With the flurry of activity at Fools & Queens HQ recently (a name change, a launch, interest from stockists) we realised we had been distracted and hadn’t been shouting about our amazing new sugar-free and refined sugar-free puds to all and sundry (we’d just been banging on about it to those who would listen) so we sent out a press release a few weeks ago (I copied it in below for those who are interested).
After I sent it out, I had to stop and take a second because I realised how much I had changed and how far I had come in the last year. Fools & Queens is careering ahead regardless of how we view it or ourselves, and I find myself bounding along trying to keep up. I am so far removed from the person I was when we started this adventure last year, I no longer see myself as an ex-RAF officer who spent 6 years serving her country and ‘enjoying’ trips to far flung places on our planet, and is now having a bash at making some puddings; I now firmly believe I am a fully fledged, pudding entrepreneur. And I love it.
I can’t believe how long it has taken me to ‘let go’ of who I thought I was; I realised when I did my first ever interview about Fools & Queens with BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) I no longer wanted to talk about who I had been in a previous life and what I had done, I wanted to scream and shout about this wonderful new route that I find myself on.
Fools & Queens has emerged from the cocoon of Proper Pudding, spread it’s big beautiful wings and has taken on a life of its own – Matt and I are merely the ‘keepers’ of this beast, we find ourselves the ones who are holding it back whilst it charges on ahead with the energy that we have been filling it with for the last year. Our time is no longer taken up with just cooking (although that is a significant part of it), as the sole workers in this wonderful company our time is now filled with ‘running a business’. It’s this change of outlook that I am so amazed about – we started off thinking we would make a few puddings and sell them at the farmers’ markets and now we are running an actual business with spreadsheets and everything!
The Press Release:
A new range of sugar-free British puddings dreamt up in the heat of southern Afghanistan could improve dental health when they are launched to the British public this month.
Two summers ago, entrepreneur Aly Johnson (31) was serving her country with the Royal Air Force as a cultural specialist in the villages and patrol bases of Helmand Province. An enthusiastic cook, she would spend her downtime at a checkpoint or patrol base creating new pudding recipes in her mind while recovering from patrolling in the sweltering 40 degree heat.
On her return to the UK she left the RAF and, with former Army colleague and fellow pudding enthusiast Matt Heath (41), set up Fools and Queens, a catering company based in a basement kitchen in Brixton, London. After a year of trialling experimental recipe ideas at farmers’ markets across London, they are now ready to launch their creations as a new range of classic British puddings with a healthy – and eastern – twist.
“British puddings aren’t just good, they’re the best in the world,” Aly said, “but ours come with the added bonus of being sugar-free – not just caster sugar replaced with agave nectar, but actually sugar free.”
They do use the sweetener xylitol, which is extracted from birch wood and is popular in Scandinavia, where it is believed to improve children’s dental health, as well as having 33% fewer calories than refined sugar.
However, while their motivation stems from their love of the British pud, they don’t limit their creations to classic sponges and flavours. Inspired by their experiences in central Asia, they experiment with flavours from Persian and Afghan cuisine. Almond and cardamom pudding with rhubarb jelly doesn’t sound traditional but is one of their best sellers.
Matt, who served for 12 years as a Household Cavalry officer before working abroad for several years, said: “I was brought up on the principle that every dinner should end with a proper pudding. Finding good British puddings abroad was impossible, so food became a bit of a passion – not just eating it, but learning about it, making it and occasionally burning it. That’s where the seed of Fools and Queens was sown.”
The public can try one of Fools and Queens’ new, sugar-free puddings Saturdays at (London Farmers’ Markets) Parliament Hill Farmers’ Market (10-2), or Sundays at Queen’s Park, Farmers’ Market (10-2).
They are currently on the look-out for stockists, so watch this space! See their website www.foolsandqueens.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
89b Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2 5TN