July 2013 archive

Vanilla Bean Syrup (or maybe it should be called Liquid Gold)

photo 1I’m addicted to Vanilla Beans!

There is nothing quite like the flavour of vanilla. Simply, it just makes everything better. Except for the time when I had vanilla vodka and broke out with a rash on my face. That was at least 13 years ago and I haven’t tried it since.

Okay back to business…I think my husband and I were addicted to those International Delight coffee creamers for a while. Or maybe it was just me. I wouldn’t even want to drink, nor would I enjoy, coffee without them. Mmmm French Vanilla. But seriously, half of the ingredients you can’t pronounce and if something is good for months on end, chances are, it’s not good for you. Yuck!

Definitely not taking the claim here for Vanilla Syrup but just wanted to share a simply delicious alternative to using those coffee creamers. Okay get ready, it’s extremely tricky.

Vanilla Bean

Okay so maybe not tricky. Actually easy, very easy! You’ll need a pot, some measuring cups and a knife to scrape your vanilla bean and voila a delicious simple syrup douced with the fruity, sweet flavour of vanilla bean.

Pour your sugar and water in a pot and start to simmer on medium. Like many simple syrups you want a 1:1 ratio for the sugar and water. I usually use 1 1/2 cups of each which will last us a good week and half. Scrape a vanilla bean, or two, I usually use one and add another dash or so of ground up vanilla beans. Can’t get enough. photo 4

Add the vanilla caviar, the little black seeds you scrape, the scraped pod, give it a couple stirs and then bring the syrup to a boil.


You may need to turn your stove up slightly to get it to a boil. Once it boils, let it simmer for 5
minutes or so to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved.

Turn off the stove and let it steep until the syrup cools to room temperature. Then find your favorite bottle or jar and pour this deliciousness in, pod and all. I prefer any type of hermetic bottle, the ones with a rubber flip seal but mason jars get frequented as well. Store in your fridge and enjoy.



This syrup is on regular rotation in our house. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of the flavour of vanilla. Absolutely delicious in coffee, on yoghurt, pancakes, waffles, fruit, ice cream, really anything. I’ve even poured some over pecans while toasting them for a salad. And a friend says they love adding a splash to their cheerios. This morning I made a fresh batch and breakfast went like this…pancakes, plain yoghurt, vanilla bean syrup and topped off with coconut chips (which I will try and recreate and post something on them someday, delicious).

Prepare to become addicted!

me and my loves

*You can use any type of sugar. I started using plain white granulated sugar and then moved to organic cane sugar, which I prefer. It has a more rich flavour and deeper colour.

July 4th

July 4th

Summer is here! And with summer comes all the magical, yummy fruit.

It’s July 4th and I had some family visiting from the US, so perfect chance to celebrate with a little red, white and blue!

I knew I wanted something with fresh local berries and I stumbled across this Old Fashioned Berry Layer Cake from good old Martha’s Baking Handbook. I can’t find a link to the recipe online but honestly, not sure I would make the cake again. This one had a mountain of eggs, like 10, I might have to start raising chickens if I make cakes like this too often. The cake on its own was just okay, a bit egg’y in my opinion. So I don’t think I’ll type it out, if, when, I make it again I would use any white cake flavoured with maybe lemon extract or vanilla bean! Mmm that would be good. If you don’t have a good recipe let me know and I can suggest something. Or chocolate cake, that would be good too.

Don’t get me wrong, assembled, the cake was very yummy but I’m giving most of the credit to the whipped cream and gorgeous berries. Could anything really be bad with whipped cream and berries?

To recreate, you’ll need two 9″ round cakes. Bake, cool and cut in half. I decided to only use three layers, just seemed big enough to me. Whip up some cream, add icing sugar to taste and vanilla bean, if you’re as addicted as me. Find a serving dish, I used my late Aunt Laverne’s beautiful serving platter, and start assembling. Place the first layer down and top with the whipped cream, then assorted berries, another layer of cake, cream, berries and so on. You could assemble ahead of time but I wouldn’t do the top layer of berries until right before serving. I topped mine with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries but use whatever you love or have. You could go tropical and use mango and passionfruit. Yum! I’ll test that someday soon.

Enjoy your summer! Enjoy all the fresh fruit! And Happy Birthday America!

me and my loves