Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Halloween recipes

We think of pumpkins as an autumnal North American food, although I was disappointed to discover that they usually buy canned when baking pumpkin pie. There is a wide selection of pumpkins and squashes: from giant pin cushion style of Turban Squash, to spaghetti squash, or the dense sweet flesh of acorn squash and butternut. 

Pumpkin can be found in Mexican, Japanese, Indian and Italian cuisine. Squash are a vegetable that improves with time: they can be matured over from last year, deepening in flavour, if kept in a cool dry place. Note that the enormous pumpkins that are carved into lanterns aren't the best for eating, being watery and tasteless.

Halloween occurs as autumn turns to winter: the wet amber leaves have been swept up and the nights begin to frost. Here are a few tips and recipes to expand your pumpkin repertoire and a couple of wine suggestions.

Interesting squashes/pumpkins you should try:

  • Butternut squash. I love it roasted and tossed into salads or served with couscous, a few pomegranate seeds and parsley. The 'coquina' variety is nicely sweet.
  • Spaghetti squash. Once baked, the centre can be forked into spaghetti-like strands. You can treat it like courgetti, a gluten-free replacement for pasta and the latest trend for fashionable 'clean' eaters. Or add lashings of salty butter and parmesan, as I do.
  • Tromboncini. Trombone-shaped Italian squash. When young, slice up and use like courgette; when older, use like squash.
  • Gem squash. Wonderfully sweet: stuff and bake.
  • Acorn squash. Another small squash. Can be pureed into soup or stuffed.
  • Onion squash. Small, baked, mixed with cheese. This is great on toast.
  • Kabocha squash. Popular in Japan. Perfect simply roasted with soy sauce, ginger, sesame seeds and served with sushi rice.
  • Hokkaido. Teardrop-shaped, deep red/orange squash. Use in a tart, a soup or simply roasted.
  • Delicata squash. Italian from Lombardy. Difficult to find in the UK but it's easier to chop up than other squashes and the skin is edible so no peeling required. Roast with a little salt.
  • Crown Prince. Large blue/grey skinned squash with sweet orange flesh inside.
  • Harlequin. Pointy decorative squash is also good to eat.
  • Turban squash. Spectacular - looks just like a Turkish hat.

Top tips for squash and pumpkins:

  • Use every part of the pumpkin. 
  • You can save the seeds and roast them. Just brush/scrape off most of the flesh, give them a quick wash and roast with a little salt and olive or pumpkin seed oil. 
  • Austria grows especially large pumpkin seeds which they turn into cold-pressed dark green Styrian oil. Dip bread into it or drizzle over roast pumpkin.
  • I use pumpkin seeds in bread or scattered over salads. 
  • The skins or shells are effective as bowls for soup or as below, for a soufflé. 
  • The flowers can be used for a Mexican squash flower soup. 
  • Squash is also a brilliant carbohydrate filler for those who are gluten free.
  • For the best tasting winter squash, experiment with some of the other cultivars available.

Pumpkin Soup Recipe:

The classic pumpkin recipe, you can use most pumpkins for soup. Decorate with herbs chopped finely into oil, pumpkin seeds, croutons, a swirl of yoghurt or a grating of parmesan cheese. Serve with bread and you have a warming autumnal meal.

Serves 6

3tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
one medium pumpkin, seeded, peeled, chopped roughly, approximately a kilo of flesh
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
1/2tsp mace
100ml of single cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a wide, tall, large saucepan, heat the oil then soften the onion. Add the pumpkin chunks, cooking until slightly golden on the edges. Then add the stock and mace. Cook for 15 minutes then use a hand blender or a table top blender to process the chunks into a soup. Add the single cream. Season to taste. Serve warm.

To make it vegan: replace the single cream with coconut milk. You can add a finely diced red chilli to add an exotic vibe to the soup.

What to drink with this soup:

I'd choose a medium bodied red wine or a sherry to match this hearty soup. 

Pumpkin curry recipe

In India they tend to use small 'tinda' pumpkins for curry (try Tayyabs in London's East End for a fantastic version) but I like to use a firmer fleshed squash such as butternut. This recipe uses up other autumnal ingredients such as green tomatoes - the ones that haven't had enough time to ripen on the vine before blight attacks the plant. 
Serve with rice and yoghurt for a full meal. 

Serves 4-6

3 dried kashmiri chillies, soaked, deseeded. 
50ml of ground nut or vegetable oil 
1tsp mustard seeds 
1 large black cardamom
1tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp of coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
A pinch of cloves, ground 
1 Butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed 
3tbsps of tamarind paste 
3 cloves of garlic, crushed 
3cm of fresh ginger, grated
3cm of fresh turmeric root, grated 
10 green tomatoes (red or yellow can also be used but green adds a little acidity)
1tbsp of sea salt (less if using table salt) 
250ml of coconut milk (buy a good brand without thickeners or additives) 
30g of fresh coriander leaves (or one pot)

Soak the chillies in boiling water. In the meantime, heat up the oil a deep frying pan or saucepan. 
Add the mustard seeds and wait until they pop. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, bay and cloves. Add the butternut squash to the pan, stirring on high heat then lower the heat to medium. 
Remove the chillies from the boiling water, snipping off the stems and seeds. Place them in a blender with the tamarind paste and a little water. Blend until you have a watery paste. Add this chilli tamarind paste to the pan and stir. 
Add the garlic, then grate in the ginger and turmeric. Add the green tomatoes, followed by the salt and coconut milk. 
Cook on a medium to low heat until the butternut squash is tender. Finally, add the fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice.

What to drink with pumpkin curry:

A crisp but full bodied white is just the ticket to stand up to the spices and slight heat of this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Recipe:

This is a fun squash: once baked, you fork over the inside flesh (having removed the seeds), and it resembles spaghetti. Add butter and cheese and you have a low carb meal with little effort.

1 spaghetti squash, whole
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cheese, either parmesan or cheddar.
Jalapeno peppers, sliced.

Preheat the oven to 180cº for 20 minutes.
Place the entire squash in a baking tray and roast for one hour or until soft when poked through with a metal skewer.
Remove from the oven and slit lengthways down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and fork over the flesh. 
Add the toppings of your choice.

What to drink with spaghetti squash:

A white chardonnay is often recommended for spaghetti squash.
What do you like to drink with pumpkin?

Thursday, 25 October 2018

My visit to the spaghetti factory in Italy's most famous pasta town, Gragnano

 pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

 pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Gragnano, pasta town, Italy

Have a good look at packs of pasta next time you go food shopping. You'll see that many of the best brands are made in Gragnano, a hilltop town south of Naples.

Last year I visited Gragnano, specifically the factory Pastificio Dei Campi, which, according to Italian food experts that I know, is reputed to be the best pasta in Gragnano.

It comes in a glamorous gift packaging, looking more like a high end perfume or beauty product. Housed in a thick red, black, white and gold satin cardboard box, with a cellophane window to see the contents, bound with a wax sealed ribbon, you slide out the inner box, containing the most elegant bronze die pasta. A bronze die is a metal mould with rough sides, which creates a rough sandy surface on the outside of the pasta, meaning any sauce will cling.

Guiseppe Di Martino has been making pasta for three generations, owning three different dry pasta factories and three for fresh. Pastificio Dei Campi is their top end brand, established in 2007, to preserve the traditional artisanal way of producing pasta. There are different pressures, temperatures, different ways of drying pasta.

Pasta Q and A

 pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

What is your most popular shape?
It depends on the country. Usually spaghetti.

In Italy?
Spaghetti. Here there is a trend towards bigger forms like Spaghetti Maxi, a bigger type of spaghetti.

How long does Spaghetti Maxi take to cook?
13 minutes as opposed to the classic 8 minutes.
We have four different types of pasta: spaghetti, vermicelli, spaghettini, spaghetti Maxi

In the UK is spaghetti the most important shape?
Yes spaghetti, also linguine, plus short shaped pasta like penne rigate and oriechiette.

In the USA?
In America they like grooved pasta shapes. Industrial pasta is usually all smooth. But industrial producers like Barilla decided to introduce a grooved pasta because it was faster to produce, but they did it not with bronze dies but with teflon.

It imitates bronze die?
It tries, but if you use good quality pasta, you don't need grooves.

Is Barilla the most popular brand in Italy? In Italian supermarkets I've seen aisles and aisles of blue packaging of Barilla.
It's very industrial. Barilla isn't great quality, the best pasta is Gragnano pasta.

Why is Gragnano known for pasta?
They say that pasta was born here. It dates back 500 years. Here we have many generations of pasta producers. We only employ pasta makers who are sons, daughters, grandchildren of pasta makers.

They must have generational know how?
We employ only locals to actually make the pasta.

The climate here is perfect for the slow drying process. In ancient times, when machines didn't exist, they made it all by hand and dried it outside. In the daytime, the sun dried it fast and in the night time, the humidity and the sea breezes gave the pasta the right texture. The pasta is better preserved, and the grain lasts longer.

We try to dry as slowly as possible, It takes 24 to 72 hours to dry our pasta. Just to compare, Di Martino, our other brand, dries in 6 hours. We need 24 hours for small shapes and 72 for long shapes
With long candele which you break by hand, you need 80 hours drying time and 15 days of stabilisation. We need to check the drying process went well.

Bronze die, are they made of bronze?
Yes. Bronze metal is very important in pasta production, it gives a rough surface.

We go inside the factory, it's very very clean, but also hot and noisy.

We have no kind of air conditioning unfortunately, which is awful for the workers but good for the pasta. The pasta is very sensitive to the outside temperature.

Where do you get the flour from?
We have only one supplier, in Puglia. They cultivate the grain, the hard durum wheat, organically for us. That's why we are unique. We can track our grain. If you go to our website, there is a certificate and you can see on google maps where the grain was grown for every packet.

We have a three year rotation, cultivating our grain the ancient way. The first year our farmers grow legumes, the second year the soil lays fallow, and the third year we grow the grain. This way we obtain a high level of proteins within the grain without using pesticides.
The harvest is ready in mid June. Then it's made into semolina. The farmers mill the grain to order and it takes 3 hours to drive from Puglia to Gragnano. So it's very fresh.

Most grain for Italian pasta is imported from Canada. In order to withstand shipping which lasts a month, the grain becomes humid from being at sea. This compromises the quality.

Tour of the Pastificio Dei Campi factory

 pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

I am shown the bronze dies and pick one up:
They are very heavy I comment.

Each pasta shape has its own bronze die. For instance this is for ziti.
Here are bronze dies for short pastas.
Here is campotti, our exclusive pasta shape.
And traditional for Gragnano is the mixed pasta shape, to have all different shapes in the same box.
When Italy was a poor country, Italian families were big, so as not to throw the end of a box away, they mixed pasta shapes.

I'm quite shocked by this. I row with my daughter about this. I think it's a bit sacrilegious to mix your shapes. They all have different cooking times for gods sake!

We have traditional recipes for mixed pasta shapes. The classic sauce is with potatoes and Provola:
You fry the potato cubes, then add onion, then water, and make a soup.
Then you put the pasta in the soup.
You must have the right amount of water so that the pasta absorbs the water and becomes like a normal pasta dish not a soup.

How do you clean them?
With a special machine, it's important to make sure there is no leftover dough.

How many kilos of pasta do you use a year?
Per day, maximum capacity, is 3000 kilos.
We do 60 different shapes: 57 types are produced with bronze dies.
The other three, such as orecchiette are done in machines that imitate women's hands.

We use only Gragnano water, which is very pure and is taken from the mountains.
It is mixed with semolina and pushed through the bronze die.

pasta making at the Pastificio Dei Campi factory, gragnano, Italy pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

I gaze with fascination at the pasta machines which are currently making trottole, shaped like a spinning top.
I touch the pieces: they are warm and soft, you can shape it. I taste it.
You can taste the sweetness, feel the roughness.

It comes out the other end and is then put into wooden racks.
Then the racks are taken to cells.
It's beautiful. 

It's very humid in the storage rooms for the pasta. Then they test them by cooking upstairs.

To find out the optimum cooking time? In the south of Italy they like it very al dente.
Our cooking time on the packet is al dente.

Good quality pasta takes more time to be cooked. If it's eight minutes or more it's fine. If it's five minutes, don't buy it. Quick cook is obviously a crime against pasta.
pasta boxes at pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

How to recognise good pasta

artisanal pasta versus industrial, Gragnano, Italy pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

An artisanal pasta is pale and rough, and dusty looking. Because it's dried slowly, it holds together better, it expands more, and it doesn't break when you cook it. It has more resistant starch and is therefore healthier for say diabetics. If the grain is local, it is less likely to have damaging moulds (which is often what gluten sensitive people have problems with).

Industrial pasta is yellower, and almost plastic looking. There is no powder because the drying process is different. They dry the pasta at a higher temperature. If you work with it at a high temperature, it caramelises. There is no starch inside. It's very breakable and you will see that there are little chips off the spaghetti strands. It's brittle.

bronze die mould at pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Stockists in the UK
Marks and Spencer
Andreas Veg in Chelsea

Taste Test

 pasta factory Pastificio Dei Campi Gragnano pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

 I want to test which is the best spaghetti, the most popular shape of pasta, to which end I've been collecting packs over the last couple of years. Rather like my tinned tomato taste test, I've been giving notes out of ten. I've tried supermarket own brands to high end expensive Italian pastas. My results will be published soon.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Food in Madhya Pradesh

Here are a couple of recipes that I learnt while travelling in Madhya Pradesh plus some general thoughts on Indian food.
Everything is Indian in India. That's part of what is so great about travelling here. Unlike most of the world where high streets are identical, India is just so bloody Indian. Especially the food. 
Last night I had spaghetti for a change, somehow it had become Indian, with sliced green chillis and un-Italian spices. A cup of tea will be masala chai. A cup of coffee is thick with boiled milk and Nescafe. Breakfast is of course Indian. 
Virtually every meal follows the same routine and structure: 

1) Half moons of crispy poppadum are served with three small dishes: salt, pepper and pickle. 

2) Sometimes another dish of goat curd is added. Sometimes one is given a soup; lemon and coriander, mulligatawny or tomato soup. Tomato soup couldn't be more different from thick Western Heinz style that we are accustomed to, it's been clarified, and is a light transparent red. 

3) Then come the curries: it is important to note the difference between wet and dry curries. The dry curries have less gravy and are served directly onto the main plate, but the wet curries, dhal for instance, are poured into little bowls. 

4) The paneer cheese is wonderfully fresh, served in a variety of ways from the Chinese influenced 'chilli paneer', or coated with creamy cashew sauce. I must work out the recipe.

5) Spinach is creamed. When I make saag aloo I never cream the spinach. I'm very alert to texture, and I can't abide slimyness. This is why I don't like okra/bhindi, which is popular here. 

6) Sauteed vegetables, not in a curry sauce, are another option; simple enough you might think but somehow this plain dish becomes Indian - they are sautéed in ghee and slick with pepper.

7) Breads are so good. Slim and flexible flatbreads, fried puffed breads, stuffed parathas, are made with the skill of regular practice and habit. 

8) Rice often seems to be an afterthought, frequently served cold and lacking salt. Which is odd as Madhyar Pradesh is a rice producing state. In fact I've seen rice paddies and actual rice plants close-up for the first time ever. I remember a geography teacher explaining to me that Asians are intelligent because they are rice producing countries and it takes intelligence to grow rice and turn it into food. Certainly harder than potatoes.

8) For dessert I am mostly given some kind of rice pudding, a kheer, although it can have vermicelli instead, with sweet spiced whole milk, flavoured with cashews, pistachios and saffron. Kheer is also a popular breakfast item, along with milkshakes, buttermilk, sweet lassi. I have also been served gulab jamin, fudgy white balls  or chocolate kulfi, an unchurned ice cream.

9) Meals are breakfast (poha, or utthapam or masala omelette), lunch (curries), high tea (deep fried pakora fritters, or tea and biscuits)  and dinner (curries). After, say, five days of eating non-stop Asian food, I find I need a little break, a pasta, pizza, toast or something.

10) Service is attentive, almost ridiculously so. A man will stand next to your table watching you eat. If you nearly finish one pile of vegetables, you will be served another. To be honest I'd prefer to serve myself. But I suppose this is a relic of the memsahib British colonial style service. When I'm eating or cooking I go into a zen-like state which I don't like to be interrupted. It was a family joke as a child that I used to say 'Don't talk to me, I'm concentrating on my food'. 


This flattened rice is a local speciality in both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra states. It's generally eaten for breakfast. I asked the chef at the Riverwood Lodge in Pench to show me how to prepare this dish.

250g poha
2tbsp ghee
1tsp mustard seeds
Handful of fresh curry leaves
1 small brown onion, finely sliced
1tsp turmeric ground
1 potato, peeled, finely sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar or palm sugar
Handful of garden peas
Handful of peanuts
1 green chilli, finely sliced
Handful of coriander leaves
1 lime

Soak the poha in cold water for a few minutes until they easily squash between your fingers. Drain.
In a deep frying pan, heat the ghee until hot then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves then
cook the onion till soft. Add the turmeric and potato slices. 
Add the salt and sugar, the peas, peanuts, chilli.
Add the coriander leaves and juice of the lime.


This is a great snack to accompany a glass of beer. I do find it so creative how Indian use rice crispies or puffed rice as a savoury dish. People said it came from Calcutta, but locally it appears to be known as 'Ayush'.

At a sunset view spot in Pachmahri, I passed an Indian family who had laid out a clean thick newspaper and were making Jhaalmuri for a picnic snack.

300g unsweetened puffed rice
1/2 cucumber, peeled, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
Handful of sev
Juice of 1 lime
1 small green chilli 
A sprinkle of black salt

Mix all the ingredients together. 

Masala Chai

Wet and Dry Curry

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Aberdeen and the Shire

Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

I'm falling in love with Scotland. Over the last year I've visited Glasgow, Oban, and the World Porridge Championships in the Highlands. This summer I discovered Aberdeen and the surrounding area. In the past this town has had a mixed reputation (the writer Paul Theroux described it as 'a cold, stony-faced city, over-cautious, unwelcoming and smug'). During the 1980s Aberdeen was oil rich and booming. Now the oil money has subsided.
In the 21st century, Aberdeen has cleaned up the beautiful granite buildings, pitted with mica and giving rise to the moniker 'the silver city'. The city doesn't just depend on oil anymore, with a growing tourism sector, bars and restaurants.

I didn't spend long in Aberdeen itself on this occasion, just enough to visit the ice cream makers Mackies 19.2 and an award winning cocktail bar Orchid which distills gin using Buddha's hand citrus.
I ate a warming Cullen Skink soup, an Aberdonian speciality of smoked haddock (from nearby Finan) and potatoes, at the spectacular harbour side restaurant The Silver Darling. On the wall were all the fish market prices of the day, which you eat as ships parade past grandly.

Aberdeen was a fishing town before the oil, and the North Sea remains a strong presence. The village of Footdee, pronounced 'fittie', is a series of fishing cottages, designed by the Balmoral architect John Smith, where all the doors and windows face inwards, into a square. The backs of the houses face the sea, to protect against fierce storms.
Travelling further outside the city, into Aberdeenshire, I was reminded of one of my favourite books  'I capture the castle', about a romantic young girl who lived in a freezing castle. The romantically turreted, all stone staircases and tartan carpet, Craigevar castle is a vision in elastoplast pink and reputedly the original model for the Disney castle.

This area around Aberdeen is known as Royal Deeside: royal from the fact that the Queen (and her predecessor Victoria) love to spend time at Balmoral; Dee is the river running from the Cairngorms.
I visited Ballater station, now defunct as a working railway station. Currently being transformed into a restaurant and bar, Queen Victoria's glittering railway 'waiting room' is worth seeing. Ballater village has the most royal warrants per square mile in the country. Above the shops are large plaster gold embossed warrants; her Majesty seems keen on delicatessens.

Shopkeepers were friendly, speaking with the charming soft local dialect known as 'Doric'. Balmoral is only seven miles away and they tell me that you can see the Queen walking her dogs:
 'A little old woman with a stiff pelmet of steely hair. You are about her height.' purred one.
Next to Ballater station at Dee Valley Confectioners, in the back room, you can watch the mesmeric process of the 'boilings'; boiled sugar being stretched and wrenched into sweets and twists of candy.

I stayed at Douneside House, formerly a hotel for the forces. Although it is now open to the public, ex and current military can access incredible discounts for the luxury rooms. The dinner, cooked by Chef David Butters, was one of the best I've had in Scotland. Modern Scottish food, not overly fussy, but beautifully presented. Douneside really feels like that gorgeous countryside mansion you've always wanted, and the Royal Horticultural Society gardens are equally magnificent. 

I went to see Grace Noble and her cows at her Aberdeenshire Highland Beef farm. Although I don't eat or cook meat, I do support small businesses, especially those run by women. Grace set up this business after her divorce and is thriving. She works with a talented female butcher.

Brewdog is an Aberdeenshire business that has done incredibly well the last few years, expanding from a couple of beerheads and a dog in 2007 to an internationally traded company with over a thousand employees. I was part of a group that was shown around the trendy vast warehouses, no employee appeared to be over 35, by a violet-eyed woman with turquoise hair. Afterwards we drank sour beer and other styles at the company pub within. Brewdog are now making spirits and even plan to do their own whisky. They had a 'three bubble' copper still made especially for this purpose. 

Brewdog, beer bottle chandelier. Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Brewdog,work place pub,  Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Brewdog,  Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Brewdog, beers,  Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Ol Meldrum House, Aberdeenshire pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
I stayed at the 13th century gothic looking Old Meldrum house hotel, where my stunning bedroom had a wall of windows facing onto a golf course.
Glen Garoich whisky  distillery, Aberdeenshire, pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Just down the road lies Glen Garioch Distillery. This tour was excellent, compared to my tour at Oban last year. Not all whisky tours are equal it seems. I was allowed to take pictures without the threat of burning the place down for instance. The tour guide was the most Scottish looking bloke, all ginger hair and moustache, but who turned out to be an English whisky enthusiast. Glen Garioch is the proud owner of a Porteus machine malt mill which was so efficient that they never ever broke down which meant the business went broke as nobody needed to buy a new one. (A second hand Porteus would cost around £60, 000 so precious are they). 
Glen Garioch whisky distillery,. Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Glen Garioch whisky distillery,. Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Glen Garioch whisky distillery,. Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Glen Garioch whisky distillery,. Aberdeen. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

When you order food in Scotland, portions are huge. I had a fish n chip lunch, crispy ballooning batter duvet-like around spanking fresh fish, at The Boat Inn, a pub that uses excellent local produce. Amusingly it has a toy steam train that puffs around a narrow track affixed to the top of the walls of the room.
Last stop was a restaurant called Eat on the Green, in Udney Green, run by chef/patron Craig Wilson, also known as The Kilted Chef. I sat rapt listening to his stories over a lengthy gin tasting and lunch. Finally I tasted his sticky toffee pudding, which lived up to its name. It is claimed that this British classic was invented in Aberdeenshire.

eat on the green, Craig Wilson,. Aberdeenshire. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
the gin bar at Eat on he green, Craig Wilson,. Aberdeenshire. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Scottish cheese board Eat on he green, Craig Wilson,. Aberdeenshire. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Eat on he green, Craig Wilson,. Aberdeenshire. pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

This visit was kindly hosted by Visit Aberdeenshire.