After the amazing gluten free cake and Madelines for Rachel’s party from Goodies with Goodness I decided to find out a bit more about the lady behind the great taste.
SJ: Hi Melissa
Welcome to the Pink Hair Girl blog, I am really pleased to be interviewing you for the readers today. I was so impressed with the quality, taste and friendliness of your service when we had Rachel birthday party.
Hi Sally-Jane. It was such a pleasure to bake for Rachel’s birthday – I am so pleased you all enjoyed it! Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed.
Could you start by telling the reader a little about yourself?
M: Well I actually have a background in psychology and personal training! I have always been interested in health and wellbeing – mental, emotional and physical. After 4 years of studying psychology I decided I wanted to combine that aspect with physical health and fitness to offer a more complete lifestyle service. So I studied personal training. For various reasons relating to my own health, finances, and a move to the UK, I never got so far as combing the two sides; and worked as a personal trainer for several years. My husband and I moved back to our native Cape Town two years ago; a few months after our daughter was born. My time is now primary spent being mother to the incomparable Julia, who schools me daily in lessons I didn’t even know I needed I learn 😉
SJ: How did you come to start Goodies with Goodness?
M: Like many things in a mom’s life, it started after my daughter was born! Before her birth I fancied myself as quite knowledgeable about nutrition and alternative health. I felt quite ahead of the pack because I ate quinoa, knew about the benefits of coconut oil, opted for full cream instead of low fat milk, and minimised my sugar intake. Oh, the things I would say to that girl now!… Like many newborns, Julia had reflux during her first several weeks of life. As I learnt more about the causes of reflux (typically just a symptoms of an immature digestive system and a reaction to certain foods), I started to eliminate various things from my diet to see if it would help. (I was breastfeeding.) I cut out spicy things, acidic things, gassy things, dairy, gluten, and certain other proteins. It was a rough few months! But – Julia’s reflux abated and then disappeared, only to resurface when I would consume one of the ‘forbidden’ foods. In the first few months of these changes I would fantasize about the time I could go back to my old diet. I would create menus in my mind of all the things I wanted to eat! But little by little I lost those cravings. And little my little I learnt more and more about real nutrition (and certainly am still learning!). During this time I also learnt a lot more about just how detrimental sugar is and why, especially for young children. I developed certain ‘rules’ about what I would allow Julia to eat. And of course – if you don’t want your child to eat it, you can’t eat it either as they will invariably want some of whatever they see you with!! All this and more lead me to eat, cook and bake for my family in such a way that among other things is always without sugar, always wheat and mostly gluten free.
When I wanted to order cakes for special occasions that met my requirements, I found my options were limited and the results unsatisfying at best. Last year I paid a fortune for a gluten and sugar free cake for my own birthday that was just what I imagine potato flavoured cardboard would be like! Having started baking this way in my own kitchen, I knew that eating this way could be genuinely delicious. Free from this and free from that didn’t need to mean free from any semblance of cakey deliciousness! I couldn’t contain my annoyance any longer – because I knew even I could do better than the ‘potato cake’, and that people who need or choose to avoid the conventional cake ingredients deserve better than that!! And so, I started thinking that maybe I should do just that 🙂 I officially launched Goodies With Goodness in March this year at The Baby Fair, and have been open for business since.
SJ: What kind of things can people order from you?
M: Pretty much all your standard bakery options… I offer cakes, cupcakes, muffins, biscuits and cookies, brownies, and sourdough breads. Also things like date or lemon balls and fudge. I can also provide separate toppings, for example for a ‘biscuit station’ for a child’s birthday – where the kids can choose their biscuits and select their own topping combinations. These options include marshmallow fluff, buttercream, raw raspberry jam, lemon curd, cashew frosting, chocolate frosting, chocolate chunks, etc!
SJ: All your products are gluten and sugar free, what other ‘free from’ can people include in their list of dietary requirements that you can meet?
M: Most of my options are nut free. (I don’t like to bake with almond flour as it is ridiculously expensive and makes the end product unaffordable to many people, and I don’t believe it is a very healthy option anyway.) A number of things – including some of my breads, are grain free. Breads and most biscuits are egg free. Many of my standard options can be made egg free. Breads and a few of my standard options are dairy free; and more can be converted to dairy free. I also don’t use the typical gluten free gums in my products. Other than using white rice flour occasionally, I do not use refined ingredients. Everything is always GMO free. My eggs are always truly free range, I use organic pastured butter, and raw honey. When I use fruit I source organic items whenever possible. Other ingredients are organic where feasible, but again – this generally drives the end price to a point that is unrealistic for many people unfortunately. My prices are a genuine reflection of my ingredients. My baking goals are to always produce goodies that are digestible, low in simple carbohydrates, as affordable as possible, and that taste good! I am happiest when someone loves what I’ve made and concludes it is delicious. In it’s own right. Not just, ‘good FOR something that is gluten and sugar free’!
SJ: Be honest – in experimenting were there some spectacular flops? I know from being gluten free and changing up some recipes that things did not always go to plan 🙂
M: Ha! – Yes, indeed! There were a few doorstop muffins, dry biscuits, tough and chewy brownies, sloppy didn’t-quite-bind cakes, and gummy breads! But I have a pretty good handle on the flours I use now, so even when an experiment does flop, it’s not as spectacular anymore 😉
SJ: What is in the future for Goodies with Goodness?
M: At the moment I am playing it by ear. Advertising more as I feel I am better able to meet increased demand, and adding to my repertoire in between. To be honest, I couldn’t say right now what I want with it long term, whether I’d like to grow it to the point where I have my own premises, or whether I would want to keep it a home-based production. Time will tell…
SJ: Where can people find buy your delicious goodies?
M: I currently bake weekly for a small shop called Back Area Gardens at Oude Moulen in Pinelands. It is run by a woman who grows and sells wonderful veggies, and stocks a number of other natural products and nutritious ingredients. She is only open Wednesdays 1-6, Thursdays and Fridays 10-6, and Saturdays 10-2. I alternate various biscuits, brownies and date ball options there. My gluten free sourdough rolls will soon be available at Dolce Bakery on Lower Main Road in Observatory. Certain sweet treats of mine will be on sale there in the summer too. And anything and everything else is available to be ordered directly from me. I don’t have a website yet, but you can find me online at www.facebook.com/goodieswithgoodness. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and contact number is 0823615698. I am located in Gardens (near Cape Town CBD), and orders are typically for collection; but delivery can sometimes be arranged.
SJ: Thank for doing this interview and thank you once again for helping us with Rachel’s birthday party. I am still fantasising about Madeline’s with marshmallow fluff and those chocolate pieces!
M: Thank you! Ah yes – my toddler regularly goes to the freezer and asks for chocolate 🙂