west superleague

Pie 83: The Thorniewood United Pie

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It’s Meat Filled Pastries Time! Let’s. Get. Meeeeatyyyy!

Hello, hope you’re well, I thought today I’d address just a couple of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received since starting my journey of pie. Just a couple though, I wouldn’t want to be struggling for words when it comes to writing my memoirs. I thought the best way to do this would be to answer the two questions that are asked by 90% of the people who hear my story, namely, “Who Does the Best Pies?” and “Don’t You Ever Get Sick of Pies?”. Consider it an end of year treat for you all.

Firstly let’s address the number one question I’m asked, “Who Does the Best Pies?”, but to be honest it’s far more complex than blurting out a name or venue. For starters there are lots of different types of pie available, some scotch, some steak and some completely different. To pick one, as a solo muncher of pies, when there is a multitude of parameters to consider would be reckless on my part. Secondly I like to think the best I’ve ever had is always the next one to pass by my lips, call it part of my relentless optimism to do with all things related to pie. That not a good enough answer? Sounding a little too measured and political? Well OK then, some standouts for me are ‘The Beith Chicken & Haggis Pie’ and one I haven’t ever reviewed on the pages of Meat Filled Pastries ‘The Burghead Thistle Mince Pie’. Two that still to this day linger long in the taste buds.

Secondly, ‘Do I Ever Get Sick of Pies?’ Course not silly, pies are awesome.

Seriously though, not really. Due to the volume I find myself consuming at football matches it’s not something I tend to have for my dinner or lunch. My favourite item from Greggs is a Roll and Chicken Bake and the amount of effort that goes into making a really good pie, pastry and all, means that they tend to get made as treat (usually for the amusement of others) as opposed to being a regular item on my homemade menu. I like pies but I love food and to limit myself to one item would be just too much to bear.

That said this one item has gave me a lot of stories and brought me a lot of fun, so without further ado let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Robertson Park, Thorniewood United v Pollok, West of Scotland Super League First Division

Pretty sure I got trench foot...
Pretty sure I got trench foot…

Price: £1.20. Slap bang in the middle of the junior price range for a scotch pie. Can’t really have too many complaints with that.

Presentation: Aside from the ever classical medium-sized white napkin this scotch pie was presented in a tin foil case a somewhat unusual style for a scotch pie, even more unusual for a junior pie. Perhaps I have been doing this too long already but when I noticed its shiny silver surround a little part of me actually went, ‘oh, that’s new!’, and you know what, it was!

THE PIE

Oooooo silver, fancy!
Oooooo silver, fancy!

Meatiness: This pie was very moist but as I sit here typing this latest review I find it hard to remember anything standout about it, reviewing my short notes on the day moist is all I had written. Moist and pleasant (Mind out the gutter please folks). Something I will admit, and is apparent as I write this review, that if a pie filling is relatively tasty, has nice seasoning and doesn’t leave a waxy trail of grease glued to my arm then it’s fine by me. It just doesn’t give me a whole lot to write about. This pie is an example of that. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but not one to be stored in the vault.

Pastry: It had a nice crispy top with an even thickness of pastry all around. It was perhaps a little soft underneath. A consequence of the tin foil case it sat within but nothing went where it shouldn’t be as I ate. Did a job.

Brown Sauce: This brown sauce was a lot lighter in colour and was almost apple sweet, it had a gentle tang to it and was a nice complimentary flavour to the pastry and meat underneath.

Overall: Nice enough, but won’t live long in the memory.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

A solid if unspectacular effort from Tannochside, the junior pie bandwagon rolls on with an offering from Ardrossan Winton Rovers and it’s something that is a little bit special.

However until then though, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 67: The Rutherglen Glencairn Pie

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Mid Table, End of Season Pie
Mid Table, End of Season Pie

It’s time once again to get meaty, and after a rather long run of luxury pies we return to where this all begun and a humble scotch pie offering this time from Rutherglen Glencairn. I’m continuing to squeeze every last drop out of this season that I can before the World Cup consumes all before it and as a result I have found myself at some really important and some not-so-important games. This one most definitely fell into the second category, an end of season mid-table clash that felt more like a friendly than anything else. In fact the friendly feel was enhanced further by the fact that I managed to return home with sunburn something I more commonly associate with the start of the season not the end.

To be honest though the significance of the came didn’t bother me. The sun was shining, the game was on and I had a pie in hand so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Clyde Gateway Stadium, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cumbernauld United, West Superleague First Division

Price: Priced at £1, this matches the price of the cheapest pies I’ve found on this journey and after parting with nearly £4 for Pie 66: The Fulham ‘Steak’ Pie, it felt good to get a handful of change from my fiver.

Presentation: A bareback pie presented in a medium-sized white napkin sufficient in size to hold the pie and leave parts of it untainted by crumbs and grease to wipe your mouth after consumption had been completed.

Meatiness: I’m not going to lie as the pie was presented to me I didn’t have high hopes, not only because it only cost £1 but also it looked a little anaemic, perhaps underdone, however after completing my first bite I was pleasantly surprised. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t going to win any prizes if I was an individual inclined to do end of season awards but it was pretty good. The meat was a pretty solid block but filled the case well enough. It was moist from the meats natural fats without being greasy and it had a peppery kick that almost felt alien so long it had been since I had experienced one. The flavour lingered long after my concentration had focused itself on the game going on in front of me and as such I felt no need to eat anything further. My suspicions were telling me that this was frozen, perhaps from a supermarket, but I’ll be happy to be told otherwise and if it was it didn’t stop it being a perfectly acceptable snack to have on a Saturday afternoon.

Pastry: My suspicions about the potentially frozen nature of the pie mainly came from the pastry. It was rather floury in taste suggesting it had been processed as opposed to handmade and it was rather thick all round breaking apart in shards as opposed to flaking as I bit into it. The final thing I noticed that had me wondering was the lack of a hole in the lid of the pastry to let out the steam something that would normally be placed there by a butcher or baker. The pastry didn’t feel right for a pie that should be consumed at a football ground.

Overall: For a quid, you would be hard pressed to complain, I didn’t love the pastry but it did a job with the addition of brown sauce helping to soften it slightly but I enjoyed the filling and the return of the long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Cheap and Cheerful Gravy!

I think I’m going to fall just shy of the 70 pie mark for the season but all going to plan the next review will be coming from Camelon Juniors on the last Saturday before Brasil 2014 kicks off in earnest. I also feel a non-pie related piece is long overdue and with a pretty quiet week ahead I’ll do my best to get something out.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

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 34: The Irvine Meadow Pie

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'One man went to mo, went to mo a pie down'
‘One man went to mow, went to mow a pie down’

‘If gravy be the food of love, let us pie munch on’

That’s right the next entry into the grease smattered pages of Meat Filled Pastries has started with a Shakespearean quote paraphrased from Twelfth Night, Wullie’s ode to cross dressing. A play that spawned the god awful ‘She’s the Man’ starting Vinnie Jones and Amanda Bynes, yet another perky Disney club kid that went a bit bonkers. How I know this film exists and the reason I have seen it twice are something I will never fully comprehend so I think we shall move on.

Luckily, unlike the aforementioned film, this will not be not god awful, this is a pie review and pies are tremendous! We are back on the Junior football trail for the first of 2 taste sensations from Irvine Meadow.

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

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

Price: £1.20, falling slap bang in the middle of the price range you can expect to pay for a Junior footballing pie.

Presentation: This pie sported the classic medium sized white napkin look. Not a lot wrong with that.

Meatiness: This pie, a standard mutton pie, was nicely flavoured inside. The meat was moist and heated to the temperature where the fat was able to add more flavour. In an ideal world it would have had a twist more pepper but it was perfectly fine without it. My one disappointment was that the meat in the pie was a little sparse. While this was well packed in the centre, round the edges there was space for more to fill, my disappointment is purely down to the fact that I would have liked more meat as it was very tasty.

Pastry: This may have been the best pastry I’ve had so far. The crust was golden brown and had a lovely crisp crunch although as the filling wasn’t as plentiful as I would have desired it took a big initial bite to capture the picture above. That said the pastry was buttery and was seasoned well something that I wouldn’t normally note in the pastry section but felt it significant enough to highlight in this instance. The base held well especially when taking into consideration the meat inside was very moist. The more I consider this pie, the more apparent it becomes to me that the pastry really was the stand out component of this very good meat filled pastry.

Overall: The high praise for the pastry should not mask the fact that the meat inside contributed to make this a delightful meaty morsel. The only tiny fault I could find is that the pie presented to me was a little light on filling but the overall quality was of a very high standard.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy you would make on Masterchef and receive the kind of compliment that involves Gregg Wallace making mouth love to his spoon with delight.

Well one Irvine based pie down, one more to go. Next time out it will be another trip into the lap of luxury and a return to the steak pie.

Until then. 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.