Because of my obsession with Vanilla I have a lot to write, so I thought I would break it up into a little series on the blog and share with you along the way some delicious Vanilla recipes.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Vanilla...
As a child I loved vanilla...it's delicious, creamy and comforting scent. In my teens I think I loved it even more. I was totally obsessed with The Body Shop Vanilla Oil, the old kind... it was my little bottle of heaven! As I got older I have often thought that there will have to be a time when I will have to let the vanilla go, but now in my 30's I have come to the realisation that quite simply I will always love vanilla!
These days my passion for vanilla lies in the true scent of real vanilla with all the raw, natural deliciousness of a plump juicy vanilla bean.
The scent of real vanilla differs from the overly sweet and cloying nature of mainstream vanilla fragrances. It is a lot more delicate with slight earthy nuances, folds of lush and creamy with a dry down of a soft, well rounded, delectable and warm vanilla note.
Last year my sister traveled to the Island of Le' Reunion for work and bought back for me a vanilla bean from the plantations over there. The smell was completely amazing...even though it was a single bean that had been vacuum sealed, it's delicious aroma filled my office. I still have it sitting on my desk and I simply pick it up and smell whenever I am feeling stressed...it really helps to calm me and I totally love it.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF VANILLA
Vanilla has a fascinating history that spans nearly 1000 years... featuring conquers, thievery, important discoveries and a tiny little bee called the Melipona bee that made it all possible. Vanilla is one of the world's most labor intensive crops, second only to saffron. Each flower must be pollinated by hand.
The ancient Totonaco Indians of Southeastern Mexico were the first people to discover the secret of vanilla. They believed vanilla was a food of the Gods. When the Aztecs conquered the Totonaco, they adopted many of their beliefs. Vanilla had been enjoyed by the Aztecs for hundreds of years before their emperor Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Cortés with a golden goblet containing a chocolate drink flavoured with 'tlilxochiti' – a black vanilla pod.
According to Totonaca mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew.
MAKE YOUR OWN VANILLA BEAN BODY OIL
I'm going to share with you a really simple recipe that you can make at home and it only uses two ingredients. It will nourish your skin and make it feel beautiful and silky soft. Vanilla Bean Body Oil is perfect to use after a shower/bath or body exfoliation treatment. You can get a free body polish recipe here.
STEP 1: Place the vanilla beans on a clean, dry chopping board.Split each vanilla bean open down the center by running the knife down the center length ways to expose the tiny vanilla beans contained inside the pod. Once you have done this then chop the spit vanilla beans into roughly equal lengths. It should look something like this;
STEP 2: Measure out your 100 ml of oil into your clean and dry mason jar or your bottle. Add your chopped vanilla beans and stir. You will see all the little tiny vanilla beans through the oil. Now it's time to seal the jar and let the infusion begin. Store your vanilla infusion in a cold dark place for 1 month and give the jar a little shake every few days.
STEP 3: After you have patiently waited for 1 month your vanilla bean body oil will be ready. Simply strain the mixture using a coffee filter or muslin and bottle ready for use. If you so feel you can also leave the vanilla beans in there and just remove the cut up pods.
TIPS AND TRICKS
If you don't have or can't get Camellia Oil, don't worry you can just as easily substitute it for another oil, but try and choose another oil that doesn't have a strong overpowering scent. Some other options could include virgin coconut oil (which will give it a nice coconut/vanilla scent), jojoba or sunflower oil which are all readily available.
If you would like a stronger vanilla scent you can increase the amount of vanilla beans that you use and can also infuse them for longer until you find the right strength that you are happy with.
Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, we would love you to share it on your social networks with your friends so they can benefit from it too.
Love, The Little Alchemist x
ps Stay tuned for part 2 where I will show you how to make your own delicious vanilla extract from scratch.