It would be fair to say that I never endorse anything I do not 100% believe in and use myself. I get a lot of product samples sent to me that I don't use or care to endorse and in fact those that I do, such as Maldon Sea Salt, are products not sent to me, but instead items that I cannot live without when cooking.
I was recently sent a release about Porters Vanilla Bean paste and as an avid fan of all things vanilla, I decided to put it to the test. I must admit, I am a purist when it comes to using vanilla, I either use the pods themselves, which are not only terribly expensive, but you end up wasting most of it. Let's face it, once you have scraped the seeds out of a pod, there is only one thing to do... place the hollowed out pod into a jar of sugar; but how many jars of vanilla sugar does one person use in a lifetime? So my favourite alternative is always 'Neilson Massey' vanilla extract, priced at £5.25 per bottle, but you don't get the lovely black flecks of vanilla seeds in your baking, which just isn't the same.
A teaspoon of Porter's vanilla bean paste is the same as using a whole pod and with each squeezy tube containing over 15 pod, a little goes a long way and you really do get your moneys worth. They also have lovely little packs containing 4 x 9g sachets at £4.25 or if you are like me you will go for the larger, better value 270ml squeezy bottle costing £14.25, which at the moment is on special offer at just £9.99 so stock up! Christmas is coming and there are many uses for an ingredient such as this.
Don't limit the use of vanilla to desserts and cakes... I have had some fabulous seafood dishes that used vanilla in the accompanying sauces and foams. Be creative! Just like cinnamon, vanilla isn't sweet unless you add sugar. It is abundently aromatic and can add a wonderful scent and flavour to sauces, chutneys, breads and so much more.
You can order Porters vanilla bean paste online at:
www.porterfoods.co.uk or at the Virtual Farmers Market: www.vfmuk.com