Scotch pie, peas and Irn Bru

Peas and goodwill to all pies…

Scotch pie and mushy pies, washed down with Irn Bru

Mister North went to Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands recently for a weekend of mountaineering, photography and general craic with mates.

Trips like this are normally characterised by convenient, compact and high energy food, and cannot be considered the pinnacle of foodiness by any means. We actually started the weekend with a home-cooked Massaman curry which I’d taken to feed a few of us after the long drive north. Apart from that it was largely sandwiches (preferably the kind which is resistant to being squashed when stuffed in a rucksac) and dried fruit, chocolate & granola bars – all of which is fine to eat when halfway up a snowy mountain. Once off the hill some solid pub grub and a good celebratory pint or two is the normal order of the day. In this case it was Fraoch heather ale in the local, the glorious Clachaig Inn, somewhere I heartily recommend if a legendary selection of whiskies and real ale is your thing at the end of a long day of outdoors activity.

However the unabashed highlight of my calorific intake was undoubtedly a Scotch Pie from the rather good Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum: we stopped off for a quick bite to eat in this self-confident and well-appointed fish and chip shop on our way home. I was rewarded with a great Scotch Pie (when done properly this is a perfect combination of tender mutton, unctuous jelly and a healthy amount of seasoning, all bundled up in an uncompromisingly tasty pastry casing) and a portion of mushy peas, unceremoniously eaten off my lap in the car, and washed down with a bottle of Scotland’s other national drink, Irn Bru. There lies a post in it’s own right, but I’ll leave that for another time.

As you can tell, my sister and I like the odd pie: several have already featured here, suggesting an unnatural preponderance of pie passion, but they’re perfect for the winter months and I just found out it’s National Pie Month in the USA. We’re also half-Scots, so I suppose we’re possibly biased towards this very Caledonian snack. All hail the pie!

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