Maille Culinary Challenge: Hazelnut Aioli

I was recently invited to take part in the Maille Culinary Challenge – Maille are offering bloggers some of their products to create inspiring and exciting recipes with. While Maille are known for their range of mustard, it turns out that they make a huge range of other interesting products, which you can browse through on their website.


The first of two products I chose to try was their Hazelnut Oil, and it took me a week or so to fully nail down what I wanted to do with it. When you get a quality product like this, you want to make the most of it! I finally had some inspiration and decided to whisk up a homemade aioli.


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Usually, you would make a mayonnaise or aioli with a flavourless oil, but this time I thought I’d let the flavour of the hazelnuts shine. I took a few snaps as I went along, but it’s a tricky process to document when you only have two hands. Which, let’s face it, is a predicament most of us face on a daily basis. The method is simple, but it can be time consuming (especially if you’re trying to photograph it!). However, do not be afraid! Give it a go! You can also make mayo in a food processor or blender – the Hairy Bikers have a foolproof recipe right here – but there’s something satisfying about whisking it by hand.


I tried to make a small batch (not easy), because homemade mayo and aioli don’t keep particularly well. Here are the ingredients for the smallest amount I could manage:


  • 1/2 tsp egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 80ml hazelnut oil
  • 2 segments of clementine
  • a dab of mustard – about 1/8 tsp
  • 2 – 3 drops white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Note: have a spatula on hand to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along, so that you can be sure you’re combining all the egg yolk and oil together evenly.


Put the egg yolk and salt in a small bowl, and whisk together.


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I love this tiny whisk!


Begin to add the oil – start with a drop or two at a time, and make sure to whisk thoroughly. Adding the oil really slowly like this makes it less likely that the aioli will start to separate.


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The egg yolk will soon become creamy and start to turn a paler colour. After a little while, the mix will become really thick and difficult to stir. When it comes to this time, squeeze in the juice from two segments of clementine – clementine is sweet as well as citrusy, which is a nice combination for this recipe. You could also use about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice, in which case you could miss out the vinegar later on. Whisk the clementine juice in, which will thin the mixture out again, and then continue to add and whisk in the oil. You can proceed a bit more quickly now, pouring the oil in a thin stream instead of drop by drop.


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Once you’ve added all the oil – or reached a suitably thick texture – add the mustard (I used wholegrain but dijon would also be great), and the vinegar, stir through and taste – add seasoning if you need it. The aioli will be much paler and have increased greatly in volume.



You’ll end up with a creamy, nutty spread that you can use as a dip, add to sandwiches, devil eggs with or whatever else you fancy.


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Thanks, Maille, for sending me this hazelnut oil to try! It would also be great for making salad dressings, drizzling over soups, tossing through roasted vegetables or any other number of things. It’s not an oil to cook with, save it for the finishing touches.


Here’s another shot of the finished result – Hazelnut Aioli:


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See other entries to the competition by checking the #Mailleflavours tag on Twitter. There are some incredible recipes already happening, and the competition runs until the end of April.

Sainsbury’s Easter Treats and Book Giveaway

This post was made possible by Sainsbury’s, who sent me some of their Easter range to try. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest. 


Well, Easter is upon us! The traditional time to consume enough chocolate to kill a horse and watch films on telly in the afternoon. Here’s a glance at some of the treats Sainsbury’s have on sale to round out your Easter weekend:


They have a Taste the Difference carrot cake, a bramble and vanilla flavoured rioja, pretty honeycomb decorations (can also double as background in photographs), and Belgian chocolate eggs AND egglets. Egglets! Meep!

You may remember when I was sent a heap of chocolate to try out – the Belgian chocolate in Sainsbury’s eggs is of an equally high quality – sweet and creamy, with a great snap when you crack into it. The praline in the egglets is a little nutty and extremely smooth, a lovely contrast to the crisp milk and white chocolate on the outside. Plus they’re called egglets and I’m pretty stuck on the cuteness of that.

The tea is strong and full of flavour, just the thing to kick start your day. I brewed up a single cup, rather than a pot, and it has a hefty tannic kick to it. I tend to dilute my tea with milk and sugar in a way that would surely curl any true tea enthusiast’s toes, but what can I say? That’s how I roll. Both the tea and chocolate are, admirably, Fair Trade products – many of Sainsbury’s products are now labelled Fair Trade, and you can find out more about this on their website.

As well as this huge stash of presents, Sainsbury’s sent me two books to give away! Yippee! I’ve only ever done one giveaway before so I’ll have to dust off my giveaway skills…

Here is the prize – a great cake decorating book, with recipes for a sponges and icings, loads of instuctions on how to bake, slice, ice and decorate, and three sections of fun and beautiful cake decorating ideas. Here are some pictures to give you a good idea of what to expect:

The book is hardback, and really full to bursting with great ideas and lovely colour photos, showing step by step instructions as well as the end results. It’s a thing of beauty, and I’m excited to send a copy out to two Rock Salt readers!

So, the rules:

  • this giveaway is open to UK residents only. I’m sorry, but it’s a heavy wee book!
  • to enter, either leave a comment on this post, write a tweet mentioning the giveaway and @ThisIsRockSalt, or leave a comment mentioning the giveaway on the Rock Salt Facebook page. Each one of these things counts as one entry, to a maximum of three per entrant
  • the giveaway will be open until Tuesday 29th April, when the winners will be drawn using
  • winners will be contacted and announced on Wednesday 30th April
  • I think that is all


Good luck! I look forward to posting one of these beautiful books out to two of you very soon.

Rock Salt on Tour: Manchester

I’m off gallivanting again! This time I’m in Manchester for a week with some chums, for a great deal of nonsense and a great deal more hilarity. Or perhaps that’s the other way round? In either case we’re having a simply marvellous time, so much so that I skipped my usual Wednesday post. However, I did take a stroll down Market Street yesterday and find that there are street foods available Thursday to Saturday. If I had posted on Wednesday I’d have missed the opportunity to share some impromptu photos from my walk around, so perhaps I subconsciously knew.


Probably not.


Anyway, here is a peek at some of the delights Manchester’s street food had to offer:


I opted for the two foods I was least able to get hold of at home – Caribbean and dim sum. To wit, goat curried with rice and peas alongside siu mai, steamed buns. I know, an odd pairing – there were two of us, so we went for a kind of fusion sharing vibe.

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Dim sum

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Goat curry

I swear, this was one of the best meals I’ve eaten for ages, eclectic as it was. The curry was exactly the right spicy, and paired with a ginger beer it was even better. The dim sum hit the spot exactly; the buns were fluffy and soft with savoury-sweet pork inside:

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All in all, a tremendously successful experiment.

Thanks Manchester!

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