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.


theboydonefood said...

You should get my bill next week. Now where's that dinner you promised me?!

GreatBigVegChallenge said...

Where where where can I find the cheap vanilla pod?

Patricia said...

I can hardly wait for my strawberries in the garden to ready. It'll be another while, but they promise to be plentiful as there are loads of flowers.
I personally don't use vanilla that often as I find the flavour and the scent to be to sweet (how strange am I ?)

Frilly Petticoats said...

oooh I love vanilla. I make a fab rice pudding and caramelised figs, and use vanilla sugar in that.

I often take the lid of the sugar jar, just to have a quick sniff (guilty pleasure there)

Wish I'd seen the give-away too!