A friend who does a lot of work in the Pacific brought me a gorgeous gift home from a recent trip to Tonga: a bag of giant vanilla pods.
Ever since, I've been dreaming of a light, coconutty cake with a milky vanilla topping. I finally baked it (I used a plain cake and added some milk and a cup of coconut along with the scrapings from one of the vanilla pods), and can assure you, it is a good idea for a cake. The best part is the black vanilla seeds flecked throughout. I don't think vanilla extract from a bottle is going to cut it any longer.
Now I'm dreaming up my next vanilla bean creation, maybe homemade or yoghurt or icecream? Will keep you posted.