Out of all the regular baking ingredients, I think vanilla is the most overlooked. I care about the humble free range egg, creamy British butter, flour and sugar. A fair price for our dairy farmers and their milk. Try and buy fairtrade chocolate and coffee etc when/where it is available. But vanilla? I've sloshed teaspoons of extract and paste here and there without really thinking about the source.
It wasnt really until Vanessa Kimbell wrote and spoke of her trip to Uganda with Ndali vanilla, that it pricked up a few ears and led me to research more into where our vanilla comes from. Vanessa has organised a Vanilla Gift Swap at Fortnum & Mason this afternoon and here is what I'll be taking. Recipes and full blog posts to follow.
Pear & Vanilla Jam
Vanilla Caramel Fondant Swirls