I stopped working this week. The pull of it all was too great. After desperately wishing for a job to give me a break from the long stretch of home with small kids where Mondays are indistinguishable from Saturdays other than that Cindy's coffee cart is not where I want it to be, and then getting a job (and an interesting one at that ... not always easy in a small town), I am back as chief stoker of the home fires.
It was only three days a week, but still a juggle. Without the tradeoff of an amazing salary or the absolute necessity of it to pay the bills I could no longer justify escaping to the cafe and leaving the kids with a nanny (in our case a divine and remarkably competent English backpacker called Emma).
So often I want to outsource the rearing of my kids, but with food and shelter a given, if the main business of spending time with them day-to-day isn't my responsibility I don't know what is. When my son started calling me Emma-Mummy and then just Emma, it was time to come back home.
I have no plans to get all martyr-ish about it. There will be plenty of allocated "me" time which I will no doubt use to set up imaginary picnics styled with giant foliage-filled butter churns and other important life activities, but for now I am happy to accept that you can't have everything all at the same time. And while I look forward to actually earning some money myself (can you hear Ed screaming yes pleeeease in the background) while working alongside people who know how to conjugate the verb to be ("Mummy-Emma where was you, I was crying for you"), for now I am choosing to eat my cake rather than keep it.
Having said that, there have been far too many cakes recently, this is the last for a while as my boyfriend jeans are starting to grab. But it's not every day I retire. So kids, leave your half-eaten apples on the floor right where you dropped them and come and celebrate by eating this together in our pyjamas.
Rhubarb, rose geranium and vanilla tarts
Thanks to @fionabateman for suggesting this genius combo. From Debo Devonshire to Caitlin Moran to mixing a bit of mustard and mayo into roast veggies, you have given me so much to make my days more interesting.
I bought it. The all-butter Careme one. For why I didn't make it from scratch, reread this post.
Slice rhubarb stalks into little fingers and tumble in a bowl with a couple of handfuls of brown sugar, vanilla and about six small rose geranium leaves. Let macerate for 15 minutes. Place mounds of rhubarb in the middle of the pastry squares and fold the edges over to keep the rhubarb and the sugary juices in the one parcel.
Brush pastry with a bit of milk. Or an egg yolk, but it seems like such a waste to crack a whole egg for this when milk will do the job just fine.
Bake in the oven at 180C for about 25 mins until the rhubarb is soft and the pastry golden. Serve with cream whipped with honey.