Friday, 27 April 2007
The Thriller In Vanilla
I'm never one to resist a bargain. Even when skint, if somebody just as much as whispers that there is a cracking deal going on somewhere, I'm away before they can finish the sentence. Thanks to genes passed on from my spendthrift mother, I'm a weak man when it comes to resisting such temptations.
A few days back, a certain William Leigh of MasterChef fame told me about some unbelievable vanilla pod giveaway on a certain website. I mean, even with my weakness in the purchasing department, only a fool would have not acted on impulse. It was that good a deal. And this morning the smell of vanilla wafted through the letterbox as a confused postman popped the parcel neatly through the door. Like an excited kid, I rushed to tear open the parcel. Like Al Pacino in the final scenes of Scarface, I pushed my head into the exotic scented pleasures and stayed there for some time.
Once I had removed my head, I started thinking of unholy pleasurable things I could do with such a wad of the beautiful black pods. I so love the stuff. And it generally goes into a multitude of fattening delights such as custards, biscuits and cakes. With a box of slightly ripe strawberries sitting sadly in the fridge, I knew exactly how to wake the berries up with a simple 2 minute act of simplicity.
Nothing new, but for some reason balsamic vinegar and strawberries are a match made in heaven. Combine a splash with a little caster sugar and marinade your strawberries, you are left with some pretty powerful tastes that are incredibly complimentary. The sweetness intensifies and almost fizzes in your mouth. Slit open a vanilla pod and stir in the tiny black seeds of pleasure and things get even better. So slit I did. And what a treat. Thanks for the tip William.
Strawberries in Vanilla and Balsamic
Feeds 1 starving individual, 2 normal
1 punnet of strawberries
3 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 - Trim and half the strawberries. Place in a large bowl.
2 - Combine the sugar and balsamic until you have a dark syrup. Slit open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the sugar and vinegar.
3 - Pour onto the strawberries and combine thoroughly. Try to resist eating for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to combine.
4 - Eat with creme fraiche , yoghurt or whipped cream.