Mincemeat pie, a takeaway from Scotland

Mincemeat pie, the savoury kind.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

At about midsummer in June this year, I was in Glasgow, Scotland, for the EURAM 2017 conference. During the days in Glasgow, I took the opportunity to explore the city’s eateries and local fare. First thing I had wanted to try when in Scotland was haggis. This, I found already on the first day’s lunch hour whilst exploring the streets closest to the conference venue, which was the University of Strathclyde, the campus nearest George Square.

If I were looking for something less hearty than haggis and something more French fine dining, Glasgow was not the place to find it. The food in Glasgow points rather in the other direction in time linear. Not backwards as in lacking of taste, but rather rich in historical Viking and Norse culinary influences.

Personally, I’ve found that the best foods to have when in Glasgow, Scotland are served at the pubs. Eating local in Glasgow felt as if walking down the history lane of Viking cuisine. What could be considered old Norse foods, from method of cooking, spices used and presentation, found today in Nordic home cooking, could be found in variations served at Glasgow’s bars and restaurants. The city also has brilliant craft beer pubs whose offerings complement the local fare.

A food item that I constantly encountered at cafés and bakeries in Glasgow, one not particularly found in Swedish home cooking was the meat pie. All variations of it. Having a long culinary history that began in Egypt in the Neolithic period, but could be said to have really taken off as an ideal travel food with the Romans with their conquering soles, the meat pie seems popular in northern Europe, and most of the Anglo-Saxon influenced world thereafter, Singapore included. During my mid-teen years in Singapore, I remember having meat pies warmed up in the microwave as after school lunch. They take little space in the freezer, was quick to defrost and reheat, plus they contained what I thought was a good mix of meat and vegetables wrapped in shortening filled pastry. Absolutely couldn’t have enough of them over the period of my GCE ‘O’ level years. Imagine my delight when I rediscovered them, sitting snug and neat in display rows at various eateries in Glasgow!

Back in Sweden, the curiosity to bake our own meat pies could not be dampened. The result was the use of a thyme and red wine infused minced meat sauce wrapped in two different types of dough, shortcrust to the bottom and puff pastry to the top. The mincemeat pies turned out… not at all like those encountered in Scotland. But, the takeaway of the idea, was a brilliant way to revisit Glasgow at summer’s end.

A mince pie at Mother India, Glasgow, Scotland.

Along Ashton Lane, Glasgow, Scotland.

The Wee Pub. Glasgow has numerous pubs that serve brilliant craft beer to local fare.

At home, with a thyme and red wine infused mincemeat pie, a takeaway from Scotland.

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