I saw this being used on Raymond Blanc's show Kitchen Secrets. I only managed to catch the one episode, as our Sky box has been packed away for some DIY (oh how I miss you!). Thank goodness I didn't watch any more of his shows and fall in love with more decadent things. However, I was insistent I had to make some Vanilla Syrup of my own. I pretend to slightly regret that decision now, considering the cost of real vanilla - but making it is easily one of the favourite things I've done in this kitchen so far.
I didn't know I loved vanilla so much, we're all used to the faux-smell. Vanilla is used in air fresheners, scented candles and I've used the extract lots in cooking. But wow, the smell of this true vanilla as I was blending was something else entirely. Monsieur Blanc tells us that we can use it for poaching pears and peaches, I imagine it will be divine in home-made ice-cream - but I made some so I could make a Riz au Lait, which I will blog about soon.
So, to make this you're going to need some vanilla. He recommends 8 vanilla pods, which I'd have to re-mortgage for, so I only used 4 long ones (£8!) and hoped they would be enough.
In a sausepan, dissolve 110g of caster sugar in 100 ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, let it cool slightly and then add the vanilla pods, roughly chopped with the hard ends removed.
Use a blender, and whiz together until smooth. I was only using a hand held blender and it wasn't strong enough to whizz thoroughly, so in the end I had to strain it through a sieve. This will keep in an small airtight jar in the fridge for months.
Enjoy. And try to resist from opening the jar just to smell it occasionally.