Making Deep-Fried Gyoza

noritake_rosewood_antique_fried_gyoza_copyright_m-j_de_mestertonmaking_gyoza_jfc_wrappers__m-j_de_mesterton_2017This batch of gyoza was made with a filling consisting of finely chopped carrots, celery, ginger, parsley, dill, matcha (dry green tea), miso, turmeric, cooked brown rice and adzuki beans. I used gyoza skins from Japan Foods, Inc., and sealed them with an egg-wash~~M-Jgyoza_deep_frying_elegant_cook_m-jgyoza_noritake_bowls_m-j_de_mesterton
Below: a Salad of Beneficial Daikon Radish and Romaine Lettuce, Dressed with a Simple Vinaigrette @M-J de Mestertongyoza_with_daikon_salad_m-j_elegant_cook

Clothes Unmade the Man

If one cannot see immediately what is wrong with this lamentable suit, then the clothing industry has accomplished its apparent mission of brainwashing an unwitting, mysteriously willing public into believing that the swill they’re pumping out is anything but poison. I really miss Roger Moore and Sean Connery as James Bond. No misanthropic designer was making their legs look short while their torsos look too long, and giving their feet the appearance of wearing over-sized clown shoes. O tempora, o mores….

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Today’s tailors have totally lost the plot. When the actor playing James Bond is not “suited” properly, what hope is there for the rest of us?~~M-J

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Ugliest Suit in the Movies, Designed by Tom Ford and Worn by Daniel Craig as “James Bond”

And now a breath of fresh air, because after years of the same old hip-huggers or “low-pants”, billowing shirt-waists that cannot be tucked-into them, neckties that end at the nether-region, skin-tight, truncated trousers that end above the shoes, lateral wrinkles from cloth being pulled to the sides, a man’s suit of clothing that doesn’t make a monkey out of him seems downright innovative:

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Christmas Present; Christmas Past

My Christmas Cakes, 2010 and 2016–Always White with Royal Icingelegant_cook_christmas_cake_copyright_m-j_de_mesterton

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M-J’s Classic Christmas Cookies

I have been enjoying these festive shortbread biscuits since I was a child. 

One half-pound of butter

Two and a half cups of flour

One cup of powdered sugar

One tablespoon of milk (full-fat, of course)

One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)

One egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of cream (to brush on top, as a base for sprinkles–adds nice flavour, believe it or not)
If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this.

Method:

The ingredients, except for the egg yolk and cream, are mixed together and rolled out to a quarter (1/4) inch thickness. Then cookie-cutters are employed; the things are brushed with egg yolk/cream and sprinkled with coloured sugar. Sometimes I prefer to decorate the cookies with Swedish pärlsokker, or white pearl sugar. Transfer the cut-out cookies to an upside-down cookie-sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

©2007

M-J de Mesterton  

ElegantChristmasFlowers©M-JdeMesterton

christmas_pinkie_wye_valley_goodiesWye Valley Specialities for Christmastide from Our Dear Friend Peter King

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Ideals Christmas Magazine, 1947

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Elegant Winter Dressing with M-J

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Above: M-J de Mesterton in a Tibbett Duffel Coat of Elysian Wool, Insulated Aigle Boots from France; a Mongolian Cashmere Scarf by Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland; a White Fox Hat Made in Helsinki; a Plaid Tweed Skirt, Black Leather Cashmere-Lined Gloves from Italy, and a Walking Stick Made of Scotch Broom

Wear warm clothes when it’s cold outside and inside. The days of women showing their bare arms year-round just because an occupant of the White House does it to show off her biceps are coming to a close in about three weeks.  The current president has, since 2009, kept the oval office at a balmy 85° year-round, as though he were in Hawai’i, while instructing the citizenry to “tighten your belts”. The rest of us, if we have heat at all, keep our places at 68° or even cooler, thanks to the punitive cost of fuel.

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Above: on Christmas Day, I’m wearing a turtleneck under a round-necked dress, nylon stockings, a silk & cashmere pashmina, and faux-fur-lined tall leather boots. Most winter days, I’d be wearing tweed and sweaters.

Elegant Dressing for Autumn: Classic Tweed Travelling Suit

M-J de Mesterton in Aquascutum Tweed Suit, Her Perennial Favourite

Rugged, traditional, and elegant tweed made from Scottish wool is the best material for fall and winter dressing. Easily covered with a trench-coat or embellished with a pashmina or long wool scarves, tweed will keep you warm and dry. Tweed suits, skirts, trousers and jackets are always fashionable.

My husband and I found it odd, if not historically-incorrect, to see the inhabitants of Downton Abbey wearing sleeveless flapper dresses all over the huge, inevitably cold and difficult-to-heat house, at all hours, without wraps or sweaters. Those dresses were made to be worn at nightclubs while dancing the Charleston, where  hyper-activity and body-heat of the crowd made it possible to stay warm while baring arms.

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Dining at Downton: thanks to cocktails, aperitifs and wines, scantily-clad ladies there could abide the evening without shivering. Or maybe not; Ralph Lauren designed wardrobes for the series, and may have just assumed that women dressed like flappers in most situations because it was the Roaring Twenties. I doubt that 1920s women were so silly, but there have always been nonsensical followers of fashion, like the ones who are now wearing peep-toed shoes without stockings all winter long in cold climates. My grandmother, who was born in the Victorian Age, told me that to be beautiful, one must suffer–I know that freezing’s not what she meant. Even body-heat from large groups at table does not take the chill off England’s grand country houses for most months of the year; shoulders are usually covered with something at dinner, such as a little fur garment or shawl that could be removed later in the evening for dancing. And no self-respecting woman would be standing about the house during winter in just a sleeveless gown.

Speaking of winter dressing and silly followers of fashion, here is a post that I made here at Elegant Survival News in December, 2011:

Talking Heads Clad Badly and Barely-Shod

Summer Dress and Peep-Toe Shoes in December?!

Why is the anchorwoman wearing a sleeveless summer dress in cold NYC on December 6th? Are biceps something that female talking heads suddenly find a crying need to bare, even in freezing temperatures? Are they using too much energy, in an effort to keep tropically warm indoors? Is it seasonally appropriate to wear bare-toed shoes on wintry days, as the woman in red is doing, or sandals (the first lady wore sandals at a Kennedy Center gala last weekend) in December? I don’t think so. These women are on a national television show, displaying their irresponsible, energy-inefficient lifestyles before the public, as if to say that a size XXX carbon-footprint is desirable. The rest of us are wearing wool and tweed, living in homes with little-or-no  heat most of the time.

In an Alpine Climate, January: Dressing in Furry Boots, a Scottish Hand-Made Fair Isle Sweater, and an Austrian Wool Skirt

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Making Croutons

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A half-loaf of home-made sourdough bread was a couple days old, and tired of being stored in the fridge. I decided to make croutons with it for the week’s luncheon salads. I poured olive oil, spices, parsley and fresh rosemary into a Pop-It storage box (made with safe materials in Italy), then tossed the bread squares in and shook the thing with all my might to coat them well. With ambient heat from the oven while baking the croutons, a new loaf of bread was rising nearby. Sliced thinly, the croutons were ready after ten minutes in a 350° oven. Cooled croutons were poured into elegant jars to be used at table. And they won’t need to be stored for long; these croutons will quickly be poured out onto salads. @M-J de Mesterton

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Outsized Fruits & Vegetables; Chicken on Steroids?

I hadn’t gone shopping in a while, so when I came upon these grapes and jalapeño peppers at Albertson’s a month ago, they seemed normal at first. At home, they looked larger than life all of a sudden, like the Grapes that Took Over the World, and Jalapeños as Big as Texas. They may be genetically-modified (in fact, I’d put money on it). Yeah, them grapes were slightly smaller than golf-balls, and twenty years ago women would have been runnin’ scared at the sight of ’em. Those peppers ain’t just big, they are hotter than Hades. Talk about getting more bang for your buck–for all I know, the whole lot is deadly poison. Sure as shootin’, I am not going back to that store for more. The chicken breasts we bought there were just enormous, probably from a fowl critter named Dolly (in honor of the lamb created in a lab, not the huge-breasted singer, Ms Parton).

After poaching and frying those pieces of chicken, having spent more than an hour in the process, we were stunned at the foam-rubber texture of the alien meat. The animals had to have been pumped full of SOMETHING unnatural to make their breasts as large as those of turkeys and render their flesh absolutely inedible. My husband, who had innocently ordered the stuff at Albertson’s butcher counter, brought all the chicken back for a full refund. Don’t let grocery stores ruin your meals–make sure the chicken you purchase is of normal size. Good thing we did not unwittingly serve this faux fowl to guests. That would have been ruinous!~~M-J

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And now, the eternal question: which came first, the funky chicken enhanced by hormones, or the FREAK EGG?

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Don’t Waste Lemon Peels: Make Marmalade

 

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Lemons are dear. I never waste any part of them. Squeezed-out lemons are cut finely, with just the seeds removed, then boiled for an hour with non-GMO sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Refrigerated in a recycled jar with a pretty lid, my citrus marmalade easily replaces an expensive glass of “Bonne Maman”. So, after you make lemonade, you might just want to make marmalade. ~~M-J

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Article at Natural News, by Regular Contributor J.D. Heyes

Clothing Care Tips: Protect Your Investment

 
Elegant Clothing Can Last for Decades If You Care for It Properly
My silk Sulka dressing gown was purchased on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue at their shop in the 1980s. It has always been protected from moths and bright sunlight, and thus is in excellent condition. Learn to enhance the longevity of your precious clothing. Here are some tips from our friend, eminent tailor Monsieur François:

 CLOTHING CARE TIPS

Implementing some of the following procedures will go a long way in helping you protect and extend the life of your garments: 

Dry clean your garments sparingly. Frequent cleanings can actually cause your garments to prematurely wear because of the solvents and heat that are used in the dry cleaning process. Consider dry cleaning only when necessary or, at the end of the season before storing. After cleaning, garments should be removed from the plastic bags and aired. 

Limit the use of fabric softeners. They contain additives that stick to your clothing to make them feel softer. Unfortunately, frequent usage of these softeners will also compromise the fabric’s absorbency and make them less breathable. 

Use padded or shaped hangers as they are more gentle on your garments than wire ones. Uncoated wire hangers may also rust and stain your clothes.

 Avoid hanging your coats and jackets on racks or hooks, which may cause the neck areas to stretch out of shape. 

Give your wool garments a day’s rest between wearings, allowing them to shed wrinkles and return to their original shape. 

Fold knitted garments instead of hanging them, to prevent distortion or stretching. 

Brush your garments regularly and thoroughly to refresh  them, removing any soil, hair, etc. Use a slightly damp sponge or cloth on knits and finer fabrics. 

Always read the label on your garment for specific washing-instructions. 

Allow deodorants and antiperspirants to thoroughly dry before you dress. Also, consider using dress-shields to your garments to protect them against excessive perspiration, which can weaken certain fabrics. 

All garments should be either laundered or dry cleaned prior to storage. This step is not only essential, but will prevent attracting moths. 

Never store your jackets or garments in plastic bags. They create limited air flow which may trap moisture and cause mildew to form. Plastic bags may even cause leathers and suedes to dry out. Use canvas or cloth bags instead. 

Select a storage area carefully, avoiding those with high temperatures and/or high humidity. 

To revive your clothes when you have removed them from storage: first air out the garments thoroughly and then either brush them and/or lightly pass a garment steamer over them to remove any wrinkles or creases and to perk them up. Air the clothes thoroughly after these procedures, and before putting them into your closet.

~~Monsieur François (the late Frank Blaeser), Townline Tailors of Vancouver, British Columbia

 

M-J’s Shirataki-Miso Soup

Burdock Root or Gobo Slices, Broccoli, Adzuki Beans, Brown Rice and Shirataki Noodles in Miso Broth

©M-J de Mesterton 2014

Burdock root, known in Japan as gobo, is one of the best blood-purifiers. It has diuretic properties that help expel toxic products from the blood through urine. This root-vegetable is employed in the treatment of skin problems such as eczema (dermatitis) and psoriasis. Burdock is a remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints. Effusion of burdock seeds has been used for throat and chest ailments. Burdock is an appetite-stimulant and is used  for enhancing digestion and relieving dyspepsia. Dried burdock root is reconstituted by pouring boiling water over the bits and letting them stand until softened. It may also be used as a tea, or incorporated into brown rice, where it will soften as the rice and burdock mixture cooks. I use either fresh or dried burdock in stir-fried vegetables or kinpira-style braised vegetables.

©M-J de Mesterton 2014

Strained Yoghurt

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Straining your own yoghurt makes a delightful Mediterranean or Middle Eastern spread for bread or pita. This is what “Greek yogurt” as marketed in the U.S. is trying to be, and failing miserably in most cases. Usually, to thicken their yoghurt, companies merely add artificial thickeners and starches. To make the real thing is incredibly simple. Put a round coffee-filter into a bowl-sized strainer or sieve, empty a container of plain whole-milk or full-fat yoghurt into it, cover with another round coffee-filter, and place over a bowl that allows some space between the bottom of the strainer and the base of the bowl, so that when your yoghurt is draining, it will not soak itself.  Keep the assembly covered with clear wrap, because fruit-flies love this stuff. I initiate this process before going to bed at night; in the morning I have wonderful, thick spread for my preferred bread or pita, and this yoghurt-cheese is also excellent with a fried egg.

Add cayenne pepper and/or zatar (za’atar) herbal mixture on top of this when used as a spread, and you will have an authentic Middle Eastern- style taste treat.

©M-J de Mesterton

See The Elegant Cook Bread Page for M-J’s Pita Recipe

Clothing "Sizes" Don’t Matter

M-J’s ORIGINAL ARTICLE, REBLOGGED FROM 2010

 

Elegant Survival News

Waist_Measurements_MannequinClothing “Sizes” Don’t Matter: Use a Tape-Measure!

The days of buying women’s clothing by size are gone. Each manufacturer has a different set of measurements and corresponding sizes. The reasons behind this development are also diverse among the designers and makers of clothes. For example, in order to charge more for their designs, some clothing companies will pretend that a size 12 is a “plus-size,” for the purpose of charging more for it (as though accommodating a 38-inch bust were going to require several yards more fabric…). Size 10 used to be the ideal, and now some clothes-designers are calling garments with 36-24-36 a size “4”. Others are calling 40-28-40 a size 18, which is patently ridiculous. One company comes to mind, and that is J. Peterman, a big offender in this department, which sells what used to be marketed as size 12 as an “18”, causing their 18s to…

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Remember Rational Standard Dress-Sizes?

Nothing has changed since I posted these thoughts in 2011 (THE ARTICLE BELOW IS A RE-BLOG). Well, maybe…some women are now  abusing the term, “plus-size” when it serves their nasty purposes. Misery does love company. As the following article that I wrote in 2011 indicates, labels are often wrong. So, let’s not label each other, as we are all individuals. This applies in all walks of life. Let us go by accurate measurements when it comes to clothing ourselves, and measure the content of one’s character instead of a superficial thing like skin-tone. Generalizing is for idiots, and justifying evil simply because the perpetrators are part of a certain gender, religion or race is for the birds.

Elegant Survival News

Remember normal-sized clothing for women, before the American fashion industry started distorting sizing in order to flatter the anorexia cult? Standard sizing no longer exists–a dress with a 36-inch bust is now labelled as anything between size 4 and size 14, depending upon whom the maker is targeting. And today’s size 12 is now sometimes distorted by being labelled “plus” for the purpose of  charging more for it.  Some of the styles offered by New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman in 1948 started at size 12, and went up to size 20. Originally, “plus sizes” were anything above size twenty. In 1948, this black silk dress was offered at Bergdorf Goodman in sizes 10–16. If a woman wanted something smaller, she had to shop in the children’s section.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

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Elegant Home Garden

My home garden is kept visually elegant by using similarly-hued pots for the cacti and palms. The pots are brown and black, featuring the greenery of the plants. This year, many of the cacti bloomed twice, which is unusual.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Strawberry Desserts

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Strawberry desserts are simple. Just arrange washed and trimmed fresh berries on pound cake slices, shortcakes, or angel food cake, and decorate with whipped cream. According to the American Algonquin tribe, Strawberry season begins this year on Summer Solstice, which is always the longest day of the year–seventeen hours long, to be precise. This full moon coincides with strawberry season’s start in the Northern Hemisphere once every seventy years, which is why the June 20th, 2016 full moon is called “Strawberry Moon“. ©M-J de Mesterton 2016

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