I’ve been having a bit of a nightmare the past few weeks with what to do about returning to work after my maternity leave finishes. I guess I’m in the situation that a lot of women with more than one child finds themselves in, returning to work will barely cover childcare costs for Felix (breakfast, after school, holiday club) and Alexander (nursery for three days). It means that my old part-time hours really aren’t going to work and that is a real crunch point for us as a family.
I’ve worked ever since I left uni, I started off working for free interning at Emap, which was ace as I was still living at home and got to flit around some of the publication offices that I dreamed of working at when I was younger – Smash Hits, Bliss, More – I seriously loved it! Then I took over from a brilliant Editorial Assistant at New Woman when she left on a short-term basis, from there I went to work in the press as a writer and later a sub editor.
Then I stumbled into a job in my home town, no more commuting – it was heaven! I also met my husband there, so quite a big chunk of my life has been spent there, it’s been my job through getting married and having both my kids and it has always fitted in quite well – until now.
I’m so torn as I don’t want to give up my job, but equally I don’t want to be working purely to cover childcare costs. I’ve applied for flexible working but I’m not sure if that will come off – argh, stress!
Anyway, if there’s one thing that makes life easier when I’m busy it’s this five veg pasta sauce – it’s packed with hidden veg, so is full of nutrients and once you’ve made a huge batch you can portion it off into food bags and it’ll last in the freezer for ages. Simply whip one out, defrost it in a pan and shove it on some pasta – a nutritious and tasty dinner in 10 minutes!
Jamie Oliver’s Five Veg Pasta Sauce
- 2 onions
- 2 leeks
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 carrots
- 2 courgettes
- 2 red peppers
- 1/2 a butternut squash
- 2 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4x400g tins of plum tomatoes
- Wash and chop and the veg, leave the skin on the courgettes and butternut squash for extra goodness
- Put a HUGE (I cant stress huge enough as this makes loads of food) pan on a medium heat and add the oil then fry the garlic and oregano for a minute then add the rest of the veg.
- Pop the lid on and cook for 25 minutes until the veg is soft but not coloured, make sure you stir regularly.
- Pour in the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon, then half fill all the tins with water to get all the juice out and chuck that in the pan
- Simmer for 25 mins until the sauce as thickened then use a stick blender to whizz it all up so it’s smooth.
- Once cool portion into freezer bags and pop them in the freezer until you need them.