These days cookbooks are a dime a dozen but this one produced on the Downs is different. ‘Friendship Food’ introduces recipes which are free of gluten, yeast, dairy, egg and refined sugar.

You may be thinking they must be free of flavour but let me assure you that the food is delicious. Friendship Food is the brain child of Felicity Philp (Flick), and is her first published cookbook. Although just a short five years ago this primary school teacher and mother of four had no idea that ‘author’ would be her new career. Flick’s journey began in 2001 when she was diagnosed with a serious auto-immune disease called scleroderma, and experienced many unpleasant symptoms. After trying many medical remedies, she visited a healer who suggested she eliminate gluten, yeast, dairy, egg and refined sugar from her diet for three months and then re-introduce foods to determine which caused her discomfort.

Her life quickly changed for the better. Flick now says that, “For me, eating well is not a hobby. I have to eat very very well otherwise I am sick, sore and miserable.” It quickly became obvious that changes needed to become permanent and that her health and that of her family depended on it.Thus through necessity, Flick learned about how food was produced and how it affects the body; this was followed by a journey to develop delicious recipes using those healthy foods. She used foods and flavours outside of their usual uses; this experimentation was enjoyed not only by her family but also by many friends. A testament to her tasty delights was the many requests she then received to share these recipes. Hence Friendship Food was born.

Enter two of Flick’s oldest and truest friends, Kate Owen and Julie Reardon, both of whom are just as committed to healthy living and eating; it was a perfect fit. Kate was chief cook and Julie image maker. The book took several years of conferring, cooking and snapping, culminating in the finished product. Their self-published book hit the shelves in February this year. The title encompassed their beliefs about food – it should be kind and nurturing to your body and shared with family and friends.

The women have recently travelled to the United States visiting Philadelphia, Virginia and New York. Their adventures included live television demonstrations, which prepared them for their Queensland tour which started in October. They have been demonstrating recipes to enthusiastic crowds in 11 regional Queensland destinations, from Townsville to Goondiwindi, plus over the border to Inverell. With Christmas just around the corner, Friendship Food has put together a delicious festive menu providing lots of easy to prepare recipes. Visit their website at and join their newsletters. Keep an eye out for the new Christmas pudding recipe.

Flick, Kate and Julie hope that people will connect the notion of feeling good with what they are eating, and that their lives will be better for it. Friendship Food is designed to support this journey to good health.

Words and images by Mandie O’Shea