Nothing from the veg patch this week as I’ve been distracted by gin, for which regulars will know my weakness. I blame my Mother. Introducing me as she did to Gin O’Clock: a nightly tradition that continues throughout the entire maternal side of my family. Not that anyone need really be blamed at all since a daily G&T is the most civilising of habits and to be encouraged. Well done Our Ma.
You will rightly assume then that I am thoroughly enjoying the resurgence of decent gin – and tonic for that matter. Small batch, artisan, quirky brands abound. And, heaven be praised, the Cotswolds now has one too.
Cotswolds Dry Gin is a traditional London gin with notes of lavender (from the Cotswolds), bay leaf plus the more usual citrus and juniper. And it’s knock out. I’m not usually one for neat gin (what? You’re surprised? Heavens, what do you think of me?), but this is rich, flavoursome and rounded, making it ideal for cooking with since it imparts those wonderful aromatics upon all it meets. As I found out…
Gin Soaked Salmon
- 250g salmon fillet, boneless, skin on
- 75g fine salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 lime, zested
- 1/2 grapefruit, zested
- Pinch, lavender
- 8-10 juniper berries
- a good slug of really good gin. Obviously I’ve used Cotswolds Dry Gin
Serves 4 as a little taster.
Grind the juniper and lavender in a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, sugar, grapefruit and lime and mix well. Pour in a slug of gin and stir. Do this bit by bit until you achieve a thick sauce – make sure it doesn’t get too thin or it won’t cling to the fish.
Pour the cure over the salmon and wrap tightly in cling film and foil. Leave in the fridge for anywhere between 1 and 3 days – the longer you leave it, the stronger the cure (and the more leathery the salmon, so don’t go beyond 3 days unless you’re feeling particularly Scandinavian).
When ready, remove the wrapping, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. I like to serve it simply sliced and unadorned. However, it is beautiful on blinis with creme fraiche.
Sorbet – a classy intermediate course for a swanky dinner party. This one is pretty reliable.
A Proper G&G – this is an art. In my view, the ritual of making it well is as important as the drinking. My rules: fill the glass with ice (2 or 3 cubes is needlessly cheap). 1 part gin to 3 parts tonic minimum, certainly NO weaker. Lime not lemon. And if you know what aromats have been used, then add them too – bay and grapefruit zest, for example. Finally, good tonic. Fever Tree or Fentimans are ideal. Low Cal options are banned. This is all.
(Incidentally, plausible though it would be given my penchant, no I was not bribed with gin to write this. We had a tour of the distillery and a chat and it tasted so heavenly that I simply had to have some for my own. Though, even I may not manage a gin tasting at 11am on a Monday again…)