On Saturday 25th November we held a fantastic skill-filled session – a Taster Day for our Tooting CAN celebration in 2024. Lots of lovely Tooting folk joined us to try their hands at cooking, sewing, mending and add to the growing ‘Compendium of Tooting’s Skills’.

Inspired into action by the cold spell of weather the Sewing and Sanctuary group used beautiful recycled materials from the Scrap Store to make draught excluders. Simple to make and really effective at helping to keep our homes warm, these other old fashioned items have defiantly come back into fashion. Especially when they are embellished with buttons and ribbons to create fun designs.  Check out the How To below…

Some learned how to make onion bhajis (recipe below!), made sizzling seasonal soup from allotment veg or rustled up homemade Jam Dodgers. Others chatted to Dermot Jones about our regular fixing and mending sessions.

We discovered that Tooting CAN prepare a sit down 3 course meal in under the hour: a sizzling seasonal roast pumpkin soup with garnish of coriander and yogurt, followed by platefuls high with scrumptious hot onion bhajis, rounded off with cheeky pomegranate Jammy Dodgers dusted lightly with icing sugar.

Oh, the magic of a large white tablecloth, turning workshop tables into a convivial banqueting table with candles and decorations in just one transformative minute. ‘To the table’ we cried and relished the celebratory feast that followed and the stories of what we had made.

Can we? We sure can.

Join us for more skills sharing on Saturday March 16th 2024 at Tooting CAN – a Spring celebration of amazing skills in the Tooting community – more information on how to get involved at https://tinyurl.com/bde66v5b

Bring friends and family to find out what you (and they) CAN do.

Draught Excluders – how to…

Basically you need a tube of strong material for the external cover  cut to the size of your door . Cut it 30 to 40 cm wide to form a nice fat tube. This tube can then be stuffed with material , old sheets or t-shirts , cut into strips. Pack it nice and hard . Sew ends. For fun you can then decorate your tube , snake ? , dog,  flowers, using old buttons , felt , scraps of material.  Thank you to Suzanne for providing pre made tubes to speed us on our way. 

Onion Bhajis – how to…


2 medium – large onions, roughly chopped

150g gram flour

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander

2 green chilies

1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of fennel seeds

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 level teaspoon salt or more / less according to taste

enough water to make a batter (around 300ml)

1 beaten egg (optional)


Heat a large frying pan with 2 cm of oil

Mix all the dry ingredients

Add onions, fresh coriander and egg if using

Add water and stir until you get a batter

Fry spoonfuls of the mixture, turning frequently. 

Move the bhajis around to make sure they don’t stick on the pan

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon when nicely browned, about 5 – 7 minutes, and place on a plate lined with kitchen towels

Serve with tomato ketchup, chilli sauce or minted yoghurt sauce