When I was a child, I didn’t like vanilla-flavoured foods. I now realise that’s because I never really ate any of them – we used to have that vivid yellow ‘vanilla’ ice cream, and other food items that have never even been near a vanilla pod, but which are labelled as vanilla.
As I’ve mentioned previously, when I bake nowadays I use a proper vanilla extract, and it makes a world of difference. There are other sources of vanilla that I’ve had my eye on for a while, and I recently treated myself to a little jar of vanilla bean paste. This weekend I used it to make buttercream icing for a batch of Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes, and they were so delicious that all of them had been eaten before I even got the pictures off the camera. If you look at the larger version of this picture, you’ll even be able to see the little black flecks of vanilla – I must make another batch of these soon, because I’m hungry just thinking about them.