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, September 29, 2008

A Potjie and a braai!

I'm afraid it has been rather an unsuccessful week as far as biking is concerned, at least she has stayed clean, she's nicely covered up in the garage but I am having withdrawal symptoms - I need to go riding!
Friday we had the day off in place of the wednesday public holiday and we invited Frank around for lunch, I did a chicken potjie which turned out very tasty;
First I fried one chopped onion, one chopped green pepper, three cloves of fresh garlic, two chopped celery sticks and three small red tabasco chillies in some cooking oil until the onions were translucent.
In the meantime I chopped one whole chicken up into chunks and in bowl I covered them with a good srinkle of aromat, a whole packet of cream of chicken soup powder and a good shake of mixed herbs. Cover with a lid and shake them around until the meat is nicely covered.
I then added all of the chicken to the pot and kept stirring over high heat until the meat was nicely browned. At this stage there was not much liquid in the pot so I added a whole Castle lager and then turned the heat down and left the pot to just simmer gently for ten minutes or so while I chopped up four potatoes and half a butternut. These chunks I then added to the pot and left it to simmer for about half to three quarters of an hour.
I checked the potatoes with the point of a knife and when they were feeling soft I chucked a punnet of button mushrooms and some florets of cauliflower in and gently mixed everything to settle the vegetables into the liquid. I also added salt at this point.
We ate the meal with a nice crusty bread and a salad of olives, feta cheese and ........... little red things, (I forgot the name but they are quite spicy - lekker!)
Janet and I had a braai on Sunday, it was a lovely hot day so we decided to relax around the house. I bought a couple of free range chickens which were advertised at a special price so I decided I would do them on the rotisserie but after I had gone to all of the trouble of spicing the bird and fastening it to the rod I discovered that the motor wasn't working. We hadn't used it for ages so I went off to the 7/11 and bought some new batteries but still the bloody thing wouldn't work - plan B; spatchcock and braai the chicken.

I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and then covered it liberally with a mixture of Aromat, garlic flakes, lemon pepper and mixed herbs and then got busy braaiing it. We relaxed with a beer or two and by the time the bird was ready Janet's potatoes were as well.

If that was a "free range" chicken it must have been a bloody big range! Or else the bloody chicken walked all the way to Saldanha, it was incredibly tough and apart from that it must have had the wind behind it blowing sand up its bum because the inside was all gritty! We managed to eat it but I don't know what I'm going to do with the other one, luckily we didn't have any guests for lunch.

On a bad note, the Blue Diamond has closed its doors! I'm not sure what the story is at the moment but this is bad news - I hope it's not permanent, I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Stormy weather continues

You wont believe the terrible weather we have had lately! That photograph was taken after that cloud had dumped what felt like tons of water on us, plus recently we had the worst swells coming through the bay in many years. They caused a lot of damage, not only to the mussel rafts, but also to places like Club Mykonos just outside Langebaan. As you can see it's little wonder that I haven't managed to do much riding!

Here you can see the waves breaking right over the jetty and the wall next to the road, this was at Pepper Bay outside Pedro's restaurant. We are still busy on the farm trying to repair the damage and it will take us another couple of weeks to get finished.
I was able to get the big red machine out of the garage and blow the cobwebs out of the exhaust pipe last Saturday, there was a very cold wind blowing out of the south west but it was a sunny day so I took a ride around to Langebaan to buy some fish for lunch. I was very pleased when the bike started with the first touch of the starter button, I shouldn't have worried because I have never had a problem but you can't help worrying. It was a short ride but very enjoyable and I bought a lovely big fillet of Cape Salmon (geelbek) which went down very well.
We also managed a braai on Monday evening, Mike and Loretta bought some "skilpaatjies" which is little balls of minced lamb's liver wrapped in the spleen (caul) fat and pegged with tooth picks. I also make my own occasionally but I cut the liver into strips to wrap in the fat rather than mincing it. These I braai over hot coals until the fat crisps up and soaks into the liver, delicious but probably not very healthy but who cares!
For our main course we had sirloin steak and boerewors, and do you know how good it was to have a braai again? We try to take advantage of every nice day that crops up during winter, hopefully summer is not too far away?
Today is a public holiday and we are taking Mike and Loretta to my new favourite place; Don's "Beira Mar" restaurant in Saint Helena Bay for lunch, last time I had the most amazing whole baby yellowtail. The restaurant has a Portuguese flavour and they also do wonderful starters like deep fried squid tentacles - looking forward to my lunch!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad weather

Well it has been a really terrible week with some seriously bad weather. Since we had our last braai we have had some very bad storms and I am so tired of winter, it has been raining like hell and I have only managed to start my bike's engine in the garage. It seems like ages since I took the big red machine for a ride.
For goodness sake I run a mussel farm, it must be the only farm that doesn't need rain!
There are a couple of bike runs organized for the early part of October, one being a dart run which we haven't tried yet - it is similar to a poker run where you get given a card at five different pubs, only on this one you throw one dart at each different pub. Well if I had to throw a dart at a pub I might have a chance! It's trying to throw a dart at a dartboard where I'm going to have trouble, I normally have to play on the girl's team.
We went to visit Dave on Sunday and he is doing well, he is very positive and is managing quite well in his wheelchair and his walker but with a lot of help from Nikki. I couldn't help feeling a bit queesy when he was telling me about all that he has been through so far and I think there is still a lot of painful therapy to come.
I haven't got a lot to tell yet but I will hopefully have more soon, the big red machine has been cleaned and polished and needs to go for a ride, even if it is just to the Blue Diamond.
We'll speak again soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rants and Raves

I've been checking out other blogspots and I'm having trouble finding anything interesting! I have decided that I am going to work on this one more often and try and get more people to read it. Things that I will cover in my rantings;
*idiots who drive at night and wait until they have topped the rise and blinded you before they dip their lights.
*idiots who travel at 38,7kmh in a 60kmh zone.
*idiots who travel at 100kmh in a 120kmh zone and who refuse to move aside for you.
*idiots who wear hats (not caps) while they are driving.
*idiots who think that they can keep up with a biker on the open road.
*idiots who stop for a refreshment break and drink tea or coffee.
Things that I will cover in my raves;
Ok I will have to give that one some thought, most of my raves are about how cool it is to ride a motorbike but if you have been reading my blog you will know how I feel.
I will make a list of important things to do;
* get an aftermarket exhaust fitted, this will have two main advantages; improve performance and fuel consumption but more important it will improve the sound!
*get a tattoo, it is high time that I did this and I have been very close because most of the rallys and day jols have a tattoo caravan on site but they are so busy that it is difficult to get in and they only take cash, I then have to work out how much cash must be retained for beer.
Ok I will have to give that some thought, I already have a cool pair of boots and a cool pair of sunglasses so we're pretty much covered there.
Anyway keep reading this blog and pass the word around.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

At last we braai!

Rene and Bronx came up for the weekend and the weather was fantastic so we planned a regular braai, I had been having withdrawal symptoms because it is such a long time since I have been able to burn some meat! I did provide some oysters for a starter because Rene really enjoys them so I am happy to have someone here with whom I can share them. Let me just say that they were outstanding!
Saturday morning we took them to the Blue Diamond for a beer or two and Rene and I played five games of pool which I won 3-2, some really close and enjoyable games. During the time that we were there a lot of bikers arrived because there was a day jol in Velddrif, this always seems to happen when we have visitors, after a while it was time to go home and get the braai on the go.
The first course was steak tasties and I prepared a lovely piece of rump steak in the same manner as I did a couple of weeks ago, (see a couple of posts back) the only difference was this time I sliced it up into thin portions for all to share. Rene and Bronx were very impressed with my marinade.
The next course was lamb "ribetjies" (little lamb ribs); these are individual slices of lamb ribs usually 8 pieces in a pack. Braai them over hot coals, place them bone side down first to start cooking the meat and when it is good and brown lay them on their side and braai for a few minutes, turn them over and sprinkle aromat and lemon pepper on the cooked side.
Braai again for a few minutes and then turn them and sprinkle the other side as well. Keep turning them until the meat is nice and crunchy brown, these make a lovely starter.
Then I did "pork tasties", as you can see I was making up for all of the months that I had been waiting to braai and in fact we could easily have had another four people over but I didn't know who to phone at such short notice!
Get good pork rashers which must be at least one quarter to one half of an inch thick, the rind must still be on which you must sprinkle well with salt. Place them on the braai and cook both sides until the meat just starts to turn brown then you must balance them on their rinds and I find that the easiest way to do this is to place a piece of wood on the grid and lean the rashers against it. This enables you to turn the rinds into "crackling" which is essential for the success of this particular starter.
Once the rinds have started to blister and crisp, place the slices back on their side on the grid to cook properly, turn them over once or twice and once they have turned to a golden brown take them off and chop them into pieces, sprinkle with salt and serve to your guests, these make a delicious crunchy starter.
My main course was braaied chicken thighs served with Janet's garlic butter potatoes, truly a wonderful lunch which was washed down with lots of beer, as well as red and white wine. What a great afternoon! Except that the "Sharks" beat the "Blue Bulls" which cost me a case of beer.
Sunday lunch was a de-boned leg of lamb on the braai, I had been preparing it in my mind for a while and was looking forward to cooking it. De-boning the leg took a while but it wasn't all that difficult and then I marinated it for about an hour with olive oil, aromat, garlic flakes, crushed black pepper corns and mixed herbs.
A good bed of hot coals with that big hunk of meat was a wonderful sight!

It wasn't long before we were slicing into the meat, it doesn't take very long to cook the lamb this way because it is quite thin so you have to cut into it to judge when you want to take it off. If you like your meat quite rare, as we do, then take it off quite early and let it rest in a warmer where it will continue to cook for a while. Just before serving sprinkle it with crushed feta cheese - unbelievable! We had it with Janet's creamy aromat potatoes and green beans mixed with fried onions.
Later in the afternoon after Rene and Bronx had left and Janet was having a sleep, Frank came by after a ride and we sat chatting and drinking red wine and he started slicing up the left over meat and eating it, I ended up cutting off a good sized portion for him to take home. Obviously it was a success!
My first braai of the season went well and I'm looking forward to the next one.
I didn't ride my bike this weekend but I did drink a lot of beer, and when I look back at that sentence I suppose that it's a good job that I didn't ride my bike!