My Healthy-Cooking Challenge

In early January 2022 we spent the day with Debbie Tong in her kitchen – where her Thermomix sat with pride, revved and ready for a cooking demonstration.

We picked 4 recipes we knew you would like. With the ingredients already prepared by Deb, we were ready to roll. Simply click on the headings to watch the demo (the LSA video includes the banana tofu ice-cream recipe).

1. The ‘LSA trio’

Grinding the ‘LSA’ combination – linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds – is so easy with the Thermomix, and takes 9 seconds flat! Refrigerated in an airtight jar, it remains fresh for up to 2 weeks. Sprinkle some on your rolled oats, banana or yoghurt; or use instead of breadcrumbs to deep-fry lightly battered fish (beautifully crunchy!)  

My LSA-crumbed Barramundi

LSA’s benefits are endless: gut-friendly fibre (important for digestion), plant protein (if you’re not a great meat-eater), minerals and phytonutrients. All natural with nothing else added. (Chewing a handful of almonds, walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds is just as good, but you must chew them well.)

2. Banana tofu ice-cream

I thought it was a strange combination and wondered how it would taste: it certainly didn’t disappoint when we had it for dessert after lunch.

“ … consider the ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of mass-produced, commercial ice cream: benzyl acetate, aldehyde C-17, butyraldehyde, piperonal, ethyl acetate … ” 

Raubenheimer, D. & Simpson, S. (2020). How to Eat like the Animals, p.136. HarperCollins Publishers: Sydney.

Please look it up. These ‘artificial flavours’ belong more to the chemical industry than in the food we actually pay to consume! Anyway, shouldn’t ice-cream be homemade with cream, honey or natural fruit flavours??

3. ‘Traffic light salad’

Deb beautifully blended broccoli, apple, carrots and red capsicum following Thermomix instructions. The salad was crunchy, fresh and easily digested. You’d never buy anything as good as this!

4. Cauliflower rice with creamy coconut chicken curry

Deb saved the best till last. Step by step and weighing everything before starting the cooking process, she made it look effortless – aided by instructions on the Thermomix. 

We already knew it would be delicious before we sat down for lunch from the tantalising aroma! Honestly, I could not think of any restaurant where I had curry this tasty. The spices, the coconut and the chicken were so perfectly balanced, without a drop of ‘flavour enhancers’. (And have you noticed lately that more sugar and salt are added in almost every ‘ready to eat’ meal you buy??)

What’s more, the cauliflower rice was crunchy and not overcooked. It doesn’t make you feel as ‘full’ compared to jasmine or basmati rice; we couldn’t resist having second helpings. 

Then came the banana tofu ice-cream – so refreshing in summer, and completely dairy-free. The taste of tofu was subtle, and the banana and honey rounded it up nicely. 

Driving home, I thought how useful it would have been to have had a Thermomix wedding present – but it wasn’t around in 1980 when I married and had to find my own way in the kitchen. Bereft of my gifted Singaporean cooks, I dreaded having to prepare family meals. (Of course, I was fine with everything on toast: eggs, cheese, baked beans, or peanut butter). 

Cooking dinner – crown of the evening – completely threw me. I could ‘do’ simple salads which my husband insisted on (we never had them in Singapore), but would gaze totally confused at the chopped ginger, garlic, onions and raw chicken before me intended to produce Mum’s chicken curry (her Sunday-cooking special, but only after the maids laid out all the ingredients!). 

I did however compile a recipe book before leaving Singapore. My aunt Gertie, cousin Joyce and granny Azizah were my favourite cooks. So I started with their recipes: 

  • Gertie’s Chicken Soup & Roast Chicken
  • Joyce’s Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Granny’s Apple Jam (specially for the Jewish New Year).

My husband dared me to attempt his lentil soup and ‘vegetable pie without the pie’, which he wrote down in my book (somewhat weird – but as I didn’t like pastry, I thought it was worth attempting).   

His family took pity on me and invited us for dinner almost every weekend, giving me leftovers to take home. And it was at one of these gatherings almost 26 years ago that I met Deb Tong. I never forgot how she captured my imagination with the lovely dishes and salads she’d bring. She encouraged me to cook with simple ingredients. Stir-fries were a good place to start, and they worked well for me. At the time, I’d also been reading Norman Walker’s Colon Health and Diet and Salad.  

So began the ‘spark’ we call desire: learning to cook tasty meals without elaborate seasoning, no junk cereals, bottled drinks, biscuits, sugar treats and factory ice-cream. I bought rolled oats, wholegrain bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, and natural Greek yoghurt. I used raw honey to sweeten, and had fruit before meals. 

I began to feel better. It meant much more work in the kitchen, but my goal was not to be a hospital statistic, and to have a healthy family. (Birthday cakes and ice-cream were reserved for those occasions and at parties.)  

My love of cooking grew over time. Now I can think of nothing else I’d like better. I continue to walk past aisles of biscuits, ‘ready to eat’ meals and soft drinks (I confess I do love ‘Kettle Chilli Chips’ in small handfuls).

… and glorious tropical fruit
Vegetable glory at fabulous Tekka Market, S’pore

In the good old days when I made at least 2 annual trips overseas, most often to Singapore, the first place I’d go was ‘Tekka Market’ – to be surrounded with local fruit and vegetables. HEAVEN!

Have I given you hope?


There’s nothing you can’t do when you have a reason, a desire, or a passion. These are ingredients you must have to fuel your goal and succeed in whatever you wish to do, become, and have.

You’ll enjoy watching Deb cook in the videos – and even more when you learn how wonderful it is to taste food that is HOMEMADE and FRESH.  

Now try NOT opening pre-cooked ‘meals’ and/or drink cans for a few nights … and watch what happens!  

I’d love your comments – just click on this link to go to the actual post in Diet & Your Colon (12. My Healthy-Cooking Challenge!).