Monday, 14 April 2008

Meringues and Mayonnaise

Today was a very sad day in the MarmaladeKiss household ... for it was this afternoon, that I discovered, that Fanny, one of my chickens, has departed this mortal coop and pecked her way up to the great chicken run in the sky .. yes ... when I went to feed and gossip with my lovely ladies, as I walked to the back of the garden, wondering why Floozie appeared to be somewhat disturbed and more erratic than usual, I discovered Fannie's body. She is now buried under the soon to be sweet pea pyramid and I now dedicate this post to her with a foolproof recipie for home-made mayonnaise, which, despite appearing to be a bit of a faff, isn't, and takes all of 10 minutes to make once the ingredients and equipment are assembled. I have also, in her memory, added a link to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's "Chicken Out" campaign which I am a very strong supporter of.

OK so what you need is this:


2 x 1pt measuring jug (one suitable for electric mixing)
1 x medicine cup (the type you get with medised or calpol as pictured)
1 x plastic sauce bottle
1 x electric whisk (not pictured)


1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
10-15ml white wine vinegar
30-40 ml water
1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper (freshly milled as Delia would say)
1/2 pint sunflower oil
1/4 pint olive oil

Now my grandfather used to swear that if there was a menstruating woman about (ie: in the kitchen), it was impossible to get the mayonnaise to set. I have found this to be untrue myself, HOWEVER, I have to report, that if i'm ovulating when I make mayonnaise, it hurts "down there" ... interesting, and i'm not sure what the connection is, but I guess it's something to do with eggs ...

So what you do is this:

Measure out your ingredients so they are ready and at hand: Half pint sunflower oil in the plastic sauce bottle, quarter pint olive oil in 1 x measuring jug, 15 ml vinegar in the medicine cup (or other receptacle) salt to hand, and egg yolk, mustard and pepper in the other 1pt jug.

With your electric hand whisker in one hand, whisk the egg yolk, mustard and pepper .... with the other hand, drip oil from the sauce bottle into the egg, drop by drop ... very slowly .. drop by drop until you have used about a third of the oil. By this time your egg yolk should appear thick(er), and you can add the oil in small squirts - I aim for the whiskers because the quicker the oil blends into the mixture, the better ... By the time you have added two thirds of the oil, you should have a fairly gelatinous mix (if you do not, refer to note below*), and you can now add the vinegar (while whisking), which helps the mustard to emulsify the mixture. At this stage it is also ok to add the salt. It is VERY RARE that your mixture will flop after this stage as it is now an emulsion. Once the vinegar is added, put your 30ml water in the cup you were using for the vinegar, and continue whisking, adding a squirt of oil every now and then - or a continuous dribble, until all of it is used. Still whisking, add some of the water and then continue dribbling with the olive oil, adding water when you think the mixture is too thick. What you are aiming for is a mixture like the mayo you would buy in the shop, not too thick and not too runny - able to stand up on it's own. The water not only thins the gelatanous nature of egg yolk mixed with oil, but it mellows the taste and adds air so that your mayo is very light. This is mine when I finished whisking:

And with added celery stick .. slurp ...

You will find that once you have got the hang of home made mayo, and when you have discovered your how to exactly tailor it to your taste by adding more or less mustard, vinegar, water, or oil, the commercial versions will seem more and more inferior. I personally can't stomach them anymore. Now you can use this basic mayo to make other delicious dips... garlic mayo, marie rose sauce (add ketchup) etc.,

In the very rare case of disaster your egg may not thicken, or it may thicken and then flop. There is no known reason for this, it is Not Your Fault. If either of these things happen, don't despair. Just put the failed mixture into your sauce bottle with the rest of the oil, wash and dry your jug and start again with another egg yolk. The key to my fool proof method is in the tightness of the space between the sides of the jug and the beaters, so flopping shouldn't happen.

With the egg white(s,) you can make meringues, use 2 oz sugar for every egg white. Whisk the egg white until it forms firm peaks - if you hold the bowl upside down, the egg whites should stay put. Add the sugar bit by bit until the mixture is smooth, firm and glossy. Spoon onto a baking sheet, bake in a very low oven (no more than 100c) for one hour, then turn the oven off, and leave the meringues in over night to dry out. You should end up with meringues that are crisp and meltinthemouth on the outside, and chewy on the inside. I like to serve these with whipped cream to which I have added 1 tbs icing sugar and a few drops of rosewater. I do not make these very often for obvious reasons.


kerri said...

I'm so sorry about Fanny. I'm sure she lived a very happy life.

Thank you for sharing your mayonnaise recipe with us. I will always think of a chicken named Fanny every time I make it.

kathi d said...

Oooooooooh RIP Franny! I know you must have had a marvelous life!

kathi d said...

Ooops! I meant "Fanny" not "Franny."

Anonymous said...

Really sorry about poor Fanny :-( xx

Lesley said...

So sorry about poor Fanny :(

Printing your mayo recipe right now as I hate buying things that have ten times as many ingredients as they should!

artisbliss said...

Poor Fanny. My condolences to you and Floozy. My mother used to keep chickens and she was very attached to them. The rest of us were mostly attached to all the fresh eggs, I think.

I was directed here by moogsmum to get your mayonnaise recipe, which I shall try immediately. May have a go at meringues too, who knows.