What I am cooking for the larder on any given day is mostly down to timing, or rather, what is on hand at that moment. It could be what berries are bursting joyously to perfection, what veggies are begging to be picked or herbs trimmed. It could also be down to a recent visit to the shops and what was available on special offer that just couldn’t be resisted.
Today I made Aioli as I felt compelled to make something eggy due to our abundance in the egg department. But before I give you the simple recipe for this delicious sauce let me introduce you to five new ladies who have joined our little family up here on Walton’s Mountain – my Hen Party!
They are Martha, Mildred, Lois, Betty and Scooteroo. That’s Scooteroo in the top photo, guess who named her? Apparently it is a character in one of Idgy’s comics, who am I to argue. This gaggle of girlies has come to us via a neighbour who had rehomed them herself only to find her resident chicks took umbridge and went into major attack mode. These lovely ladies were on the look out for another home so you can guess where they are now.
A friendlier bunch you couldn’t hope to meet. They follow you everywhere like a feathered posse and are quite contect to sit at my feet as I clamber about in the berry patch with my boxes and baskets collecting black currants and raspberries. They show no fear of being trodden on and just give me an old-fashioned look if I accidently knock into them as I step from one tangle of bushes to another.
Not just pretty faces (though I’m not too sure that Martha and Mildred the two Bluebell chickens with the very dark faces could actually qualify as pretty, rather more reptilian or verging on the raptoresque, but maybe I am being unfair to them) these little ladies are producing eggs. Not many admitedly but more than enough for the two of us.
So today’s recipe just had to make use of these lovely fresh eggs. Mayonnaise? Why not take it a step further and go for Aioli (okay, here is a rough guide to pronounciation – ai – yoh – lee) that is so popular in Provence. The strange sounding name is from the French word for garlic, ail, and to be honest the name is more difficult than the dish. This is simplicity itself to make and a lovely addition to salads, new potatoes and sandwiches.
- 2 fresh egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- salt & pepper to taste
- approx 100ml/3½ fl oz olive oil
- Crack the eggs and save the whites for another use, you only want the yolks here.
- Whizz the yolks in food processor and add the lemon juice.
- Crush the garlic clove and add to the mix.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Now start VERY SLOWLY dripping in the olive oil as the machine whizzes everything up. This is an excercise in patience and a steady hand but keep up the slow pace with the oil.
- When it all comes together and thickens you are ready to taste and adjust seasoning.
- Spoon into a bowl and enjoy!
- Best used right away but will keep overnight in the fridge.
A simple recipe that just takes a wee bit of patience. If you do add the oil too quickly and find the sauce curdling then stop and add another egg yolk to the mix and start drizzling in the oil again. Slowly, slowly is the name of the game here.