Monday, 24 September 2012

Vanessa Kimbell's Ndali Vanilla Gift Swap

I am lucky enough to have been invited to join Vanessa Kimbell's latest event. The concept is similar to the Christmas Gift Swap however this time with a focus on vanilla and fair trade. To be more specific Ndali Fair Trade Vanilla.

Vanessa went out to Uganda earlier this year see where and how the vanilla is produced and the impact that fair trade has. Over the years I have increasing looked to buy local and where this isn't possible to buy fair trade but I have to admit that often this was without really thinking why. I was buying fair trade because I 'should' not because I really understood or that it resonated with me. Reading Vanessa's posts has really brought home the reason that fair trade just makes sense. The clue is in the title. It's fair! We all know it's wrong to steal from someone so why would we underpay farmers and producers?

For this reason I'm proud to be a part of the event and very grateful to all involved, including Vanessa Kimbell, Ndali Vanilla, Fortnum and Mason, Kenwood and The Fair Trade Foundation.

We were sent some vanilla and I already had some Ndali extract

There are four categories and I have decided to enter two - sweets and cakes.

I have made some vanilla latte fudge. I decided on this flavour largely as I seem to have a slight addiction to vanilla latte's.

My second gift is a rhubarb and vanilla crumble cake as I always think vanilla and rhubarb are the perfect pairing. It's not the most beautiful cake to look at but I think it tastes divine. We were encouraged to use as many fair trade ingredients as possible. The rhubarb I was given from a friends garden so as I didn't pay for it I guess it won't be fair trade unless I make her a cake in return!

I'll post later to let you know how the day went, but very much looking forwards to it.


Vanilla Latte Fudge

100g fair trade caster sugar
75g fair trade light soft brown sugar
227g tub of clotted cream
1/2-1 tsp of vanilla powder, depending on your taste
1tsp fair trade instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp of boiling water

Place all of the ingredients in a pan and stir continually over a very low heat until the sugar has all dissolved. I find that if you rush this part the fudge tends to be more grainy.

Stop stirring, bring to the boil and put the lid on. Turn it down and leave it for 3 minutes. Watch it to make sure the sugar doesn't start to burn.

Take the lid off and use a sugar thermometer to keep it boiling until it gets to 116 C.

Once at 116 C plunge the pan into a bowl of cold water and leave for about 20-30 secs before starting to stir. Stir it until the fudge starts to set and then pour into a container lined with greased cling film for it to set.

Leave to set overnight and then use a hot knife to slice into equal sized squares.

This is lovely with your favourite hot drink and would make a great present.

Rhubarb and Vanilla Crumble Cake

For the rhubarb compote
About 4 lengths of rhubarb
2-4 tbsp fair trade soft brownn sugar to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake
2 eggs weighed with their shells on
The same weight of self raising flour
The same weight of fair trade sugar (I used a 50:50 mixture of caster and light soft brown)
The same weight of margarine or butter
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Crumble topping
75g lights soft brown sugar
100g plain flour
75g butter

Preheat the oven to 190 C

Start by chopping the rhubarb into small chunks and cooking slowly in a pan with the sugar. If it looks like it is going to catch turn the heat down and/or add a splash of water. Cook for 10-15 mins until the mixture it quite thick and jam like. Leave to cool slightly

Meanwhile make the cake. Mix all of the ingredients together and beat well.

Make the crumble mixture by using your finger tips to rub the mixture together until it forms the texture of bread crumbs.

Line an 8" cake tin and place the cake batter in the bottom, cover with a layer of rhubarb compote and top with the crumble mixture.

This also works well with berries it apple or I'd guess any fruit which is soft once cooked.

Bake for 30-40 mins until golden on the top.

Serve as a cake with a cup of tea or as a pudding with custard.


  1. Really lovely to meet you earlier Sarah- wasn't it a lovely afternoon? And I too came away vowing to do far more to buy Fairtrade wherever possible

  2. Lovely to meet you too. Such a wonderful event. Vanessa practically had me in tears when she was talking about her trip x