the football pink
Welcome to another meat filled adventure as we continue our journey into the heart of matchday cuisine. This time out we find ourselves in the land where the Borders and Lothians meet as Easthouses Lily take on Hawick Royal Albert in the newly formed EOSFL – Conference A. One of three leagues formed as a result of the great junior uprising that occurred in the summer of 2018. Don’t know anything about it? Then why not pre-order the latest issue of the The Football Pink (here) where I go into depth about the summer that was on the junior football scene in Scotland. It’s only £3 and there’s tons of other stuff too in this Brexit themed issue.
Also, rather excitingly, I now host a weekly podcast on the Heart & Hand Network looking at all things La Liga, this goes hand in hand (no pun intended) with my role as the Iberian Expert on the European Hangover and my weekly Iberian contributions to their website too, which – if you fancy it – you can find here.
This week I again take to the mic on the Nugent4Nil show with Robert Burns on Pulse FM where it will be the usual mix of pie and junior football based nonsense. If you want a listen you can tune in on Thursday night 7-8 using the old school wireless on 98.4FM if you’re in the region or online via the Pulse FM website if you live further afield.
Adding in the pie review you’re about to read, my desire to get a book done, get a regular La Liga feature column up, my weekly Infographics for Pollok, training for the Great Scottish Run and having a real job to deal with it’s all go at MFP Towers just now. Feels good but.
Anyway that’s all the shilling done for now, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!
Where: Newbattle Complex, Easthouses Lily 1-0 Hawick Royal Albert, EOSFL – Conference A
Price: At £2 this could be viewed as tad on the dear side for a non league pastry however I have often said given that the provenance of the pie will be more traceable and the need for funds at this level more pressing an extra 20p or so isn’t really too much of a concern compared with some of the high priced atrocities that can be found in far bigger stadiums. Again a steak and scotch pie cost exactly the same here!
Presentation: Ever had a pie in a paper bowl? Well now I have. It looked great for framing a picture of the pie but is a little odd, small self service serviettes were available from the counter beside the pie stall and I did notice that later the bowls were replaced with paper plates. If this was an attempt to use up stuff they had lying around then I commend the intuition but I’d still say that a napkin is plenty.
Meatiness: This was a tasty pie with a well textured meat filling. It didn’t have much of a pepper kick to it but had just enough spicing for it to pack some punch flavour wise. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but as you can see nothing to get overly verbose about either.
Pastry: The pastry held the meat well although was a little bit over on the bake meaning that the bottom was a tad chewy. There was some boil out present but personally, despite it being frowned upon at pie judging competitions, I like a bit of that as it often adds some character to the pie and sometimes a wee extra spike of something to the flavour.
Brown Sauce: I think I got salt and sauce’d here as the brown sauce was a vinegary assault on my west coast tastebuds almost ruining the pie. In retrospect, given Easthouses location east of Edinburgh I should have used my noggin and perhaps given the sauce a miss here.
Overall: Decent pie, just watch out for that brown sauce.
Gravy Factor: Good Gravy.
One last thing before I wrap this review up and that’s a nod to the views from the far side of the Newbattle Complex ground out onto the Pentland Hills. Views like that are often the making of a lower league adventure and as the late summer sun came down it was hard not to find myself thinking that Scotland is awfy bonny sometimes. Next time up will be a review from Lesmahagow as they loooked to cause an upset in the Sectional League Cup.
However until next 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 and 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.
Another day, another pie. Hello to any new readers, and welcome back to those who have found themselves drawn in by these tales of pie.
Supporting Livingston must be hard, a thought that entered my head as I waited for kick off at the Tony Macaroni Arena, On the face of things they have done and gone through every possible thing that your traditional football fan thinks is wrong with the modern game. Founded after the demise of Meadowbank Thistle they essentially franchised themselves out to West Lothian. Following some fairly quick success they splurged out on a raft of players they couldn’t afford in the pursuit of the SPL and cup success, both of which they achieved, administration as a result of their unmanageable spending soon followed and they tumbled down the divisions before recovering and then going into administration once again. Their ground has one of the most ridiculous names in Scotland in the shape of the Tony Macaroni Arena thanks to the money that sponsorship brings and this season they have installed a plastic pitch that produces plumes of black rubber from it any time the ball has the audacity to touch it. They sacked their manager after only 7 weeks of the season and one of their current high-profile employees has had a sizeable stint in jail for a drugs conviction. The term banter years has never been more in vogue but down Almondvale way they have turned bantering into just another day in their 23 year existence.
As I, and the 459 others in attendance, watched their Colts side beat Forfar Athletic to book a trip to Sligo in the next round of the Irn Bru Cup I couldn’t help but have respect for those associated with the black and gold around me. Despite it all they still come, you might not agree with some of the things that have happened at Livingston over the last couple of decades, but if your club had gone through everything that the Lions had are you telling me you wouldn’t still be sitting there, scarf on, pie in hand and with hope in your heart that this season, this season could be the one?
But what of that pie in their hand, is it any good? Well there’s only one way to find out, without much further ado let’s rate some pie!
Where: The Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Colts 0-0 Forfar Athletic, Irn Bru Cup, First Round
Price: I forgot my surroundings for a second as I looked on with shock at the £2.50 price tag but then I remembered that the games on show at the T Mac are currently of a Scottish Premiership nature and so while the price was high the context softened the blow little. This was another ground where the pies had the same price across the board, which to be honest, removed scotch pie as an eating option fairly quickly for me.
Presentation: This pie was passed over the counter inside a brown paper bag – which was different. On opening the bag however there was a small white napkin present which this steak pie – without a tin foil case – sat.
Meatiness: This was a very well filled pie with hardly a squeak of space to be seen after completing the first bite. The meat content was generous with a decent texture and the gravy was of the consistency a good steak pie gravy should be. Whilst the meat had a good flavour to it I felt it was a couple of shakes of salt shy of being a true top pie contender.
Pastry: Steak pie cases are usually found to be made from puff pastry or a combination of hot water sides with a puff pastry top. This was however a steak pie in a scotch pie surround. The top edge was a little ragged, no doubt in part due to the brown paper bag delivery method but was fairly sturdy everywhere else, particularly impressive considering the increased moisture that a steak filling brings to the pastry party. The texture was a little bit biscuity which did mean the odd shard was prone to break away from the body of the pie but all in all it was a solid job.
Brown Sauce: Luxury Pie. Condiment free since 2013.
Overall: Generous filling in a conventional scotch pie case, perhaps a little under on the seasoning but a tasty treat nonetheless.
Gravy Factor: Good Gravy!
A couple of things before I wrap up this review. Firstly a nod to Matthew’s Butchers who Livingston kindly advertised as providers of their pastries at the pie stall. This is something that I have banged on about before but it always feels like butchers and bakers don’t do enough to promote their matchday offerings. A great pie never goes unnoticed on the terraces so the chance to advertise to a captive audience should never be underestimated.
The second is to make you aware that the latest issue (Issue 21) of The Football Pink is now available to pre-order and it features an article by me around the great junior uprising from this east this summer, so if you fancy a copy you for only £3 then you can pre-order at the link here. Once they’re gone they’re gone!
That’s all from me for now though so 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.
Have you ever tried to eat a pie in 28 degree heat? Yeah me neither, until now that is.
For the unaware amongst you a heat wave hit the west coast of Scotland that left many reaching for the Factor 50 and as the Commonwealth Games rolled into town I had enough time to nip to Castle Park, home of Blantyre Victoria, for a pre-season friendly before getting home just in time to see a bunch of dancing teacakes look on in horror as SuBo fluffed her lines.
It could have been worse though, for all we know wee Susie could have looked out at the psychedelic nonsense going on before her and thought she had died and gone to Tunnock’s heaven, diving head first into an unsuspecting volunteer trying to first tear the wrapper off the marshmallowy behemoth before consuming it whole. This of course leads to the all important decision of whether or not to lay out the empty foil flat on the ground or to roll it up into a tiny ball before flicking it into the distance in no particular direction. The poor lassie.
Sorry, went off on a tangent there. The point I was aiming when I started out here was that a roasting hot day is not ideal pie eating conditions, but as always I found a way to bring a new pie review to you.
So after finding a shady spot to cool myself down, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Castle Park, Blantyre Victoria v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly. Entry: £3. Programme: None.
Price: There was no menu adorning the pie stall window, and in haste to get out the sun I forgot to ask how much I had to part with for my pastry. However using some simple algebra deducting the price of multiple cans of fizzy pop from the pie purchases of those around me I can confirm this pie can be yours for a solitary British pound. Bargain!
Presentation: It was white. It was medium-sized. It was a napkin. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Meatiness: This pie was perfectly pleasant. Nothing outstanding but a tasty meaty treat nonetheless. The meat was relatively well packed although did fall apart a little the more I bit into it. It was moist without being greasy and although the peppery linger didn’t last long on the palate it was still present after I’d finished. It was the kind of pie that is hard to get really enthused about but at the same time leaves you with nothing bad to say either.
Brown Sauce: That’s right we have a new section folks. It’s something I have toyed with in the past but my early season experiences have shown that the sauce itself is a stand alone feature of any pie whether it be good or bad. So how was the brown sauce at Castle Park? In a word: tangy, adding a sparkle of flavour that this pie was maybe slightly lacking. However be careful as too much and you could end up looking like your sucking an invisible milkshake through an equally invisible straw. It provided some added lubrication with a distinct tart tang.
Pastry: The pastry was soft and crumbly, the edges weren’t particularly crisp so there was no brown sauce dunking on this pie but it did mean that if you were in a rush you could eat this pie in a flash. This pastry would be a favourite with the pie eating sprinters but may disappoint those who are in it for the long haul.
Overall: New section about Brown Sauce aside this was a pretty standard pie, but for a pound you can’t really grumble.
Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.
All things going well my next review will be from Beith, home of one of the best pies of last season the luxury Chicken and Haggis Pie and one of the worst the Scotch Pie. Hopefully the Steak Pie on offer is closer to the former as opposed to the latter. In other news I will be the Scottish correspondent for The Football Pink this season, a link to which can be found on the left hand side of the page, starting with an SPL review that I plan to get done this week. Give the site a visit and order a copy should you get the chance.
However until next time, go forth and eat pie!