March 8, 2011

Dressing and Readdressing

On the weekend my daughter and I spent an entire day shopping.  We are attending a wedding next weekend and we left dress shopping a bit late.   I had the money.  What I didn't have was the inclination or the desire or even the interest to find something.  I'm still looking.  Yesterday I bought a Veronika Maine purple top to go with a Laura Ashley swing charcoal skirt.  I'm not happy.  I don't mind the skirt, but now I think the top is better suited to pants.  Off I go today in another direction.  I don't know when the outfit or the top is going to jump out at me; but it better be quick. 

It was in Brisbane that we shopped and I hardly ever go there.  The few times I've been, I've always taken the train.  Hubby suggested that we drive.  It's only an hour away.  I do like train travel though.  I find it relaxing.  What I don't like about train travel is the price.  Governments are constantly pushing us to take public transport to alleviate the traffic on the roads.   I think we should too.   Late last year the cost of an adult return ticket to Central Brisbane from the Gold Coast was almost $27.  Together with my younger daughter who was not studying at the time, there was no concession to be had.  I spent over fifty bucks to get to Brisbane and back.  Yep.  Let's all take public transport.  What a joke! 

My eldest daughter did a search on google earth (amazing) and found a couple of carparks in the city.  It was only ten dollars for 24 hours smack bang in the city centre.   I guess you also need to factor in the cost of fuel to the ten dollars. 

However in our case, it's hardly noticeable.  We drive a Toyota Prius.  Hubby is always going on about how everyone should be driving these vehicles.  I won't pretend to understand all that this vehicle can do, but it does seem amazing.  There's been heaps of roadworks in our area lately.  The other day, I was detained for about fifteen minutes on the road, till we were allowed to pass.  Imagine.  The cars banking up was ridiculously long.  It made me think.  Fifteen minutes of engines idling - not going anywhere, all the while fuel is being consumed.  Ouch.

However in the Prius, not a problem.  When the car isn't moving, it doesn't use any fuel.  Don't ask me how.  But that's a fact.   So when I'm at stoplights or held up in ongoing roadworks, I don't have a guilty bone in my body.

I heard Hubby telling our neighbour Romano the other day that the Prius uses less fuel to get around than does his motorbike.  No wonder all the taxi drivers up here have switched to using the Prius.  They must be saving oodles of money and oodles of fuel.

I won't bore you with all the benefits of this vehicle, but we are happy with it.  I was also happy when we arrived at the carpark to discover that "hybrid" vehicles were half price.  Thank you Brisbane City Council. We spent an entire day parked in central Brisbane for five dollars.  And the fuel there and back cost between eight to ten dollars (almost 200kms).  At last.  Something to smile about.  Now all I need is a dress.

Mariana's Dressing - changes every day of the week.  Here was last night's version.  Due to the extreme emulsification I created with a generous blob of grainy mustard,  I added water.  Apart from thinning it down, it reduced the vinegary tang.  Plates were mopped clean with bread and I must say, it was particularly delicious.

In a small mixing bowl add:

2 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon caster sugar
lots of cracked pepper
generous dash of salt
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 good squeeze fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Whisk furiously.  Watch it become fabulously thick and almost mayonnaise-like.   Add 2 or 3 teaspoons of  room temperature water, depending on how runny you like it.  I added 2 teaspoons and it was still quite thick.  Spoon desired amount over your salad.  Refrigerate any remaining dressing.   Simply delish.

Look who decided to drop in during
 the photo shoot of my salad. It's Jean-Pierre. 
What a lovely site I have looking
"Through My Kitchen Window".


  1. Oh boy don't get me started on public transport at the gold coast .......pitiful is the word and cost astranomical and as you say why is anyone encouraged to use public transport!!! In Perth they have free travel for pensioner on all transport and they have free inner city transport for people who live in the city plus they have 4 free buses that go from the outer city to the inner on the same circuits for free for everyone. What a wonderful idea and guess what the buses are full!! Plus no traffic problems in the city at all.

    Yes the dressing is lovely and I do like the idea of adding the water great thanks.

    You need me there to help you get an outfit???

  2. This post struck a chord with me, the ever changing salad dressing! Sometimes mine part emulsifies and then separates into thick globs, no idea why....

    And lovely to see your sweet bird again. What are the trees beside your pool?

  3. Ooh Gayle - I see I really touched a sore point there! But then, who wouldn't be ticked off - and we are supposed to be a major tourist destination. With a pathetic public transport system. Perth sounds fantastic. Let's all move there.

    Actually dear, thanks for the offer, but I'm very good at spending my Hubby's money all on my own. Hehe. I've gone and bought myself another top. A very stylish Anthea Crawford number. I'm very pleased. I just hope it doesn't rain. Then I won't be so pleased. I'll send you a couple of pics of the wedding next week. Mariana xxxx

    Hi Joanna - I'm trying to get my head around the "part emulsifying". I can only think perhaps you need to whisk really well and not have the ingredients too cold when making the dressing. Mustard contains small amounts of lecithin, which really assists in creating an emulsion that successfully holds together - as well as adding flavour. Try whisking all the ingredients and part of the oil. Add the last bit of oil after you have created the emulsion. Whisk again. And water to thin down after this if you like. HOpe this helps.

    Our little friend has been a regular. Sometimes four times a day. I think he is getting spoiled. I may have to cut down on the treats. Those are Alexander Pines and the "pool" is actually a goldfish trough, complete with water lillies and jasmin weaving its way around the entire structure.

  4. Thanks for the advice I will try that next time !

  5. that's one gorgeous-looking salad, there.

    public transport - ugh. some cities here are better than others, but many times one still has to drive to a train/bus/metro station before partaking in the transport, and often times, the public transport takes twice as long as driving.

  6. What a lovely view from your kitchen window! No wonder ur blogs called thru my kitchen window! :))Litle Jean pierre is so sweet. Bet he knew the dressing is divine ;)

    I do hate shopping for clothes too. All that undressing and dressing is such a hassle. I'd rather shop for kitchen ware anytime.

    I hope you get ur dress soon though. Love the colur of the blouse though. Weddings always sends me shopping as well. but most of the time I end up using something ive worn b4 because I never get around to it.

    Have a great day Mariana


  7. I sometimes wish I had a personal shopper who had excellent taste and knew precisely what looked good on me. No such luck... Hello Jean-Pierre!

  8. It certainly sounds delish, and would be perfect with some of the peppery herbs we have in the garden right now. Thanks Mariana! :)

  9. Chelsea - sounds like you can well relate to my public transport woes - yes it can easily take twice as long. Frustrating!

    Zurin - yes I do like my view. If however, we get this house built at the farm, then I really will have a magnificent view. Lamington National Park on one side, Springbrook mountain on the other as we sit high on the mountainside overlooking the rolling basalt hills in the valley. You'll have to come over and see our Australian way of life in the country dear.

    Tweet tweet Denise. I have no idea what your dress sense is like, but if it's anything like your writing, then you absolutely don't need any advice.

    Peppery herbs in the garden Celia? Rocket comes to mind. Can't think of anything else. Glad you liked my salad.