Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 08:27 UK

Day five: 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".

Giancarlo's rhubarb brule
Giancarlo almost ended up wearing the rhubarb brule
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.


When I was a child I ate as a child. Now I am a (wo)man, I've put away childish food. And I can't help wondering why.

For instance, I can't remember the last time I had pork chops - my favourite meal then.

Last night I had a fantastic pork steak, which took me straight back to the Sconser Lodge on Skye, circa 1972 - one of these great family holiday meals.

What I've been eating this week has been a return to food mum fed me. As well as grans, aunties and St Mary's Lochee school dinners.

There's been a lot of meat with potatoes and veg; so, much more saturated animal fat than usual. Also - if I'm honest - less fruit. My fault, I know, for not seeking it out.

But no fat-laden convenience food. Not a biscuit crumb has passed my lips, and very few E numbers. Though I can't really claim to be any healthier, given the amount of dairy fat in the form of cream and ice cream I'm consuming.

Today an obvious flaw raised its head. The shops which sell local food are not open 24/7. Planning ahead is essential.

At least my poor vegetarian husband can have some

I'd intended having boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, but the proletariat (my eight-year-old son) revolted, demanding a bacon sandwich.

No trouble, I had some in the fridge, courtesy of yesterday's Farmers' Market. What I didn't have was enough bread - and I couldn't just nip along to the Spar.

But hey, we had bacon and eggs instead, we didn't care. The Hardiesmill smoked bacon is completely different from Whitmuir Organic Farm's; both are excellent.

Lunch was an omelette, made from last night's left-over courgettes and potatoes (tossed in Stichill jersey butter). I know, living dangerously: TWO eggs in one day!

My tattie, carrot and cabbage soup is bubbling away; it's less substantial without broth mix, which I haven't found - yet. And the Hardiesmill Aberdeen Angus steak stew will be more than edible, despite my unaccountably forgetting to buy onions.

They'll do tea - along with some Stichill panna cotta. I anticipate some spirited negotiations over who gets the dark chocolate one.

But at least my poor vegetarian husband can have some.

You can e-mail Angela at or by clicking here.


There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.

I like to think that I have at least managed to observe the latter over these first five days of eating locally.

On Saturday night, I confess, my Dumfries and Galloway halo slipped.

The temptation of a bottle of Argentinian Chenin Blanc was just too great to resist.

However, it was accompanied by local monkfish tail and vegetables grown in the region.

Let's call it a fusion meal.

My wife is even getting in on the act having produced an exquisite rhubarb brule.

I told her she should visit the kitchen more often and nearly ended up with it on my head.

After my trip to Moffat farmers' market I have got a taste for going on the road in search of food.

I might be reducing food miles these days but I fear I may simply be adding them to my waistline

My travels have also taken me out to the Stewartry district in my new-found role as hunter-gatherer.

There I found some award-winning steak pie and haggis, courtesy of Dalbeattie Fine Foods.

The strange thing is that the butcher there hails from Northern Ireland but he can clearly teach the Scots a few lessons about using our local ingredients.

Still, it remains disconcerting to hear someone talking for his passion for haggis in an accent that is pure County Tyrone.

However, having sampled his fare in a glorious cooked breakfast I can vouch for its quality.

I might be reducing food miles these days but I fear I may simply be adding them to my waistline.

Only a couple of days to go and my fridge is still bursting with Dumfries and Galloway produce.

Indeed, I fear I may never get around to trying everything I have bought and certainly won't be able to follow up all the suggestions people have kindly e-mailed in.

There is still a large packet of sausages, a few eggs and a wide selection of vegetables left to get through.

Strangely enough, there was no problem getting rid of my home baked chocolate and orange muffin.

My five-year-old daughter demolished it in the space of two minutes.

I am full of good intentions for when this little experiment finishes about how I will continue to put more local produce into my diet.

Feel free to check up on me this time next year and see if I have lived up to that promise.

Contact him at or click here.

Day four: living on local foods
14 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Day three: living on local foods
13 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Day two: living on local foods
12 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
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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