Daily Archives: 14 June 2011

Vanilla Sugar

In a bit of a change from my usual posts, it’s time for a bit of musing. So tell me..what’s in your kitchen cupboard?

I don’t know about you, but I always find it quite interesting to have a rake around inside someone else’s store cupboards. Obviously I am not one of those people who goes for a snoop uninvited, but…if I’m helping out with the cooking…it’s intresting to see what they’ve got to hand. I have quite a few friends who, when they are travelling, will pick up local oil, herbs and spices or other culintary items, so it’s nice to see something new, or an old favourite that you’ve not seen for years. A spice you’ve never seen before can lead to a whole chat about a trip, the food and a recipe. Which is a nice way to catch up with friends.

At home, one of my favourite things is a large glass pot from last year’s holiday in France that I’ve filled with some used vanilla pods and a lot of caster sugar. Leave it for a few days, and voila, it’s a large pot of fragrant vanilla sugar!

You could use a new vanilla pod for this, but you can get more bang for your buck in these straightened times by re-using pods that have been floating around in milk for making custard. Just be sure to rinse them and let them dry properly before using. “Fresh” pods might work better, but I can’t really tell the difference myself…

You also get a lot of vanilla sugar for not much cash – you only need to use a little to impart a delicious vanilla aroma, and it’s great if you want to sprinkle over fresh fruit or on top of a dessert. A gentle flavour without being overpowering. Try that with vanilla extract! And should you find the pot is getting little empty, just pour in a little more sugar. Yup, that simple!

What’s are some of your favourite kitchen ingredients?

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