steak

Pie 54: The Ayr United ‘Steak & Ale’ Pie

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There be booze in this here pie!
There be booze in this here pie!

I’m back and it’s still British Pie Week so that means that once again Meat Filled Pastries is delving headfirst into a meaty masterpiece. You may think I’m being presumptuous, I mean I haven’t even reviewed this offering yet, but let us not forget that a pie no matter how beautiful or tasty is still a masterpiece. A story of man’s struggle to create a crisp but soft pastry golden to the eye and flaky to the touch. To find the finest cuts of meat, to chop or mince them whilst seasoning them sympathetically to enhance the flavours inside whilst providing you, the luck recipient, with an extra dimension of spice, sweet or savoury at the behest of the artist’s moods and tastes. A pie is indeed a masterpiece and one day Meat Filled Pastries will be their Louvre.

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

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

Price: This was priced at £2 and much like the Ayr United’s Scotch Pie (Pie 53) it is priced slap bang in the middle of the range most applicable for luxury pies in the Scottish lower leagues.

Presentation: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a new leader in the presentation stakes. Look at this, that’s right I’m about to drop a second picture on you.

Just Wow!
Just Wow!

I mean wow, just wow, what is this!?!? Well in its simplest form it is a cardboard sleeve in which the pie was sitting comfortably, but to look at it in its simplest form would be a total waste of a pie review. Is it the front cover of a pie themed trance album that never quite took off? Is it a full-grown version of Sooty’s best friend forever Sweep after an acid trip? Or is it simply a felt tip and highlighter portrait of the first nun who decided she was quite fond of a meat filled pastry every now and again? Either way this provided plenty of entertainment during the pre match build up. Underneath the sleeve the pie was in a simple tin foil case but there was no napkin provided, a first in this journey of pie and could be considered by some as a pie eating faux pas.

Meatiness: Just like the presentation, the meaty filling inside this luxury pie was super fancy. It was a dark, stormy concoction of steak and thick unctuous gravy. Far darker than your normal steak pie which I can only assume was a result of the ale that the meat was cooked with adding a depth of colour and a lovely malty back note to each bite. A common flaw in ale based gravies is that there is no hint of the specially crafted ale that a brewer had spent weeks and months sweating over so it was a delight to taste its presence in this offering. Then there was the meat, not only wonderfully tender with a good mix of shreds and dice but it also had some wonderful crispy bits where the meat had obviously caught in the pan. It really helped to add a homemade feel to the pie whilst adding another dimension of this flavour. I know I’m gushing a bit but wowzers this was good pie!

Pastry: The pastry was lovely and golden. Soft and crispy with a small hole to let the steam out the top. The most impressive part though was that there was no soggy bottom and no catching on the tin foil case just a lovely layer of crisp soft pastry from top to bottom. It may appear, when looking at it, that it was a little pale but in reality this was the crowning glory on this belter of a pie.

Overall: This pie came with a lot of hype and before consumption I was nervous that it would be nothing but a disappointment. I am delighted to report that I had no need for nerves as this was delightful from first bite to last. Great Meat. Great Gravy. Great Pastry. And the kind of presentation that requires 3D glasses and a time machine back to the sixties. If you go to Somerset Park this pie is a must. Well played Boaby, whoever you are!

Gravy Factor: Bathe me in this gravy, wash me down with a towel and then ring it dry straight into my wide open gob!

This pie definitely made a midweek drive to South Ayrshire a trip worthwhile. A review this good only goes to encourage me to go further with these pie adventures and as such my next stop on Saturday will be Dunterlie Park home of Arthurlie, let’s just hope the rain eases up a bit.

Until next time, 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.

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Pie 49: The Greenock Morton ‘Steak’ Pie

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Back to the lap of luxury...it's STEAAAAK!
No Pies were harmed in the making of this review.

Did you know the word luxury started out as a term most commonly associated with sexual intercourse in the 1300’s? I certainly didn’t and whatever comparison you have now made between the physical act of making love and a golden filled pastry packed with meat and gravy is entirely of your own doing. As part of good housekeeping I should probably confirm that I am never going to tell you to make love to a pie, firstly it’s not that kind of site and secondly it would just be a downright waste. This is not American Pie, you are not Jim, please keep your pants on!

Anyway, welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries where we love pies, not make love to them. This is the second review of a packed week of pie and a long-awaited return to the luxury market with our second offering from Cappielow, home of Greenock Morton.

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

Where: Cappielow, Greenock Morton v Queen of the South, SPFL Championship

Price: At £1.80 it is 30p more expensive that the standard scotch offering at Cappielow but when compared with other luxury offerings it’s priced towards the cheaper end of the scale. As it happens, I nearly missed out on this pastry present to myself, only being alerted to its existence by the chap behind me promptly ordering one for himself and I hope his 3 friends. I imagine it’s the first time anyone has given back a pie at the football but 3 pies in one 90 minute sitting is too much, even for this lover of all things pastry filled and meaty.

Presentation: One of the few luxury steak pies to go against popular convention and not present itself inside a tin foil case, instead flying solo on a napkin of similar size, colour and heat resistance to that the Morton scotch pie was provided on.

Meatiness: This was a steak and gravy pie, the steak was tasty and well seasoned with the right mixture of large chunks and smaller strands of meat distributed throughout. The gravy that surrounded it was seasoned well with a salty as opposed to peppery undertone of flavour which for my palate was perfectly pleasant. As nice as the pie was I am disappointed to report that it was rather cold, not undercooked in any way, shape or form but tasted like it had been sat out for a while before it had made its way into my paws. The taste of the pie was good but I can’t help but wonder if a hotter pie would have tasted even better with the gravy surrounding the steak being glorious and unctuousness as opposed to a little congealed.

Pastry: The pastry suffered from the cold too as it appeared a little pale and limp as opposed to crisp and golden.  The softness of the pastry did make for a really forgiving bite and little mess but from a personal standpoint a good luxury pie should result in puff pastry flakes in your beard and a dribble of gravy down the side of your mouth. This pastry, although perfectly serviceable, robbed me of that satisfaction, and as a result was a little disappointing.

Overall: A pie of frustration. It was tasty but I feel that if this pie had retained some it’s warmth then it would have undoubtedly gained even more ticks in my flavour boxes. A simple message to all you purveyors of match day pies, make sure they’re warm, especially when it’s hats and gloves weather.

Gravy Factor: Leftover Pie. You could heat it up but that would involve getting off the couch, turning the oven on, waiting for it to heat up and then having to repeat the process all over again. After you’ve eaten it you’re happy because you’ve eaten a pie but if that little bit more effort was made to inject it with warmth it probably would have been that wee bit better.

One pie shy of 50, and that my friends will be winging its way to you before the week is out with a return to the junior pie ranks and a scotch pie offering from Penicuik Athletic.

Until next time, go forth and eat pie!

My latest piece for www.thefootballbloggingawards.co.uk looks at the new found tradition of kicking the ball out of play when a player goes down ‘injured’ go have a look it’s almost as good as all the pie chat.

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.

Pie 35: The Irvine Meadow ‘Steak’ Pie

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'Gushing with Gravy'
‘Gushing with Gravy’

Hello, it’s your friend in pie here and I am once again ready and willing to delve headfirst into another meat and gravy filled delicacy for your reading pleasure.

I have been asked many times why I spend every week sitting down and writing about pie and other than hinting that this started as the result of conversations had over a pint I’ve never really gone fully into it. Well today is the day you get under the golden flaky crust of Meat Filled Pastries as I try and make this journey seem less mad cap than it looks on first appearance.

Firstly I am a massive football fan, I have my teams that I follow, and if you read through the pie reviews I have made so far then you should be able to figure out who they are, but as a rule if there is a game of football to be found, then I’ll be at it. Whether its junior, professional, part-time, international or even the wrongly maligned women’s game. As far as I am concerned the true football experience involves standing (or sitting) at a football ground come rain or shine, something that Gary Neville and his multiple camera views will never be able to replicate.

Now, when you go to so many games of football the natural side effect to this is you eat a lot of pie, and I have eaten a LOT of pie. For many the pie is a quintessential part of the match day experience and since such additional costs like programmes and hospitality packages are rated it seemed odd to me that something so intrinsically linked with football in the UK, and Scotland specifically, did not have a champion of it’s own. I am going to be that champion, and not just for the humble pie but, as a by product, for all the clubs that I visit on my journey. I hope so far you’re happy with the job I’m doing.

Since this journalized adventure has started I’ve consumed 35 pies, gained a bit of notoriety around the terraces as the ‘pie-man’, been on local radio and picked up readers from as far afield as Tajikistan, South Africa and Vietnam whilst also returning to doing some serious writing when not engulfed by the world of pie. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m sure it will be for a long time to come.

With the rationales explained, time to get down to business and review the second pie from Irvine Meadow, and a return to the luxury market with a steak special.

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

Where: Meadow Park, Irvine Meadow v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Divison

Price: Priced at £1.50, much like the Irvine Meadow scotch pie this is slap bang in the middle of the price range expected to be paid at a junior ground for a luxury pie.

Presentation: Wearing the little black dress of the pie world, a medium sized white napkin, the first steak pie not to come within a tin foil case and as such removing any risk of the pastry sticking and the bottom falling out of the pastry base.

Meatiness: Within one bite the meat came gushing out of this pie in all its plentiful glory. This really was a case of the gravy smattering my face. The meat was cut into a mixture of thin ribbons and small chunks adding variety to each bite. The texture of the meat itself was great as you could feel the strands of meat fall apart in your mouth almost instantly. This pie had been cooked with care. The greatest joy of the filling though was the gravy. There was zero risk of calling this pie dry and it was seasoned very well. It was also of the right consistent to stay within the pie without the confines of a tin foil case to support it but still ooze as you bit down on the pastry lid. Lovely Stuff.

Pastry: The pastry had a lovely golden top and the puff hadn’t expanded too much meaning that the all important meat to pastry ratio was well within the acceptable parameters. The pastry round the outside was fine, nothing outstanding but provided the necessary tasting notes a good pie should have. The base collapsed a little due to the volume and the moistness of the filling but nowhere near as much as you would expect. A functional casing for the meaty gold inside.

Overall: This was a delicious pie and I would quite happily have one of these again in a heartbeat. My only criticism, the napkins need to be bigger because you end up getting yourself in a right mess! That mess however was totally worth it.

Gravy Factor: Get me a pastry straw so I can sook up this gravy quicker than an aardvark partying on an anthill.

All in all, an excellent effort and a good overall outing for Irvine Meadow on the pie front, the next pie to hit these pages will most likely be a result of a Tartan Army based misadventure over the weekend.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on 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 your 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.

Pie 18: The Hampden ‘Steak’ Pie

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Meat Filled Pastries first venture into the 'luxury' pie market
Meat Filled Pastries first venture into the ‘luxury’ pie market

As promised here comes Pie #2 from Friday night’s adventure to Hampden. This pie is the first one to be reviewed that will be dubbed as a ‘Luxury Pie’. Now to be a luxury pie the criteria is very simple, you just have to not be a scotch pie. That’s it. You can be steak, chicken, mongoose and lingonberry, whatever you like as long as your not a basic scotch mince pie. The reason for this you ask? Well I go to many games of football, and many places more than once, some of these places offer more than one type of pie. Sometimes I’ll do two in one go like I have at Hampden, others I may review on separate occasions. Either way it’s good news because it will mean more pies to taste, and that’s why we’re all here because we love a good pie.

Before we start it is also important to note that unlike a scotch pie, with ‘luxury pies’ you do not use brown sauce, the filling should suffice, that’s why you pay extra, only when something has gone wrong should the ‘Pie Band Aid’ be applied.

That’s the rules of luxury so, Let’s Rate Some Pie!

Where: Hampden Park, Scotland v Belgium, World Cup Qualifying Group A

Price: At £2.60 this is 40p more expensive that it’s scotch equivalent but, as previously stated, is seen as a more high end product, something I will confirm one way or another in the next few paragraphs.

Presentation: Well that extra 40p doesn’t change how the pie gets handed to you, silver tinfoil case and a tiny, tiny napkin. However in this instance the case and napkin combo cause a couple of issues not encountered when consuming a scotch pie which will be covered further down.

Meatiness: Now this is not mutton, this is prime steak in an unctuous savoury gravy, well at least that’s the idea. I’m pleased to say that this was a perfectly acceptable attempt at it, the pie had clearly been baked for the appropriate amount of time as the gravy had not dried out and the meat was still pull-apart-at-your-teeth tender. There was a distinct taste of steak, although for me I would like a bit more pepper, but that’s personal preference as I like a bit of spice.

Pastry: Being a ‘luxury pie’ you are treated to a puff pastry top, which in this instance was sufficiently risen to be called puff pastry but not so much that the pastry to meat ratio was effected. However when picking up the pie the bottom completely fell out of it due in part to the plentifulness of the gravy. This is a common gripe I have with steak pies as it often results in you spending more time getting yourself in a right mess than focusing on the game in front of your eyes. Covering your fingers in gravy and steak rather than using the pie casing to do the work for you. This is why the reason the picture above is still sitting in the case. That being said the pastry complemented the filling very well and compared with some I have had in the past this crust was still relatively sturdy barring the very centre.

Overall: A first venture into luxury pies and it can be deemed a moderate success, tasty filling and nice pastry but while the bottom falling out doesn’t impact on flavour it does mean you get in a bit of a mess. You might even enjoy that. However I think its fair to say that in these circumstances a napkin the size of Papa Smurf’s bed sheets doesn’t really suffice.

Gravy Factor: Tasty Gravy. A good marker for all luxury pie’s to aspire to, need to sort that soggy bottom though.

Did you know you can Subscribe to Pie? Simply click on 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 your 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 with all things going to plan will have a new article up tomorrow.

One last thing before I go, whilst in ‘The International’ after the game, I came across this gem of a poster. A pie for 30p when you buy a pint. Bargain!

Discount Pies
Discount Pies