Much though I long for silence and solitude, the odd thing about being a mum, for me, is that when I get it, the enjoyment is fleeting. In the still of the house, I feel bereft almost and like I want to wake everyone up and check they're ok. But then if they did actually get out of bed, the spell would be broken. Is it part and parcel of being a mum that you never feel you are quite in the right place?
Tonight's blog was supposed to be about the triumph of my eldest's birthday cake. It is her party on Saturday and she asked for one of those hideous Barbie cakes, where the doll's torso emerges from a Victoria Sponge skirt. They are completely revolting and, perhaps I am projecting, but they remind me of naff loo roll holders from the 1980s. Found at the homes of people who had those floral china signs on the bathroom door - saying bathroom, in case the presence of the bath hadn't reassured you. The Barbie cake is also a bugger to make. Or so I have found. I bought the right bell-shaped mould, but it all looks too small, too wonky, a bit burnt and rather forlorn. I am not making another one, at this juncture I'm going to see if I can ice my way out of it. As long as it looks good to a six-year-old's eyes, it doesn't matter what it tastes like, as no one eats birthday cake anyway. Many is the time I have fished some out of the bottom of my handbag, weeks after a party, squashed and with the indentation of my car keys in the Peppa Pig napkin.
Of course, I could waste this time in the house on my own, cracking the Barbie cake code, just so I have something to blog about, but I'm not that devoted and I know that you all are secretly hankering after a recipe for leeks. You're in luck. This one is foolproof, quick and easy, so I'm just going to write it. No lists or recipe as such. All you do is take one leek per person, slice it into coin shapes, put it in a pan with a splash of water and a knob of butter and semi-braise it until the leeks are soft. You could, I suppose, use chicken stock, if you have some to hand. Make sure the leeks don't brown. Burnt leeks are bitter. Take it off the heat and stir in about a dessert spoon of cream cheese per person (by cream cheese, I mean Philadelphia-type stuff, but buy own-brand, it is half the price), season with salt and pepper, maybe sprinkle with grated Parmesan and eat. This is good in jacket potatoes, but works well with lamb or any roasted meat.
Now, excuse me. A sofa awaits me and me alone.