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Conversation can be as nourishing as food …


I just got off a phone call to my 96 year old Nana after listening to one of her regular, passionate rants.  This time it was about food.   I can only listen, amused by how similar we are – I just hope she realizes her spirit will always live on in me. I am so blessed to still have her on this earth.  She can’t quite get her head around what a blog is (she thinks I do cooking demonstrations) but nevertheless she thinks it’s important that I spread the message about eating real food that is preservative free, less expensive that ready-made meals and way more nutritious.  Noted.  Thanks Nana.

So what have I been cooking lately?  I went back to an old school classic to feed “the boys” on Origin night (I even rang my mother-in-law for advice – she served this regularly to her three hungry boys) … good old Mexican Dip was a tasty crowd pleaser – full of goodness and it fills you up.  The kids happily ate in the next day (it even traveled well to school) and I’m pretty sure there’s still some left in the fridge.  I made a couple of versions this week so I’ve decided which version I like best and it’s here for you to recreate.


1 x 400gms can kidney beans, washed well
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
3 shallots, finely sliced
2 avocadoes
half bunch of coriander, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
corn chips to serve


Using a Thermomix or food processor, puree the beans with the olive oil to desired consistency.  I like it a little rustic and chunky.

Add the diced tomatoes and shallots and stir to combine.  Layer the bean mix onto the bottom of a flat-bottom dish (a quiche or pie dish works well).

Mash the avocados with a fork or blend in a food processor until desired consistency is achieved.  Stir through coriander and lime juice until well combined.  Layer on top of the bean mixture and smooth with a spatula or icing knife.

Spread the sour cream over the top and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Cover and store in fridge – will keep for 2 days.

Serve with lots of corn chips or grilled tortillas.

mexican dip

Then I made myself a raw birthday cake …. but I do have a confession to make before I tell you about this.  Throughout the day I was treated to a coffee at Sirromet Winery (where we ate cake) and then lunch at one of my favourites, Pearl Cafe (I learned today that this is not an ideal place for kids to lunch with you – the best they could do for the girls was a croissant and shaved cheddar!!). But I ate a beautiful Pear Tart after lunch.  And so I didn’t really feel like eating dinner, let alone birthday cake, but I managed both! Back to basics tomorrow.  Promise.

I made a beautiful cashew creme, choc vanilla layered cake based on a recipe by Nicole Joy.  I must admit that I preferred this cake to the other sugar-laden treats I indulged in today – mainly because I feel so good afterwards!  Try it for yourself …



1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups macadamia nuts
1 cup almonds
12 medjool dates, pitted

Chocolate Creme

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 6hrs and rinsed well*
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp raw cacao powder (a little less if you don’t like it dark)
1 tbsp raw honey
3/4 cup coconut water

Vanilla Creme

1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 6hrs and rinsed well*
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp raw honey
3/4 cup coconut milk

Raspberries to serve.


Combine the macadamias and almonds in a food processor or Thermomix until finely processed.  Add the coconut oil and then 1 medjool date at a time until mixture comes together.  Press the crust into a cake tin, allowing the crust to come up the sides of the pan.  Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For the chocolate creme, combine all the ingredients for 1-2 minutes until a smooth consistency is achieved.  Pour into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Set aside in the freezer.

For the vanilla creme, blend all ingredients just as before.  Reserve about 1/2 cup to use as a serving cream and pour the remaining mixture on top of the chocolate layer.  Freeze for at least 8 hours.

Remove from the freezer about 45mins before you want to serve but make sure you cut the cake into pieces whilst still frozen – it makes life much easier.  Don’t forget to serve it with the extra vanilla creme and fresh raspberries. Yum!

raw choc vanilla cale


With grace and gusto



Author: graceandgusto

I'm 34, an Australian mum of 3 kids under 7 (currently living in the South of France) and I love design, cooking, my family (not in that order) and learning new things ...

2 thoughts on “Conversation can be as nourishing as food …

  1. I wish I had both these right now, especially that cake. Do you think a food processor would chop the cashews up finely enough? How small do they have to be?


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