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I’ve done some pretty radical things in my life – scaled volcano craters, sled (sledded? slayed?) across the wilds of the North Pole on the back of 12 huskies (not literally on their backs…) eaten haggis in mountains of Northern Scotland, but yesterdays outing far outweighs all of these experiences. I went to Ikea.
I parked the car at the far end of VictoriaGardens car park, so as to make a hasty escape. Let’s just say I wasn’t in my Sunday finest so I wanted to get in and out unnoticed like a slinky black cat. I was on the hunt for some china, it gets boring photographing the same old plates and bowls and I know that Ikea can deliver the goods at a rock bottom price. Details later. But there in lies the problem. I know the Market Place section of Ikea is right by the checkouts. Did I really want to get sucked into the vortex that is the ‘one way only’ walkways of this Swedish labyrinth and spat out the other end with 24 things that I have no need for; a new kitchen, a lounge suite, dining table or enormous stuffed crocodiles so in a fit a madness I decided to buck the system and go through Ikea BACKWARDS!
In an instant, I knew that this was going to be a treacherous expedition. It was 12.30pm and the Swedish meatball counter was pumping – two dollar hotdogs, I mean who can blame them! My first ‘base camp’ was getting through the barriers at the checkout – obviously there were plenty of nervous looking dudes with enormous brown cardboard boxes – nervous because their entire household is in that box and when they get home they know that they will spend every waking hour of the next four weeks putting it all together. I snuck through unnoticed. Hurrah.
I skated through the self serve furniture area, still channeling my black cat mentality. When I peered down each of the aisles there were multiple couples arguing, women crying, men laughing like a crazed Max Cady. When I hit the gardening section this is where it all went horribly wrong. It was crowded, like really crowded.
I was pushing my way through an army of fresh faced uni students, all buying 50c tea towels, through rivers of pregnant women and their unsuspecting partners – the same nervous ones back at the counter, cute gay couples balancing their bulk buy Klinderkaadenfurgelsteppen light bulbs and little Gen Z’ers pushing (actually make that ramming) trolleys into unsuspecting passers-by , sometimes with multiple siblings attached to either side. Why do parents let their children push trolleys through Ikea?? It’s not cute and it’s not teaching them a single thing. My mother almost had me bound and gagged whenever we were in a 5km radius of shop with breakables (unbreakables too, come to think of it). Each and every one of these people gave me the most filthiest of looks and glared; me, to the arrow on the floor and back to me with terrifying fire in their eyes. I turned a corner and could see beds.
Oh My God, I’m lost! How could this happen? Where’s some staff – where’s the bloody Staff! Turns out there are three people working at Ikea on Sunday – the other 47 are glued to the wall in the lunch room, too terrified to step onto the selling floor in fear of being harangued by immaculate 30 something’s demanding to know where the Klippan sofas have gone (having no clue that their chocolate covered darlings Jeremiah and Louisa are sprawling across them way back down 14 arrows away).
“Sorry, can I just…sorry, I just need to get past the … sorry, excuse me, thanks… …sorry…”. sweating, exhausted – I made it! I discovered a secret tunnel through the curtain section which deposited me smack bang in the middle of glassware. I totally need a stiff drink. Does the café sell Swedish vodka? I gathered myself together and found some really gorgeous creamy coloured plates called ‘Arv’ and a glass called ‘Herderlig’– all for the princely sum of 10 bucks. RESULT!
The next thing I knew I was back at the checkout – a bad dream. Obviously I slipped into a coma and was carried along by the crowds to the exit point. Some woman with a trolley L.O.A.D.E.D with picture frames and preserving jars was before me. Now if the situation was in reverse I would have said “please! you go first with your paltry purchase of three items” but this broad wasn’t having any of it and I was stuck behind her for hours. On the upside, they don’t do bags at Ikea anymore so she would have got to the barrier and had to balance her goods all the way to her Porsche Cayenne with acrobatic precision. Sucker! Had she let me through, I would have hung around and helped her. Karma, my friend. Karma.
I ran to my car and didn’t look back. A lesson to be learnt: Ikea + Sunday = Psych Ward for 2 weeks.
Thankfully, this oven baked sausage I made when I got home was so quick to make and so scrumptious that the whole experience was forgotten by the time we finished eating. And I am well happy with my dishes. I found this recipe in Gourmet Traveller and adapted it a little. It is cheap, quick and easy. Perfect mid week meal that I think you could do with lamb, pork – even fish. Yum
Salsiccia al Forno
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed (with skin left on)
8 Italian Sausages
1 tin Cherry Tomatoes – 400gms
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200°c. Place oil in baking and put in the oven to get your oil nice and hot (3 – 4 minutes) once oil is hot, throw in onions and garlic and let cook away for about 5 minutes until just starting to brown. Meanwhile, brown your sausages in a pan until they are lovely and golden. Remove baking tray from oven and add sausages, tomatoes, vinegar and thyme to garlic and onions. Return to oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Serve with creamy mash or parmesan polenta. Delish.