‘Real vanilla is heady, sensuous and jungle-sexy with a can’t-quite-get-enough intensity that leaves the eater mildly unhinged with desire.’

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The versatility of vanilla pods, powder and extract means that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to their use, they are completely interchangeable within recipes, but it is worth remembering that the unique flavour profile of each one is enhanced when matched with certain applications:

Ndali Vanilla pods

These are plump and juicy, perfectly ripe and fit to burst with flavours of butterscotch and raisin. They contain the finest vanilla caviar that visually enhances fresh whipped cream, crème anglaise or crème pâtissière. Their scent is honeyed and sweet, something that can be captured when the beans are steeped gently in slow simmering milk or cream.

Vanilla Pods Tip: either fresh or washed after steeping in a custard, vanilla pods can be popped into a jar of coffee beans or sugar to infuse flavour over a few weeks, or used in a pot of tea with fresh garden mint for a delicious garden herbal tea. Equally effective is to drop them into a bottle of your favourite vodka or vinegar. Vanilla beans are also a dramatic addition to baked fruit, or in the bottom of a crumble. Try baking some figs with a vanilla pod and serve them warm drizzled with honey.

Ndali Vanilla powder

This is simply our best beans milled into a fine powder and has a flavour and aroma unlike the conventional bean. It is richer and deeper with smokey undertones which makes you reconsider the possibilities for vanilla in the kitchen. In many ways it is the most intense vanilla hit you can get, which also translates into it being the most economical. It is used in Michelin-starred restaurants by some of the most renowned chefs, who are familiar with it as being a delicious way to pack a vanilla punch. Aside from being used in a range of sweet dishes, it also makes a surprisingly great addition to savoury dishes.

Vanilla Powder Tip: an effective way to use vanilla powder in everyday baking is to mix a level teaspoon with 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar from your recipes and simply incorporate that into the recipe. Throw a pinch into smoothies or homemade almond milk for a real umami hit, and for a bit of sophistication dust the rim of a cocktail glass. Work a little vanilla powder into caster sugar and dust the top of strawberries, pavlova, freshly baked madeleines, doughnuts, victoria sandwich cakes, scones, pancakes or crumpets to make your bakes sing with flavour. For a savoury lunch, lightly cook some fresh peaches in a little butter and serve on toasted sourdough with fresh goats cheese dusted with vanilla powder. Create a flavoured butter by whipping in a little of the vanilla powder and serve with charred BBQ vegetables; or include it as a spice rub for your next pork, lamb, beef or chicken dish.

Ndali Vanilla extract

This has a consistent purity that will enhance and add depth of flavour to any cake, cookie or dessert. It has the intensity of sun ripened fruit; it is rich and fudgey like dates with oaky notes that add incredible depth. It strikes a particular chord with chocolate and fruit.

Vanilla Extract Tip: add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your favourite chocolate mousse or chocolate cake recipe to intensify the cocoa flavour and add a subtle sweetness. Use a tablespoon of vanilla extract in meringues; also in butter cream or fresh cream since a filling is a great way to layer in extra vanilla flavour. Add extract to the poaching liquid for pears or plums; reduce to a syrup and serve with the fruit together with thick greek yoghurt or clotted cream.