By Marian ArmitageSeptember 8th 2015
Marian Armitage

If you have run out of mayonnaise and need some in a hurry - how about making some?

All over Shetland, near crofts and at the roadside - if the hens are laying, folk will sell their surplus eggs. You will find mixed colours - pale, dark and lovely green ones too. You may also get fine big 'deuk's' eggs.

With eggs, oil, vinegar or a lemon in the cupboard you have all the ingredients you need. A stick blender finishes the job in no time at all. Using a stick blender and a narrow jug means that the yolks and seasonings get really well mixed at the beginning. I find that as the oil is added the mixture gets so thick that I can add one of the egg whites to thin it down.

If you have hens or an easy local supply of eggs there is nothing to beat the bright yellow of superfresh free range eggs. Hen or duck eggs are equally delicious. Yes, you have to be a little careful when adding the oil - slowly and it is really important that the eggs are at room temperature. You just have to look at the ingredients list on a jar of commercial mayonnaise to realise how good the home made variety is.

Basically you are making a stable emulsion of egg yolks, oil and vinegar with seasonings. Adding a little mustard, ground pepper and herbs helps to create a good 'gritty' base. I particularly like finely chopped fresh tarragon and sometimes add finely chopped lemon rind too. Aioli is the garlicky version where garlic is traditionally pounded in a pestle and mortar with the egg yolks and mustard before adding the oil.

You can also be creative with the oil you use. Rapeseed oil helps maintain a good yellow colour - and it is produced in the UK - often on a small scale, sunflower oil is lighter and olive oil gives a deep rich flavour - or you could use a combination.

Egg Mayonnaise

Course: Main
Servings: 4 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes


Mayonnaise - home made
  • egg yolks - 2
  • pepper - (freshly ground)
  • oil - 250 ml (rapeseed, sunflower or olive)
  • vinegar - 1 tablespoon (white wine, or lemon juice)
  • lemon rind - half (finely grated)
  • tarragon - 1 teaspoon (fresh - finely chopped (optional))
  • salt - pinch
  • egg white - 1
  • mustard - ½ teaspoon (dijon)


  1. Separate eggs and put yolks into a narrow jug. Have the oil ready in a measuring jug.
  2. Add salt, pepper, mustard.
  3. Switch on blender and mix well. Start adding the oil very slowly. Mix really thoroughly after each addition.
  4. When you have added about half the oil - the mixture will be really thick so add a teaspoon of the vinegar or lemon juice to thin it down.
  5. Continue to add the rest of the oil - you can go a little faster now. When all the oil is in - add one of the egg whites to make a thick smooth consistency. (You can add both, but this will produce a very thin mayonnaise - however this could be fine for say, a big bowl of coleslaw) Stir in the chopped tarragon and lemon rind, scrape into a clean jar and store in the fridge. It will keep for several weeks.

All you need to do now is to hard boil 4 eggs (for 4 people) for approx. 8 minutes, shell them and cut into quarters. Allow to cool then mix into 2 tablespoons of your delicious mayonnaise - scatter over a little chopped tarragon, parsley or chives and you have a delicious lunch.
This mixture also make an excellent filling for rolls or sandwiches for a fine Shetland walk.

printerPrint Recipe