we have an early shot at redemption as I headed to Fife to take in a pre-season friendly between Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers and of course scran a pie. I’ll keep you posted if anything interesting happens along the way, however, until next time go forth and eat pie.
Just maybe not this one.
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’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
So here it is. What’s shaping up to be the penultimate pie review of the football season, a second offering from Fauldhouse United this time in the form of a Steak Pie.
One of the things I’ve always found a little confusing when eating my way through the pies of Scotland and beyond is the lack of advertisement at pie stalls about where they get their pastries from. It seems to me a fairly easy win for the supplier, a captive and very local audience, who after tasting your pie could decide that this is the only thing they want to have for their dinner until they their ultimate breath. Their problem, unless they pipe up and ask, they don’t know where it comes from.
To be fair this isn’t always the case, here at Fauldhouse there are Bell’s advertisements everywhere, Rossvale have McGhee’s as a main sponsor, Beith are supplied by Irvine’s and there’s a World Champion Certificate for Boghall Butchers at Bathgate Thistle. Pars seem to supply half of the Scottish Premiership whilst The Kandy Bar provide pies to a number of Ayrshire region teams. The Killie/Kilmarnock Pie made by Browning’s is perhaps the ultimate demonstration in how you can make your product synonymous with an entire genre.
The names above are some of the most recognised on the Scottish Butcher/Bakery scene and the impact that a strong association with a football team has cannot be underestimated. If you are a butcher or baker who supply a football club have a think about how you advertise that fact in the coming season. Advertising boards and programme inserts are great but for me that association comes best when you hand over your money or look down on your napkin. You know if your pies are great, so when they are why not shout about them.
For now though let’s continue with part two of my Fauldhouse adventure. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Park View (Take 2), Fauldhouse United 0-4 Tayport, East Premier League
Price: £1.20. Perhaps a first since I have started this website (I’ve checked and I can’t see any evidence to the contrary) in that the price for the Steak Pie is exactly the same as the Scotch Pie. A Luxury Pie at a Scotch Pie price. What a time to be alive!
Presentation: A medium-sized white napkin, replacing the gargantuan piece of kitchen roll that my earlier scotch pie had adorn it. More than capable of doing the job required of supporting my second pastry helping of the day.
Meatiness: Ach! I hate this, I want every pie I eat to be one of the best things I have ever had but unfortunately for this steak pie it just wasn’t to be. The filling reached about half way up the pie, meaning that it felt a bit stingey and to get a proper look inside I had to use my fingers to spread the pastry floor and ceiling apart. The filling was more gravy like in consistency with only one or two small to medium-sized chunks. It was alright but nothing more.
Pastry: I could literally copy and paste the summary of the pastry from Pie 135: The Fauldhouse United Pie as the pastry shell was exactly the same in colour and construct but I’m going to be even lazier than that and ask you to follow this link instead.
Overall: Nothing terrible but nothing more than OK.
Gravy Factor: Meh, but with steak.
So there you have it, Fauldhouse United, a great wee club with a bit of room for improvement on the pie front. I’m writing this on a Saturday morning a couple fo hours before I head to Glasgow Perhtshire for what I think will be my last pie review of the season. From there I’ll move onto my International Soccer Scran Series before seeing what inspiration the World Cup brings.
However as always, 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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if my pursuit of pastry goes a little too far. Three years ago I found myself sitting on a sofa talking to a former Miss Scotland and the artist formerly known as DJ Romeo about how I was darting about the country eating pies and reviewing them. Two things struck me immediately when I re-watched that mental few minutes. One, I had more hair. Two, the question about whether or not I had eaten all the pies was fairer than I was willing to admit at that time. It had been the culmination of a week where I’d also featured on websites and radio stations and afterwards I had found myself sitting in my car thinking, sometimes, just sometimes, my life is a little bit strange.
I found myself questioning the sanity of my pie pursuit once again last week as I looked out on the arctic tundra masquerading as the pitch at Scotstoun Stadium. I had left on the Sunday morning via bus and then train(s) more in hope than anticipation that the game would be on, regularly checking social media channels for the inevitable. I was therefore amazed that I had got to the point where I had settled down with a pie and a pint in my hand ready for some hard hitting rugby/ice hockey action. Alas though, that inevitable did come, as no sooner had I taken my last bite the stadium tannoy declared the game off. You would think I would be annoyed but I wasn’t, it had got me out the house, given me a story to tell, and of course, most importantly, gave me a new pie review. The fact that this is the conclusion reached tells us all that when it comes to pie, you can never go too far.
So with that in mind and without, much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Scotstoun Stadium, Womens Rugby International Scotland A-A Spain
Price: Four smackeroonis (£4 for the unintiated)! Oooft, that is indeed a pricey pastry.
Presentation: This was a large pastry in a tin foil case with an equally ample napkin. It’s worth noting here taking a picture of a pie under the cover of a stand against a bright white snowy background is blinking difficult!
Meatiness: I dubbed this a Steak Surprise Pie as when making my purchase I had simply asked for steak but as I munched my way through it the texture suggested something else was lurking within. My first thought was mushroom or potato as the texture was soft and forgiving on the bite but the taste just didn’t match up. I then wondered if I’d happened across some really soft pieces of fat but it’s taste was too different from the generous steaky chunks surrounding them. I had inspected the filling thoroughly but to be honest, it wasn’t until somebody on Twitter asked if I had gone for the “Steak & Sausage” pie did everything fall into place. Now does that mean that the sausage wasn’t good? Not at all, in fact it added an extra meaty layer that had me nodding my head in pleasure on more than one occasion. The gravy was also of the right consistency to provide the necessary ooze without risk of spillage. This pie was £4 but I was starting to understand why.
Pastry: The pastry was where I think there was some space for improvement. Not in the nature of the bake which was solid. Golden and crisp without any hint of this sticking to the tin foil case but for the amount of pastry on the crimp. One of the great pleasures of eating a pie is that glorious first bite, where pastry and meat come together in a hopefully glorious unison of savouriness. On this pie, my first bite was all pastry and I had to pick some of it off before getting to the good stuff. It’s a minor complaint on a pretty tasty pie but it’s one worth mentioning.
Brown Sauce: Luxury Pie here so no brown sauce, and it was certainly not needed.
Overall: Yes it was £4 but it was bloody tasty. A bit of better advertising on what was in it would have been nice and bringing in the crimp a few millimetres would have enhanced that all important first bite experience but that’s a minor complaint on a very tasty pastry.
Gravy Factor: Luxury Gravy. Expensive but sometimes you have to treat yourself.
I think that was my first rugby pie which is a bit of a surprise as I’m known to land at a rugby ground fairly often. Next up will be a return to the Scottish Junior football scene with Rossvale, who are sponsored by one of Scotland’s biggest bakers, McGhee’s, so no pressure lads.
But 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.