M-J’s Elegant White Cake


Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Pom Wonderful, a Truly Remarkable Drink

Pom Wonderful, an Amazingly Health-Promoting Juice


…polyphenols in pomegranates aid in muscle recovery, improve cardiovascular health, prevent prostate cancer, treat diabetes and improve erectile function. Pomegranate juice is also low on the glycemic index scale, is highly bioavailable and is rich in powerful antioxidants.

Other independent and academic studies have illustrated the same benefits, as well as that pomegranates improve digestion, reduce the risk of breast cancer, decrease inflammation and improve brain health and memory.

Pyrex, Made in the U.S.A.

A couple of  years ago, I featured Pyrex bowls in a post. Today, I discovered a website devoted to the American company’s products, called Pyrex Love. There you will find information about the tremendous variety of Pyrex styles, and links to live auctions with vintage pieces on offer.

More Elegant Cuisine with M-J

Bread-Making is Good Exercise

Swedish Flax/Rye Bread

This is my own recipe. You won’t find this bread outside of Sweden, unless you are on an SAS flight.
Four cups of very warm water, to which a half-cup of buttermilk has been added
Two tablespoons of yeast
One third-cup of molasses (substitute: dark corn syrup)
Two tablespoons of salt
Two cups of rye flour
Half cup of ground flaxseed
White flour–amounts vary, but it will be about  six cups (the amount of flour needed depends upon the climate, the altitude, and the phase of the moon)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water/buttermilk mixture. Add the molasses and some of the two flours–enough to make a sponge. After it has bubbled up, add salt and the rest of the flour except for one cup. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes. Keep adding more white flour as needed until the dough no longer sticks to the surface. Knead dough for eight minutes. Form into a ball, set into a buttered bowl, cover lightly with waxed paper or a tea-towel, and let rise until it is double the size. Punch down the bulk, kneading it again for a minute.  Shape the dough into loaves, dust pans with cornmeal or ground flaxseed, let rise again until nearly double in size, then bake for one hour at 350* (moderately hot oven). This recipe will yield two slicing loaves and two baguettes.  — Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 25th August 2007

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008. Click image to enlarge.

I devised this soup for a luncheon. It may be served cold or hot.

Potage Printanier aux Petits Pois

One 16-ounce bag of frozen petits pois, or tiny green peas (be sure to use the frozen variety for their intense colour)

Three cups of hot water

In a blender, mix together the hot water and frozen small peas until they are like soup. Pour the
mixture into a pot and heat it to simmering. Add a half-teaspoon of savoury, and a third-cup of crème fraîche or sour cream. Stir with a wire-whisk until the bits of cream are fully incorporated into the green soup. Heat again till just boiling, and serve. This recipe will make four bowls of Potage Printanier aux Petits Pois. Double the recipe by repeating the first step and adding the results to the pot, while doubling the other ingredients as well. Add salt according to your own preference. I use Himalayan salt. This soup may be served either hot or chilled.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, March 2008

The cuisine of Provence, France, is one of the world’s most health-promoting, with its focus on fresh vegetables and use of olive oil. A very good table wine from the Vaucluse is Le Pigeoulet Vin de Pays. This wine is inexpensive, and complements French cooking.

Provençal Cuisine

Marmiton.org: La Communaute des Gourmands

History of Shiraz Grapes

Argentinian red wine is excellent with beef.
The following one was a big hit at our recent dinner party: Vistalba Cortea.The estancia belonging to Carlos Pulenta has a fabulous website. Vistalba of Mendoza, Argentina: Look for the Delicious yet Economical Vistalba Cortea

Cream of Celery Soup, by M-J de Mesterton Photo Copyright 2009

M-J’s Potage de Celeri, or Cream of Celery Soup

For the Recipe, Please Click Here

Good News: Chic Restaurants in the U.S. Switching to Filtered Tap Water

New York City has always had high-quality tap water, as do so many cities. I always use a low-cost Brita filter and pitcher at home, and don’t waste money on bottled water. Who knows the true provenance of that, anyway? After all, Evian is “naive” backwards!


M-J de Mesterton Makes Cornish Pasties

Cornish Pasties by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009
I’ve been making Cornish pasties since the age of 20. My mother wrote a book about the pasty and its history which was published in 1990, but my method and ingredients differ from hers. The following is  my pasty (pronounced “pass-tee”) recipe:I will not formally transcribe my recipe and method for making pasties, because  I never use measurements. I can tell you, however, that they are made with a short crust containing both butter and lard, water, a teaspoon of malt vinegar, and unbleached, plain white flour. Since salted butter is used in the dough, add just a dash of salt to it.  I add sea-salt and hand-milled pepper to the filling, which consists of  four ingredients, diced very finely: tri-tip steak, which is always well-marbled and never tough; ordinary, high-starch brown-skinned potatoes, turnips, butter bits, and white or Spanish onions. The finely-diced beef and vegetables are tossed together in a mixing bowl with the salt and pepper before being laid upon the dough, dotted with butter and enclosed. The edges are crimped, either on top or on the side of the pasty, and a couple of well-placed slits are made in the top to allow steam to escape. The final product is brushed with a beaten egg mixed with a teaspoon of cream. The pasties are then baked in a very hot oven for close to one hour. Once the pasties have cooled for about twenty minutes, serve with an oil-and-vinegar-dressed lettuce salad. Offer Cornish cream, Spanish or Mexican Crema, or sour cream as an optional condiment. The pasties depicted here, which I made,  are the optimum size for a meal; the dough for them was shaped into a ball about half the size of a woman’s closed hand, then was rolled out and cut around a 7″ luncheon plate.  Making giant pasties just isn’t elegant, nor is it traditionally Cornish. I also make miniature pasties for parties, by using a tin can or the bottom, inner ridge of the same luncheon plate as a cutting guide. These mini-pasties are easily eaten by hand with a cocktail napkin to catch any pastry-flakes. For a basic short-crust guide, please see my Elegant Apple Pie recipe.~~Recipe and Pasty Photos Copyright M-J de Mesterton


Cornish Pasties by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009

Cornish Pasty Made by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009

M-J’s Green Beans with Almonds

M-J's Green Beans Amandine
M-J's Green Bean and Almond Sauté
In a large pan or wok, heat some peanut or red chile oil (M-J’s recipe is on the Elegant Survival.net Cuisine page). Empty a bag of frozen or fresh green beans into the hot oil. The thinner the beans, the better. Crush some roasted chile almonds (M-J’s recipe is on the Cuisine page at Elegant Survival.net) inside of a bag with a mallet or potato masher. Empty them into the pan with the green beans after they have begun to look a bit browned. Toss this together and sautée it for a while longer. Serve alongside chicken or beef, or as a high-protein, high-fiber meal if you don’t eat meat.

Inexpensive Hair-Care, a Reprint from Elegant Survival Summer 2008

Elegant Survival Hair-Care

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008

It’s been many years since I visited a beauty salon to get my hair done, or for any other purpose. There are several reasons for this, foremost among them is that the hair stylists I had, no matter how much money I paid, paid no attention to what they were doing. They were more interested in operating an inquisition into my private life than in the usual beauty operator’s line–cutting my hair in a straight line. Going to Bergdorf Goodman’s salon didn’t make a whit of difference in the quality of my final result. Hair dressers blow-dry and style cut hair with a curling brush in order to conceal the bad job they’ve done. Once you wash the hair, the signs of neglect and poor craftsmanship appear.

My husband enjoys cutting my hair. He uses some very good scissors from France. And he doesn’t spend his energy asking about my private life–he is my private life! Train your husband, wife, or trusted friend to cut your hair, and return the favor. Remember, the higher the quality of your scissors or shears, the better the haircut.

There are many brands of hair color on the market. Target and Wal-Mart carry Revlon Colorsilk, usually for three dollars a box. It is just as good as the more expensive brands. If your hair has already started to turn gray or, as in my case, white, choose lighter colors. I remember bumping into Tony Bennett back in 1980s Manhattan. He was dying his hair black then to look younger, but the effect was reminiscent of a wax museum replica. Now that he has let his hair go naturally white, he looks so much more healthy and attractive. The same is true for ladies. If you are fortunate enough to go white instead of gray, it gives a platinum blond look. White hair is usually much more delicate than gray, and thus is easier to color. Hair that hasn’t yet turned, but is mixed in with white hair, will also dye or lighten more easily. If you have naturally black hair, lightening will be difficult. In your case, blending gray and dark hair with a shade just a bit lighter than your original one will be better than going to the lightest shade, because attempting to bleach black hair usually produces an orange result.  What you ought not to do is try to dye your hair as black as it was when you were young. Nothing is more difficult to keep up than dark hair with white or gray roots. Black hair that is graying can sometimes be successfully enhanced with a natural dark henna. Slightly lighter colors of hair dye will blend with the new growth of hair and give you an evenly pigmented coiffure. At three dollars a box, it is wise to stock up on your shade, because at times they are sold-out, and you don’t want to be caught dead with  the wrong color on your head!

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008