Hi! I’m Naomi. I’m an Irish sommelier-turned self-taught baker. I mostly like to call myself a flavour enthusiast. So that’s me..your friendly neighbourhood flavour enthusiast. I don’t like to slap a faddy label on myself, but I mostly stick to a low-grain and sugar-free diet. I like the challenge of unconventional baking, and making delicious, healthy desserts using innovative ingredients. I would estimate that 75% of my diet consists of raw cake batter.
I lived in France for some years, primarily to fuel my flavour frenzy; raiding the farmers’ markets, inhaling the boulangeries, and breaking out the Bordeaux without breaking the bank. I travel when I can and usually manage to hijack an oven, wherever I am.
Some of my heroes are Keith Floyd (we share a common passion for knockin’ back wine while cooking), Stefan Zweig, Bob Dylan, Georges Brassens, Nick Cave, Tom Waits… I could go on, so I’ll just stop. I love music, and dabble in mandolin. I prefer to listen to other, better people play though - I’m a good listener.
I studied Philosophy and French in university in Galway, and these studies lead me to wine, naturally. I have been known to adopt a philosophical pose while drinking wine and ranting away in French. I completed a Master’s degree in ‘oenotourisme et projet culturel’ in Nîmes in 2014, and received my WSET Advanced wine certification in Kilkenny in late 2014. My antics since then have involved a stint working in a wine store, teaching wine workshops, a lot of gallivanting about the United States, and always, always baking.
If you would like to know anything else about me, please do feel free to ask.
WHAT THE HECK IS IN THIS STUFF?
Those who know me, know that I’m an advocate for daily cake-eating (I actually just typed ‘advocake’ by accident.) I don’t publicly prescribe any old cakes though - heck no! Through a lot of research into nutrition, and a whole lot more baking experiments, I have developed a line of cakes that are really delicious, nutritious, and highly recommended for daily consumption.
Most of my baking is grain-free, sugar-free, high-fibre and low in carbohydrates. It is also diabetic-friendly, as I use well-researched, healthy, low-carb sweeteners that have no impact on blood sugar levels (erythritol and stevia, mostly).
Below is a brief description of the main ingredients I like to use in my baking. It took me a while to get to know them, but now we are firm friends and will never part ways. I want to you have them in your life too, and to learn about what they can do for your health, and daily deliciousness.
COCONUT FLOUR: Coconut flour is naturally very high in fibre (75%), gluten and grain-free, and contains a wide spectrum of minerals that most grain products lack. It is very low in carbohydrates, and so is not disruptive to blood sugar levels.
COCONUT OIL: Coconut oil simply has too many benefits to list.It It contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized differently from other fats; rather than being stored, they are used immediately as a quick energy source. Coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid, which boosts immunity and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses. This nourishing oil can also reduce appetite and increase fat burning, leading to weight loss.
VITAFIBER (ISOMALTO-OLIGOSACCHARIDES): Don’t be deterred by the crazy name. Vitafiber is a sweet natural fibre (derived from non-GMO corn starch) providing low-calorie and soluble prebiotic fibre for human digestive health.
WHEY PROTEIN: Whey is a high-quality protein-rich by-product of cheese production. It is loaded with essential amino acids, promotes satiety, and can increase strength and muscle gains.
GROUND ALMONDS: Almonds are low in carbohydrates, high in antioxidants, and keep hunger at bay. These nuts are an excellent source of protein, magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, fibre, unsaturated fats and many other nutrients.
ERYTHRITOL: An almost too-good-to-be-true calorie-free sweetener, that does not spike blood sugar or insulin. Unlike many other sugar alcohols it does not cause any digestive issues and is excreted unchanged in the urine. It is also tooth-friendly, protecting against dental cavities.
STEVIA: A plant-derived, zero-calorie sweetener. Studies suggest it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
ORGANIC CACAO POWDER AND HIGH CACAO CONTENT CHOCOLATE (85%): The food of the Gods! Cacao is full of antioxidants, and has been studied for its ability to reduce blood pressure. It causes a dopamine release, which stimulates good mood and ‘pleasure’ feelings. Contrary to popular belief - in moderate amounts - it is a low-carb, healthy snack.
CHIA SEEDS: Don’t let these little seeds fool ya - they are among the most powerfully nutritious foods in the world. They are very high in fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and many nutrients like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
FREE-RANGE EGGS: Eggs are high in protein and essential amino acids. Eating eggs leads to higher levels of HDL (the ‘good’) cholesterol, which is linked to a reduced risk of many diseases.