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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Such a good day

The day started off with a spa bath and a bottle of JC Le Roux sparkling wine and for once there was no argument about who had the most wine, the "lady" (and I use the term loosely) accepted whatever I poured with no argument. This actually puts me at a disadvantage because I immediately become suspicious, am I actually getting less than her? I check again to make sure. No, it looks alright, she leans back with a smug smile and I get worried, what am I missing here?
By the time we have finished the bottle I feel quite sure that it has been evenly distributed and anyway by then we are feeling pretty laid back, but I can't relax too much because there is always next weekend. It's a tough life!
Janet went through to the bedroom to do whatever it is that women do to make themselves beautiful and I knew that I had a good hour or two before she would come through.
I put my AC/DC music on, now this really moves me, I love the intensity and the guitar riffs and the "violence" of the lead singer and I was doing some air guitar moves in the lounge and after a while I went through to the bedroom and asked Janet what she thought.
I was mortified when she said "It must be AC/DC because it's shit, I was going to close the door."
I need to sit down here for a while!
We had lunch at Beira Mar, there were six of us; Div and Sue, Frank and Dianne and us with Don and Connie joining us after they had fed everyone, what a great afternoon we had and we have arranged that all the same people are going to come to our place on Friday 12th for a farewell to Don and Connie before they go off overseas for three months. Should be a gas and we'll let you know.
I helped Don start his blog and you need to check it out, let's hope he gets it started; www.beiramarrestaurant.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Smoorsnoek and the FA Cup

It's Saturday again! Cool. The weather's not so great but I'm sure there will be some saddle time. 1st prize in the lotto is a guaranteed ten million tonight, get out and buy a ticket - damn what I could do with that! Maybe the first 2 mil would go on the new Aston Martin Vantage.
I've got some cool Country muzac playing; Toby Keith - instead of my favourite Rock and Roll, our spa bath went well this morning with no "discussions" on who had the most bubbly in their glass so it's going to be a relaxed day. I feel like doing some work out in the back garden so I think I will just sit quietly with a beer until the feeling goes away.
Last Tuesday I braaiied a snoek for our friends Lizzie and Miles and the two youngsters and it was a lovely fresh fish, obviously braaiied to perfection and I forgot to photograph it! I think what happened was they were a bit late and Janet and I had a couple of glasses of wine and time just flew past (in a blur). Anyway I will be doing one again soon because they are at their best in the winter, lovely fat belly covering (pretty much like mine!) and delicious.What I'm getting to here is that last night we made "Smoorsnoek" with the left-overs and it was delicious, just like we used to make when we were running the "Psarra" restaurant at Club Mykonos, brought back some great memories. The thing is this kind of meal can be made with just about any kind of left over fish;
First fry some rough chopped onion in a little cooking oil until they are translucent and then add a few (2 or 3 depending on the number of people and the amount of fish) potatoes chopped quite small, keep stirring these around until they are soft and then add the left over fish which you will have caused the wife to debone and flake up into small chunks.
Add a small amount of peas and keep stirring until the fish has warmed through, add salt and pepper to taste, spoon out over a mound of rice and place a good pat of butter on top, this is a really tasty meal and even Janet will eat it.
We were able to resume the FA Cup yesterday after a three week gap and I won 4 - 3! It was a good competition, Frank took the first two games and I was thinking that I was not going to be in it but I managed to dig deep and won the next two, I'm telling you this is edge of the seat stuff and should be televised! Frank won the next one after I had sunk all of my balls and had then moved the black ball right next to the centre pocket, he still had four balls left and I thought I was safe but he played four fantastic shots and then sunk my black!
You should hear the language between the two of us, sometimes you would be excused for thinking we were enemies! Anyway I managed to take the next two to secure the win. I keep records of all of our games and one of these days I will publish the results.
See you out on the road - I hope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Braai, beers but no bikes

Well the weather on Sunday was great, we had a bunch of good friends around and the beers were cold, what more could one want? Ok a ride would have been good but you can't have everything! I started off with a lovely well aged piece of rump steak which I marinated for a while in a dash of olive oil, a generous sprinkle (on both sides) of ground black pepper and aromat, and then I spread a good layer of hot English mustard onto it. This I left in the fridge for about an hour, turning it over about every fifteen minutes.
When our guests were settled and had had their first drink or two I braaiied the steak over flame until it was medium rare and then sliced it into small chunks and lightly salted them, that went down extremely well as a starter while I got on with the main course.

I'm not going to go into too much detail here because you have seen it all before, however it is one of my favourite braais and my guests have always thoroughly enjoyed my braaiied leg of lamb.

Doesn't that look fantastic? Janet did some wonderful side dishes; creamy aromat potatoes, which always goes particularly well with lamb, aubergine and butter bean salad and an egg and tomato salad, all with fresh ciabatta bread.

We ended off with a lovely lemon/pineapple pudding made by our friend Lizzie - what a fabulous lunch!

This week the weather has been pretty good and we have managed to get quite a lot of harvesting done but it is changing, the predictions are for bad weather and we may not be able to work on Friday, this afternoon the wind started up from the north west and the pale blue winter sky is full of small cotton wool puffs of cloud all moving slowly south. This does not bode well for us at work but it will be good for the FA cup which has had to take a back seat for a couple of weeks.

Every morning this week I have had the "Mussel Cat" harvesting separately from the barge to build up stock for the factory and it has been working very well, sometimes it is a struggle to meet the demand and in the winter time when the fresh orders are down we push like mad to supply the factory while the mussel meat condition is at its best. This they turn into frozen half shell and try to build up a big stock for the end of the year when the demand is enormous, we try our best and sometimes we are successful.

We have a free weekend coming up so here's hoping there's some riding weather, enjoy yours!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

10 Commandments for bikers

It's Saturday and I have a lodge meeting this afternoon so I can't plan anything for the day but I am going to join up with Janet and our friends Miles and Lizzie, Matt and Louise at Beira Mar for dinner, looking forward to that. Tomorrow we have a bunch of people coming for lunch and weather permitting I am going to braai, I'm planning some fresh mussels in a creamy ginger sauce, rump steak tasties and de-boned leg of lamb (again!). I won't be able to blog that because you've all seen it before.
Janet has just brought me a Portuguese bread roll filled with fried bacon! Delicious, messy lunch.

Yesterday was a lovely day and I had the afternoon free so I took the big red machine out for some exercise, I was alone so I got her to pose for me, isn't she lovely?

You have to appreciate those graceful yet aggressive lines - I had thought about upgrading to the new model but it just isn't as good looking in my opinion anyway I love this bike, she's a keeper.

I had an enjoyable cruise around locally and then I went to the supermarket car park to practise some riding skills for a while, there is a large empty car park off to the one side where I was able to practise full lock turns, U turns and figure-of-eights for a while. Desperately careful not to drop the bike! There was nobody around but still I don't want to scratch the paintwork, I'll get Janet to take some photos and maybe a video clip so you can see what I'm doing, although that will probably be the time when I do drop the bike!

Let me end off with the Ten Commandments for bikers, I thought this was quite amusing;

1 Thou shalt customise truly and with feeling and not just buyeth any crap that hangeth on the shelf.

2 Thou shalt groweth mind altering vegetation for thine own sake and for those less fortunate than thyself.

3 Thou shalt not taketh any shit.

4 Thou shalt not tell drunken lies to ugly women in order to bed them, they will expect the same from all of us.

5 Thou shalt lie profoundly to beautiful women for thine own ends, it maketh it easier for the rest of us.

6 Thou shalt decorate thine mangy hide with offensive pictures.

7 Thou shalt always plead "Not Guilty!" truly and with feeling.

8 Thou shalt washeth when the occasion demandeth it.

9 Thou shalt rideth at every opportunity whilst thou art still able to get thine leg over.

10 Thou shalt not sleep whilst the beer floweth, the music playeth and the strippers danceth.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cape of storms

Friday's weather was not good, it started out cold, wet and windy and while we were moving the harvesting barge into position I could feel the northerly picking up. We would have to get the work done quickly and get the barge back onto its mooring before the storm.
Luckily the orders for the day were not too big and we were able to get finished by 10h00, even then we were being lashed by heavy rain. Even in the unpleasant periods it can be beautiful out there. We got the barge secured and everyone safely ashore and called it a day, we'll see what the weekend brings.
It was a serious cold front that passed the Cape during Friday night and Saturday, we drove down on Saturday morning and went through some of the heaviest showers that I have driven through, we were both grateful that we were not on the bike!
By Saturday evening the storm seemed to have passed and Sunday was actually quite pleasant, there was also no sign of the heavy swells that were forecast, maybe they are still coming.
We have now got some friends arriving from UK; Miles and Lizzie with their daughter and son in law, they will be with us for ten days so it looks like the big red machine we will staying in the garage for a bit longer. I'm hoping to be able to do a good few braais for them if the weather permits.
Remember this; motorbikes are better than girlfriends - because your Mom doesn't keep in touch with your old motorbikes!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cricket and chicken

Well it looks like we have some serious winter weather coming this weekend, the prediction for Saturday and Sunday is particularly bad; strong winds, big swells and lots of rain and we are going to Capetown on Saturday because I have to attend two Masonic meetings, District Grand Lodge meetings for the Royal Arch and the Craft. If you are involved in Freemasonry you will know what this all means, if not - you bloody well should be because if every man in the world was a freemason the world would be a better place.
I had hoped to go down just for the day on the bike, but even I am not that desperate so now we are going to spend the evening with Linda, she and Janet will go out for lunch while I am at the meetings and then we will spend the evening together.
Today when Janet came home I surprised her with a roaring fire, this was a big surprise for her because she knows full well that I don't enjoy fires in the house.
This is because I don't feel the cold like mere mortals do but I was being considerate and it went down very well, when my babe arrived home she went straight to the fire and warmed her bum whilst I notched up the points that I had scored.
After we had had our first glass of wine we moved into the kitchen for a team effort dinner, we are particularly good at this and Janet says that we do better meals than any restaurants that we go to, I tend to be a bit more circumspect because I enjoy restaurant meals but I must admit we are bloody good!
Let me show you one of my most recent purchases, something that I have been putting to very good use; a marinating machine;In this instance I poured a cup full of white wine and a good splash of olive oil into the container, then I added a good squeeze of tomato sauce and about three tablespoons of tabasco sauce, a full teaspoon of crushed garlic, a shake of dried thyme and finally some grated pepper corns and then of course the chicken portions.
Now what happens with this lovely machine is that you place the lid on the container and then you use a small pump to create a vacuum inside it, you place the container on the base and switch it on and it slowly rotates for nine minutes. Apparently the vacuum expands the fibres of the meat and as it rotates it absorbs the marinade. This all happens in nine minutes instead of overnight in the fridge! It works and I bought this machine for R200, what a bargain.Here's Janet and Fattie enjoying the fire and the fantastic game between the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians in Durban, what a nail-biter! We have really had some fantastic cricket just because there was a major election in India, WTF we had a major election here and we were still able to host this fantastic cricket spectacle. Anyway I was in the kitchen working so I missed some of the game but Janet kept me informed.Here it is plated up; the marinated chicken on a bed of garlic pasta with grated cheese, very lekker and if you come and visit us we will prepare it for you with pleasure.
I realise that there is nothing at all here related to braais, beers or bikes but I think that during the winter it might go like this...........deal with it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flat hair at a seafood buffet

Sunday was another of those wonderful sunny winter days, (not like it was today, cold and windy a total opposite but we won't dwell on that!) We left home at about 10h30 and by then I was already starving, I had booked a table for 12h30 and the idea was to cruise around for two hours with maybe a beer in there somewhere. If not, why not?Janet said I should take a look at her before she wore her crash helmet so I took a photo and off we went. It was such a lovely day for riding and we just cruised through Vredenburg and out to Velddrif, I took it easy because we weren't in any hurry, from Velddrif I carried on across to take the bumpy but interesting road that runs through to Hopefield. It runs alongside the Berg river for most of the way and from quite a few points on the road you can see the river as it twists and turns it's way down to Laaiplek.
It is not a fast road because it is so rough but the BMW's excellent suspension smoothed it out for us, on the Goldwing I wouldn't even have bothered going along there. Soon we joined the R45 at Hopefield and then headed back towards the R27 and "Vlakvarkgat" for a cold one.
The place was relatively quiet but the Lamb spit which they do for lunch on Sundays was on the go and certainly it would fill up. The beers were cold and we relaxed in the warm midday sun and chatted, passing time until we could go and eat!
Here's Janet after an hour in her crash helmet, maybe someone could make a lot of money designing a big bulbous helmet for women, something that wouldn't flatten their hair!
After our very relaxing beer break we got back on the bike for a short ride through to the "Oyster Catcher" restaurant in Langebaan, we have been there several times and I have always enjoyed the seafood meals that I have had there, especially the sushi so I was looking forward to a seafood buffet.
I parked the big red machine strategically right outside the front of the place where everyone could appreciate and admire it, especially me!
We were the first ones there, which is usually what happens but then we get the fresh food first! We had a nice bottle of Theuniskraal Riesling and relaxed over a leisurely lunch.

It was a great spread for only R95 per person and I really enjoyed it; Hake in batter, calamari rings and strips, mussels with garlic crumbs, snoek samoosas*, prawns, french loaf and freshly baked bread, vegetable stir fry and a green salad. There was no restriction on how much one could eat and I must admit that I ate a lot of prawns, the only negative aspect for me was the fact that most of the other items were deep fried in batter but definitely a bargain.

*Snoek is a west coast favourite fish (Thyrsites atun), called a barracuta around New Zealand where it is not eaten but only used for bait, and a samoosa is a triangular deep fried pocket made out of crispy pastry usually containing various flavoured meats, originally of Indian origin.

We will be back!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sparkling wine and seafood

Okay it's Saturday morning and we are in the spa bath, I have poured the sparkling wine into the glasses and already there is an altercation. Before I go into the details I must point out that we no longer have our usual wine glasses because Janet broke hers, now I had to find two other matching glasses to use. Immediately there was the "discussion"; who has more wine?
I would really like some assistance here, those of you who are still reading this stuff (is anyone still reading it? I haven't had any comments for ages.) Please tell me which glass is half full and which one is half empty. I really try to be fair, I tell Janet that her glass has lots of bubbles and each bubble consists of sparkling wine, as they burst the level in the glass rises so gradually her glass will fill up if only she would wait a bit. Does she listen and wait for the bubbles to burst? No, so what do you expect? Of course her glass appears to have less wine in it. Let me know what you think.
It has been an interesting week on the mussel farm, generally good weather and actually quite pleasant, yesterday we started out with an incredibly heavy fog and I found out later that it was pretty extensive, all the way down to Capetown and along the south coast.
We have a bit of a problem with the Mussel Cat, our farm vessel, in that we cannot use a compass because the vessel is made of steel with a big hydraulic crane in the bows. We have tried all sorts of things to mount a compass but to no avail, I know that a GPS would work but as we travel only between the mussel farm and the jetty, a distance of some five kilometres, it isn't really necessary.
The vessel in the picture is one of De Beers diamond dredgers which is in the bay for some refit and it is about two kilometres from the jetty but off in a different direction. We set off from the jetty and headed in what we thought was the right direction and travelled for some fifteen minutes, I was standing in the bows trying to spot lights to direct the Skipper when I saw those dim lights glimmering through the fog, at first we didn't know what it was so we approached cautiously and realised we were way off course! No problem, we decided we would follow the "Mytillus" she has a compass, so off we went, but the skipper headed off too fast and soon we lost sight of her! I managed to call him to slow down and eventually we found the farm but we had been travelling for more than half an hour when the trip normally takes ten minutes! Never a dull moment.
I told you about the white clams that I get at this time of the year, I will start collecting them and we will have some nice pasta dishes; This is the average size but I occasionally get them a little bigger, they make a delicious snack just as they are, they are creamy and sweet and I eat quite a few of them during the course of the morning.

I couldn't resist adding this picture, I also had a couple of these with my lemon juice and tabasco sauce - when I come to think of it I really do have quite a cool job!
It is now Sunday morning, it's a beautifully warm clear day, one of those really good days that we get every now and then through the winter and we are going for a ride. I have booked for lunch at the Oyster Catcher in Langebaan, they have a seafood buffet now so I will let you know what it is like. I love seafood so I am looking forward to lunch, I tell you I am so bloody healthy that when I die they are going to have to beat my heart to death with a stick to stop it beating!

Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Riebeek Valley olive festival

This past weekend was the last of our "long weekends" for a while now and whilst the month of April has been bad for business it has been bloody good for jolling! Four public holidays in April plus the 1st of May - excellent! We made good use of them believe me.
Saturday saw us in Riebeek West by mid morning for the annual olive festival, it is a very pretty little town with a lovely mountain as a backdrop and we met up with Dick and Janet at a restaurant called "L'attitude" where he had managed to secure a table. We sat and chatted over our first beer of the day.
We decided to have a stroll and have a look at was on offer and as soon as we stood up another group was already edging into our seats, seating is a scarce commodity and the town was filling up rapidly.
We wandered around after arranging to meet up with our friends again a bit later, I bought some lovely fresh black olives and some olive oil but after about an hour we had had enough, you can only eat so many olives and chunks of bread soaked in olive oil and then you need some real food!
It was then that I got another call from Dick, he had secured a table at a cafe where there was some "lekker music on the go." We should get there quickly. We did! We sat there for most of the afternoon enjoying the music in the warm sunshine and gradually worked our way through four bottles of Riebeek Valley's finest Sauvignon Blanc, what a pleasant afternoon that turned out to be.
That evening we went to our friend Amanda's house where we had a very pleasant braai and after the afternoon we had had it was good that we didn't have to drive anywhere!
Sunday morning we were on our way by about 0930 and we stopped for a very nice breakfast at the "Pleasant Pheasant" in Riebeek West, while we were there this guy and his lady arrived on a "Cam Am Spyder", a 990cc three wheeler, a very interesting looking machine.The bloke had apparently suffered a stroke, his left arm was in a sling and he had the bike set up for right side controls, there was a velcro strap to hold his left foot on the peg and he rode it with only his right hand. To me this guy is a hero who epitomises the biker ethos, once you are a biker you will always be one and he doesn't let his disability stop him from doing what he loves.
Once we got back home we got the bike out and went for a bit of a local cruise, it had been a good weekend but now it's back to normal and winter's coming!