After three long weeks away tending to her sick mum, my wife finally returned home last weekend. It was an emotional affair, with lots of tears, cuddles and laughs.
And as much as we know there are battles ahead as her mum starts radiotherapy after her mastectomy for breast cancer, we wanted to live in the moment with each other: just me, my wife, and our three kids.
For the first time since last year, I laid the table and made a lemony roast chicken, with roast potatoes, carrots and Brussel sprouts.
This was going to be our postponed New Year's Day lunch. But then I realised I'd forgotten dessert.
What's a house dad to do in such an emergency?
I looked in the cupboards, the fridge and the freezer. I found a flan case, a tub of mascarpone, half a pot of double cream and some frozen blackberries from our brambling in the autumn.
And then I came up with this...my Emergency Trifle Cake. It was the easiest thing in the world to make, and was gone in 30 seconds.
Serves a family of 5-6
300-400g frozen blackberries
1 tbsp sugar
1 x 15cm diameter flan case
1 x 250g tub mascarpone cheese (or you could use any cream cheese)
100ml double cream 1 tsp icing sugar
1. Put the frozen blackberries into the bottom of a deep round bowl or clear casserole dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and set aside until the blackberries have thawed, approximately 30 mins. This will release lots of lovely juice.
2. Place the flan, hollowed side down, onto the blackberries and press down to soak up the juice.
3. Meanwhile, with an electric whisk, whiz together the mascarpone, double cream and icing sugar for 1-2 mins until fluffy.
4. Spread over the top of the flan and smooth out into an even layer, a couple of centimetres thick.
5. Serve. Enjoy. Take a bow!