Charlotte Markham, who owns Frog Hollow Catering, has more than two decades of culinary experience, so knows a thing or two about nutrition. She’s cooked in restaurants, created working feasts in the dining rooms of directors, sautéed on the high seas aboard luxury yachts and served up feasts at many more than four weddings and a funeral!
A personal experience with breast cancer and the resulting drug therapy required to treat this led Charlotte to invest in her own health and fitness. Charlotte lost three and a half stone in just over six months.
Notwithstanding the success in achieving her weight loss goal, Charlotte had become disenchanted that on the way she had been encouraged to choose fat free and diet foods, that contained artificial sweeteners and additives. She felt that they weren’t filling her with energy and in fact were doing her harm.
She made a conscious decision to step away from the sweeteners and consume only nutritious whole foods. With nothing on the market that was completely natural and still able to curb her sugar cravings, Charlotte set about creating her own energy bites made with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. She finally had the treat she wanted. A snack that was filling, bursting with goodness and tasted better than the sweet foods she craved.
Charlotte’s business specialises in super snacks. Energy bites, raw cacao truffles and superfood cakes, that are all gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and made from 100 per cent natural ingredients.
Here, she examines the goodness of gluten free:
If you’re one of the one in 100 people in the UK that suffers from Coeliac disease, you’ll be aware of the painful and debilitating symptoms that it can cause. You’ll also know that the only treatment is a gluten-free diet.
Of course not everybody who follows a gluten-free diet has coeliac disease, you may be sensitive to gluten (different to coeliac disease), have a wheat allergy, or perhaps you’re simply trying to avoid the dreaded wheat belly!
Whatever your reason for going gluten free I could hazard a guess that whilst looking for sweet temptation to tickle your taste buds, you have, at some stage, eaten something that resembles or tastes like a brick. But I have good news, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have your cake and bake it too!
Here are my top three tips for successful gluten free baking:
Get floury – Experiment with a variety of flours. Coconut flour, almond flour, chestnut flour, chickpea flour and brown rice flour are all good alternatives. Try blending different flours together.
Go slow and low – This will ensure that your cakes don’t burn on the outside before cooking on the inside. It takes longer for a gluten free cake to cook compared to a cake using traditional wheat flours. Again there is a degree of experimentation here, it’s a balancing act, you don’t want your cake to dry out in the oven. You can try turning the oven off a little early and let your cake finish off as the oven cools, just like you might when baking a good chocolate brownie!
Don’t bake at all – Raw cakes are delicious! An added bonus is that there is less washing up. One big bowl to mix it all together and that’s it.
If you don’t feel like experimenting, you’ll be pleased to know that my business, Frog Hollow Catering, has done it all for you. All of our Superfood Cakes are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar. We can supply whole cakes that feed a family. Or we can supply a selection of individual portions in a variety of flavours. The produce we use is wherever possible local and seasonal, at this time of year delicious soft fruits take centre stage.