Cacao Butter and Pear Pancakes

I started a new job, you may have heard. A new blog, too*. And as a result it's all about death around here. Visit my science blog and you can read a bit about my new research - but suffice it to say I've become even more obsessed with mortality than I was before.

Is that possible? Am I crazy? Shouldn't I be studying benign things - happy things - like daisy petals or dolphin smiles or that way even the smell of coffee gives you energy? I don't know about crazy, but if a chemical imbalance can drive masochistic behaviour, I reckon we're on to something.
I blame chemo.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not self-tattooing or putting on bandaids just to peel them off or anything. But I've been reading about death and dying in the scientific sense, and also the personal one. All this information's been making me feel intensely powerful - on the verge of something ... but also ... 

well ... unfortunately, confrontingly mortal. 

Reading papers about cancer, with that terrifying, skin-crawling feeling that
It. was. inside. me
Fuck. It makes my skin crawl just writing that.

So it's nothing like when I did my PhD and read about how temperature affects metabolism.

Not one study in the tadpole/temperature world generates little goodies like this: "Here we have [George Johnson's] luminous accounts of, among other revelations: tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body ..."

Or this "If we seek immortality, then so, too, in a rather perverse sense, does the cancer cell."
(So it's a competition, then. Great.)

But I think that's what cancer did to me. It made me want to find immortality in the world around me, or at least find a mortality that comes at a normal age. (Not 32. Not 37.) Who knew I'd walk through my 30's with cancer hovering over my shoulder, driving my thoughts and actions and words, focusing my attention inward. What is that niggle? Could it be ... a metastasis? Seriously, what do I care about tadpoles when I'm going to (one day, at least) die? and now, even after cancer, even in remission and all that, I'm still pretty focused on my self, and, as an extension - my daughter's need to have a mother. So am I going to study tadpoles? Not on your life, or mine.

I'm tackling death. So there. I'll try not to bore you too much with death this and death that, but you may hear about it now and then. Or you can see what I'm up to over on Easy Peasy Science - where I'll talk about my research and science in general, academic life and balance, my attempts to make sense of this world.

And none of this has anything to do with recipes, I'm afraid. But as a consolation I offer you pancakes. Made with raw organic cocoa butter. Topped with buttered and honeyed pear slices. Because pancakes seem to have a way with emotional reconciliation. Don't you think?

Amanda xx
*don't worry, I'm not leaving Easy Peasy Organic! Just needed a place for my scientific persona to express herself. I'm also not planning to die anytime soon.

Cocoa Butter Pancakes with Honeyed Pears
serves 2.5
adapted from the basic pancake recipe in Marie Claire Kitchen  
but with cocoa butter in them - for a hint of chocolatey goodness + rockin antioxidants

The time
10 min prep + 10-15 min cooking

The ingredients
2 large organic eggs
2 Tbs rapadura sugar
2 Tbs grated cacao butter (mine was raw)
3/4 cup past-date or sour milk (or regular milk + 1/2 tsp vinegar)
2 Tbs finely grated (or pureed) pear
1 cup self raising wholemeal flour (or use self-raising plain)

+1 large sliced pear + butter + raw honey

*Use organic when you can!

The process
1. In a large dish, mix the wet ingredients completely. Add the dry ingredients and mix again. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, while you make the pears.

2. Saute the pear slices in a tablespoon or two of butter, just until they soften. Or keep going, if you like. It's up to you. Set them aside.

3. Toss another slice of butter into another small frying pan, over med-high heat. When the pan's hot (and sizzles at drops of water), begin dolloping 1/4 cup portions of pancake batter in. Cook each pancake till golden brown on each size - adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

4. Serve pancakes topped with the buttered pear slices and a hefty drizzle of raw honey. We ended up with about 3 small/medium pancakes each.

The cost
Around $2 for the lot, done mostly-organically.


  1. Your words are inspiring. Thank you for sharing, I'm passing your blog on to someone I know.

    Ohhh boy, those pancakes look delish.


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