i have been waiting all night to bring you this news!

my seitan was a huge success and if i may please blow my own trumpet...just perfect!

in the end i made up my own hoisin stir fry~incorporating the sauce from one recipe and the cooking method from another.
i quickly stir fried the veg then took it out the pan.
then i sliced some seitan into smallish thin slices and cooked it over a high heat with some of the sauce so it became a sort of sticky/crispy~added the veggies and the rest of the sauce (and a wee drib more of hoisin) threw in a small handful of cashews.

it was just so perfect~the seitan was just the kind of texture i have been looking for, the kind of texture you can never get with tofu or even paneer (yes i have even experimented with that).

even better it really takes on the taste of what you cook it with (does that sound right to you or is it my hampshire speak coming out too strong? *thinks* that would make a good blog post!) which is the problem with quorn (blurgh) you can never mask the underlying quorny taste which is actually pretty nasty to me.

i am so pleased that finally, with time and the now easy availability of vital wheat gluten, i can make my own 'meat, tofu, quorn' substitute that really works well, gives me the texture i want and that i know exactly what goes into it. oh and it works out very inexpensive~i made enough for three main meals with just one cup of the vital wheat gluten which cost £2.50 for a 500g bag. this makes it so much cheaper that buying meat alternatives.
tomorrow i am going make up a seitan roll which can be sliced to make sandwiches.

so i would highly recommend you give it a go!


and now for something even more exciting!

we went fox and badger watching last night!

yes we did!

and we didn't have to go far or to a special place either~just to the other end of the village to my mums house, the house i grew up in, and sit in her living room and look out the window!

my mum has a very large garden, i think we could fit our back garden into my mums at least five times...maybe six...maybe even seven because it is wider than ours.
lets say its so big it has three fully grown silver birch, a massive willow and a huge cherry plum, about ten evergreen firs and two sheds, oh and a pond and they do not crowd the garden.
yes its big.

its also a wild garden
my mum does not have flowerbeds, all she does is mow, throw things on an ever increasing, but never used compost heap (so the hedgehogs can nest there), fallen apples from her three apple trees (two of them ancient varieties) lay where they fall for the wildlife, as do the cherry plums and the pear.
she recently had to have some work done and a load of earth was placed down the bottom, beyond the compost heap, this has flattened out so she just threw a load a native wild flower seeds down.

mum has been leaving food out for the foxes for some years now and last year 'her' fox brought her three cubs to feed.
when i saw her last week she said that something had been digging large holes in her garden, holes that looked too large to be from a fox or a hedgehog and we speculated that maybe it was a badger although she had never seen one in the garden before.

three days ago she was out just before dusk putting down the food and as she looked up saw a badger walking down the path towards her!
needless to say she hurried in and watched the badger feed and the the fox arrived.

so last night i had a text from sam about 8pm saying the food was about to go down so we rushed down, was given mugs of tea and we all sat at the window, watching and waiting.

at first the cats came, a little ginger one, two that we called 'the branstons' (as in branston pickle!) and a huge black one.
then i saw movement in front of the compost heap, black and white movement!
unfortunately bill, as mum has named the badger did not come down for the food and we did not get a really clear look at him because of the long leaves of daffodils screened him and dusk was truly upon us.
then suddenly i saw movement coming down the path and it was the fox!
she was the most beautiful ginger/red with dark ears and a white face~she had a really good feed and we were able to watch her for about twenty minutes before she went back off across the garden.

so i can see many evenings of wildlife watching coming up~and i cannot wait to see the badger properly!


well enough of my ramblings for now~in a few hours we are off to see mismi so please keep your fingers crossed flynt will be friendly!