Tune in, turn on, eat out
As SCOTTISH FOOD FORTNIG
HT dawns, Barry Shelby
could be on the edge of a watershed.
he importance of buying local is
not a new issue to The I.f.\'l. Last
year. we inaugurated the Dell A“ (final I'iliir/ “fret‘frn‘v Ii) SFUf/(Hld. The second edition. issued in June. explores the best in Scottish produce. whether black face lamb from the Borders or organic farmed saltnon from the Highlands.
(‘oincidentally. the last two years have also borne the Scottish Food l‘ortnight. Sponsored by the Countryside Alliance. it’s a two-week celebration of sorts. featuring a disparate set of events. from cookery demonstrations to farm tours. It‘s also a general mission to get people to support their local food suppliers: whetlter a neighbourhood butcher. the fortnightly farmers‘ markets. or simply food reared in the surrounding regions.
It is all part of a growing movement that is beginning to show some traction among the public. Proponents range from celebrity chef Rick Stein and his popular Food Heroes TV series to lidinburgh- based restaurant critic and writer Joanna
Blythman and her recent demolition of
supermarkets. Shopper! (Fourth listatel. Guardian contribtttor lielicity Lawrence made perhaps an even more convincing case in her book. Not on the Label (Penguin). while (‘ornwall‘s fatnous liden Project has come into the act by publishing Seasonal l‘iHH/f A Guide to What's in Season What and Why.
()loroso's chef and founder Tony Singh favours local ingredients at his restaurant in Edinburgh’s New Town and has been involved actively in promoting Pentland Hills Produce. which includes Mrs Hamilton's Organic Beef and Lamb [see panell. Boghall Farm and Threipmuir Lamb at \Vester Kinlieth Farm.
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Graham and Caroline Hamilton of Cairns Farm exemplify the potential of local producers. They have raised certifiably organic native cattle and blackface sheep Since 2000. What began as an operation selling meat to friends has grown into a Wider scheme. The farm's beef and lamb can bOught every fortnight at Edinburgh's tarmers' market las well as directly on 01506 881510i.
Mrs Hamilton's was also key in forming Pentland Hill Produce. a cooperative with other local farmers (wwwpentland-hills produce.co.uk). EXisting rules effectively disc0urage small-scale farmers from bringing their goods to market. ‘There are a lot of hurdles.‘ Caroline Hamilton admits. “You have to be like a terner.‘
Mrs Hamilton’s grilled lamb chops
Use dOuble IOin chops or “valentine' chops wrth0ut the bone. Place meat under hot grill. brown on both sides and then reduce heat. cooking a further four to five mins. Serve with boiled new potatoes and caramelised carrots. Cut length-Wise and cooked covered fer abOut five minutes in pan with a knob of butter and a splash Of water.
Ardalanish Farm, who raise Highland cattle and Hebridean mutton
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asks if consumers and suppliers
()loroso. of course. isn't the only restaurant that tises local goods: .‘ylartin‘s. liorth l‘loor and llaldanes in lidinbttrgh oi' the (‘hip. (it‘asst'ools and Heart Buchanan in (ilasgow are just some of the eateries that depend on local ingredients. \Vay tip north in Scrabster. the ('aptain‘s (‘iallery restaurant insists that the food it prepares comes from within a 50 miles radius. whenever possible. Hell. if it can be done there. it can a and perhaps should be done everywhere in Scotland.
This is not fey nationalism or knee-jerk attti-globalisttt. either. It is an ethic and a mindset that puts the environment at the forefront of our thinking: one that sees 'provenanct" and 'traceability" not as fancy ten-pound words bttt key notions in conscientious food buying.
Will our changing habits cause supermarkets. with their shelves full of international produce. to go bust‘.’ Not likely. Are McDonald‘s and its ilk on their last legs'.’ No.
But are consumers increasingly aware that Scotland offers some great ftiotls‘.’ You bet. .lust consider that the first farmers' market in Scotland only started live years ago in Perth. Today. on any given weekend there may be upwards of 40 across the country. lividence suggests that those cities and towns that currently host fortnightly markets may well be able to sustain weekly ones.
And just imagine what might be possible if the government tnade funds available for more fartn shops instead of pumping money into PR campaigns and their Calvinist-style scolding.
Log onto www.scottishfoodfortnight for full information on local farm produce and events in your area.
SideDislies News to nibble on . . .
I The Gallery Restaurant 8. Bar has taken a bit of kicking from prominent broadsheet critics, but at least one Side Dishes informer says it was ‘fab'. We're all slightly disappointed that the concession in the new Weston Link was given to a large English-based catering company, but they have hired local talent, and other ventures from the south, namely Harvey Nick’s Forth Floor and Conran's etain, are pretty damn fine. As space and time allows. The List may well return to the issue of corporate-owned restaurants and their impact in the central belt. In the meantime, send us your views.
I In our preVious haste to keep you up to speed on new arrivals. often lost amid the merry mayhem of the festival. we should have mentioned Relish and Les Bistro des Arts. The former sent the office a nice hand-written letter informing us of their hand—made beef burgers usmg completely traceable meat and chicken fillets froni free-range birds. plus condiments made on the premises and buns courtesy of the good bakers at Breadwmner in Bruntsiield. All this sounds good and now that the mobs have left the ROyal Mile. it is more accessible to local folk.
Les Bistro des Arts trades in Holy Corner where. tip till recently. you WOuld have found Mon Petit Boudin. It remains a French restaurant. under new management. favouring bistro-style fare made With Scottish produce. including meat and fish smoked by the proprietor himself. We hope to Visit soon ourselves and give you full reports on both.