Hello and welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries. As I have often explained before I started Meat Filled Pastries as a result of a bet and a desire to not let any kind of flair for the written word leave me forever. I think I’ve made peace that this isn’t destined to be my “big idea” as I continue to try and plot an escape route from my life as Office Monkey #324 but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for it. Don’t get me wrong if it wasn’t for being an office monkey then some of the things I have seen and done over the last couple of years wouldn’t have been possible (or more pertinently financed) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want more from my life, to not still be sitting in that same desk doing the same thing in another five years time. I want to make a difference, leave a mark and not being lying on my death bed hopefully many, many years from now not wondering, what if? I’m just not entirely sure how.
My latest attempt at existential salvation comes in the form of The Scrancast. A new podcast looking at the best food and drinks creators in Glasgow, not necessarily focusing on the things they produce but the stories behind them and their journey’s until this point. Episode 1: Welcome to The Scrancast is now out on Soundcloud and you can follow it’s journey here. It’s currently pending iTunes approval and there’s a website in the works along with a whole host of other ideas relating to it so why not give it a follow from the links menu on the left hand side, there will almost certainly be some pie based content in there at one point in the future.
Speaking of the links menu, I’ve also added in a couple of new links to people I want to give a bit of a bump too. Firstly to Roddy Cons and his site “The Team on Tour” who I’m currently living vicariously through as he makes his way around the lower leagues of Spanish football, particularly in Madrid, something that I only ever really scratched the surface of. Secondly a shout out to Steven at Football Stadium Prints who has this week given up his job to pursue a career in stadium based artistry, he deserves all the support in the world for following a dream so why not take a look at that too. It’s good gear.
You know who else deserves our support? The Scotland Women’s national team as they head to their first ever Women’s World Cup Finals in France next summer. Preperations for the tournament are now in full swing, and the visit of the United States to Scotland for a glamour friendly is just another sign that the women’s game in Scotland is on the rise. So with that in mind I headed to Paisley to see how our girls would get on agaisnt the best in the world and, of course, scran a pie.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.
Where: St. Mirren Park, Scotland 0-1 USA, Women’s Friendly International
Price: Having experienced some truly awful pies down Hampden way over the not distant past I was hoping that a change of venue when it came to supporting my national side would see an increase in pastry quality. Having parted with a fairly substantial £2.70 for my pastry I went to take my first bite with some trepidation, knowing that high prices and all seater stadiums have not been a common recipe for success so far.
Presentation: As is common practice with a steak based pie this was presented within a silver tin foil case although the white napkin was much larger than you would expect at a stadia of this nature.
Meatiness: Billing itself as a steak and gravy pie meant that the pressure was on to ensure that the gravy was forthcoming. The good news was that it was, however it perhaps lacked the punch of flavour that a £2.70 pie should really possess. The meat was good though. A varied size of chunks that kept your mouth interested as you made your way through with the texture suitably tender and forgiving to the bite. Whilst it might not necessarily be a Hall of Famer in the making this was a marked improvement on some of the mass catered pies of the past.
Pastry: Not masses to say here. It was a bit bashed about and the pastry, as is nearly always almost the way when a silver casing is present, was soft on the bottom but the sides held well and there was a nice golden tinge to the top. There was a little bit of boil out but I actually quite enjoy a bit of that.
Brown Sauce: Wee brown sachets of a cash and carry owners dreams were available but of course this was a steak and gravy pie and so to do anything other than go bareback on this luxury pastry would be to go agaisnt everything these pages have stood for over the last five plus years.
Overall: You know what? A fairly good steak and gravy pie. It was perhaps lacking a little bit of punch but at least it didn’t disintegrate in your hands as soon as you pick up like many a match day pie does at the top end of the Scottish game.
Gravy Factor: Contextually good gravy.
A decent effort from The Saints, and a decent showing from Shelly Kerr and her side against the best the women’s game has to offer. As for the next review, who knows. It’s got to that tricky time of the year where the midweek card shrinks and the weather starts to play havoc too. Have no fear though, Meat Filled Pastries will be back.
Until next time, go forth and eat pie (and why not listen to The Scrancast whilst you’re doing it too).
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. 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.
Namaste pie fans and welcome to the latest review from Meat Filled Pastries. This week we get right into the international spirit and take on board one of the more exotic offerings at the home of Scottish Football, Hampden Park.
While the staple of Meat Filled Pastries is pies of the scotch and steak variety there is an equal, if not greater, amount of joy found when a pie doesn’t fall underneath these most traditional of fillings. The ‘luxury’ pie is one that must be offered whilst also taking into consideration the taste buds of your average football fan. While a rabbit and crayfish pie sounds delicious, and trust me it is, you wouldn’t really want one at the football. The idea of eating rabbit is still for some associated with Thumper from Bambi, and for that matter the idea of eating a venison pie will for some forever be associated with that same film’s lead character.
What is the point of this Disney orientated meander of the mind I hear you ask?
Well from my journey so far we have seen The Chicken & Haggis Pie, The Beans, Mince & Tatties Pie and now this Chicken Curry delicacy and I have come to the following conclusion. If you put a full meal into a pie the chances are a football fan will like it, or try it at the very least. Now, there is no facts and figures that I can provide that will prove this theory as accurate. It is more based on the hum of excitement I hear at the football grounds I visit when an interesting new pie is on the menu.
So with our appetites suitably whetted with all this talk of luxury pie, let us not waste any more time, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland v USA, International Friendly
Price: £3.00. That’s a new highest priced pie on the Meat Filled Pastries pages. Twice the price of a junior football Steak Pie, a luxury contemporary, and 40p more expensive than any of it’s pastry cased rivals at Hampden. This pie has a lot to live up to.
Presentation: The first thing that strikes you about this pie is that is bigger than a standard scotch pie, noticeably so. It comes in a tinfoil case that fits snugly round pie, perhaps too snug as it made it difficult to take that all important first bite as can be seen by the picture above. Also the napkin was one of the smaller plain white variety and as such it became immediately apparent that it was not going to be sufficient for the mess I was about to find myself in. The problems caused by the size of the napkin were highlighted further when the pie was placed in my hand as I spent the walk back to my seat juggling it between my two hands such was the heat coming through.
Meatiness: This was a very meaty pie, it was deep filled, really deeply filled and when also taking into consideration the more generous portion of pie you get for your pounds the £3 cost starts to become a little bit more bearable. Then I took a bite, and my mouth was awash with a molten madness I hadn’t encountered in a pie before. Firstly the filling was piping hot, the chicken chunked into small 1cm cubes adding a lovely texture and bite. But if the temperature of the pie itself was hot the taste of the gravy had you in a spicy haze that no Bovril could quench.
Let me say here that I love spicy food. I have a collection of hot sauces that have been known to make grown men cry but I don’t think the terraces is the place for something with so much punch. It was heady with spice but with had an almost sweet aftertaste on the back of the throat, something that helped to counter the ever increasing inferno in the mouth building as each bite was taken. This was certainly a meaty, spicy treat but a filling fit for the terraces I’m not sure.
Pastry: As previously stated this was a bigger pie than usual and as such had more pastry to encompass the filling. The problem with the bigger pie and the tight fitting nature of it within its tin foil suit of armour was that as soon as you took one bite the lid came off and you were left with a bowl of chicken curry without a spoon to eat it with. I tried the classic ‘pastry as spoon’ technique but as there was no hard upper crust as found in a scotch pie the pastry just flopped under the moisture of the gravy. Instead I had to resort to finger picking my way through it. Not a big problem I hear you say. However once my final scraping of the foil with my turmeric stained fingers was complete I had realised that 22 minutes of the game before me had passed by. A pie should be the side dish to the main meal of football and unfortunately due to the lack of a solid pastry base this wasn’t the case in this instance.
Overall: This pie has left me a tad confused. While the £3 cost is expensive it certainly felt more filling and was obviously bigger to the naked eye. I also thought it was very tasty but ultimately unsuitable for watching a game of football from the stands. The napkin was too small and the pastry collapse created a distraction from the game I had paid to see. I think if I was to have this pie again whilst watching the football I’d want to have it from the comfort of my couch.
Gravy Factor: Spicy gravy but best leave it at home knowing that you have a wonderfully tasty pastry sitting there to warm you after a cold winter’s day.
Another pie down, and another variety added to the list. The next time you hear from Meat Filled Pastries will most likely be a review from Lochore Welfare, weather permitting, as we go back on the junior pie trail.
Until next time, go forth and eat pie!
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