losing my footing | lemon cloud pancakes

Prune was given a shelf life, but they weren't exactly sure what it would be. The words of the vet ran round and round my head like a batsman between the bases. Could be could be three weeks, could be three days, she might not make it at all. She had been quite happy, when I left her there, in the consultation room. Wagging her tail, tired and confused, why I was sitting on the cold tiled floor with her, with a lump in my throat and her collar in my hand. What do you say to your dog, who is more than just a dog when they've told you'll probably never see her again? What would you say to your best friend or your sister? I said nothing, but tickled her chin as I always do, she licked my face, and I left the vet. The walk out was as if I was on a mountainside road somewhere, my head all spacey, like there was no atmosphere and I was loosing my footing. Slipping, off the road, into an abyss. A dark, empty space, without her.

Drama of mountainside roads aside, that Thursday almost exactly six months ago was a nightmare. I woke up that night and thought, did I dream all this? Please tell me that Prune's asleep on her cushion. But of course she wasn't. There was only one set of tic-tac paws on wooden floors, rushing to greet me, but even to Suzi her solo footsteps sounded hollow, she kept stopping to check for Prune, her big sister, the one who incited all her craziness. We'd had a call late the night before that Prune had survived her operation. The tumour was out, the internal bleeding had stopped, she would have blood transfusions all night. As you probably know, she made it. It changed her, it changed us. If Prune isn't at my door in the morning wagging her tail and practically jumping up and down, I panic. Every time she's sleeping I stop and watch her ribs heaving up and down. I know it's crazy, but people have said that it was a miracle she survived at all. And now she's lasted 6 months! You go Prune. 

She's been in the best mood lately. All smiles. Whoever said dogs can't smile has never met Prune, because she knows how to grin. She'll lie there on her cushion in the mornings, her head propped up against the kitchen cabinet and her tail will thump, frenetically, so I'll tickle her chin, her back leg does this funny circular motion. A bit like she's playing the drums, pushing the pedal with her feet. She'll sigh a bit, snuffle a bit, snatch whatever food we've given Suzi, then leave the kitchen and plop herself down on the floor in the living room. Spirited is a good word for her. Independent. But less so than before. Before the op, she'd squirm and wriggle and wrench herself free when I tried to cuddle her but now she'll stay. Probably through gritted teeth, she lets me sit on the cushion, between her and Suzi. Pruney will heave a heavy sigh, but she likes it. Knowing that we're around.

Prune went for another scan in mid February where the vet gave her the more or less all clear. For now. We'll never know how far out of the woods we have come. A bit like living in the shadow of that mountain, with the high roads where you can't breathe, where there are gaps between the rocks that are dark and empty. But for now she's here and we hold on to that. She's still smiling every morning, still stealing all the food she can find, still digging holes and eating mud in the garden. She's still here and she's still our girl. For now, at least, the mountains just hover on the horizon.

Pruney loves pancakes. So does Suzi, actually, and my dad. We're the pancake squad over here. These pancakes are super fluffy, hence the name cloud pancakes. They are so light, airy and delicate, with a bright lemony tang. Spring pancakes, for the awkward time when citrus is still lingering but the cherry tree is starting to blossom (!!)
They do involve a whipped egg white situation which makes them a bit more effort than other pancakes, but it's totally worth it. They freeze well, too, so you could double the recipe really easily and freeze some.
Hug your pups when you can. They make our lives much richer than they'd ever think.
Hope you have a great weekend, maybe with pancakes xx

Lemon cloud pancakes

makes 5-6 pancakes  // gluten free + easily dairy free

1/4 cup (25g) oat flour
1/4 cup (30g) brown rice flour
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup natural yogurt (goat, regular, coconut all work)
juice + zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 free range egg, seperated

yogurt and honey,  for serving (if you like)

Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder + soda and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. If your coconut oil seizes up (from the cold other ingredients), very gently heat the mix and it will loosen up again. Beat in the egg yolk.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, or in a very clean glass/metal bowl, beat the egg white till stiff peaks form. 

Add the yogurt & egg yolk mix to the flour and gently combine with a flexible spatula. Very gently add the egg white, and stir to just combine - there can still be streaks of egg white, you don't want to deflate their poofiness.

Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. You can heat up your pan in this time.

After 5 minutes, ladle about 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of batter into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, till bubbles form on the surface of the pancake. Flip it gently and cook for about a minute more. I use an electric stove and most people don't, but you've made pancakes before.

Repeat with the remaining batter. If you're serving the pancakes straight away, you can keep them warm in a low oven, on a baking tray. Otherwise, let them cool completely, wrap in parchment paper and freeze.

I like them with a dollop of yogurt mixed with honey, but maple syrup, nut butter etc would also be great. Just a suggestion :)

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