|North Tamborine Newsagency...in the Supa IGA complex|
|Remy and Shama's favourite section at IGA|
|Shama and Remy....The View Is Great From Up Here!|
In many ways I am a creature of habit; and in other ways I’m much like a leopard – I don’t change my spots. In another way I’m like an elephant. Play nice! I mean I never forget!
My Saturday and Sunday mornings are almost always, without fail, alteration or altercation spent reading the newspaper. Come rain, hail, shine or fog Gavin, our local, always obliging and pleasant newsagent, delivers my papers early on weekend morns. ‘Tis a simple, basic pleasure, but one I enjoy. Bliss for me is being curled up each Saturday and Sunday mornings engrossed in the paper; a steaming coffee at hand; uninterrupted by the outside world. For Remy and Shama my habit has become their habit. They enjoy reading about Garfield’s adventures and live in constant hope that one day I’ll buy them each a doughnut or two.
A couple of Saturdays ago I broke from tradition. I decided to hit IGA early before preparing coffee; before unraveling the paper. The tradition I shattered was going to the supermarket on a Saturday morning, not the early visit. It’s my custom to go shopping early. Our local Supa IGA opens its door each morning at 7 am; and that suits me just fine. I like to get my shopping over and done with, so I can usually be found strolling through the aisle anytime between the hours of 7 am and 9 am; and if I’m really extending the perimeters…9.30 am! I’m not one to go out shopping in the afternoons. I can see no point waiting around all morning, and to then go out shopping in the afternoon. If I’ve not done the deed way before noon, nothing is so urgent it can’t wait until the following morning. And I’m also a rare breed…almost extinct…or should be…in the majority of instance I only shop once a week. Other than my grocery lines, fresh produce and newsagency necessities most everything else I require I purchase by online method when the need arises. I’m not one who enjoys wandering around shopping centres etc.
For whatever the reason on the Saturday morning of my break from convention I wanted to be at the supermarket on opening so I could get in, do what I had to do and get out again before my fellow mountain dwellers stirred. My intention was to be home again as quickly as viable with as little disturbance possible to my normal Saturday morn routine.
Making my way along the aisles I was alone except for a couple of half-asleep early birds of the non-feathered variety, some staff who might’ve slept in-store overnight (I think I spotted a couple of swags and hammocks in between the shelves) and my reflection in the fridge doors.
Out of the blue the silence was broken by a father calling out to his daughter. “Poppy! Poppy!”
In the distance a squeal of delight followed by a child’s laughter echoed through the store.
A young father with a baby of about 12 months, give or take, in his arms was walking towards me.
His little girl “Poppy” had cavorted off on an adventure of her own.
As he approached me I was overwhelmed by a feeling of warmth. His glowing face radiated happiness and love. I smiled at him and he smiled in return.
Out of nowhere a carefree, exuberant, pretty little girl skipped up to the young man.
Poppy had arrived.
Strolling through the store doing an early morning shop for his family - thoughtfully allowing his wife and mother of his two gorgeous children a break; a sleep-in - the young man appeared very content with his lot.
With not a care in the world Poppy bounced off again like a fully-charged Eveready-Energizer Bunny.
The father, a fine-looking young man and I laughed as we exchanged pleasantries.
He told me he’d been away for a week, having only returned home late the previous evening. The children were over the moon their much-loved Daddy was home, Poppy, in particular.
Powerless to put up a fight I succumbed, willingly – no white flag required - to the contagious, almost tangible euphoria both he and his lovely little princess exuded. I wanted to share the light that engulfed them.
I’d witnessed a magical vignette of life.
Meanwhile, Poppy squealed and giggled as she darted back and forth enjoying her frolic. Like a melodious bell her laughter rang out through the store. It was clear Poppy couldn’t contain her excitement at being with her beloved father.
Driving past me in the car park while I was still loading my purchases into the boot/trunk of my car, the young man pulled to a stop. A lovely smile still beamed like a neon sign across his handsome countenance. With his little princess Poppy still full of beans and giggling away in her car seat with her baby brother gazing at her in wide-eyed interest, the father and I chatted briefly before he waved and smiled at me as he and his two beautiful children exited the car park.
I’d participated in an episode of pure, unadulterated joy. Driving home it was if I was floating on air. I felt at one with the world; a wonderful world. I’d made a smart decision to go shopping early that Saturday morning.
Tomato-Poppy Seed Tart: Sift 1-1/2c plain flour, 1/4tsp salt; add 1tbs poppy seeds and 1tsp ground thyme; if using processor, pulse once; add 100g cold, cubed butter; pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs or use fingertips, the old-fashioned way; add 2tbs icy-cold water; pulse/combine until dough comes together. Press dough into rectangle baking pan; cover, chill 1hr. Slice six medium tomatoes; leave to drain. Heat oven 200C. Zig-zag tomato slices over crust; add 150g cherry tomatoes; sprinkle over Italian herbs; crumble over 84g goat cheese; season; bake 40mins. Enjoy warm or cold.
Parmesan & Poppy Seed Biscuits: Line 2 baking trays. Sift 100g plain white flour, 100g wholemeal flour, 1/2tsp baking powder, 1tsp sweet smoked paprika, 1/2tsp hot smoked paprika, pinch of cayenne. salt and 1/2tsp freshly-ground black pepper. In a bowl beat 160g room temp butter and 140g grated parmesan until well combined; add dry ingredients; mix until soft dough forms. On floured surface divide dough into two; roll each piece into log, 3cm in diameter; wrap; chill 1hr. Slice logs into 6mm rounds; lay them on baking sheets, 3cm apart. Brush with beaten egg; place 3 pumpkin seeds on top of each; then scatter tops with poppy and sesame seeds. Bake in 170C oven, 12-14mins.
Orange-Poppy Seed Cake: Process 1 large, roughly-chopped orange until pureed; add 125g melted butter, 1-1/2c almond meal, 3/4c caster sugar, 1/2c poppy seeds and 3 eggs; process until smooth; pour mixture in paper-lined 20cm cake pan; bake at 180C, 40-50mins. The cake won’t rise much. Stand cake 5mins before turning onto rack. Make sticky orange syrup: Peel rind from 1 orange into long straight strips; then finely julienne. Combine 1/2c water and 1/2c white sugar in saucepan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves; add orange rind; bring to boil; boil 10mins or until syrupy and rind is translucent. Drizzle warm syrup over cake; decorate with sticky orange rind; serve thin slices of cake with dollops of cream.