I’m a bit obsessed with anything that has a hint of vanilla, whether food, beauty products or fragrances. This is probably why the flavour features so much in many of my recipes, mainly from adding vanilla extract and/or protein powder to add an extra warmth and ‘creaminess’.
Let me introduce Little Pod natural vanilla paste, specially formulated with a blend of pods, seeds and extracts. With at least 20 pods worth of extract per tube, this level of concentration makes for a powerful and delicious addition to baking and cooking. As soon as I unscrewed the lid, the aromas of vanilla hit me – rich, pungent, but in a way that pure vanilla should be.
What’s great is that a little going a long way – 1 tsp of vanilla extract in normal recipes accounts for just ⅓ tsp of Little Pod paste – and will last as a store cupboard essential for 2 YEARS once opened. Even better, 10% of all orders goes to community projects in the vanilla-growing region of Madagascar via Blue Ventures.
Free from nuts, gluten and suitable for vegetarians and Kosher, there are endless ways you could use this fragrant tube of pure Bourbon vanilla, from mixing into yogurt, porridge or baking to used in marinades for savoury dishes. I thought I’d stick to a sweet protein recipe incorporating vanilla, berries and strawberry protein powder to create a super tasty treat!
For the base –
- 1 x can butter beans in water, drained well
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 2 scoops strawberry whey protein powder (I used PhD Nutrition diet)
- ½ cup stevia or xylitol (natural sweetener)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (I used Lucy Bee)
- 1 tbsp Sweet Freedom, honey or agave/date syrup
- 1/3 tsp Little Pod vanilla paste
- ½ can cooked unsweetened apples
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 tbsp almond milk
For the ‘cheesecake’ topping –
- 200g 0% Greek yogurt (I used Total Greek) or Quark
- 1/3 tsp Little Pod vanilla paste
- 1 egg
- 50g frozen berries
- 2 tbsp reduced/no added sugar fruit spread
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and grease and line a baking tray with a little oil and greaseproof paper.
- First make the base. Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz up until you have a thick, batter-like texture. You may need to give it a stir and blend again in between to make sure it’s smooth – don’t add any extra liquid! Spoon this into the tin and spread out evenly to cover. Set aside.
- Now make the cheesecake topping. Whisk together the yogurt, vanilla and egg until smooth. Scatter the berries evenly over the base, then spoon over the yogurt mixture, ensuring most of the base is covered.
- Warm the fruit spread with a dash of water in a microwave for about 10 seconds or heat gently on the hob so it melts and is slightly runny, then spoon this over in between the yogurt topping. Use a teaspoon to swirl around the create a marbled effect.
- Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until set and golden – don’t worry if it feels a little soft, as it will set. Remove from oven and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for a few hours.
- Ready to serve? Cut into 12 generous slices and use a fish slice or palette knife to gently remove from the tin – now you get #IndulgingInnocently!
A big thanks to The Food Sauce for putting me in touch with the Little Pod guys and helping this collaboration come into fruition – if you’re a blogger passionate about food and upcoming brands/products, get in touch with them on Facebook or Twitter!