Thanks for the responses - I decided to use the brining method again this time, but have added more salt. My original recipe said 2oz salt per pint of water, but I've increased this to 3.5oz. I'm going to have another go just using dry salt at the weekend as an experiment in order to make a comparison. Obviously I won't know till they've matured and I can taste them/assess them for the 'crunch factor', but I'll post any further developments in about 4-6 weeks' time! I'm also using shallots, and have tried a new recipe this time with balsamic vinegar in addition to my usual blend of spices, so they look wicked ... literally (i.e. very dark)!