Welcome!

Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.



Thursday, September 29, 2016

What more food?!

I enjoy making fish cakes, to which end I save as much fish as I can from carcasses after I have taken off my fillets, I steam and flake it and freeze it in handy batches.
The other day I made some mussel cakes in the same manner;
Take pre-cooked mussels and chop them up into small chunks, weigh the mussels and boil up an equal amount of potatoes,

I roughly mashed the potatoes and flavoured them with garlic flakes, salt, coarse black pepper and mixed herbs, a pat of butter and then stirred the chopped mussels into the pot. I then molded them into cakes, dipped in flour, egg and bread crumbs and put them into the fridge to set for a couple of hours.











Deep fried ready to enjoy, on the right is the table set for our friends, roasted chicken wings, Janet's bread rolls from a recipe of my sister's, smoked Angel fish in the centre and my mussel cakes at the back - (it's worth clicking on that photo to see it full size!)
This plate has the chicken and vegetables that I do in a clay pot in a convection oven but in front is guess what? More left over Sadza, Janet fried rough chunks of it in a pan in some butter and cooked in some flavoured noodles, very nice!
And then there was a braai - and I buggered up the potatoes! Took them off too soon and Janet had to finish them in the microwave, ahh well you can't win them all!
With apologies to my friend at Trobiaritz' Tablet who is vegan, delicious Karoo lamb chops from our recent trip up to Sutherland marinated in olive oil, red wine, Aromat, garlic flakes and Rosemary,

One of our favourites; crunchy pork belly rashers as a starter and then the main with some really good boerewors that we bought at the butchery in Moorreesburg the other day. On the right you can see the failed potatoes wrapped in tin foil but after some intervention by Janet it all ended well.
Well that's all about food for now, we have a biking weekend coming up, on Saturday there is a dayjol hosted by the Clique at the "Wielhuis" pub in Velddrif, that should be a good one, certainly was last year.
Sunday is the Meeulanders monthly breakfast run, not sure where to yet but looking forward to it anyway. Stay safe brothers and sisters and we'll see you on the road.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

On to matters more frivolous

~ "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on"~ 
Life goes on, time for matters more frivolous to ease us back into our daily existence and what could be more frivolous than food, glorious food?
I like to braai but I also enjoy cooking in the kitchen and I love trying out new ideas;
Caroline, Linda, Dick and Janet (our other Janet) came over for the weekend a couple of weeks ago, the occasion was a farewell for my buddy Caroline who is going overseas and I made them a beef shin pot which also required a pot of Sadza, the old Rhodesian equivalent of the ubiquitous South African Pap, both of which are made with Miellie meal. We like to roll the sadza into balls and dip it into the gravy, I have covered this in an earlier post.
The thing is what do we do with the leftover sadza the next day or even the day after that? I made my friends the Sadza balls for breakfast on Sunday and I have written about them before too;
The thing was we had more left over so we decided to try something else for the next time we have guests;
Crumble the Sadza and stir in a good cup full of grated cheddar cheese,
Fry a packet of bacon bits and when it has cooled stir it into the mix,


 Mold into cakes, brush with melted butter and grill until golden brown, delicious but rather filling, next time I will make them a bit smaller and I also want to try frying them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
I used the last of the Sadza the next evening by molding it into small cubes, rolling in flour, whisked egg and breadcrumbs and deep frying as an accompaniment to some pan fried Angel fish fillets and that was a hit!




Click on the photos to see them full size, we have more ideas for left over Sadza which I will try soon and I will let you know how it turns out. Janet (my Janet) says now there must always be too much Sadza, that's not difficult!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Divi's funeral

The bikers started gathering at the "Wingerd" at 13h00 on Saturday 24th, the Meeulanders were there first so that we could discuss the mass ride which we would be leading, other clubs would follow on and I think that all of the other local clubs were well represented.


It wasn't long before all of the parking areas were full of motorbikes and the pub was crowded with their riders and passengers, in spite of the gravity of the situation a jovial atmosphere prevailed as bikers greeted each other, this is exactly what Divi would have wanted.
We all formed up behind the hearse at 14h30 and the mass ride, escorted by the traffic department, slowly headed across town to the church.
It was a slow and dignified procession that extended a long way back and the crowds gathered on the pavements taking films and photographs with their phones.



Pretty much all of the parking space around the church was taken up by the motorcycles, I don't know if there was any count but it was heart warming to see the huge number of bikers paying their last respects to this extremely popular biking figure.

Jean, the President of the Kreefsmokkelaars from Velddrif immediately laid rubber outside the gate in noisy biker tribute, well done Jean!


As was to be expected the church was full and the minister conducted a biker service, I had the honour of being nominated as one of the pall bearers.
After the service the crowd of bikers bade Divi a traditional fond and tearful farewell as the hearse passed through, all of this was extremely emotional and of course there were many red-eyed bikers, myself included.
After some snacks with tea or coffee in the hall everyone eventually headed back across town to the "Phoenix" biker bar where the wake got into full swing. This went well into the evening.
Our President; Divi de Vries had a true biker send-off and the size of the crowd was testimony to his popularity, we will miss him.
Click on the images to see them full size.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rest in Peace Divi de Vries, Meeulanders President and biker

Today, 21st September 2016 we lost a biker, the Western Cape biking fraternity lost a brother, a friend and the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club in particular also lost our President.
Goosem (Divi) de Vries passed away this morning after a battle with cancer which he fought with his usual tenacity, refusing to give in to self pity but instead influencing those around him with his indomitable spirit.
I had a huge amount of respect for Divi, as Meeulanders President since 2007 he was charismatic and influential, he was passionate about the club and its members and dedicated a large part of his time and energy to furthering the interests and activities of bikers in the western cape. 
He became vice chairman of the Western Cape Motorcycle Association and was very effectively "hands-on" in the organisation when it came to functions and the annual "Day Jol" to which he also dedicated a lot of his time.
He was always on the club Breakfast runs, attended many rallies and loved dishing out the shots of "melk tartjies" to those taking part, this was part of the biker lifestyle which he so loved and which so positively influenced those around him.
The best thing that can be said about Divi is that he was a biker, he really will be sorely missed, things are not going to be the same without him.
Rest in peace Divi - 9/4/1952 to 21/9/2016    Our condolences to Carlo, to his family and to the members of the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New toy for the bike (and car)



As I mentioned in an earlier post my daughter and son in law were out here from the UK for a visit and they brought me a GoPro camera! I have always wanted one of these because all of my bike trips feature photos at the gathering place and then at the end venue, nothing or very few in between unless we stop somewhere but no road shots.
This because I cannot talk Janet into taking photos from the pillion seat; "I'm here to relax and enjoy the scenery, I don't want to have to concentrate on a camera - NO!"
I have managed to mount the camera firmly on the dash and it sits good and steady, I have already tested it with video and it is lovely and clear - I'm not going to bore you with that right now, but now I have to learn how to use it for photos, apparently it can be programmed to take shots automatically at specific time lapse so I must get this set up before our next big event which is this year's Dart Run on 22nd October - watch this space.
Onto something completely different; as you all know by now I am a foodie, a practioner of the fine, manly art of braai or barbeque as some of you call it, I also enjoy cooking in the kitchen and love experimenting with herbs (with an "h") and spices but I am not a chef, just a competent cook.
Several years ago I wrote a manuscript entitled "Braaiing with Wood" - geddit? In which I included my recipes and tips along with anecdotes both funny and serious and it was proof read by a friend, a published author who really liked it and encouraged me to send it in to some publishers.
I duly sent it to a publisher who, along with complimentary comment said that they would not be able to publish it because they were already involved with a recipe book by a well known South African chef.
I was discouraged by this and dropped it but now I have been encouraged to dig it out, dust it off and send it in again after some up dating, also to explore the self-publishing option so this I am going to do. The reason I am writing this is because I want all of you to buy a copy if and when it comes out - alright?
Here is a poem that I wrote back then to go at the end of the book because it will have a biking thread running though it, connecting everything together;

Rolling

You sit astride your steed and hold
the grips with leathered hands,
you do not heed the morning cold
as the early sky begins to gold.
The button thumbed,
the engine fires,
the iron beast trembles
eager to get her tyres
Rolling.

The song of power, muted thunder,
Sweeping curves and distant places.
A group of bikers inspires wonder,
Preferring speed and open spaces.
You grab a handful,
Roll it on.
She leaps ahead at your command
Or slows right down as you demand,
But keeps her tyres
Rolling.

Gaze far ahead, look close about
As the road goes by beneath your feet.
You’re in the wind – you want to shout,
You feel the rain, your thoughts are fleet.
No need to speak
Just to sing
The song of freedom
And feel her tyres
Rolling.

If you knew how I feel as I open her up,
The wind in my face, the sound in my ears
It’s like sipping life from a precious cup.
My only regret is all the years
Without the iron maiden.
Now I live
I’m in the wind
And I’ll keep her tyres
Rolling.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September breakfast run becomes a braai at Divi's home

Our club President is not well at the moment and has not been able to join in recent club functions so it was decided that in lieu of the scheduled breakfast run we would all take a "dop and chop" and ride down to his home in nearby Paternoster for a surprise visit and a braai.
So it was that at around 10h00 on Sunday some 30 plus members on fifteen bikes and some cars gathered at the bank parking lot in Vredenburg. Some elected to go by car into which were loaded the firewood, charcoal, salads and booze. It was a lovely sunny day, excellent for a braai.

Spirits were high as the mob assembled, Craig and Monica arrived on the new Yamaha MT10 which they have made into a demo model, a lovely looking bike. (Click on the photos to see them full size.)











I'm still very keen on Anton's customised Kawasaki, by 10h30 pretty much everyone had arrived it was time for kickstands up and the fifteen km ride through the the small seaside town.

Divi heard the noise of bikes arriving and came outside for a look and the happy look of surprise on his face made it all worthwhile, soon his home and verandah was crowded with noisy bikers unloading (and pouring) drinks while Craig got the fire going.


Gerrie wasted no time in getting the traditional "melk terte" shooter going and it wasn't long before that bottle was empty, the mood was jovial as it can only be with a large family gathered in one place.












Everyone had brought their own meat, we had the previous week bought some lovely thick boerewors at the Moorreesburg butchery which we ate in breadrolls and it was delicious! I'm going to find an excuse to go back there when the rest is finished.


I had rather short sightedly only taken one bottle of red wine along and by the time I ate it had evaporated or something, luckily my brother Steve was more sensible and had taken a box along with which he regularly replenished my glass. Thanks Steve I owe you.
This day was all about bikers, about family and about brotherly love. When you have biker friends you have great friends who care for you and who will stand beside you when the going gets tough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Braais...

Well the glorious holiday is over, our family have returned to the UK and we are left with a quiet house and wonderful memories. A three week visit that was over in a flash but during which we had some fantasic times and lots of great food, both out at restaurants and also in our own backyard which most say were the best.
I taught my (then future) son in law Andy how to braai back in 1997 and since then he has mastered the gentlemanly art superbly, he did a braai for us shortly after their arrival.
What a great braai that was! Lamb chops, green and yellow peppers and garlic bread. Our daughter Christie did the potato bake, we just relaxed.
Not to be outdone my next contribution was smoked Angel fish, (I have a small smoker and use oak wine barrel sawdust) with prawns and garlic potatoes.
Then on the Saturday we had friends over, carnivores like us and I bought some serious tee bones, 700g each which I started on the braai over hot coals bone side down, they stayed like that for quite a while, cooking up through the bone.
 
It was a huge plate of food, the three guys finished theirs but the ladies after a galant attempt left quite a bit on their plates which went down extremely well as leftovers later in the week.
On Thursday our daughter requested a "skottel" breakfast so that is what we did;
I do the food but Janet does the eggs, I'm hopeless at eggs. Sausage, bacon, gammon, mushrooms, tomato, egg and toast - what a breakfast!
The last braai we had was after returning from an overnight trip to Sutherland, the coldest part of the western cape and the site of the S.A.L.T (Southern African Large Telescope), I bought some wonderful Karoo lamb up there and that made up the main part of our final braai;
First the vegetables, chicken is a South African braai vegetable - then the Karoo lamb chops and the red and green peppers. I made sadza a traditional Rhodesian miellie meal accompaniment and Janet made a delicious tomato relish, I have to say it was a fantastic meal.
We sat out late enjoying the fire, the ladies huddled up in blankets against the cold night air, well aware that this lovely holiday would be over in a couple of days and our family would leave again for England.
I should perhaps remind you that these braais took place over a period of three weeks, interspersed with visits to local eateries so although it looks like we did nothing but "pig out", we .....okay I don't really know where I'm going with this, suffice it to say it was a great holiday of gourmand proportions!
As has become a tradition we ended the final night of drinking with "Springbokkies", a shooter known to all South Africans; half peppermint liqueur covered with Amarula creme. Another great holiday, over too soon and unfortunately our son was not able to come this time but all being well we will be going over there next year.