Foodival is Transition Town Tooting's annual food festival, celebrating everything that's good about locally grown food. Foodival aims to show how it's possible to grow local, eat local, be sustainable and have fun while doing it!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two weeks to Foodival...announcing our talented entertainment line-up!

The perfect recipe for a fantastic festival is delicious food and cracking entertainment. And Tooting Foodival 2014 is happy to offer both!

With just over two weeks to go, we have finalised a line-up of brilliant, varied and possibly bonkers performers who will help create an amazing experience for you.

Main stage

  • On the main stage, starting off the proceedings, will be Dermot Jones performing some self-scrawled, lyrically vivid songs, plus a range of acoustic instrumental covers from Bowie to Scott Joplin.
  • He will be followed by comedian Sam Quinn with his new interactive act, The Emperor's New Tombola, where all the prizes are performed.
  • London Young Voices, Tooting’s local choir for children, will then take centre stage, entertaining the crowds with a variety of different music.
  • Next up, Vincent Burke, musician, singer and part-time vegetarian, returns to Foodival promising a series of songs unrelated to garden produce.
  • Then, hoping to recreate the Blues heartland of the Mississippi delta - in Tooting - will be Slim Estrada, joined on stage by Pablo X, on guitars, banjos and harmonica and Washboard Bob on backing vocals, congas and percussion.
  • Our penultimate performer on the main stage will be exciting vocalist Randolph Matthews with his unique blend of jazz, soul and ethnic beatbox. He promises to takes the audience on a magical journey, with edge-of-the-seat improvisation and clever technology to layer his voice.
  • And giving a stompin good finish to the day - and hopefully getting the crowds dancing - is Tooting’s own Bara Bara Band, a folk band playing a mix of their own songs, traditional British folk songs and American fiddle tunes.
But the action isn’t just taking place on the stage. Or even just in the venue! 

In and around Samaj Hall

  • Tootingwalks are two 30-minute audio walks created by local theatre company fanSHEN. Walkers will be given an mp3 player and a route map for a walk that will let them see Tooting through the eyes of others, hearing their memories, reflections, songs and dialogue about what makes Tooting unique.
  • Meanwhile, professional close-up magician, Marc Kerstein, will be amazing people around the main hall and in the queues for food with his brilliant sleight of hand tricks. Just don’t let him make your grub disappear!
  • And watch out for the unruly theatrical show, The Apple Cart, also by fanSHEN. Sisters Meryl, Beryl and Cheryl will guide you through a series of playful interactive performances, accompanied by a pedal-powered soundtrack of the sisters’ favourite power ballads.
We promised you brilliant, varied and possibly bonkers – I think we’ve kept out word!

See you at Foodival 2014.
  • Donate your locally grown food on the afternoon of Saturday 13 September at the BATCA Fun Day on Broadwater Road or at Mushkil Aasaan on Upper Tooting Road.
  • Celebrate local growing and eating as a community on the festival day from noon on Sunday 14 September at Samaj Hall, 26b Tooting High Street (by Broadway Studios) SW17 0RG.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Manisha, Pooja & Foodival

A scene from Foodival 2009
The tastiest samosas in town are surely found about halfway between the two Tooting tubes on the Upper Tooting Road, where Pooja Sweets & Savouries has been serving tasty vegetarian food to the people of Tooting since 1996. With over 100 different varieties of both sweets and savouries, a serious dedication to freshness and flavour and a focus on delivering a personal service of high quality, Pooja has become a Tooting institution. 

Pooja samosas have been eaten in large numbers at TTT gatherings over the years while Pooja owner Mrs Salim and her team have kindly taken on the Foodival challenge to produce dishes from home grown, donated produce every year since 2009, always coming up with something fresh and tasty.  "We also learnt from you" says Mrs Salim, "we had never made anything with chard or leeks before!"

"The four pillars of Pooja"
This year we are delighted to say that Pooja's Manisha has agreed to be a judge in the Top Tooting Cook competition at Foodival. Manisha is described by Mrs Salim as “one of the four pillars of Pooja” (she is on the far right in the picture) and she confesses that she is a cooking perfectionist, a strict quality controller who tastes every item produced at Pooja to ensure it’s as fresh and delicious as it can possibly be.  So beware all TTC contestants, the bar is set high!

How to find out more?
  • See Manisha's Judge's profile here
  • If you think you could impress Manisha with your culinary skills, why not enter the Top Tooting Cook competition? Please email Malsara for details.
  • To get involved in Foodival in any way please email Dave.
  • Or if you just want to eat near zero food mile locally cooked vegetarian dishes for free just come along to Foodival at Samaj Hall on 14th September.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lessons learnt in damson picking

by Richard Couldrey

A week ago, my two sons Dominic and Benji and I went damson picking at a wonderful house on Longley Road in Tooting (thank you!). We went on behalf of the Foodival. I thought it was brilliant, Dominic thought it was a bit boring. The best bit was collecting the damsons!

There were four trees, all moderately sized, but covered in fruits. We set a tarp down on the ground and those brave enough went under. Then, to the sounds of Peter Gabriel's "Shaking the Tree"... we shook! Damson rain fell, thudded and surprised those underneath. The great thing was only the ripe damsons fell off, leaving plenty more for collection another day.

HOWEVER... on return home, all kinds of kids activities beckoned and the three carrier bags of damsons were put in the coolest cupboard I could find (fridge full, stinking hot day) for processing the next day.

The next day came, and I completely forgot about the damsons... meaning that they started breaking down in the bags, the ones at the bottom squashed by those on top. I've ended up with 2 large tupperwares - about 1/3 of the original haul, through a combination of ignorance and forgetfulness.

So, if you're going fruit picking, here's the lessons learnt:
  • When picking, take a tarp and shake that tree!
  • Only pick the firm fallers, anything soft will break down quickly and rot the other fruits
  • Carry the damsons in small quantities. Don't load too many on top of each other as they get squashed and, you guessed it, start to break down
  • Be prepared to immediately process them at home, which involves giving them a good wash (I used the bath) and freezing them with the pips in, or de-pip and freeze to be more space efficient.
Alternatively - go ahead and make your pies!

If you have an abundance of fruit, you can of course donate some to Foodival by dropping off produce on Saturday 13th September during the BATCA Fun Day or at Mushkil Aasaan between pm and 5pm.  Then come back on Sunday 14th September to Samaj Hall from midday to sample some of what's been made, while the wonderful fanSHEN Theatre entertain you with a great performance of The Apple Cart (more on that next week!)

Or check out Abundance Wimbledon, who help to pick fruit and deliver it to people and organisations who can use it.  Their site has some great recipes and they're having a Fruit Day the week after Foodival!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

10 Metre Food Mile Veg Curry Hits Spot

I am lucky, I made a postage stamp vegetable patch in my garden where I can grow stuff.  Tonight I thought I'd try to make a meal just using vegetables I had grown myself and am very happy with the results! Onions planted last autumn, rocket from a plant I have kept growing for about 5 years, borlotti beans, cabbage, cucumber & squash grown from seeds all planted in the spring plus tiny potatoes from a mouldy potato I buried!
Home grown healthy veg
It's going to be a vegetable curry.  OK I didn't grow the rice or the curry powder, turmeric & chilli flakes but otherwise this dinner is measured in food centimetres rather than miles. It travelled 10 metres maximum to the plate! It's a sustainable, home grown, low carbon dinner for two (yes I have an "amour" to share it with). If I have some of these veggies over I must take them to Foodival next month. Which begs the time honoured questions:  
What are you growing for Foodival?
Can you add it to the map?
Could I (or you) be a Top Tooting Cook?
Tasty 10 metre food mile vegetable curry!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Meet & Make for Foodival

SMART (Sustainble Making and Arts Tooting) are planning something HOT for Foodival this year and they need your help.

Join SMART Meet and Make at Sprout Arts on Moyser Road on 13th August from 6.30pm – 8.30pm to help make something wonderful for Foodival.  Anyone can join in - no crafty experience required!

This session will focus on sustainable making and in the spirit of Foodival, we'll be using juice and food cartons. Any cartons can be used - juice, milk or smaller school pack size drinks cartons. What's made in the session will be used before and during Foodival on 14 September at Samaj Hall.

If you would like to donate your rinsed out empty cartons, bring them along to any Transition Town Tooting project or meeting, or to the Meet and Make on 13th August.  Or get in touch with to arrange a pick up.

SMART’s Meet and Make sessions happen monthly and are a chance for you to meet a few people and try out some crafts, so if you're interested in making, keep an eye on the SMART blog. We’ll be revealing the making project to those that don't go along to the session in the coming weeks!