Is anyone else fed up with the weather playing absolute havoc with their Saturday fixture plans. I mean for a man who writes about football pies it’s been a minor inconvenience, if anything it has expanded my horizons as I go to games that would have been consigned to sporting history as I followed my team across the country. These ever burgeoning horizons I find myself heading towards resulted in my first pie related television appearance on The Riverside Show last week. It was a surreal, but thoroughly enjoyable, experience and one that perhaps reignited a fire that had been dampened somewhat as the grind of real life meanders oh so slowly by.
I don’t know if this means that I’ll be taking David Currie’s job on Sportscence any time soon but maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to get paid for all of this. I’ll never go begging and I’d like to think that the initiative (something that is forever championed as the best way to get your foot in the door) this project has shown will one day illuminate my path to, what some would call, legitimacy.
For now though I’m happy enough with the path that these pastries has led me on. Anyway we all know why we’re here, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Petershill Park, Rossvale v Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round
Now before I get too deep into this, I went to this game knowing that I had previously had a pie from the very same venue, one of my earliest reviews, Pie 16: The Petershill Pie and to be honest it didn’t go very well. Now retrospect suggests that having a tequila based hangover may have had a slightly adverse effect on my review but I still know that some things were fundamentally wrong and I was curious to see if much had changed from my visit 16 months previously.
Price: At £1.50 it was the top end of the junior scotch pie price spectrum but still reasonably priced for a football based pastry snack.
Presentation: On my last visit I bemoaned the use of a plastic and paper bag to store the pie in and once again I was presented with a pie in such a reciprocal. However differing from previously this pie was also surrounded by a tin foil sheath. Not a big deal I hear you say, but this aluminium shield stopped the pie in its entirety steaming against the plastic. I don’t know if there is a reason for the bags at Petershill Park but people’s pie lives would be enhanced further if the bag was taken out of the equation. There were some small white napkins available of the self-service variety for mopping your mouth with.
Meatiness: This pie was a well-formed, safely seasoned scotch pie. The filling fell apart a little as I chewed my way through and I was pleased to feel a peppery linger on my palate that slowly built up as I neared final consumption. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, it hit all the key points a decent pie should without moving on to the next level but it was definitely a marked improvement on the pie I had experienced the last time I visited the north of Glasgow.
Pastry: As can be seen the top edges were rather crispy. Well OK, they were burnt meaning that there was a slight bitter undertone to each bite. I’m sure if I visited another time this extreme crispiness would not have occurred. I previously mentioned how the tin foil case had helped reduce the moisture inside the bag however sadly there was still a slightly soggy bottom to this pie, however if you mixed it with the well fired top the texture was probably just right!
Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of mass-produced no-name sauce. Did the job.
Overall: A better effort from Petershill Park, and perhaps Rossvale deserve individual credit for providing their own pies. I’d love to know the right answer. That said it was a little burnt on top and a little soggy on the bottom but had an overall good pie flavour.
Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto. Just take it out the oven a bit quicker next time.
I literally have no idea where my next review will emanate from. Last week I was so convinced that my scheduled game would be on I got so sozzled on the Friday night that come the news that it has indeed been called off I was in no real fit state to drive. What I can assure you of though it will most definitely be pie number 88.
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.
Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries. Now STV approved, don’t believe me? Then just follow this link:
In fact, that’s not the end to this quasi-madness as on Monday 26th January I’ll be on The Riverside Show on STV Glasgow telling my story of pie. It’s a 7pm kick off, so if you’re reading this before it goes out live then why not have a swatch, it’s bound to be noteworthy. If you’ve missed it, then you might get lucky if you scout about the STV Player. Given my media exploits over the past week I’ve not really had time to let anything in the world of football really grind my gears, although if you’re into that kind of thing then I highly recommend The A-Z of Football Hates by Richard Foster it pretty much hits the nail on the head in every possible way. If I’m lucky I might get some input in a second edition.
But for now let’s focus on the pastry. Today a visit to the home of my first football memories, Hampden Park, and a chance to watch every romantics favourite team, Queens Park, playing for the sake of playing since 1967. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Hampden Park, Queens Park v Arbroath, Scottish League Two
Price: Get ready for this. A whopping £3.20. Equivalent to 3 junior pies in some cases and a massive jump in price when compared with the Spiders League Two rivals. Now the thing is I have reviewed pies from Hampden before during my Tartan Army visits and so I spent a wee while debating whether to dub this another Hampden Pie, but as my mantra for this project is just as much about the teams I visit as it is the humble pie Queens Park get a shout out on this occasion. I have no doubt in my mind that if this wasn’t a Hampden this pie wouldn’t be £3.20. It doesn’t make it right but it does, in part, give an explanation.
Presentation: The pie was placed in a heat retaining tin foil case with a small(ish) white napkin for after consumption dabbing. On a sub-zero Saturday I was grateful for the retained heat.
Meatiness: I was looking forward to this pie, partly because its always good for the cholesterol to see a chicken pie on offer and partly because I reckon my Chicken, Bacon and Tarragon Pie is the best in my repertoire. I’ve always loved that slight aniseed kick that the tarragon gives. Sadly I found this pie pretty disappointing, Firstly as I made my way through it I felt no pop of chicken flavour in my mouth, in fact I was so concerned about the lack of flavour I had to tilt my head back to have a look for the meat inside. It was there but it’s flavour remained weak. The gravy wasn’t as unctuous as you would expect but more like an underdone roux and if I’m being honest at some points I felt I was eating a frangipane such was it’s sweetness. There would be the occasional burst of tarragon but its presence was oh-so fleeting. I applaud the courage of the folk at Hampden for diversifying their pie menu but I think in this instance it needs a lot of work, perhaps my judgement was clouded by own attempts at making such a pastry. The filling wasn’t unpleasant but I wouldn’t be in a rush to have another one.
Pastry: Without doubt the pastry was the best part of this pie in that it was golden and flaky. It didn’t have a soggy bottom and stayed strong under the pressure of even the most greedy of bites. It was a solid foundation to a pie.
Overall: A bit off the mark but should be commended for being something different, I really do think a salty hit of bacon would lift the flavour of this pie exponentially. It’s also worth noting that the price may be a stumbling block for some.
Gravy Factor: Not quite ready gravy. A little more seasoning and some time spent on creating an unctuous mouth feel could have this pie on the path to pastry superstardom.
It’s always tough to write a review for a pie that doesn’t quite hit the mark, and this review should not be taken as an indication that the Hampden scotch and steak offerings are not up to par as previous reviews have shown these more than make the grade.
The plan was to do a Glasgow Warriors Pie but a couple of pints of Best soon put that idea to rest. Next up we return to the juniors and a pie from Central League side Rossvale.
However, until then, go forth and eat pie!
Oh, and tune in tomorrow, it may be the only chance you’ll ever get to see my face.