La Mayonnaise à Dédé

Well it’s been a while…again.  Actually it’s been a long while.  Like three months.  That might not sound like much to some but to me considering everything that’s been going on in my neck of the woods feels more like this…

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Life has been cray cray in Clem Town.  Work picked up quite a bit, and while it gave me opportunities to traffic and develop professional, I quite literally for a few months had zero time or energy for much else.  Any time that I did have to myself was spent sleeping or catching up on the usual adult things you do in life.  Laundry, house cleaning and more laundry.  What I was doing was extremely important to the company, and I wanted to prove to myself and to the stakeholders involved that someone without an actual degree in the industry or training could manage the project.  I’m happy to say the campaign was a success and hopefully results from a few months from now we can see the actually statistical effect it had.

I also happened to squeeze in a trip to France to visit family.  I surprised my mum at the family reunion in Brittany.  The rest of the family was in on it and so the surprise went without a hitch.  I swear she looked at me for a good minute before realising it was her daughter standing in front of her.

As with any family reunion, there’s heaps of laughter, bits of drama, and a few tears.  This one was no exception.  It was the first time four of us cousins were in the same place together.  Seeing that two of us live here in Australia, one in France and one in Switzerland, you can understand the difficulty in getting the family together.  There were three other cousins unable to attend, and I doubt we’ll ever all be in the same room together at any point in our lives.  Stories of my mum’s childhood came out, slideshows of the family holidays as well, showing glimpses into the past which us young people never thought we would ever see.

After about a week in Brittany, I headed south to see my mum’s dad, my grand-père.  My fondest childhood memories are of my grand parents in the south of France.  I can still smell the giant lavender bush they had that laid it’s scent on the laundry that floated in the hot breeze. It was a flash back into time stepping into the now cream yellow stucco house.  My grandmother and grand father were always kind to me, wanting my visits with them to be full of joy, sunshine and chocolate mousse.

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The visit though was also bittersweet.  My grandfather is getting up in age, and knows that his years are numbered.  He walks slower, his memory at times fails him, he is out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs, and to me it was a bit of a shock.  Within minutes of seeing him it really hit me that this would more than likely be the last time I saw him.  I needed to take advantage of the four short days I had with him.

I learned as much as I could from him about the family, hearing stories of my origins dating all the way back to the French Revolution.  The streets I had walked through in Dinan and St. Malo the week before were the same that my great-grandparents, and even great great great great grandparents had meandered through during their lifetime.  I listened to my grandfather talk about when the Germans invaded Dinan, and when the Americans came through to liberate the town a few years later.  I heard how he met my grandmother, and saw photos from their wedding and photographs of family members dating back to the 1850s.

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Most of all though I wanted to learn about his food.  His mayonnaise and coq au vin are what I remember most from my childhood and visits when I was in university.  They are both foods I would have for my last meal if I were on death row.  He doesn’t cook much anymore, but when I asked him to show me how to make both of these dishes, he was more than happy to oblige.  He also showed me his “Poulet a L’estragon”, or Tarragon Chicken, which was as you can imagine absolutely divine.  I’ll certainly post up that recipe soon.

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But today’s post is about the simple pleasures of a made from scratch mayonnaise.  It’s incredibly simple and you won’t want to buy store bought mayonnaise after trying this one.  I guess you could add herbs, spices or even some fresh grated garlic to it to jazz it up, but for me it’s always the good ole plain mayonnaise à Dédé.

La Mayonnaise à Dédé

  • One egg yolk
  • Good heaping teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • Generous dash of salt and pepper
  • Sunflower oil (you can use olive oil, but the taste will be quite different.  Try the recipe out with each oil and you’ll see what I mean)
  1. Whisk together the yolk, salt and pepper, and mustard until well blended.
  2. Then drizzle just a tiny bit of oil to incorporate into your yolk mixture.
  3. Once mixed in, drizzle a touch more and whisk until combined.
  4. Continue this process and you’ll see you mayonnaise begin to form.  It’s ready when it starts to pull from the sides of the bowl.  Keep adding oil if you need a large amount of mayonnaise.
  5. Serve immediately or chill.  I recommend eating it with cold chicken or potatoes, or ham.

Couple of handy tips for making mayonnaise:

  • Use a bowl with a nice large base so you can whisk everything well.
  • Sunflower oil is mild in flavour, which is why my grand father uses it.  You can use olive oil, but because it has a strong flavour on its own, this will reflect in your mayonnaise.
  • Add a few extra bits to make your own unique condiment, like grated garlic (which turns this recipe into aioli), grated horseradish, or chopped herbs.

 

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