a little sunshine in your Sunflower Bread

You know when you see someone, and all you want to do is pass them on a little sunshine. A little tiny something that might brighten their day?

In two occasions recently I would have happily passed on some sunshine to a little old lady. Rather, two little old ladies.

The first one, just last week. The Monkeys and I were headed to the Post Office. A parcel to be picked up, for an excited Monkey Boy. Outside the Post Office sat two massage chairs. The kind that you see in shopping malls or airports. You place $2 in and get about 10 minutes massage from the vibrating chair. Sitting in the black massage chair sat a little old lady. A fragile looking thing, dressed in many layers despite the warmth of the day. She looked like she had dressed up for her shopping outing. With her necklace wound around her neck, and earrings clasped to her ear lobes. She clutched an oversized shopping bag. Awkwardly holding it close to her chest, head tilted down.

She was asleep. Fast asleep. Obviously that massage was very relaxing as she had dozed off quite comfortably. The boys and I kept going, collected our package, lingered a little in a few shops and then passed her again a little while later. Slumped even lower in her black massage chair, mouth opened slightly. I paused a second. Firstly just to watch her chest rise and fall, and then secondly to appreciate that, no she seemed fine. It was just a different place for a nod off. I wanted to place a blanket on her lap, put my hand on her shoulder, see if she was ok. But I also didn’t want to disturb her.

She really did seem so peacefully asleep.

The second was a few months ago. The Monkeys and I were at the playground. Nobody else was there and they were having a lovely play. Time to finish off and we gathered up our things. As we were collecting everything I noticed in the distance, an elderly lady making her way towards the playground. She had a limp, but it seemed that she was hurrying. The boys and I collected our things, loaded up the pram and headed to the gate. At the same time, the lady reached the gate. As she had got closer, I had really noticed she was hurrying. I opened the gate for her and then shuffled the boys out. The old lady was now alone in the enclosed quiet playground. She looked at me, her face visibly fell, and she slowly limped her way to a seat. It suddenly dawned on me that she had been hurrying to get to us. Presumably for some interaction with the kids. I watched her awkwardly place herself on the park bench looking dejected, all I wanted to do was go back in and send the kids back to clamber around her. We had to go though, we had to get home. So I left that little old lady with the limp to sit there and wait for another child to come to the playground…and it’s tugged at me ever since.

Sunshine Sunflower Bread

(adapted from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

600gms strong bakers flour

2 tps dried yeast

400mls water

3 tbls olive oil

2 tps salt

extra- cherry tomatoes, chopped fresh rosemary, salt

Pop all ingredients in to mixer, and mix until throughly combined (approximately 5 minutes, until dough is smooth.) Quick knead and pop the dough back in the  mixing bowl, leaving it to prove. Prove for 1.5 hours with two folds in between at the 30 minute marks.

To get the sunflower shape. Divide dough, cutting approximately 1/3 off. Shape it into a circle, flatten slightly and rest in the middle of the tray. Divide the remaining dough into equal parts. Rolling to fat sausage lengths, joining them  to the circle and lightly twisting around. Don’t make it super tight as it will expand when it proves. Let it prove for a further 20 minutes and then place your tomatoes and rosemary in the dough. Pushing down into the dough, so the tomatoes won’t pop out when cooked.  Prove for another 10 minutes. Grind sea salt over the top and place in a hot oven (250C) with steam.

Notes… This olive oil bread recipe is really versatile. I’ve used it quite a few times now, like the Rosemary and Sea salt Grissini. It’s fairly forgiving so you can shape it into anything you want. The Sunshine Sunflower Bread was inspired by the lovely Joanna’s bread. Which made me stop, smile, and brought sunshine to my day.


This post submitted to Yeastspotting.