Vegan Cannellini Bean Cakes Thai Style

One of my passions is experimenting with food.  I keep meaning to document my concoctions with the hope that I can reproduce the dish a second time, but in my excitement I forget to write things down and can’t always remember what I have done.

I’m not very good at following recipes; I tend to be more instinctive.  This probably means that my recipes may not be too precise, but I hope these will give an essence if you wanted to try them too.  In my eagerness to taste the food I neglected to take photos….next time.

Vegan Cannellini Bean Cakes Thai Style

1 400g tin of cannellini beans

1 red chilli

3 spring onions

½ cup of endamame beans

1 ‘flax egg’ (1 tbs flaxseed mixed with 3 tbs water.  Leave to rest for 10 minutes)

½ cup fresh coriander

3 tbs cornflour

3 tbs red curry paste

3 tbs soya sauce

3 tbs coconut oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

Shop bought sweet chilli dipping sauce

Finely diced cucumber

1 finely diced spring onion

Soya Sauce

¼ cup of fresh coriander

Place the cannellini beans, flax egg, coriander, cornflour, red curry paste and soya sauce in a food processor and blend for a few minutes until combined.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the spring onions and endamame beans. Mix well.

Form the mixture into small flat patties.  You may need to use more cornflour as the mixture will be fairly sticky.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the patties until they are golden brown on both sides.

For the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Telling Stories for Positive Change

I wrote this blog shortly after my ‘father in law’ died.  I didn’t feel able to be out there at the time, hence the anonymity..

Since then my partner and I have been telling dad’s story and sadly had it confirmed that his suffering, and perhaps even his death, could have been prevented.

Rather than going down the route of a complaint, we felt it more positive to continue to tell his story and set up events so that others can do the same.  We hope this can create positive change even if only in a small way…

My lessons from a herd

I want to dedicate my second blog / story to Chuck Mintzlaff.  I don’t know Chuck personally, but he is someone who stepped straight into my heart when I first became aware of his work.  Chuck’s work is with horses; mine, at the moment, with people.  I would like mine to be with both very soon.  Chuck’s words rang so true for me in my work as a Counsellor/Dramatherapist and I think as a lesson to humankind.  As an example, people who are labelled as having challenging behaviours – do we ever examine ourselves and wonder if something we are doing might be the cause of this?  Once someone has this label, I doubt this does happen.  This is mirrored or even magnified in the equine world.  Chuck challenges this in our way of being with horses.  If you don’t know his work, please do have a look at

A little preamble before my story…I have had, I imagine like many others, a little obsession with horses since I was a very young girl.  What might be different is I never wanted to ride.  I remember believing that you couldn’t appreciate a horse when you were on his/her back.  I think connection was very important to me and I would have needed a face for that!  I used to think that horses had another set of eyes in their nostrils.  I don’t think that was such a misguided belief…horses have the most amazing ability to sense throughout their bodies.

On to my story; when I was seventeen I used to work in what we called a blood factory.  I used to help process blood products for people with haemophilia.  I also used to work behind the bar in the social club.  This particular night I had accepted a few drinks whilst working throughout the night, so left feeling a little unsteady.  I lived about three miles away across country and at the time I feared nothing!  I crossed a stile and as I began walking across this field I suddenly became aware of eyes watching me. Many eyes in a circle around me and they seemed to be closing in.  I felt a surge of terror and began to run.  I turned briefly to seeing a herd of horses running after me. I swerved towards a little copse but as I ran in I began sinking in the mud.  Within a few moments I had sunk up to my thighs.  I remained still. unsure what to do.  If I moved, would I continue to sink?  I thought the probably all too familiar thought that this wasn’t happening to me, and as I did, I looked up.  One of the horses was moving his head down towards me.  I wish I could say I trusted him/her and accepted their help, but I was too scared and pulled myself out on some rusty fencing and ran home.  My adventure and all the thoughts and feelings that ran through me came to an abrupt end as I was commanded by my mother to take off all my dirty clothes on the doorstep!

I often think of my memory of this night and I feel sad my fear took over from my sense of what might have been going on.  I have thought and still think that horses are incredibly sensitive beings. I truly believe we need to look at what we can learn from them.

Does Therapeutic Lying Increase Stigma?

This morning I managed to dip in at the end of #demphd which focused on language and stigma.  I always prickle when I hear the term ‘Therapeutic Lying’ in relation to people who are living with dementia.  I have expressed some feelings in emails and on twitter, but it was only yesterday that I felt I had got to the root of this physical reaction.

We are taught from an early age to value honesty and tell the truth. Being called a liar is seen as a harsh criticism.  However studies have shown that we lie on average once or twice a day.  In his book, Born Liars, Ian Leslie points out that lying is deeply connected to what makes us human.

There are many examples of where pleasantries may trump saying how we really feel: “I’m fine”, “It’s no trouble at all”.  I think there are things we say which are intended to mislead, for example complimenting someone on a meal you had not enjoyed, or on a new haircut you don’t think suits them.

Saying what we think or feel may be met with defence mechanisms and I wonder what purpose this may serve.  Most of us are able to relate to others and imagine what a truth might do to our sense of self, so we lie.

I think there are many other reasons we lie – self preservation, self aggrandisement/deprecation, to name a couple, but my thinking at the moment is more about being aware of the impact we have on other people through what we say and do.

I feel by defining a way we communicate with a person living with dementia as Therapeutic Lying, we’re separating a particular behaviour from something we are doing every day. By including the word Therapeutic, it seems we are seeking to legitimatise it as a technique.  By saying this is something we need to use as we are dealing with a different group of people with different needs, are we exacerbating a divide and perhaps in turn increasing rather than reducing stigma?  Widening a gap between an us and a them.  The wider the gap the easier I feel it is to treat someone with less humanity.

If we can imagine the negative impact of telling our truth to a friend, for example, surely we can also think of the impact it may have on someone who is living with dementia.   Rather than promoting Therapeutic Lying, perhaps we need to be teaching empathy instead.

If we truly empathise with another and we enter their world and are able to support their reality in the moment, we may be able to intuit what a sensitive response might be.  I feel all our realities are different, and while a person living with dementia’s reality may seem far removed from our own, if we try and walk in their shoes, we may find it closer than we thought.