Back in Toronto I had a favourite vanilla bean supplier. The Spice Trader on Queen Street West sells vanilla beans from several countries in addition to the other fabulous herbs and spices available. My relationship with The Spice Trader started when Mr416expat and I got married. When we got married we weren’t able to take a honeymoon, so instead decided to each buy one thing for our new house that we would both enjoy. Mr416expat bought an iPod dock and I, I found The Spice Trader. I bought a bunch of new spices and never looked back! The Spice Trader is my absolute favourite spot in Toronto to find different herbs and spices and I can’t wait to go back in June and stock up for another year in London!
As I’ve now been in London for 7 months my stash of ingredients brought from Toronto has dwindled and although I can’t wait to stock up in Toronto, there are some things I can’t do without until that happens. Vanilla fits in that category. I love ‘fresh’ vanilla beans and in their absence, (they’re ridiculously expensive in London) I sought out an alternative.
Tonight at Waitrose I found my alternative…or at least, a contender…
Vanilla bean paste? Curious. My favourite thing about vanilla (in addition to its delicious flavour) are the tiny seeds that show up as tiny flecks. My vanilla bean scones wouldn’t be quite so neat without those little flavour flecks!
Now, after seeing this post on thekitchn today, I did for a moment, question whether this was a legitimate ingredient to bring into my kitchen. Ultimately though, I really like vanilla and would rather have it in my life in paste form, than not at all. We’ll see if the flavour in the paste can compare to the flavour from a regular vanilla bean!
My goal for the week is to try the vanilla bean paste in substitution for my Neilsen-Massey vanilla extract in some of my favourite recipes. I’ll keep you posted!