Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

Elegant Dessert

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Elegant Macrobiotic Salad

Posted on March 2, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Sesame dressing tops an elegant salad of thinly-sliced Romaine lettuce, brown rice and diced Fuji apples. ©M-J de Mesterton

For more of M-J's elegant macrobiotic dishes, please visit the Elegant Cook.

Low-Carb Taco Salad

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Delicious Austerity Cooking: the Economical Taco Salad Represents Five Food-Groups

Seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese, fried tortilla-sections, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, arranged neatly in a bowl makes an elegant, high-protein luncheon dish.

This elegantly-arranged taco salad contains about 20 grams of carbohydrate--mostly from the three mini-tortillas, which were cut into halves. There are some finely diced tomatoes in the seasoned taco meat, which represent a negligible number of calories. Other components are shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.
©M-J de Mesterton

Below: Elegant Taco Salad without the Tortillas, and with Health-Promoting Avocados and Yellow Bell Peppers

Simple Summer Salad

Posted on June 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM


M-J's Recipe for Christmas Cookies

Posted on November 30, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Christmas Cookie Design ©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Christmas cookies, adapted from a 1950s recipe by Antoinette Pope (The Antoinette Pope School of Cookery). I’ve been enjoying these since I was a child. Here are the ingredients:
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 flavor, believe it or not). If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this decorating step.
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. I prefer 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.
M-J de Mesterton

Cardamom Bread, a Scandinavian Tradition

Posted on December 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Cardamom Bread, or Finnish Pulla

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
  3. Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled.
  4. Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I use Swedish pearl sugar, or parlsöcker
  6. Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily. 
  7. ©M-J de Mesterton 2008
  8. finnishcardamombread-001

 Cardamom Braid Recipe by M-J de Mesterton

M-J's Diuretic Smoothie

Posted on November 28, 2009 at 11:18 AM

One half-cup of water, one fourth-cup of lemon juice, one jalapeño pepper (roasted, pickled or fresh), two stalks of celery, one-half of a cucumber, one tablespoon of thick yoghurt, and one tablespoon of parsley, all whirled in a blender till smooth. Add water if necessary for processing.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

M-J's Chocolate Truffle Tarte

Posted on November 26, 2009 at 10:40 AM

M-J’s Chocolate Truffle Tarte

One cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

One tablespoon of butter

One can of evaporated milk

Four tablespoons of cocoa powder

One tablespoon of vanilla

One cup of powdered sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of cornstarch

One half-cup of heavy whipping cream

One egg

Crumb-crust as described below

In a stainless steel pot, heat the chocolate chips, butter and cocoa powder, stirring with a wooden spoon until they are mixed together. Add one can of evaporated milk gradually, incorporating it into the chocolate mass with the help of a wire whisk. Dump the cup of powdered sugar into this, again using the wire whisk to mix it into the other ingredients. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little of the cream, then add all cream to the mixture, together with one raw egg, and beat all of this together before adding it to the pot. Once you have poured this mixture into the pot of now-lukewarm milk and chocolate, whisk continuously and cook for twenty minutes over low heat until thick. Cool this pudding slightly and pour it into a 9-inch spring-form or cake pan that has been prepared with a cookie-or-graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for about two hours.


One and a half cups of ground cookies or graham cracker crumbs, which can be made in a food-processor or blender. The cookies should not contain chocolate pieces, though almonds and other nuts are good additives. The flavour of your tarte's crust will depend upon that of your crumbs.

One third-cup of cream

Three tablespoons of butter

One half-teaspoon of baking powder

One tablespoon of flour

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl until they form a dough-like ball. Coat the entire  inside of a spring-form or cake pan with this dough, using your hands and some waxed paper for pressing it in evenly. Bake the crust for twenty minutes at 350* Fahrenheit.


 Below: M-J's Crumb-Crust, Baked and Ready for Filling


Top this chocolate truffle tarte with whipped cream when serving it. Alternatively, cover it with meringue and bake in a hot oven for a few minutes until the meringue peaks are light brown.

Pictured below is my finished product. I used my own almond cookies ground up for the crumb-crust. A couple of hours after filling and cooling it, I inverted my baked   and cooled tarte onto a piece of waxed paper, and then inverted it again onto a platter. A spring-form pan, which I didn't use, will allow you to make M-J's Chocolate Truffle Tarte without those steps, and it will look much more attractive. This recipe was created and developed on Thanksgiving Day 2009; copyright M-J de Mesterton


Recipe and Photos Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

New York-Style Cheesecake

Posted on November 25, 2009 at 11:42 PM
  • Crust:
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • Filling:
  • 1-1/2 cups of granulated white sugar
  • Two pounds (32 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of unbleached flour
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • Directions:
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350* Fahrenheit.
  • 2. Butter the sides of a spring-form pan, or use a 9-inch round pan, unbuttered.
  • To Make the Crust:
  • 1. In a large bowl, combine butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press this mixture into the pan, then freeze or refrigerate it while preparing the filling.
  • Make the Filling:
  • 1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • 2. Blend in the cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one is added.
  • 3. Mix in the sour cream, flour and vanilla until smooth. Pour the filling batter into the crust.
  • 4. Bake for one hour in the preheated oven. Allow the cheesecake cool in your oven for about 5 hours. Refrigerate it until fully chilled, about one hour, before serving.
  •  ~~ M-J, November 25th, 2009

  • M-J's Apple Tart

    Posted on November 21, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Huevos Rancheros

    Posted on November 9, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Huevos Rancheros--fried eggs and grated cheese on tortillas with red or green chile gravy on top--are a health-promoting breakfast or brunch dish for winter and fall. Placing refritos, or refried beans, under the eggs is optional. Use either flour or corn tortillas, with Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. I like to sauté the tortillas in butter, grate cheese onto them, then fry the eggs, assemble the lot and pour on the chile gravy, finishing the top with more grated cheese.



    M-J's Flax Bread

    Posted on October 24, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    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 hot 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 forfifteen 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 or two.  Shape dough into loaves, dust pans with cornmeal or flaxseed, let rise until nearly double in size, then bake for one hour at 350* (moderately hot oven). Optional: brush the loaves with beaten egg-white for a shiny, crispy crust. This recipe will yield two slicing loaves and two baguettes.  — Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 25th August 2007