Page last updated at 05:36 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 06:36 UK

Day two: living on local foods

Much has been made in recent times of the quality of food produced in Scotland and the need to cut down on "food miles".

Salmon roll
A salmon caught in the River Nith turned into a tasty surprise

BBC reporters Angela Soave in the Scottish Borders and Giancarlo Rinaldi in Dumfries and Galloway have decided to set themselves a related test.

Over the space of a week they are trying to survive on only food produced from their respective regions.

Below are their reports on how they have fared so far.


My name is Giancarlo and I am a food addict.

I have slowly come to this realisation over the past 48 hours.

I don't think I was truly aware of how much of my life I spent cooking, eating or just simply thinking about food - until now.

It turns out to be pretty much every waking hour.

Perhaps, as one of my colleagues has suggested, it is the "forbidden fruit" syndrome.

I have certainly been having the strangest cravings.

Yesterday I nearly grabbed my children's snacks and gorged myself on low-salt crisps. I don't even like them.

Crisps have become something of a "forbidden fruit"

And the new Mexican chicken lattice being offered in the local pie shop has never looked so attractive - the culinary equivalent of Salma Hayek.

However, a deal is a deal and I am going to try to see these seven days through no matter what it takes.

First of all, though, let me share a secret - birch wine is never going to replace Pinot Grigio.

Although, to be fair, sitting down to a meal of Dumfriesshire pork and mashed potatoes, it slipped down well enough.

I can also confirm that it is true what people tell you - fresh, local produce does taste better than the pre-packed stuff from around the globe.

The biggest revelation, I have to admit, has been the generosity that this diet has provoked from a lot of people as soon as I mention it.

Last night I had just got through the door when a friend phoned me with a fantastic offer.

His son had caught a huge salmon in the River Nith and then had it smoked at the Barony College near Dumfries.

Would I like a few slices?

I think you can guess the answer.

More wine

So my day two lunch was smoked salmon with Beeswing ricotta in a bap from the local bakers - not exactly slumming it.

(By the way, I know I can't guarantee where all the ingredients come from that my baker uses but - hey - give a guy a break will you?)

I have also been put in touch with another local wine producer and intend to make a trip out to Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright in pursuit of more fine produce.

Despite the quality of the fare on offer, I am man enough to admit that this is proving a real struggle for me.

Still, only another 120 hours or so to go...

Giancarlo is on the lookout for suggestions of Dumfries and Galloway produce and where to get it. Contact him at or click here.


Don't mess with me - I'm a "locavore"!

No, not one of Russell T Davies's less appetising Doctor Who creations.

It means, my Australian correspondent informs me, one who eats local food.

Natascha is also trying to follow a local diet, from I think, Queensland - on the other side of the world.

But we share one problem: buying local milk is not easy.

Apparently most local farms' output goes straight into tankers and off to big processors outside the area.

Cattle, cattle everywhere, and not a drop etc...

Meat from the Borders
Butchers in the Borders have proved a godsend

Paul, who did the Fife Diet for a week, tells me it's the same there.

However - phew - a couple of Selkirk paper shops sell Hawick milk, as does a post office in Galashiels.

(I'm jealous though - Mr Rinaldi got wine at his post office!)

So, day two; we've got milk, and the roughage problem has been addressed.

Breakfast was John Hogarth's pinhead oatmeal made into porridge, along with Whitmuir Organic Farm blackcurrants; lunch - the bacon sandwich I didn't have time for yesterday; and tea - yesterday's potatoes, stir-fried with bacon and cabbage.

(Forget about boiling cabbage to extinction, my gran's method of frying it with bacon is the only way to eat it.)

On the subject of tea - I tried using blackcurrants to make a rudimentary tea.

I even tried strawberry jam and hot water - as well as plain hot water - having no other fruit to hand.

Neither will be gourmet treats anytime soon.

But suggestions, for which I thank you all, include lime blossom, mint, blaeberry or bramble leaves - even dandelion root.

Or Broughton Ales, says Joe in Barcelona. They're on the list.

As are the other farm shops my correspondents came up with - including the Reivers one at Reston, and the trout farm near Duns.

And bramble picking, as recommended by the executive chef of the Caledonian Hilton, Peebles boy, Kenny Coltman.

Organic eggs

At the Selkirk Deli, I found my pinhead oatmeal, and local rapeseed oil.

But both the old fruit shop, and a relatively new one in the Royal Burgh, have closed. There isn't one in Galashiels either.

The only one left within easy reach is in Melrose - a drive of about three miles from home. Sad.

Tell you what, though - support your local butcher.

At Halliwells in Selkirk, one among many excellent Borders establishments, not only is their meat local - they can tell you which farm it came from.

And they supply organic eggs, Selkirk cakes, Melrose oatcakes and tablet, and ice-cream made in Galashiels.

As for convenience, they're two minutes from the studio, and I can park right outside.

From my experience of Borders towns, they're not particularly unusual. So that's tomorrow's menu sorted.

You can email Angela at or by clicking here.

Day one: living on local foods
10 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Just how good is local food?
09 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland

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