Banishing demons: Easy Mayonnaise

Posted by Alastair Otter on August 21, 2010
Posted in Food

I’m going to say it. Making your own mayonnaise is a big deal. At least to me.

It’s got a reputation for being fiddly and finicky to make, but making your own mayonnaise is a small badge of honour in the cooking world. Homemade always tastes better but most people just can’t be bothered.

Mayonnaise’s hard-to-make reputation is generally well-deserved. I’ve tried many times over the years, each time with an increasingly complicated recipe, but pretty much failed every time. The worst was on a Christmas morning when I had a dish planned for lunch that involved mayonnaise. After finishing off all the eggs and sunflower oil in the house in a number of failed attempts I had to resort to rescuing the remains of a jar of mayonnaise from the back of the fridge and spread it thinly.

I got away with that time but that wasn’t really the issue.

Then one day I happened upon this recipe. I can’t remember exactly where I got it but it looked pretty simple so I gave it a try and I’ve never looked back. We no longer buy that horrible over-preserved stuff from the supermarket any more. It takes just a couple of minutes to whip up this mayonnaise when you need some, and it last for a good while in the fridge.

There are a couple of tricks to getting this right but they’re not as complicated as some recipe writers like to make out.

The first thing to do is use room temperature ingredients, particularly the eggs. The second is to add the oil in a slow (really slow), steady stream. Spend the extra couple of minutes and get it right.

I use a liquidiser to make my mayonnaise, primarily because it has this cool lid with a very small hole it, which makes adding the oil really easy.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (250ml) oil, sunflower or olive

Put all the dry ingredients and the eggs into the liquidiser and blend for four or five seconds. Next, with the liquidiser running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. You’ll notice the mixture starting to thicken.

Now add the vinegar and lemon juice and blend for another few seconds, just enough to mix it all up.

If you add the oil too quickly you ‘ll probably end up curdling the mixture. If this happens add a couple of drops of water. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to start again.

The mayonnaise can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks, though you’ll probably use it all up before then.

I sometimes leave out the mustard or add some more cayenne. It still works and you can change your final flavour by doing so. You could also use a red wine vinegar to give it some colour.

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