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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday oxtail potjie for two

After trailering the big red machine down to Maxwil Trading in Killarney Gardens and waiting an anxious couple of days for news, I got an email from Claus to say that there was nothing major wrong with the bike, and in fact it is in very good condition for its age and mileage.
What a relief! The front forks had to be re-chromed and new "O" rings fitted but that is a feature of living on the coast; corrosion, other than that the regular service will be done and I am hoping to get my bike back in time for the club breakfast run next Sunday.
So what does a biker do on a sunny, calm Sunday when he hasn't got a bike? He cooks!.......and drinks beer. I decided on an oxtail potjie.
Purists will say that a decent pot can only be done over a fire and I agree to a certain extent, in the old days I was the same; scornful of anyone who would dare to cook a potjie over a gas cooker.
Now, however I have bent to the sheer convenience of the adjustable gas flame that has taken the effort out of trying to maintain a constant heat with little bits of wood.
Now while my pot is simmering I can chat with my friends and enjoy a cold beveridge without constantly worrying about temperture variances.
 I had a nice little packet of oxtail, sort of enough for three people but Janet and I are big eaters and anyway there is nothing better than left-overs the next night!

I coated the meat in cake wheat flour seasoned with "Six Gun Grill" spice, a favourite at the moment and then dumped it into the pot which had been heating up some olive oil. Once it was all nicely browned I removed it and set it aside.

Next to go in, my chopped onions, green bell peppers, one small habanero chilli finely chopped and a tablespoon of crushed garlic. This was fried until soft and translucent and then the meat went back into the pot.

By now it smells good enough to eat but there is a long time to go, I add a half a beer at this point and then make up a soup and wine mixture;

 Brown onion soup powder into a mug, add a crushed beef stock cube and fill the cup with red wine, in this case a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Waverley Hills. Add to the pot, salt and pepper to taste, give it all a good stir and let it simmer for two hours - I still give a good stir every now and then
You have to judge when to do the next part of the pot; the vegetables, they only take about an hour so your meat has to be good and tender before you start them so that by the time the vegetables are cooked your meat is "fall off the bone" tender.
I added potatoes, butternut squash and sweetcorn miellies to the pot, turned the heat up a smidgen and left it for another hour.

When I judged that the pot had about half an hour to go I added a good wedge of cabbage and by the time the whole process had completed roughly five hours it was ready.

I usually like to make a pot of "sadza" to go with a meal like this and if there are any Rhodies reading this they will know all about it.
Sadza is an old Rhodesian staple made from ground maize and cooked into a stiff "porridge" using mostly lots of elbow grease!
I learned to enjoy it and how to cook it watching the cook when I was a youngster and a measure of how well it is prepared is if you can take a bit out of the pot and roll it into a ball without it sticking to your hand.
This ball is then dipped into the gravy and Rhodies will stand around the pot eating like this before eventually dishing up a plate of food.

A delicious meal, but really with good quality ingredients doing a potjie is not difficult, I suppose the worst thing that you could do would be to burn the food, if you watch the heat carefully you shouldn't go wrong.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Serious disappointment, a change of plans

After that last ride that Janet and I enjoyed so much I parked the bike in its usual place on our front veranda and covered it up. My plan was to clean it during the week in preparation for the Freedom Road Rally.
Returning home from work on Monday I looked at the bike as I walked in, as I am sure you all do and noticed something unusual;
an oily patch on the slasto next to the back wheel! My heart dropped. You must understand that the bike has stood there for years and there has never been any oil before.
I got down on my hands and knees and had a good look, feeling underneath the hub there was oil all over the place! It could only be from the differential or the gearbox, remember the diff. had been replaced in 2014, surely it couldn't be that? It could only be the gearbox.
I contacted my friend Craig at West Coast Yamaha, he said he would take a look, I wanted advice so I rode  through to Vredenburg, Craig confirmed my worst fears; I should not ride the bike anymore but he was unable to help, the bike would have to go to Capetown.
As I write this my brothers leave early tomorrow to ride through to Struisbaai - without me! How will they manage? Ah they'll be fine but I hope they will miss me, I will be thinking of them for sure.
Now I have to trailer the big red machine down to Capetown again!
Well at least I'll be playing pool with Frank tomorrow afternoon, he's not going either because his bike's up for sale and he's waiting for his next one.
I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A short local cruise, biker heaven

South Africa has been going through a heat wave lately, there is serious drought throughout the country, crops and livestock are in serious danger and water is being freighted up from the Cape in convoys to the stricken areas up north. Concerned western cape residents have been donating bottled water by the thousands of 5 litre containers apart from the tankers that are hauling the life saving liquid to the dry and dusty areas, an iniative that shows the care and compassion of those in the south for their brothers and sisters in need.
What this means in the cape areas is that we have been experiencing temperatures in the mid to high thirties celsius and it just becomes way too hot to pull on the gear and go out for a ride. The bike has been standing under its cover, we have looked out the door and said things like; "We should be going for a ride now, look at this beautiful evening." but it has been incredibly warm, we were wiping the sweat from our brows as we said it and the thought of pulling the gear on was just too much, rather we filled our glasses and sat out back in the shade.
So it was that Wednesday after work, and normally the evening for the local sunset cruise, which did not seem to be happening, at least our President had not heard of a ride, that Janet and I decided to get out on a ride of our own. It was warm, though for a change not stiflingly hot, there was a slight, cooling breeze as I backed the big red machine out onto the road, the engine was idling happily as Janet stepped up onto the peg and swung her leg expertly over.
You all know the feeling; slight movements of the wrists and hands get the machine moving, lift the feet from the road onto the pegs and up through the gears and you're in biker heaven. We accelerated out of town onto the circular road around the bay heading away from the setting sun which occasionally flashed in my mirrors, sixth gear cruising I wasn't in any particular hurry.
Nirvana, I settled into 100kmh cruising but soon saw a cager coming up behind me so with a very slight twist of my right wrist I left him far behind, rather stay ahead of the ordinary people. 
We came upon a "Stop/go" section of roadworks but I cruised past the queue of waiting cars to the front, maybe ten or twelve in the line and jumped away into the passing traffic, by then I had a huge grin on my face, Janet is concerned when I jump queues; "What are they going to think?" - Do I give a shit?
Our first stop was at "Juffoushoogte" guest farm where the beer quarts were icy cold, one drink only after a chat with my friend Johan and then back out onto the R27 towards Velddrif. Fog turned the temperature down considerably until we turned and headed back towards Vredenburg and it was warm again as we parked the bike outside the Phoenix bar,
 Johan had taken the ten kilometre direct route while we did thirty and was there to meet us and we drank together again, such is the biker life on the west coast.
Two more beers, bitterly cold and we headed home. It had been great to get out on the road, to feel the road beneath me, my lady behind me even though we travelled a mere 90kms.
I am looking forward to the "Freedom Road rally" on the 19th of February, I have already started getting my stuff together and have organised the day off from work so that I can ride with the club, rest assured that I will tell you all about it.
In the meantime brothers and sisters, stay safe!