20p lunch, 19p vanilla pods and extremely cheap vanilla & cinnamon extract

Nov 17, 2014 | 0 comments


Had a pitta stuffed with soft cheese, carrot and lemon zest for lunch, along with a bit of leftover coleslaw from yesterday. Followed by a handful of grapes and a pear. So super healthy lunch today.


I have taken to doing coleslaw dressing the Slimming World way as I like the way it tastes. I use 1 part low fat mayonnaise to 2 or 3 parts plain yogort, often adding a rounded tsp of some Dijon type mustard I got from Approved Food at 18p a jar. It gives it a little extra something. For the vegetables, I generally use white cabbage, an apple and maybe some fine chopped chilli. We’ve had that several times over the last few days.


After lunch, look what turned up in the post today! 20 Grade A Madagascan vanilla pods. . I got them from EBay for £2.84 + 93p p+p, so just 19p each. Considering that supermarkets sell them from £2.50 to £5 for just 1 pod, that is an incredible bargain. They were bought specifically to make vanilla extract as read on Miss South’s blog post. I can’t drink alcohol any more as the merest sniff gives me a raging migraine, so there are some pretty old things in the drinks cupboard. Miss South used 750ml of Basics rum to 10 pods. I used the last of some Eau de Vie, gin and scotch, together making 500ml. I used 10 pods anyway, splitting them and dropping them into a well washed out air tight mustard pot that I hoped would be used for something else as I like the shape of it a lot. The split pods seemed very few in all that liquid. I have to marinate it all for 3 months now and I can’t wait to try it out and gift some to people I love.

You could still do some of this for Christmas hampers/ hostess gifts etc, but you will need to put a ‘don’t use before’ date on it. If you can get some tiny bottles, leave the main mixture marinating as long as you can, then decant some in, popping in a chopped up pod to carry on the process, label and wrap in cellophane, and there you have a lovely gift. Or you could even do it at the last minute, chopping up a pod or two, depending on the size of the bottle and putting marination instructions on the label.

At Miss South’s dilution, for each vanilla pod, you will need 75ml of as strong a spirit as you can get your hands on. The tiny bottles of extract from a supermarket are just 35ml. If you have an empty one of those you can use, you could chop up a pod and top it up with the alcohol.


Writing this, I was wondering if I could do cinnamon extract as I have a huge bag of bark that I got cheaply from an Asian shop. Had a little Google, as I do, and found this great post all about it. So I will be making some cinnamon extract this evening, if I can find any more strong spirit in the cupboard. If there is none left in there, I’ll get some really cheap stuff, and use that. And I’ll probably do some lemon and orange as well, as I can think of lots of uses for both of those.




  1. Chocolate Muffins. Quick, easy, great for packups and just 11p each - Thrifty Lesley - […] vanilla essence is a significantly part of the cost of this batch of muffins, so you could try making…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.