Pancakes are such a treat and they satisfy an indulgent craving without being all that indulgent. In fact, these pancakes are full of such goodness that you will feel energised, nutrient fueled and fulfilled!
These were just what I needed after an eventful and emotional week.
On Monday night my little boy cat, Rios brought home a little field mouse for the first time, We managed to save the mouse, and found her a little box to recuperate. She had a puncture wound to her side and a limp so we made her box as comfortable as we could and left her to rest. By a couple of hours time, she was no longer limping and jumped into our hands and happily ran around us before jumping back in to her box. We were becoming attached and I had already named her Jerry. She was a wild animal though, so I decided that if I felt she was fit enough by the morning, we would let her go. Then, in came Aria, Rios’ little sister, complete with another mouse, but this one not so lucky.
By the morning, Jerry had become a mother.
I was freaked and excited at the same time. Freaked because I knew there would be dead pups in there and being enclosed in a box, I would have to remove them. This was a delicate matter given a new mum and pups no bigger than my thumbnail. I knew the chances were that they were premature, the birth induced from the stress of the mother being caught by my cat. In order to not disturb Jerry’s mothering (which can cause abandonment and cannibalism), we first had to remove her before touching the pups, instead of taking the pups from her. We made a better box up for them more suitable for Jerry to rear her young.
Jerry was surprisingly tame and would sit in our hands and take food. But this time, all of a sudden, she freaked and leapt and ran under a pipe into the bathroom wall. This was the beginning of the end.
With three live yet under-developed pups (2 stillborn) we and they needed Jerry to come back for her babies but the timing was crucial, we couldn’t wait too long before they would die anyway. We didn’t know if she had already abandoned them, if she had fed them and how recently. What I know for sure is that the live babies were entangled in hay, separated, certainly not suggestive that they were suckling their mother.
It was the middle of the night.
We put Mat’s cheese and peanut butter by the entrance that she had run into and kept the babies warm, next to the pipe in the hope that she would return to her pups’ cries.
We paced up and down the kitchen drinking tea and diet coke to keep us awake and blamed ourselves for a while.
An hour had passed and we had to make a decision. There was no sign that she had returned and we could not hear her scampering in the wall. The best chance these pups had was if we tried to hand rear them. We knew the risks, we knew the work but we couldn’t just wait for them to die.
Without kitten formula, we were not off to a great start. Mice are lactose intolerant so I opted for soya milk. I did a little research that suggested this was safe but they would need a kitten formula for proper nutrition. I researched the amount to feed them, every 2 hours. Luckily I had some tiny 1ml syringes but even they were giant for our little guys. Their mouth was not much bigger than a pin prick and we had to be sure not to get any milk on their nose. Without a heat mat we snuggled them in cotton wool and put a fan heater on in the bathroom, we breathed our warm breath on to them as they fed as they need the warmth to digest properly. I used a cotton bud dipped in warm water to stimulate them to go to the toilet and we just hoped and prayed that they could make it through the crucial first few days.
That night, one died in Mat’s hand. It was heartbreaking. We were so determined to give them a chance to live.
The next morning, I had to go to work in London having had not a minute’s sleep. I said I’d bring kitten formula home and Mat stayed, feeding the remaining 2 until I returned. By the time I got home, one more had died. One was left and it’s future looked bleak, That night, the remaining pup died.
The irony of it all is that, the next morning, Jerry returned! She now lives in the wall and comes out to get food every now and then. Sad, but we tried.
In happier news, we adopted two bunnies who were given up by their owners. We have named them Berry and Banksy, a male and female pair who we are working into a trio with our recent widower Bella. I think we’ll get there with some work and patience!
So back to pancakes. Serve with a scattering of toasted pistachios and maple syrup for a truly delectable, nutty and fresh tasting breakfast treat.
Ingredients: Makes 10
- 100g/4/5 cup (3/4 cup+1tbsp) plain flour (unbleached white, spelt, gluten free blend, wholemeal etc)
- 15g/2tbsp hemp protein powder (or other protein powder or more flour or ground flax)
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 125ml/1/2 cup soya or nut milk
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp syrup (date, agave, maple or sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g/1 cup loosely packed grated courgette, squeezed of excess moisture
- 10g/2 tbsp roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour – salt) in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients (milk – courgette) in a large bowl. Add the dry mix to the wet and mix to combine, stir through the nuts.
- Heat a non stick pan over a medium heat and spray with a very light coating of oil then drop a couple of tablespoons or so into the pan. When bubbles begin to appear or when the batter looks firm, flip and cook the other side for about a minute, depending on your heat.
- Keep warm whilst you cook the remaining batter and serve hot with warm syrup and a scattering of pistachio nuts.