The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The mayonnaise obsession

homemade mayonaisseIt started last year. I sampled some homemade mayo at a client’s house. I was making a chicken salad lunch for a golf widower. Their homemade mayo was stunning. Light, tasty and sublime. He liked it too.

The next week it was the same menu with a pivotal difference.
“It will have to be the bottled stuff, Fiona. It’s in the door of the fridge.”
I discovered that it was Hellmann’s, full fat. I could tell from his plate he wasn’t so keen on this one.

Since then the thought of that first homemade mayo has stayed fresh. Flickering on the edges. Jumping up when I reach for the Hellmann’s. Suddenly it had shimmied enough. I just had to try and make my own.

My post on Hellmann’s was my first dip into the mayonnaise sea. I knew that these are the sort of waters that can’t guarantee soft breezes. The comments in response fired my enthusiasm and last night I just had to try making mayo for the first time. Boston Baked Beans were on the menu and coleslaw was the perfect companion Our jar of mayo had been licked clean a week ago. It had to be the Magimix route as time was limited.

“All I’ve got to do is make the mayo. I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

An hour later we had mayo. A sturdy, almost sliceable version. For the first 45 minutes I had produced only a thin yellow soup. I was delighted to have transformed this into something that could be marketed as a substitute for hardcore on a building site. But the Tulip Fairy who writes Tulip’s Kitchen gave me enough pointers to change it into double the quantity of great homemade mayonnaise.

What went wrong?

Laziness and an unfamiliarity with the three main rules of mayonnaise making:

  1. All ingredients need to be at room temperature
  2. Equipment needs to be at room temperature (as Mary Contini reports in Dear Francesca “Warm the bowl a little too; the eggs want to feel comfortable.”)
  3. The cook needs to be calm as the eggs need to be beaten until they have thickened sufficiently. In the Magimix this was testing. If you are going to use muscle power only Olympic shot putters need apply.

Thank goodness for the Tulip Fairy. She was the first to leave a comment on my Hellmann’s post – having made mayonnaise soup and transformed it into edible, delicious mayonnaise! With a click I was rereading her post and could understand her dilemma and joy of transforming the soup into pukka mayonnaise.

In seconds Magimix was washed, dried and ready for action. I used 2 egg yolks with a pinch of mustard and a little garlic and let M beat them for a good five minutes before adding a steady drizzle of the mayonnaise soup.

I could tell from the slapping, slurping sound that it had worked! It was a bit thick and eggy so I added (very s-l-o-w-l-y) 4 tablespoons of groundnut oil and a dessertspoonful of chilli sherry. Perfect spicy mayo. Tulip Fairy you are a star.

The Magimix recipe

2 egg yolks
1.5 tblsp of strong mustard (I used English mustard powder)
300ml of light tasting oil (I used groundnut)
2 tblsp of white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


Put egg yolks, mustard and a tblsp of oil into the mini bowl. Blend for 20 secs (!) and then slowly drizzle in half the remaining oil as the mixture thickens (I couldn’t see if the mixture had thickened so went ahead anyway). After a few minutes I added the rest of the oil. The instructions read
“Just before the end add the vinegar.”
Magimix had been pounding away for ages so I poured it in.

The Tulip Fairy Cure is here

My mayo was on the table again tonight to accompany steak and chips.
“It’s better than Hellmann’s. It’s spicy and thicker but it’s good.”
Danny knows exactly how to encourage me to dip in again!

Please keep on posting your ideas and recipes. Over the next few weeks I hope to try them all.

  Leave a reply


  1. Tulip-Fairy

    Hi Fiona,

    It is almost 2 years to the day that you posted this thread about your mayonnaise obsession and mentioned my 12 eggs later and I have finally made mayonnaise post! since then I have gone on to successfully make a pot of mayonnaise each week varying the flavours to suit our palate. It has saved me a fortune in hellmans (my mayo of choice previous to this) and I know exactly what’s in it, free range eggs for one! How are you doing with it, still making your own?

    I love your blog and would love to be in a position to follow in your footsteps and become self sufficient, retirement is still way off for us but we do what we can in the time that we have.

    If you’d like to see my latest mayo post it can be found here:

  2. Pipsqueak

    I have been making mayo since about 1966 using a Kenwood Chef Liquidiser. Over the years it has been much admired – I have found other liquidisers can be too powerful – never tried in a Magimix but I kind of go with the sound now. I love putting wholegrain mustard in it – also Honeygar in place of vinegar and sometimes lemon juice. Honeygar is Apple cider vinegar and honey – health food shops stock it. I also use one egg (unless I want meringues that is). I only ever whizz the egg flavourings and vinegar for a short burst and then add the oil slowly – but not so slowly.

    Our family favourite recipe is for a cold chicken dish – half homemade mayo – half whipped cream – mixed into the chicken and garnished with fried flaked almonds and parsley. Makes a change from coronation chicken! Good luck all – some shop bought claim to use free range eggs – but I still don’t like the taste – my colour is richer too but then my eggs are home grown organic.

    Good mixing all


  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sam

    Thanks for these mayo making tips! I do hope that yours worked this time. Interesting that groundnut oil can be difficult to thicken, I’ll definitely try adding a little olive or sunflower oil next time and play with the vinegar a bit more. I don’t think that I’ve ever tried German mustard.

    Home made dog biscuits! I think that our pack would enjoy these. The Contessa is allergic to chicken, in any form and is also gluten intolerant so it can be tricky finding food that will not make her ill and doesn’t cost a bomb.

    Hello Serena

    I do envy you having been to catering college!

    The egg whites are great for making soufflé omelettes and soufflé and also teeny meringues that can be scattered onto puds (these keep quite well in an airtight container).

  4. Serena

    ohh, we were talking about making mayonnaise. Yours looks great. I remember making it when I was at catering college and it tasted so much better than Hellmann’s. I was wondering what you do with your egg whites. I suppose I could always use them for meringues, any other uses? Also how long does it keep for?

  5. Hi Fiona
    It uncanny as I finally decided to have (another) go at making mayo. I was pushed by the large stock of eggs our girls are supplying, having run out of mayo and my husband, Wilf, suggesting he fancied egg mayo sandwiches for tea.
    It is my nemesis; I have failed to make the mayo successfully on previous occasions. This time I armed myself with Hugh fernly fwafwa (as we have nick named him and St Delia (as we have nick named Mrs Smith).
    My findings are:
    Extra virgin olive oil is too strong and tasted horrible.
    Groundnut oil can be difficult to thicken with if used 100%. I strated mine off with by dribbling in a tablespoon of olive oil and then moved to groundnut
    A good teaspoon of your favourite mustard and a bit of crushed garlic added at the end as well as starting off with a pinch of good old English mustard powder work well. We like German mustard.
    I have tried using lemon juice instead of vinegar and I prefer a mix of cider vinegar added half way through and lemon to taste at the end. Delia explained that you need to tip the oil to egg mixture back in favour of the egg by adding vinegar half way through to help stop it splitting.
    If you have a teaspoon of your mayo left over and fridge it for up to a week it can be used a pre thickened starter for your next batch making it less likely to split.
    If it splits, swear at it, and start again with a fresh bowl but add your existing mix a drop at a time to a well whisked egg yolk.

    Frittata for tea tonight “ loads of eggs 🙂

    As a complete aside I™m also going to try and make some dog biscuits tonight as we now have a diabetic Birtie dog. We make him dried liver treats but I want to have something a bit less smelly to go in my pocket when we go walkies.

  6. moonroot

    I have had my own trials and tribulations with home-made mayonnaise (see my blog:, so despite our abundance of eggs, I’ve mostly been going the Hellman’s route. Now I shall try your helpful suggestions and hopefully eschew Hellman’s in future!

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Natasha

    Thanks so much for adding your ideas to the mix. I have the herb mustard powder at the top f the shopping list. Great idea to use lemon or lime juice. Thanks

    Hello Amanda

    You will be making mayo with your own twist in no time at all! Great to see you back on the blog!

    Hi Pat

    It’s a start but having fallen at the first fence I’m so pleased to have pointers too another blog that can change mayo soup into edible mayo in a matter of seconds!

  8. Well done!!!!

  9. Amanda

    One day I will make my own mayonnaise… one day.

  10. Natasha

    Oooh – I have been making my own mayo for a few months, since concern over the quality of eggs in helmanns finally outweighed laziness! Colmans do an excellent mustard powder with tarragon and thyme I use that in mayo for a slight herby undernote. Do try it.

    Also it can be pleasant to substitute some lemon or lime juice for the vinegar and if you have people with nut allergies eating sunflower oil is fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,233,175 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder