Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste used to be one of those things I would run out of all the time. Then I thought, it must be something I can can just make myself right? I think it's great because it works out cheaper, you can make loads of it and you get the extract with the vanilla seeds in there too.
Just fill a clean bottle with vodka and put in about 5-6 split vanilla pods. It will take about 3-4 weeks until ready but you need to swirl it around once every few days. Remember it wont taste sweet like some extracts/essences but it doesn't need to, chances are you're putting it in a cake or a batch of something with loads of sugar in it anyway!