Blogging for Bite Buddies!

I’m excited to be blogging about my experience with the Bite Buddies project in Croydon!

Bite Buddies has been set up to bring younger and older people in Croydon closer together through food and tech, one bite at a time. Their aim is to encourage both groups to work more closely together to learn new skills, whilst having fun cooking, eating and sharing their experiences.

I was introduced to Bite Buddies by totally random chance when a friend of mine on Twitter asked me to help them find a venue. This is because I run my own Croydon Cooking EatUp dinner club and finding a venue has always been a challenge for me.

After meeting Julie and having a long conversation I came to realise that we share a similar outlook on one particular topic:  We are both conscious of the knowledge and wisdom that is locked up inside the minds of both the younger and older generations. Totally extreme and opposite sides of the coin, with a massive bridge in the middle just waiting to be “crossed”. Bite Buddies aims to be that bridge, and this is what I love about it.

I’m really excited to be bringing my 7 year old son along too, and it will be interesting to see how he interacts with someone new, an older person who isn’t from his everyday environment. My son can absolutely school older people when it comes to Minecraft or Lego Star Wars on the Playstation :-) 

My interests are quite varied – I have a Software Engineering degree, I play 2 instruments, I like to cook and eat healthy, I have an interest in science, nutrition, fitness, astronomy, people, volunteering for various social causes, and bringing people together!

To kick things off though, I’m quite happy to start with cooking.

I learned to cook from my mum, who refused to let her son go to college without knowing the basics of cooking, in this case it was mostly Pakistani/Indian cooking. I started off making basic curries, chapattis and parathas of course.

I have since expanded my repertoire to include quite a few other things. These days I try and avoid processed foods as much as possible so I stick to gluten-free / grain-free recipes as much as possible, however I am happy to make whatever we fancy!

I do not proclaim to be a cooking expert though! I’ve still got a lot to learn and I do make mistakes! But that’s how you get better

Here are a few recipes of mine that I’m happy to teach someone at Bite Buddies. They vary in difficulty of course.

Vegetarian dishes:

Toor daal (lentils)
The simplest of dishes, yet one of the most satisfying, I find.


Okra stew
A very easy and tasty dish to prepare and quite different too because a lot of people are not familiar with okra.



Meat dishes:

Chicken Fajita
Classic mexican dish that is really easy and simple to make.


Spaghetti meatballs
Making the meatballs will take more time here and I add a few extra steps of my own to give the sauce and the meatballs extra depth of flavour and punch!


Seekh kebabs (beef/lamb kebabs)
An all-time favourite, can be as spicy as you like.


Ox-tail stew / soup
A very hearty dish with a great depth of flavour. Great for those cold winter nights.


Beef mince with peas or potatoes
A staple dish in many Pakistani households, this is an easy one to make. You can substitute a lot of different things for the peas – spinach, dill, potatoes, they all work!


Beef meatballs with potatoes
A favourite of mine, this one is slightly more complicated but very rewarding when it comes out right.


Daal Gosht (Lentils with meat)
This is another unusual dish that happens to be one of my all time favourites! It’s lamb / mutton or beef meat with lentils and it goes great with some pickles.


Preserved Lemon and Chicken tagine
A classic Moroccan dish that everyone should make. You don’t need a proper tagine to make it either.


Coconut chicken tenders
This is a gluten free dish that goes great with the spicy mango dip that you make alongside it. Very similar to a chicken nugget but much healthier.


Leg of lamb with roast vegetables
Sounds complicated but this is quite a simple one to make. The lamb just needs enough time to cook through and the roast vegetables are a doddle.


Lamb / Chicken biryani (rice)
One of the more complicated dishes on the list, this requires multiple steps, as well as a final “layering” step before we finish it off. 


Nargisi kofte (Beef scotch eggs curry)
Another ambitious dish, this can be used to “wow” your friends. The trickiest part is wrapping the cooked meat around the eggs and trying to make sure it doesn’t fall back off, especially while cooking.




Easy no-bake cheesecake
This can be made really quickly with just a few ingredients.


Homemade dark chocolate
Yes, you CAN make your own chocolate! This is ideal to give as gifts to friends, albeit it can be a bit expensive to make!


Gluten-free Chocolate Peanut butter fudge cupcakes
These are gluten-free and extremely rich but they MUST be kept cold in the fridge!


Gluten-free Dark chocolate dipped coconut macaroons
Everyone I’ve made these for goes absolutely nuts over them! They are so simple to make, you must try them!


Gluten-free Banana and peanut butter muffins
Really nice and moist due to the use of really old and sweet bananas instead of flour.


Gajar ka halwa (Carrot halwa)
One of my most favourite desserts of all time. This is a carrot fudge type dessert and is quite time consuming to make, but the results are amazing.


Dairy free Gajar ka halwa with homemade ice cream
This is really 2 recipes – homemade ice cream is really not that hard to make, especially with an ice cream maker. Adding this ice cream on top of the carrot halwa was a huge winner! The carrot halwa can be made dairy free by using coconut milk.



Gluten-free bread substitutes:

Finally, here’s a few things I’ve made in order to try a more gluten/grain free alternative.

Cauliflower pizza base
This is obviously no substitute for the real thing, but it’s VERY close! The cauliflower taste does not come across as strongly as you might think.


Gluten-free parathas
This is definitely no where near a real paratha but it was a decent-ish alternative when I really didn’t want normal parathas.


Cauliflower rice
This is simply a rice substitute, and ideally you’ll need a food processor to make this one.


Dark Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

These dark chocolate dipped macaroons have been a huge favourite among friends and family, and it’s a recipe that I originally got from The Sprouting Seed blog here, but I have changed it to create my own take on it.

Do give it a go! As I said, people I give this to cannot get enough of it, and they keep asking me: “When are you going to make me more?!” 


Dark Chocolate dipped coconut macaroons
Serves 20
A delicious version of Allison's original recipe which I have adapted to use dark chocolate and various essences to add more flavour
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Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
  1. 2 large egg whites
  2. 2½ cups desiccated coconut
  3. ¼ cup local honey
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. pinch of unrefined sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 160 C and line a tray with baking or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, honey, sea salt and vanilla.
  3. Once combined, add in shredded coconut and mix with your hands until well combined. When mixing sticky ingredients with your hands, it helps to wet your hands with cold water. The ingredients will stick less!
  4. Using a tablespoon, grab some of the mixture and scoop it into your hands, then make a tiny 'ball' out of it. Make sure there are no cracks otherwise the macaroon may easily break apart later when you pick it up.
  5. Now place the macaroon balls on the baking sheet, making sure that there is enough space between them.
  6. Bake in the oven until the edges of the macaroon are golden (for about 10-15 minutes). Let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Melt some dark chocolate with double cream in the microwave to make a think chocolate sauce. It's very important to make sure the sauce is nice and smooth, you may need to adjust the amount of chocolate or double cream to reach that consistency. I sometimes also add honey to sweeten the chocolate a little.
  8. Once the macaroons are cooled, take a single macaroon and dip it in the melted chocolate. Place the macaroon on an empty plate, and repeat this for all of them making sure there is adequate space between them.
  9. Place the plate in the fridge to cool the macaroons down. The chocolate coating will soon thicken and harden around the macaroons.
  1. I like to add extra flavours like tangerine and mint to the chocolate by using various essences.
Adapted from Allison from The Sprouting Seed
Adapted from Allison from The Sprouting Seed
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Paleo Dark Chocolates!

Here’s a very simple and foolproof method to make paleo dark chocolates. Everyone I have given these chocolates to loves them, even though there is no sugar in them, just agave syrup!

Paleo Dark Chocolates
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  1. 100g Cacao Butter
  2. 6 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  3. 2-4 Tablespoons Agave Syrup
  4. 1 Small pinch of rock salt
  1. Ensure all utensils and the bowl are dry before the ingredients are added as water can cause the mix to separate.
  2. Place the cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of water on a low heat and melt gently (use a Bain Marie).
  3. Once melted add 6 tbsp cocoa powder and mix well using a metal ballon whisk (wooden spoons don’t blend as well).
  4. Ensure the heat is low and add the Agave syrup and mix well.
  5. Taste the mix once melted and add more sweetener if you prefer a sweeter taste.
  6. Once completely melted and blended remove from heat. Your mixture should be runny and easy to pour and can be poured or spooned into ice cube trays or silicone moulds.
  7. You can put this in the freezer if you want it to set very quickly, but I recommend leaving it at room temperature for a while and letting it set 'gently', otherwise the texture of your chocolate will not be as smooth.
  1. Feel free to mix it up by using various essences to give the chocolates more flavour. Some of my favourites are tangerine, mint, caramel. I also just add a single flake of sea salt to each chocolate, or just add some nuts to give them an extra crunch.
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 One of the best things you can do with this homemade chocolate is to give it to people as gifts! It makes a wonderful, personalised gift and everyone I’ve give some to have loved it. 

Just get an empty chocolate box from a local chocolate shop or patisserie, add your chocolates, stick on a pretty bow to it and you’re done! Doesn’t this look beautiful?


Credits for this recipe and inspiration to go:

My world famous paleo granola!

I have made this awesome paleo granola several times now for friends, and even some of the people at the gym and everyone is astonished at how good it tastes!

Especially since there’s NO sugar added to it. The vanilla and cinnamon work together beautifully to add a natural sweetness to the granola.

Paleo Granola
A delicious paleo granola made from various nuts, and seeds
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 100g almonds,
  2. 100g walnuts,
  3. 100g pecans,
  4. 100g macadamia nuts,
  5. 100g unsweetened coconut flakes, (I use desiccated coconut)
  6. 100g sunflower seeds,
  7. 1.5 tsp vanilla extract,
  8. cinnamon powder as desired
  9. linseeds
  10. chia seeds
  11. 100g unsweetened dried cranberries/blueberries/cherries
  1. Put the pecans, walnuts and almonds in a plastic food bag and use a wooden spoon or any other hard spoon to break them up a bit (don't break them up too much!).
  2. Mix everything apart from the fruit with the vanilla extract and cinnamon powder and bake at 140ºC for about 40 minutes (or until the coconut has browned). Make sure the mix is spread out on the tray (you will need a few trays because if it’s too closely packed it won’t stay dry enough and won’t cook evenly). Turn the mixture after 20 mins. Remove from the oven and add the dried fruit and leave to cool, then store in a tin.
  1. I usually eat this with greek yoghurt with honey and some milk added, plus lots of berries (straw, rasp and blue berries - all 3 at once!), just like in my pictures. I sometimes add a spoon of almond butter on top, yum! :-)
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