Saturday, 8 August 2009

Mayonnaise

One of the disadvantages of growing your own vegetables and raising your own meat is that it's easy to become the most dreadful snob about food. Usually this is good - I very rarely buy out of season vegetables now and when I do they are French grown, local if possible; the result is that we eat a much wider variety of vegetables. I am very particular about what meat I buy now. I don't often buy chicken as we eat our own but when I do I only buy "Label Rouge" standard (I think this may be equivalent to the Red Tractor label in the UK but I'm not sure; suffice to say it comes with certain guarantees about living conditions and feed quality). Burgers - well, let's not even go there! I buy the beef and mince my own. Don't get me wrong, in other people's houses I eat what I'm given and it's always delicious. I am only talking about my own personal shopping preferences.

However, one thing I simply don't like/won't eat is shop bought mayonnaise. I'm sure that some makes are better than others but they simply don't compare with homemade. Fortunately I can usually pass on the mayonnaise without causing offence and it's only a subject of conversation if I am at home making it. The reaction is always the same, "I know it's much nicer but I just don't have the time to make mayonnaise and shop bought is just as good." (Yes, there is a contradiction in that sentence but that is the reaction!)

The fact is that mayonnaise is very quick to make and the ingredients are usually in the kitchen already: egg, mustard, sunflower oil (or other oil of your choice), salt/pepper and a teaspoon of curry powder if you want it. I don't use olive oil as I find the taste is too strong - unpleasant even - but other people do and another option would be half and half. For the hardware, a balloon whisk is easier than a fork but either will do the job and a Kenwood mixer is even better although I only use mine for large quantities. The most time consuming part of home made mayonnaise is washing up the bowl and whisk. My 15 year old son makes mayonnaise for me if I don't have the time or if I've forgotten to do it - it really is that easy!

If you've never made mayonnaise before, please give it a go. I may not be able to convince you that it's better but it's got to be worth a try.

MAYONNAISE:

1 egg yolk
1 generous teaspoon mustard (I use French Dijon mustard, not the grainy one)
200mls sunflower oil (or other - see above) - add more or less oil according to the quantity required
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder if you want it

Put the egg yolk and the mustard into a bowl and whisk together. Add the oil very slowly, a dribble at a time, whisking all the time. Keep dribbling in the oil and keep whisking until you have the quantity you require, by which time the mayonnaise with be quite thick. Add salt and pepper to taste and the curry powder if you want it.

CURDLING: Personally, I have never had this problem. I don't think this is a reflection of my brilliance in the kitchen; rather I think it's a reflection of how easy mayonnaise is to make. If you are worried about curdling though check out the internet first because there are remedies for curdled mayonnaise involving a second egg yolk and a bit of patience.

Final note: Personally I don't keep mayonnaise overnight. I believe you can keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge but bearing in mind the presence of raw egg I prefer not to do this.

3 comments:

Polly Pierce said...

I love homemade mayonnaise and often use it to make lovely coleslaw/potato salad dressing.

It doesn't take on the usual heavy white coated appearance of shop bought mayo, rather, a lovely clear, glistening dressing which is light and tasty without taking over the flavour of the salad ingredients...

Eco Gites of Lenault said...

I have a total inability to make mayonnaise. But I will try again using your recipe. Wish me luck!

Rosie x

Ethereal said...

A blender or food processor makes mayo quickly. I prefer the blender. Put all the ingredients except the oil in the blender, add 1/4 cup of the oil, and turn on the machine. Immediately start adding the rest of the oil in a thin but steady stream. Don't add it too slowly, or the last of the oil will sit on top of the mayo. (It can be stirred down if that happens.)