We walk home at 5.30pm and it’s the first time I remember it being light at this time of day. Everything is bathed in a lovely glow as the sun goes down and I get that hopefulness that warmer weather is on the way.
The lemsip which has powered me through drama club, is beginning to wear off, but it’s all good: at home we have a cottage pie waiting for us.
I feel so unbelievably smug that I have ALREADY prepared dinner!! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is not something which happens very often.
We get home and I race straight into the kitchen to have a look at it. I want to do a big high five for my organisation and forward planning, but there is no-one in here except the cat, meowing around my ankles.
I don’t normally follow a recipe for cottage pie, but Delia offered a version which involved hiding some swede in with the meat so I decided to follow that (only adding an extra glass of red wine to make the stock more flavoursome).
For the mash I had various root vegetables to use up: half a celeriac, a quarter of a swede, three carrots and four potatoes. I steamed the lot, added salt, pepper and Pure spread (yes, butter would be better but this is dairy-free) and mashed.
Delia and I only fell out over the leek topping: ‘slice two leeks and put them on top of the mash’ she says. I’m suspicious as to whether or not this will work and it doesn’t. I check my precious pie ten minutes after putting it in the oven. We are all ruddy starving and need it to cook quickly. Most of the leeks have caught and gone brown; those that haven’t have turned pink, just as I suspected! I cover it in foil but the leeks continue to singe until I have to remove them all because they don’t make a pretty picture.
The kids chat away over dinner but I am only half listening because something terrible has happened on The Archers. “We must save the church!” Shouts someone. “Swing your legs out of the window!” Shouts another. I’m a big fan of the radio but sometimes it would be nice to see what’s actually happening.
Just then Tom walks in. He looks like he’s seen better days, but then he has just done an hour of extreme sport in the dark, outside. He’s a glutton for punishment because he’s also been back to the dodgy dentist today too, but that’s a whole other story.
For now he looks as relieved as we did to see the pie on the table and to be at home at last.