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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's hell in Africa man!

"It's hell in Africa!" is an old saying, but actually it's not. Africa is a beautiful place, especially South Africa, I know we have our problems like the high crime rate, poor service delivery, corruption and mismanagement in high places but these are exciting times and I believe that we can get it right.
The youth of today are the ones who can make a difference and through initiatives like "Lead SA" all of us can try to make a change, it's going to take time but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
Just look at the iniative and enthusiasm displayed here! Isn't that a wonderful pool table? This sort of thing can be seen all over Africa, where clay is used to model pretty much anything;
This wonderful Landrover I got from a friend in the Transkei, Eastern Cape and it is obviously a tourist vehicle with the surfboards on the roof rack and the dog in the back! Unfortunately it is unbaked clay so it is rather fragile.
This excellent model Landrover comes from Malawi and is made from wood with raffia covering, there is an amazing amount of detail;
like the opening rear door and the bench seats;
the bonnet (hood) also opens to reveal the engine! I have also got quite a large collection of green soapstone carvings of animals from then Rhodesia which are very special to me and which I will show you at a later stage.
Whilst on the subject of Landrovers though, apparently Lions are rather partial to them, or at least to their tyres!
This big male was not like a dog that chases cars and then doesn't know what to do with them, when he caught the landy he knew exactly what to do, he proceeded to eat the tyre!
What the hell do you do? The big guy at the back was even sorting out the spare wheel!
It looks as though they systematically flattened all of the tyres before they were satisfied!
Now what?! If you visit a game reserve carry four extra spare wheels inside the vehicle, but who's going to get out and change them?
"Woman I told you, enough of your bloody chirping! Now get out and change those tyres."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Seafood lunch, biker breakfast, seafood dinner

The weekend was great! Our friends Tony and Laura took us out for lunch on Saturday, I had a delicious seafood platter at Modo Mio in Paternoster, followed by a decadent "Bar One chocolate cake" dessert. Tony has a huge appetite, he also had the seafood platter and then a cheesecake dessert but because mine looked so good he also had a Bar One cake! The ladies ate considerably less than the two of us but also enjoyed their meals, it was a very pleasant afternoon.
Sunday the weather was fantastic, no wind at all and mid to high twenties by the time we got the kickstand up. We headed out along the R45 to Malmesbury,
through the dry and dusty wheatfields, the road is pretty straight and boring and it takes about an hour to get to the town if you're not in a hurry, we weren't as you can see by my speedometer - sticking to the speed limit for a change!
I had no set destination but we had decided to have breakfast somewhere and then do some fish for dinner. As it turned out we had a very decent breakfast at the Wimpy restaurant at the Swartland One-stop. From there we rode down to the coast and along to the Viper lounge for a beverage and then a heady, fast blast along the R27 and home. The wind had come up during the morning and it was blowing strong out of the south, luckily we were heading north and it helped us along, pushing from behind, urging me to speed as if I needed the persuasion!
I was slightly saddle-sore as I climbed off the bike but happily still buzzing with adrenaline from a thoroughly enjoyable ride, it was early afternoon so there was still plenty of Sunday left.
This was my dinner that evening; herb butter potatoes, a fresh Yellowtail portion which I pan fried to brown a bit and then grilled it with lemon/garlic butter and some fried calamari in a light batter.
Janet doesn't like "fishy tasting" fish so I fried a hake fillet for her, we experimented with a light batter made with egg whites beaten in ice water, we dipped the fish and calamari into seasoned corn flour and then the frothy egg white and then a minute or two in the deep frier - rather good! Not that we eat too much fried food but it is rather good every now and then.
I think we have done with seafood for a while now, last weekend we pretty much over-dosed on it and now both days this weekend! I need a steak!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seafood Day

Last Sunday Janet and I prepared an eight course (mostly) seafood meal for a bunch of friends, it is something that we used to do regularly, every summer, and then for some reason we skipped the last two years, so we decided it was time to reinstate it.
I emailed a bunch of friends and offered the following menu;

-Fresh mussels steamed in wine and lemon,
-mussels and bacon sosaties,
-fresh braaiied harders (mullet)
-seafood potjie,
-roasted chicken wings (as a break from the fish)
-braaiied white stumpnose
-fresh smoked Angel fish - both served with butter/herb potatoes and salad,

Eventually it was thirteen hungry friends and the two of us, a lovely hot summer's day and a lot of fresh seafood.
People love my mussel pots! Actually I was pouring white wine from a box into the pot but some people do get a bit of a fright.
Janet and Annie look a bit dubious but the mussels went down very well,
Our friends "the Pats" got stuck in, I think only twelve people ate the mussels but they made short work of five kilos, there wasn't much left.
The next course was the mussel and bacon sosaties, these took me quite a while to make up that morning, quite a fiddly and time consuming job but well worth it.
I thread a piece of green pepper onto the stick followed by two (pre-cooked) mussels which I wrap in bacon strips, then a mushroom followed by another mussel wrapped in bacon and then end off with another piece of green pepper. These I then braai over good hot coals, turning regularly until the bacon is cooked.
When you're the chef the ladies all want to come and get a cuddle and friends like to gather around the fire,
Whilst my friends were demolishing the sosaties I started the seafood pot and also got the "Harders" (Mullet) on the coals.
Four ex BSAP members; 7473 Dave Hillman, 7471 Joe Surkont, 7955 Andrew Wood and 4696 Tony Down a fine bunch of men!
Smoke gets in your eyes, basting the harders with a lemon/butter sauce. A small rather bony fish with a delicate flavour, well worth taking the trouble eat - I love these!
"Okay everybody, try a little harder!" These went down very well, especially after we showed our friends how to remove the skeleton and most of the bones, just a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, delicious! By now our friends were all feeling pretty full so we gave them a break before the pot was ready.
Relax time, Patrick seems to be doing alright.
Linda and Brian.
I did have time to chat with my friends now and then, here's my biker scum buddy Frank.
I had some lovely fresh White Stumpnose for the final course, along with some Angel Fish fillets which I smoked but my friends were pretty much beat, they didn't eat much of this or Janet's delicious dessert but at least no one went hungry.
As I said, it was a long time since the last Seafood day and we definitely over-catered but nothing goes to waste with us. Feed back that I have had so far has all been positive so we will do it again, hopefully more often although Janet and I were both really tired by the time everyone had left, not getting any younger!
If you fancy bringing a bunch of friends up the west coast for a seafood meal give us a shout, the menu is flexible and the price is very reasonable!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The wonderful world of biking

An appropriate way to start, part of the biker's code and so true. I have been asked before by several people; "What is the biker's code?" and have never really been able to explain it, this certainly is a major part of the code but it is only a part of it. The biker's code embraces all aspects of biking and the way we should conduct ourselves in relation to our brother and sister bikers but also in relation to members of the public. I think it will be an interesting project to research "The biker's code."
On a completely different topic, and I promise this will be the last time that I rant about other bikers not waving or greeting on the open road, and Harley Davidson riders in particular but I had a good laugh the other day while watching an episode of "The World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides."; Henry Cole was in Australia riding around some beautiful wide open spaces on a Harley Davidson Road King and he ended up in one of the cities where he met up with a large motorcycle club.
They got together at a clubhouse and were chatting and Cole asked the other riders; "Why is it that people don't wave to each other here?" and the simple answer from one of the Aussie bikers was "Because you're on a Harley mate, no one waves at Harley riders!"
That's it, I am satisfied now; it's a worldwide phenomenon - Harley riders are the same the world over, it's probably in the sales/purchase agreement or it's part 1 of the rider's manual; "We do not wave at non-Harley riders."
Just joking guys! But it did amuse me to see that happen all the way over there in Aussie.
This picture is amazing, the mind boggles! What could have happened here? The rider ran out of petrol, leaned his bike up against a sapling and then forgot about it? Extremely fast growing trees? One thing's for sure; it would be one hell of a job to recover that motorbike.
Here's some particularly imaginative customising! He's probably been stopped a good few times; "But Officer it's only the fuel tank!"
And I leave you with this thought; keep bikers safe.......
Just a brief insight into the wonderful world of bikers and biking. Keep the shiny side up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strandkombuis revisited

We have been doing business with "Die Strandkombuis" Open Air Seafood Restaurant for many, many years and so it was a great pleasure to be invited by Bastian, one of the owners, to a complementary lunch on Sunday.
We set off just after 11h00 with a sense of anticipation and a grumbling tummy for the forty-five minute drive through to Yzerfontein which is on the coast between Saldanha and Capetown. A sense of anticipation because we had been there before but a good few years back, and a grumbling tummy because we were hungry, but you need to be hungry if you're going to Strandkombuis!
The turnoff, which is just outside of the town is well signposted so you shouldn't miss it, it's on the right hand side.
It's four kilomtres of gravel road to the sand dunes upon which the restaurant is perched, not really suitable for my touring bike but dual purpose bikes would have a ball, we were in the bakkie so we were able to enjoy the drive through the fynbos veld.
The stairway leading up onto the dunes and the wooden walkway, constructed to protect the sensitive flora gives you an introduction to how well the restaurant is established, this is no ordinary or casual beach restaurant but more like an experience which you will definitely enjoy.
We were given a lovely table right next to the beach where we could appreciate the gentle breeze which kept the heat at bay, the flowers were a legacy from a wedding the previous day and not a regular feature. We were quite early but it was lovely to relax with a glass of wine as the place gradually filled up.
We spotted Natie, who along with his lovely wife Marie have had the place for many years, bringing the first loaves of bread out of the charcoal ovens - the food was about to start and I was eagerly awaiting the first course, hoping that it was the same as I had experienced before.
Just look at that home made bread, it is unbelievably good, and the soup.......
is to die for! It was exactly as I remembered; chunky, thick, creamy fish soup and quite definitely the best I have ever had. I resisted the temptation to go back for seconds, I could have quite easily but I knew that there was still lots of food to come.
There is a gap between the soup and the main course so we decided to go for a stroll on the beach to get ready for the feast.
The boardwalk leads right down from the restaurant onto the beach and we walked down towards the town, it's a lovely wide beach and I took my shoes off to feel the sand between my toes, I got my feet wet in the bitterly cold water but we didn't walk too far, I didn't want to miss out on any of the food!
The restaurant looks lovely from the beach, the canvas tent is a permanent arrangement and is particularly effective in the summertime as a relief from the relentless heat.
We headed back, I was getting hungry again and I knew that it wasn't long before the main meal was to start, anxiously I urged Janet towards the steps in front of the place.
Sure enough there were now a lot more people than there had been when we left and Natie was moving amongst the crowd announcing the main course,
but really there's no need to rush, there's plenty of food and what a spread! There was mussels (from my farm!) in a creamy sauce, potatoes, yellowtail, snoek, prawns, calamari, pumpkin fritters, salads and pate's and they kept it coming.
Just look at my first plate! Those prawns were excellent, that calamari was tender, the fish was done to perfection the mussels were sublime. I didn't even bother to photograph my second plate, I needed some more of the fish.
We relaxed with our last glass of wine, I considered going back for perhaps just a few strips of calamari or maybe another prawn or two but just couldn't make it and besides I was now ready for the dessert.
They end off with "koeksusters" and coffee. A koeksuster (for those who are unfamiliar with them) is a traditional Afrikaans delicacy made of plaitted dough deep fried in a sweet syrup, absolutely delicious but you have to be careful when eating them as the syrup drips off your chin and elbows! A perfect way to end a seafood meal.
I enthusiastically recommend the Strandkombuis to you, it is a wonderfully relaxed yet slightly upmarket experience, perhaps a contradiction in terms for an open air seafood restaurant but it works superbly. A combination of casual food cooked on open fires in a casual environment but with a touch of class that makes all the difference.
You are welcome to take your own wine, the cost is R200 per head which for the quality and quantity of food and the outstanding ambience is quite frankly a bargain.
Give Natie or Bastian a call, the number is on the signboard, and try it out - tell them I sent you and maybe we'll get another free meal!