Since my recent enjoyable stay in Majorca, I’ve renewed my interest in Mediterranean ways of eating. All that olive oil and fresh veg, it has to be good for you. In fact I helped organise a study tour to Greece a number of years ago, looking at services for older people, and the vibrant health and strength of the octo-and nonagenarians we saw there was certainly convincing.
However, the food miles niggle. Scotland is a wonderful country with a great climate (okay I’m biased) and excellent farming traditions. But olive groves in Scotland? Nope, haven’t noticed any. Please tell me if you have and I’ll visit immediately. Fields of rape? What, that bright yellow stuff that gives us all hay fever? The stuff you see in every second field from May onwards? Yes, yes, we have lots of rape, and what a shame about its name, it really doesn’t stand a chance of being taken seriously.
Ah but I’m wrong. In recent years a number of rapeseed-oil businesses have grown up and it’s easy to find their produce in the shops – from bog standard ‘oil’ right through the cold-pressed to the extra virgins. And top chefs are supporting it. I heard an entertaining food programme last year in which Mary Contini and Joanna Blythman were fighting the corner for olive oil against one of the top Scottish chefs and I apologise for having forgotten his name. Anyway, said chef was extolling the virtues of rapeseed oil – far better Omega 3/6 balance, apparently, with lots of other health benefits. Cate Devine sets out the debate for the Herald, Dec 12.
I have just joined something called ‘The Fife Diet‘ and will come back with more info on that – it suggests we try to get 80% of our diet from local food and 20% from elsewhere. I’m thinking that’s an unfeasibly high target but I might be wrong. Will keep you posted. Meantime, above is a picture of a nice Fifed-up Greek salad I made on Sunday to share with my friend Millie (not her real name but I think it’s best that way!) The Fifing-up may be a claim too far but it’s certainly Scottified, with local purple-sprouting brocolli added to the mix, and rapeseed oil in the dressing.