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Grace Minehan’s new gluten-free cookbook goes against the grain

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Grace Minehan is going against the (wheat) grain as she announces her new cookbook designed for coeliacs who are looking for a new take on an old recipe.

Endorsed by Coeliac Australia and featuring over 70 recipes, The Real Thing is a culmination of Grace’s passion for cooking delicious food that is rarely seen on gluten-free menus and her desire to educate the public about coeliac disease.

Inspired by her desire to create “recipes that were just as good, if not better than the real thing,” Grace understands the disappointment of having to miss out on her favourite foods.

After three years of mouth ulcers, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and inconclusive doctors appointments, she was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2005 at the age of 11.

As her daily diet drastically changed, Grace soon found herself facing food fear and avoided eating meals while out at cafes and restaurants due to the lack of gluten-free options available.

As the only coeliac in a foodie family, she began perfecting family recipes and creating her own with the help of her mum and sister so they could all enjoy the same meals.

“I have to make meals that everyone loves, especially for people who aren’t gluten free,” she says. “In time I perfected them and made them better.”

Photographer: Ashley St George.

Starting her online platform Against The Grain in 2018 to share tips and raise awareness for coeliac disease, Grace was overwhelmed by fellow gluten-sensitive people asking her to share her recipes.

“The more I started cooking and creating recipes, the more people kept asking me for recipes,” says Grace.

“I started writing them all down as I cooked and I slowly realised I have quite a few recipes to share with people.”

Working with Mikeila Scheckenbach from Bandit Design to create the look and feel she wanted for her first cookbook, two years later Grace is excited to be sharing her recipes in the hopes they will make delicious food more accessible for ceoliacs.

“It’s not a cookbook where you have to go to ten different stores,” says Grace. “It’s just what you have in your house.”

“If you have a child who’s just been diagnosed…it’s already hard enough trying to deal with the diagnosis but now with this cookbook they can still have food that’s just the same.”

Inspired by her own experiences, Grace has also collaborated with Canberran nutritionist Georgia Houston to shine some light onto the disease.

“That’s what I struggle with the most, people not really understanding that if I eat gluten, it’s not just getting a bit of an upset stomach,” she says.

“It attacks your villi and the body attacks itself and it takes a very long time to recover from that and it has really severe long-term implications.”

In the process of reaching out to local stores around the ACT to secure stockists for the book, Grace has also been working with local retailers like Teddy Picker’s in Campbell to get delicious gluten-free food out into the community.

As she gets ready to launch The Real Things pre-sales on Friday 1 October for a mid-to-late October delivery, Grace says she hopes her book gives some food freedom back to the gluten-free community.

“Writing this cookbook has given me more purpose and I’m trying to share these recipes with everyone else who’s also required to eat a gluten-free diet and give them back a little bit of delicious food that we’ve missed out on for so long.”

Grace’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies

Photographer: Dominique Cleary

PREP 25 MINUTES COOK 15 MINUTES SERVES 20 COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 230g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 250g Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 2 1 / 2 Cups Orgran Gluten Free Plain Flour
  • 2 1 / 2 Teaspoons Bicarb Soda
  • 1 / 4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 0 0 g Milk Chocolate Chips

Method

Step 1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 170 degrees.

Step 2. In an electric mixer, add the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar, beat on a medium speed. Step 3. When the mixture is combined, add the eggs one at a time.

Step 4. Add the vanilla extract, peanut butter and continue to mix on a medium speed.

Step 5. Add the plain flour, bicarb soda and salt, mix to combine all ingredients. Once combined, mix through the chocolate chips on a slow speed.

Step 6. Line tray with baking paper, scoop small balls of cookie dough onto the tray and press down slightly to flatten, allowing room for the cookies to expand.

Step 7. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden. Set aside to cool before serving

FEATURE IMAGE: Lauren Sutton

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