Ten Ways With Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise4As condiments go, it’s hard to go past a good mayonnaise when you need something quick and easy. Here’s a basic recipe for mayo (and instructional video!) along with a few ideas for making a compound mayo . That’s chef talk for “you’ve put stuff in it”  😀

Tangy Mayonnaise – 500ml oil (half canola and half light olive oil), 3 yolks, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 a lemon – juiced, 1 teaspoon white sugar, sea salt.

Watch this for a very home-made video demonstration.

Garlic Aioli – 500ml basic mayo, 8-10 garlic cloves – smashed, 100ml light olive oil, sea salt

Place your garlic cloves in a small saucepan, big enough that they just cover the bottom evenly. Cover with olive oil and simmer very gently for 25 mins. Avoid getting too much colour on the garlic. A light golden colour is plenty. Make sure the cloves are soft. Chill. Puree all together and fold through your mayo. Best scoffed with hot chips or crispy roast potatoes.Mayonnaise1Tuna and Caper Mayo – awesome for dressing a pasta salad with a little chopped avocado and tomato or for spreading over some toasted baguette or rice crackers

250ml basic mayo, 1 tin tuna in spring water, 1 tablespoon capers – rinsed and chopped, 1/2 a lemon – juiced, chopped parsley. Drain the tuna well and separate with a fork. Mix everything together and add a little salt and pepper if necessary.

Tartare Sauce– the classic fish and chip accompaniment. There is little more disappointing in life than ordering great F&C’s from your favourite chippy and being given factory made sauce.  Make your own, take your own 🙂

350ml basic mayo, 1 tablespoon washed capers, 2 tablespoons chopped cucumber pickle, 1 tablespoon chopped French shallot, juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 a bunch parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped dill. Salt and pepper. Blend all the ingredients except mayo until pasty. Fold through mayo, chill.Mayonnaise5Green Chilli Mayo – this one has featured on loads of menus in my kitchens. Think fried seafood, tempura vegetables, pan-fried tofu, chicken schnitzel. Or as a wicked slaw dressing.

250ml basic mayo,125g sour cream, 3 large green or jalepeno chillies, 2 limes, 1/2 a bunch coriander – washed and chopped, 2 spring onions – chopped. De-seed the chillies and slice. Place in a blender with the coriander, onions,  lime juice and a pinch of salt and blitz. Fold through the mayo and sour cream until well combined.

Vanilla and lime – Great with poached chicken and a little salad and with bbq baby octopus too. Or think bbq corn on the cob or a dollop in a seafood chowder.

250ml basic mayo, 1 vanilla bean – scraped, 2 small limes -zest and juice. Mix. Chill.Mayonnaise6Roast Lemon and Saffron Mayo –  Roasted lemons take on a whole new flavour and feel. Extra sweetness and conversely, extra sour due to the cooking of the rind and pith. The saffron takes this to a whole new level again with that unique earthiness. Serve with a whole baked fish or roast chicken.

500ml basic mayo. 2 large lemons, a pinch of sugar, 1/4 gram saffron. Cut the lemons across, rub with sugar and place face down on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little oil. Roast for 15 mins on 160*c. Cool and squeeze over the saffron. Add a little salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Mix with mayo.

Caramelised Onion Aioli – Savoury and sweet all in one go. Try with lamb or other grilled red meat. Serve on a dips platter with chopped vegetables or grilled bread. Or both.

250ml Garlic Aioli, 2 large Spanish onions – sliced, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 100ml balsamic vinegar, sea salt. Simmer the onions, balsamic and sugar gently for about 90 mins or until it starts to go a little tacky. Chill. Fold through mayo. Chill.Mayonnaise8Ricotta and Lemon Aioli – Great for sandwiches, grissini, crostata and vegetable sticks.

250ml basic mayo,  250g ricotta, 2 lemons finely zested, cracked pepper, sea salt.Blitz the ricotta until smooth. Fold everything together. Chill.

Chipotle Aioli -For the spicy food fanatic. Great on anything. Chipotle comes in a tin from delis and specialty shops and some supermarkets. Don’t confuse it with chipotle bbq sauce. It is not the same thing. At all. Use as a dip for corn chips or raw vegetables. Add to some pulled pork tacos. Now ya talkin’!

500ml garlic aioli, 1 small tin chipotle in adobe sauce – pureed. Combine well.Mayonnaise7Classic Cocktail, Thousand Island, Marie Rose. Whatever, that fat juicy prawn your dunking in it doesn’t care what its called.

350ml basic mayo, 150g sour cream, 2 tablespoons Worcester, 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon horseradish relish, sea salt. Mix it all well and refrigerate.

All of these ideas will work well with your favourite shop brand of mayo. Look for whole egg mayo where you can. But have a go at making your own sometime too. Go on!

Or try any of these additions – chopped boiled egg, tarragon and lemon, any style of mustard, spring onions, dill, grated celeriac, pureed corn, wasabi, pickled ginger, chopped kimchi, miso paste, peanut butter, mustard fruits, quince paste, pesto…..Or maybe you’ve got some ideas of your own?

*If you’re surprised or concerned at the amount of oil in mayonnaise, you should be more concerned by what goes into ‘low fat’ mayo.

What Kids Can DoMayonnaise2

Kids can get involved here by measuring ingredients, cracking and separating eggs, picking herbs, rinsing capers, pouring in the oil etc…Mayonnaise3

Let them have a go. The most important thing in training is to explain the process, demonstrate the process and then guide them through the first attempt. So perhaps you’ll make it ‘together’ this time and next time stand back a little. This all comes down to the capabilities of your own kids.

If it doesn’t go to plan, start again. You may lose a little oil and vinegar, but build a whole lot of confidence and trust with the kids.

Mayo vs Aioli. Aioli is a traditional French sauce being mayo w/ crushed raw garlic added to the process and served with boiled vegetables. Raw garlic can be a little   offensive to our humble antipodean palates so the confit garlic in the first recipe is a nice compromise. Some would argue that Aioli doesn’t use egg but is bound by garlic or even boiled potato. As far as the common vernacular is concerned however – mayo is aioli is mayo is aioli, if you know what I’m saying. Mayoli!?

Happy Cooking!


Pea – Gnocchi – Oh!

‘Once upon a time there was a little boy made of wood…..’

One thing I’ve cottonned onto since getting Kid in the kitchen is that the best activities, the ones where she can really get involved, are the ones with batter or dough of some sort. Pizza, empanada, tortillas, crumpets or whatever. These are really satisfying, tactile  adventures. Making the dough, rolling, cutting, cooking, then eating. Hands-on involvement with a directly tangible  result that Kid (and I) can be proud of.

I’ve always been a big fan of making gnocchi. Not so much in a restaurant context because chefs are always so pushed for time and you need time to enjoy the process and get it right.

It can be made in numerous ways, the most ardently traditional will tell you gnocchi is potatoes and flour and nothing else. Rolled and cut by hand. Then there is the classic Gnocchi Romaine which is made with semolina and set in a tray then cut out and baked. Or it can be done choux style as well and piped into a pot of hot water.

It is a classic Italian dish and just like the classic Italian story, you can’t tell lies with gnocchi, or take short cuts. Your nose won’t get bigger but it will end up doughy or tough (the gnocchi).

‘A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as clear as the nose on your face…’

We’ve replaced potatoes with the infinitely versatile ricotta cheese for this relatively time friendly version. Totally legit and you don’t have to wait for the spuds to cook.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi…tomatoes, olives, peas etc…

500g ricotta
2 eggs
a pinch of allspice or nutmeg
1 cup parmesan
50g feta
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 bunch chives
s & p


Pre-heat the oven to 250*c. That’s not a typo. Get a large pot of salted water boiling, I added 3 fresh bay leaves because I have them but don’t feel obliged.
Whip the ricotta, eggs, chives, salt, nutmeg, feta and parmesan until it’s a bit fluffy. I used an electric beater. Gently, I said gently now, fold in the flour until it is just incorporated. This is the important bit, as with a lot of dough recipes, the more you work it the tougher it will turn out.
Tip it out onto a well floured bench, cut off a third (always cut dough, don’t pull it) and roll it gently into a long snake the about 2-3 cm in diameter. Use your fingers to guide the dough, once it’s rolling back and forth it will spread without much force from you.

‘Always let your conscience be your guide…’
Cut off 1.5cm pieces using a little flour on your fingers to make little dumplings.
Place them on a tray with grease proof paper whilst you prepare the rest of the dough.
Plunge the gnocchi into the boiling water. Do this in 3 batches, if you do it all at once you’ll have troubles. When the gnocchi floats to the surface, give it another 30 seconds and remove into some ice-cold water.

‘That night, something magical happened..’

If you over cook here, the gnocchi will be tough. The water must be absolutely arctic to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
Place the gnocchi in a large non-stick baking tray, cover with some grated parmesan and put aside for now.
The Sauce Ingredients
2 punnets bella rossa tomatoes (mini roma, or similar),quartered.
6 cloves garlic – we used 10 because that’s how we do.
1 cup green olives – pipped and halved
1 cup green peas – defrosted under hot water if using frozen. Blanched if using fresh.
1/2 bunch fresh basil
1/2 cup good olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper.
Parmesan for serving
*Warm some olive oil in a fry pan, add the garlic and saute until just golden, add tomatoes, pipped green olives and cook until the tomatoes just start to soften. Add the peas and a little salt. Turn off the heat.
Gnocchi4‘into the belly of the whale..’
Now put the gnocchi in your raging hot oven for 5 minutes. No more. The cheese will melt a bit and the gnocchi will go golden on the pan. Pour your sauce and fresh basil over the top and stir gently. Serve. With extra parmesan and salad.

Insalata di Spinachi Bambino, Pera e Finochio – Salad of baby spinach, pear and fennel.

Slice some nice ripe pear, shave or grate a baby fennel bulb, slice some cucumber and toss with baby spinach, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of extra virgin.


What Kid Did

Kid was totally engaged in this one. You can see how busy she is in the pictures.
Like I said when you can get your hands on some dough or mix a batter it’s really very satisfying. I also pushed the envelope with the salad today. I thought baby spinach and fennel might be a bit grown up but she was into it. The pear helped no doubt.
Jiminy Crickets, that was a good meal.
Our bellies like Monstro the whale as we licked the last of the glistening red oil from our plates.

‘Toodle-oo Stromboli..’ Image result for pinocchio and jiminy cricket

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