MAYONNAISE is a handy store-cupboard ingredient to try on hot broccoli, roasted vegetables, new potatoes, to add last-minute creaminess to a stir fry, or in grated carrot salad.
Add curry paste or sauce, a grating of fresh turmeric or ginger for a change.
Making mayo is easy once you follow one simple rule — add the oil slowly.
I favour olive oil for flavour and texture, finding rapeseed a little too heavy, others too light, but combine with sunflower oil or grapeseed if your olive oil flavour is too strong.
The acidity of any oil will curdle the egg yolks, so a few drops at a time at first will guarantee success.
Start with two egg yolks beaten with a fork, balloon whisk or in a blender. Add 1 teaspoon mustard — French is usual, but sometimes I go wild and use English or creamed horseradish to serve with smoked or fresh mackerel. Beat until smooth with salt and pepper, then add a teaspoon of olive oil.
Next add three teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, one at a time, another teaspoon of oil, then a teaspoon of wine or cider vinegar. Combine well and add the rest of the olive oil (250ml in total) a dessertspoon at a time.
Don’t get over confident, it could curdle at any time during the three minutes it takes to whip up.
Ballymaloe Mayo 290ml €2.49
A proper mayo made with a blend of sunflower and olive oils, egg yolk, white wine vinegar, has low salt at 0.4%, wholegrain mustard, grape must, black pepper. With gentle flavours and a natural texture, you might fool some that it is your own. Delicious and tops with all tasters. Made in Co Cork.
Tesco Real 700g €2.29
We compared this decent sized jar (no squeezy plastics for us) with Tesco Organic. The organic one is made in Belgium with organic sunflower oil and is treble the Real price which is made in Ireland from rapeseed oil. The organic version tastes oilier and was not so favoured by tasters. Both are good products with a gentle taste and natural texture. No additives in either.
Hellmann’s Real mayonnaise 400g €2.69
Rapeseed oil, high enough salt at 1.5%, and calcium disodium EDTA didn’t put off tasters, though comparing them to other samples, tasted a lot saltier. The Vegan version of the brand tasted salty too, and costs a lot more (€2.95 for 270g) with modified maize starch as the emulsifier instead of eggs, and tasting more vinegary. Both scored the same.
Marks & Spencer Truffle Mayonnaise 160g €3.70
Good with roast beef, on new potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, a mild truffle taste comes through the rapeseed oil. The stabiliser is xanthan gum, the preservative E202 is potassium sorbate, and the antioxidant E392 is extract of rosemary. Sugars at 3.7% are high, but it isn’t sweet. One taster said, “Good for posh leftovers.”
Aldi Bramwells Real Mayonnaise 500ml €1.49
Rapeseed oil with low salt at 0.9% results in a pleasant, quite natural texture and taste with no vinegar tang which one taster thought a little too bland. Calcium disodium EDTA is the antioxidant additive and xanthan gum the stabiliser. Good value at this price.
Heinz Seriously Good mayonnaise 480ml €2
If you like salad cream you will favour this. It has a more vinegary taste and is a little lighter in texture than other mayonnaises in our final eight. Made with rapeseed oil, the tastiness may come from the mustard, and there is no oily aftertaste. The only additive is calcium disodium EDTA.
Lidl Kania real mayonnaise 470g €1.29
Rapeseed oil is the base with egg, and guar and xanthan gums are thickeners. The result is a smooth mayo with a nice mustard depth, but tasters found the acidic end kick a bit much.
Dunnes Stores My Family Favourites mayonnaise 450ml 99c
Rapeseed is the oil here with modified maize starch, xanthan gum as stabiliser, and the antioxidant calcium disodium EDTA. Very sweet, tasters didn’t like it as much as others, noting it would be difficult to match with foods. Not surprising as the label revealed sugars of 4%, compared on average to 1.5-2.5%. Made in Dublin.