Trying new flavours...

After being introduced to Pentland Hills Gin I was instantly struck by the quite unique characteristics of its flavour, it is certainly in a league above most of the other Gins currently on the market. It has a delicately smooth, luxurious and warming flavour to it, that comes through on your pallet in multiple layers.

I have also liked the challenge of putting together recipes that try to celebrate and do justice to the quality and uniqueness of special ingredients. I wanted to use Pentland Hills Gin and instantly thought of using it as a cure for another amazing product that we use, Hampshire Chalk Stream Trout. I have been using this Trout for a long time now, it is a beautiful fish and is farmed in an incredibly sustainable way on the river Test in Hampshire. The fish has a very clean and fresh taste that is a result of it living in a chalk stream, it does not develop that muddy taste you would usually associate with Trout. The fish is grown up to an impressive 2.5kg in weight which makes it perfect for curing. We have been curing this trout in Malt Whisky for a while now and it has been a big success with our customers from around the world. You could always substitute the Trout for quality Salmon if preferred or more available.

I wanted to test myself and see if I could manage to cure the trout in this Gin and retain all its complex and delicate flavours. I tried several different ways of doing this with mixed results. Pentland Hills Gin has such a nice balance of flavours that I decided to look at the botanical flavours that went into producing it and immediately one ingredient stood out from the others, Cocoa Nibs. I was really intrigued to see what the flavour of Trout and Chocolate would be like together and was very surprised at the results. The Gin works brilliantly at bringing the two unusual flavours together and stands out as the star of the show. To support the Cocoa flavour in the cure I helped it along with two other ingredients that form part of the Gins Botanicals, Orange and Cardamon. The Orange gives it a burst of freshness and acidity and the Cardamon gives it a layer of warmth.

The rest of the dish was put together to support the Trout and Gin in both their textures and flavours in order to perfectly compliment it and give it balance. I personally think that this dish works especially well in the autumnal months in both its taste and appearance but could easily be enjoyed throughout the calendar year.

I like to serve this dish with some baby Rocket leaves baby Red Chard leaves and a small amount of freshly Zested Orange on top.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and have fun making it. You do not need to follow this recipe strictly and can adjust the flavours to your own taste. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised by the unusual flavour combination.

This wonderful recipe has been created for us by Chris Allnutt, the Head Chef at Pembroke College in Oxford. We are enormously grateful to him for allowing us to share this with our gin loving fans.

The Method

This recipe should be enough to cure a 1kg side of Trout which should be skinless and boneless.

250g Sea Salt
250g Caster Sugar
250g Cocoa Nibs.
6 Cardamon Pods

Blitz these together and add the juice and zest from 2 large oranges and 2 tablespoons of some pure organic Cocoa Powder.

Now add 150ml to 200ml of Pentland Hills Gin, the mixture should have the texture of very wet sand.

Rub the cure mix over both sides of the trout. If possible, put the Trout fillet into a dish about the same size as the fillet itself or cut down the fillet to fit, this will make sure that the Trout is well covered during the curing process. Pour the remainder of the cure mix over the Trout, cover with cling film and store in the fridge for around 12 hours, turning throughout.

Once ready the Trout will be firmer to touch and will have a light brownish colour to it. Now is the time to quickly wash the Trout fillets off under cold running water, do this quickly to start with as you can always wash again if too salty but be careful not to over wash as you will lose flavour.

The beauty of this cure is that it can be changed to suit your own tastes, you can add more or less of all the ingredients depending on your preference. You can also adjust the cure time and the amount you wash the cured fillet depending on the depth of flavour you are wanting.

Slice the cured Trout thinly to serve.


Refill your bottle

Don't miss your chance to sample some Pentland Hills Gin at one of our upcoming events. You'll also get the chance to meet the makers and get to know more about our sustainable production.

Refill your bottle