This week has been an incredible journey of trying something new. I am very grateful for the breakthroughs and the results. Today, I am going to be demystifying making sauces from scratch i.e. homemade. This is a journey from England to Spain and Italy with a hint of 9ja. My trio of dipping sauces are: Aioli, Mayonnaise and Marinara. You know that bottle of your favourite processed salad cream or mayonnaise? You are about to throw it away very soon. Okay, maybe not throw it away, but once you make this, you won’t be replacing that bottle or jar in your fridge with store-bought. You will simply be making your own. Like home-made caramel, homemade dipping sauces are the way to go.
I had tweaked this 5 times. All that time I was basically throwing away cupfuls of oil and eggs. Quite upsetting. It got to the point where I wasn’t even sure I got the taste okay, because I had been tasting mayonnaise for close to 5 hours. Everything tasted the same. By the last try, I said to myself, enough. If this is not good, I’ll just have to start again tomorrow. The day after, I gave it a quick taste and i thought to myself, boy this is good. Let me try it with a sandwich.
I’m not that much of a sandwich person. So, armed with my homemade mayonnaise, I decided to toast 2 slices of bread and spread the mayonnaise over it to test the waters, before I fill it with other ingredients. The minute I chewed and my taste buds kicked in, I believe I screamed Oh My goodness with my mouth half-open. I had given up, and I was prepared to throw this batch away. The garlic, lemon, salt, a hint of sugar was just so perfect, I ended up toasting 2 more slices. Now, I am on the hunt for sandwich fillings, I suddenly have this new-found reason to love sandwiches. It was worth all the effort. I am never buying store-bought mayonnaise. It would be great if you guys make your own mayonnaise too. Let us swap stories, frustrations and all. I have made two different kinds. With mustard and without. If you like mustard, your choice is clear, if like me you don’t like mustard, I have also given you an option. I have also used two methods – manually and with a food processor. For the love of all things holy, if you have a food processor please don’t attempt to make this manually. I know I have just scared away those who don’t have a food processor. Yes it is a bit tedious, but once you get the hang of it, it is smooth sailing all the way. I will be posting my mistakes and pitfalls, so you can avoid them, or solve them the minute they arise.
Aioli is a mayonnaise, but a garlic mayonnaise. It is of Spanish origin. I added cayenne pepper, to give it some kick and a hint of 9ja.
You will need
1 egg yolk
1 tsp of red wine vinegar
1tsp of djorn mustard
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of lemon juice
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper – dry pepper
3/4 – 1 cup of oil – I used olive oil but vegetable oil or sunflower oil is preferrable
This was easy peasy because I made this in a food processor. It is also mayonnaise, but extra flavourful because of the garlic and the cayenne pepper
1. Chop the garlic and crush it till it forms a paste. Or you chop into tiny bits. No one wants to chew on a chunk of garlic Place the egg yolk into the jug, and add all the other ingredients except the oil. Turn the machine to maximum to combine.
2. Like i said above, the oil is where it gets technical. You MUST add the oil drop by drop at the beginning. When you get the consistency of mayonnaise, then you add the oil in a steady stream. So, add the oil in a little drop, put the machine on and let it combine. Add another drop, let it combine, add another drop let it combine, and keep going until you can see the creaminess of the mayonnaise form.
Once you achieve this, add the oil in a steady stream while the machine combines, and that is it. The oil is what gives the aioli volume, and also makes it more creamy and silky. Simple, simple, very simple. Like I said above, if you add the oil too fast, the mayonnaise will split. Be warned. Lol.
……………………………..and that’s your Aioli. All ready to dip your crackers, chips, fried yam, calamari or even mixed into salads
Mayonnaise is a classic British dipping sauce. It can be served as a dip, tossed in a salad, grilled with chicken breasts, and so much more
You will need
1 egg yolk – most likely you’ll need 2
1 cup of oil – I used olive oil because that was what I had at home. It is recommended yo use sunflower oil or plain vegetable oil
White wine vinegar – optional, but you can substitute with white wine
1 – 2 tablespoons of Lemon juice
Mustard – I found that this is a matter of personal taste. If you like mustard add it, if you don’t take it out. If you are using mustard by the mellow variety, you don’t want something too strong
I have stories to tell with this one. I tried 3 methods, blender, food processor and by hand.
Blender – So, I started by combining all the ingredients into a bowl. it didn’t help that I was watching Nashville (amazing show by the way), so I wasnt concentrating. I tried to whisk with a fork, and I thought to myself, use a blender. After pouring in all the ingredients, this is what I ended up with.
Lol. I knew that couldn’t be right. Down the drain. Okay, pause the TV show now, and concentrate. I checked google and I realised that you don’t add the oil at once when making mayonnaise. That is a golden rule that you can’t ignore, other wise it will split, as you can see below. A split mayonnaise is when the oil doesn’t combine with the other ingredients and you end up with a liquid solution, hence from the term, split.
Little did I know that the mayonnaise was still salvageable. I am a mayonnaise making novice, I simply threw it down the drain. Wasted all that oil and an egg. I know better now, and I will share the escape strategy below. So, I brought out the food processor.
Food Processor – I added all the ingredients, except the oil, just as I read online and I added the oil, drop by drop. In about a minute or two the creamy consistency was achieved and I felt great. Yipeee. Then i looked at the egg whites and I thought, why should i waste it. Some recipes state use the whole egg. Wrong move. As soon as I added the whites, the mayonnaise turned to the consistency of pancake batter. Oh dear, what have I done?
as you can see, pancake batter. Apparently, adding the egg whites at that stage is a no-no. I could have left it in the fridge, and it would have thickened, but impatient me tried to fix it. I sprinkled a little flour into it
which was fine, but the flour affected the taste. before the flour, it tasted gorgeous. I was really pleased. The hint of salt, sugar, the lemon. Perfect. By now, I was at it for hours, including making the Aioli and the marinara, so I was exhausted and I decided to plate and take pictures
After plating and taking pictures. I sat down to enjoy my dips with calamari and chips. I loved the aioli and the marinara, but the mayonnaise didn’t sit right with me. I decided to take a shower and co-wash my hair. Mayonnaise is a very good protein treatment for those who are on a hair journey, so I simply used it as my deep conditioner/protein treatment. My hair loved it. It had never felt that soft and silky, I would definitely be using it again. It is waaay cheaper than a fancy protein treatment.
I don’t quit something I start. I usually envisage the end result, and if I don’t achieve it, I do it again. My mum will say, this is one of the positive aspects of being stubborn. You just don’t give up. As I had succeeded with the aioli using a food processor, I decided to tackle the mayonnaise again by hand.
1. I started with one egg yolk, salt, white wine vinegar and lemon juice. I used a big plastic bowl and a fork. Trying to whisk such a small quantity in a big bowl was a pain, little did I know it was about to get worse. Lol
2. Add the oil, drop by drop and watch as the volume increases and it takes on a light creamy consistency
3. keep adding the oil drop by drop and increase to a steady consistency. Whoever came up with this idea, should be kicked. Unless you are ambidextrous, as a novice you will go wrong. Which of course I did and the mayonnaise split.
I kept adding the oil, hoping it would magically fix itself. It only made it worse
Back to google again. If this happens to you, don’t despair, you can still save it.
4. Simply break 1 egg, extract the yolk and whisk. Using a fork, take out bits of the split mayonnaise and add to the egg and whisk
told you it was salvageable. Lol
5. Keep adding the split mayonnaise to the bowl in forkfuls, and whisk. Watch as the mayonnaise turns creamy
Keep at it, and you will get a bowl full of creamy, delicious mayonnaise. Adjust for taste with salt and sugar
……………………….and that’s it. My successful homemade mayonnaise. Last attempt.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: You actually may be able to get away with making mayonnaise in a blender. As long as you don’t make the mistake I did, which was adding all the oil at once. It should also turn out light and creamy. If you are using a blender though, don’t use olive oil because the blades will turn the olive oil bitter. There is some science behind this, don’t ask me please. Lol. USe sunflower oil or vegetable oils. The eggs must also be at room temperature. I learnt that lesson the hard way by my 5th egg or so. Don’t use eggs straight from the fridge.
Marinara is a simple fried tomato sauce. I have always maintained that Nigerian food just needs packaging to sell it to the rest of the world. Marinara is our very own ata din din. That fried tomato sauce that we eat with yam, plantain or boli. Fried tomato sauce just sounds bleh, but when you call it marinara it is suddenly interesting and sophisticated. Marinara is Italian by the way, and with all things Italian, it sounds sexy no?
You will need
1.2 of 1 red onion
1 red chilli
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 clove of garlic
1 – 2 bay leaves
Seasoning cube – knorr chicken preferred
1. Chop the onion, tomatoes, chilli and garlic and set aside
2. Heat up 2 cooking spoons of olive oil, add the curry powder and thyme. let this fry for a minute. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: frying spices in oil, intensifies the flavour.
3. Add the chopped ingredients from Step 1
sweat out the contents of the pan and keep frying
4. Keep frying until the tomatoes break down. At no point should you add water . Add 1 – 2 bay leaves, 1 cube of seasoning cube, a sprinkling of salt and stir
keep frying until the sauce reduces and the colour turns dark and the sauce is thick with golden coloured oil showing at the sides of the pan. Taste for salt and seasoning.
…………………………………………………………………..and you are done. Your delicious marinara.
So, that’s it. My trio of dipping sauces. Aioli, Mayonnaise and Marinara
In another post, I will be writing about two fried foods that you can serve this. Calamari and Yamarita fries. See you in the next posts.