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christmas 2010

Here in New Zealand a 50ml of pure Vanilla extract or essence costs around $7 at leading supermarkets. I don't know about you, but 50ml doesn't go very far in my baking! So I make my own from Vanilla beans which cost me around $10 for 3 at speciality stores and delicatessen. I recycle maple syrup bottles for my homemade extract as I like the shape and size and I also use fairly cheap vodka as it doesn't need to be expensive or flash for this purpose. Unfortunately I couldn't say how much extract I get for my $10 vanilla beans, I'm still using some of the same beans I bought several years ago with great success and flavour, so I think I'm definitely winning and certainly I am on flavour.

Now you might be looking at the picture here and thinking - but that doesn't look dark and flavourful! I'm sorry it's true, it's quite misleading in the photo as I had only just made up a new batch, in week or so it will look very different, you can see the difference here from the dregs of my last bottle.

Both Vanilla extract and Vanilla sugar make great homemade Christmas gifts. Vanilla sugar is used a lot in European recipes, however obviously you can use it anywhere you want a sweet vanilla flavour, as in custards, sprinkled on berries, in pastries or cookies.

My last tip: Make your Vanilla gifts sound more exotic by labelling them in German, (Vanillin Zucher) French (Vanille Sucre) or another European language, perhaps you can help me list others in the comments section?!
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla bean pods
  • Plain unflavoured vodka
  • Sugar, to taste (optional)
  1. Place a split vanilla bean into each sterilised bottle.
  2. Top the bottle with vodka adding approximately 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1 cup of vodka if desired.
  3. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks.
  4. When the bottle gets low top up with more vodka and your set to go again.
  • Vanilla Sugar
  • 2 Vanilla bean pods, seeds
  • 4 cups of white sugar
  1. Place the scraped seeds from vanilla beans and sugar into a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the seeds are evenly distributed and the sugar speckled with seeds.
  3. The sugar should also be finer and resemble caster or superfine sugar.
  4. Place the sugar into gift bags or an airtight container.

  1. Too often we find ourselves grabbing for convenient pre-made mixes, dressings and sauces, when most of them are extremely easy to make and store at home from scratch. Homemade they are more economical, tastier and best of all as nature intended without unidentifiable E numbers, long lists of anti-caking agents, acidity regulators, colours and preservatives.
  3. The Self-Sufficient Kitchen is my place to share recipes for items you could pick off the supermarket shelf, but you really ought not to. Made on a rainy day these recipes will keep your pantry well stocked for impromptu entertaining or moments when you need some extra time or inspiration without a trip to the store. These recipes also often make great gifts to share with friends and family.

Christmas 2010 Front Cover Table of Contents Gluten Free Gathering Buckwheat Blini Lamb with Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Stuffing Leek and Greens
Roast Potatoes with Oregano and Feta Frozen Figgy Pudding A Christmas Turkey Dinner Potato Baskets with Salt and Pepper Prawns Turkey Roulade with Apple Cranberry and Pecan Stuffing Confetti Roasted Root Medley
Steamed Broccoli with Sundried Tomato Butter Individual Christmas Puddings De-constructed Trifle Tiramisu Vanilla Extract Windsor Blue
Petits Fours Cranberry and Orange Macarons Shortbread White Christmas Florentines Peppermint Marshmallow Tarts Advent Calendar
First of December Second of December Third of December Fourth of December Fifth of December Sixth of December
Seventh of December Eighth of December Nineth of December Tenth of December Eleventh of December Twelfth of December
Thirteenth of December Fourteenth of December Fifteenth of December Sixteenth of December Seventeenth of December Eighteenth of December
Christmas Recipes · Magazine Recipes · Pantry Recipes · Self Sufficient Recipes
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