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, August 30, 2009

Sadza balls!

Just got back from Capetown, well actually we pulled in at "The Buffalo" for a couple of cold ones before coming home, had a great ride. When we left yesterday morning it was seriously cold and overcast and I considered going down in the bakkie, glad we didn't because as we were hauling it down the R27 the sky started clearing and we settled into a nice relaxed cruise. I didn't want to go too fast because I still haven't paid the last speeding fine that I got on that road!
By the time we arrived in the outskirts we were both good and hungry so we stopped at the "Viper Lounge" for a beer and a breakfast, R45 for two eggs, sausage, mushrooms, bacon and toast - good value as far as I'm concerned. We browsed around in the shop and I ended up spending R1200 on a new "Cortech" denim bike jacket and what a nice jacket it is, it will make a big difference on next week's Polar bear run. Unfortunately they did not have one in Janet's size but they are going to try and get one.
We had a nice evening and Linda's oxtail pot was very good, had a good time with our friends and this morning I made breakfast out of the left over "sadza" that I told you about;As you can see the sadza is a stiff "porridge" made out of the maize meal, make small balls into which you push a small block of cheddar cheese, wrap a strip of bacon around them and pin it with a tooth pick and then grill them, turning often until the bacon is cooked. The cheese melts and the bacon fat soaks into the maize meal - delicious and decadent!
What I did notice, and a friend also pointed out while we were at the pub is that I am going to have to get a new back tire before the Polar bear run, it is a Bridgestone Battlax and I have done just over 11000kms on it which about par for the course the way I ride, it may be good for another couple of hundred but we are going to do about 1000kms so I'm not taking any chances.
I will give the bike a good wash during the week, check the tire pressures when I get the back tire done and make sure that everything is good.
This afternoon Janet asked "What time are we leaving next week?" I said "I will check but I think we have to be at the gathering point to leave at 0830." to which she replied, "Well I hope we do leave straight away and not stand around for an hour talking crap and looking at the bikes like you guys always do."
Here we go!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bikers Rock!

It's Saturday morning and the beer I had for breakfast tasted good so I had one more for dessert, according to Mr Kristofferson that should have been Sunday morning but what the hell? According to the weather bureau (which is a non-prophet organisation!) it's going to be mild and dry for the whole weekend so we are going down to Capetown on the bike, we have been invited to have oxtail and stay over with Linda. What's with all of the oxtail we have been eating lately? Have the oxen been shedding tails, or maybe South African scientists have finally found out how to make them grow more than one, how good would that be? They would be much more efficient at keeping flies off themselves and then oxtail would be more readily available and hence not as expensive.
I'm now looking forward to the ride, we are going to stop for a breakfast on the way because it's going to be a late lunch and there's rugby this afternoon. I offered to make the "Sadza" this afternoon for the pot so I must take my sadza spoon with me. For those of you not in the know, sadza is a traditional African meillie meal accompaniment to a meat and gravy pot, I learnt to make it watching the black guys in Rhodesia and eating it with them. It is made into a stiff texture which you then pick up with your fingers and roll into a ball, this is then dipped into the gravy. If you get it right it doesn't stick to your hands, I will put some photos in my next post. I have my own wooden spoon which comes from Rhodesia and is only used for making sadza!
Here are some interesting biker photos which were sent to me by my buddy Rene';
Doesn't she look so damn cute? Don't drop that precious cargo Bro! I don't know where the photos were taken, the only clue is that they are on the wrong side of the road, good biker stuff that you see at bike rallies but not so often out on the street.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; Bikers rock!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lamb knuckle pot

Sunday was just as good, I don't know about you but I am really happy when I have my friends around me and we are entertaining. I love cooking, mostly outside but I will happily prepare a meal in the kitchen as well and Janet and I make a pretty good team.
Frank arrived at about 1100, I had told him to come early for lunch so that our friends could get on the road to Capetown at a reasonable time, I was preparing a lamb knuckle potjie and if you have been reading this you may remember the word is pronounced "Poy-key" and it refers to the pot in which the food is prepared. Usually, and traditionally, the pot is cooked over an open fire but for convenience I do it over a gas cooker.
First I heated the pot up over the gas flame and then in a little cooking oil I browned the meat, once the meat was nicely browned I removed it from the pot and set it aside. I then added a little more oil and fried up a mixture of chopped onions, green pepper and celery with a good tablespoon of crushed garlic.
While this was going on I sprinkled the meat with a packet of spicy tomato soup powder, a good shake of Aromat and an equally good shake of mixed herbs.
Once the onions and peppers were fried I put the meat back into the pot and stirred it around to mix it all up, then I poured in one Castle lager - do not try using any other beer unless you do not live in South Africa, in which case you will have to try your own favourite. Add a good "cone" of salt from the palm of your hand, close the lid and let it simmer for about half an hour. Open another Castle lager and drink it.
Add some chopped potatoes and butternut, settle them into the mix, taste the gravy to see if it needs anything, I added a glass of dry red wine at this stage - open another Castle lager and drink it.After you have checked the potatoes to see that they are getting soft you can now add any other vegetables, I added a tin of butter beans, some button mushrooms, cauliflower and sweetcorn mielies and let that all simmer for the final half hour - open another Castle lager and drink it.
I gotta tell you that was one hell of a good pot, we served it on savoury rice and it went down really well. I don't have any other photos to show you because by then I had had quite a few beers and by the time Frank went home - long after the others had left for Capetown, I was well on the way.
What a good weekend!
Remember that the 5th and 6th of September is the Polar bear run to Sutherland, the coldest place in South Africa and we have managed to get Dick and Janet onto it as well. That's going to be a good one, it was good last year apart from Dave's prang and it should be even better this time, keep reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A good Snoek braai

It was a great weekend! First of all the weather played along and we were able to braai and also my friends coming up from Capetown were able to see the spring flowers which are making a fantastic show at the moment.Dick and Janet arrived first on their lovely ST1300 with the great sounding "Two Brothers" exhaust cans, woke up the neighbours a bit. Joe and Annie arrived shortly after, not being bikers they drove up.Our first course was a big bowl of steamed fresh mussels (obviously!) and I made a creamy brandy sauce with which I drenched them, we ate them and sopped up the sauce with crispy french bread. Rather good according to my friends, Joe and Annie tucked into them. Next was the Snoek Thyrsites Atun which is plentiful on the west coast where it forms migratory shoals and is lovely and fat in the winter, I bought a big one because I make good use of any leftovers.
It doesn't take long to braai a Snoek over moderately hot coals and I made up my usual baste with a little olive oil into which I melted about 50g of butter, then I added a tablespoon of crushed garlic, a cup of lemon juice and about half a cup of smooth apricot jam. Once it had all simmered into a nice thick syrup I brushed it liberally over the fish - delicious!Janet made some gralic potatoes and a salad and we had a lovely, typical west coast lunch. My afternoon was made complete when Joe and I went to play pool and I beat him 5 games to 3! That evening we had a good chat in my bar and listened to music before a relatively early night, it had been a good day and Sunday I had a lamb potjie planned.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking forward to the weekend

Any of my friends reading this will know that the first paragraph of the last post entry was a bit of bullshit, poetic license maybe? Firstly I don't have long hair, so I couldn't shake my hair loose from my helmet and secondly my gaze is not often "steely", it's usually bleary! As for the babe, you can think what you like.
The good news is the weather seems to be clearing! As I write this I can hear guys playing on motorcycles, don't you just love the distant sound of a bike racing up through the gears? I do, I always send out a "Ride safe Bro." message to the unknown road warrior.
I will be back out on the bike again soon, and hopefully for a longer ride than just a local booze cruise, but not this weekend. This weekend we will be braaiing, I have planned a Snoek braai for Saturday lunch so I'll show you photos of that in my next post, looking forward to that there's not much to beat a good fresh Snoek on the braai. In keeping with my "Out of Africa" pictures here's a good one of a happy bunch of kids making good use of an old VW Kombi, I hope they are careful with that fire!
I'm off to meet Frank shortly for another round of the incredibly exciting and crowd pleasing FA cup pool competition, a couple of cold beers and a few games of pool with my biker buddy goes down very well, I will let you know how that goes as well.
Enjoy the weekend, we'll talk again soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Amazing babe gets my number!

You're not gonna believe this; I stopped outside the local biker bar, kicked out the side stand and sat casually on my steed as I lifted my helmet off. My steely gaze took in my immediate surroundings as I shook my hair loose, I automatically assessed whether there was any danger that needed to be dealt with and allowed my coiled, tensed muscles to relax before I entered the bar. In spite of these defence mechanisms which have been ingrained by years of hardship this girl was entering my cell phone number into her phone as she walked away! Unbelievable!

It looks like I might have found a new zorst already! Dick phoned to say that a friend of his wants to sell his "Scorch" pipe because it's too noisy! That's exactly why I want one! He wants R600 for it which is quite a bit less than I was expecting to pay so I have asked Dick to organise it for me, even if I don't like it I will surely be able to get R600 back. Watch this space, hopefully we will soon have a really good sounding R1200RT disturbing the neighbours!

Continuing with my "Out of Africa" pictures here is one that is rather disturbing; why is this guy running? What is he running from?
This is not such an unusual picture, he could be exercising (Yeah right!), he could be running away from the Police, he could be running to a soccer game or he could be running away from something else;Luckily for this guy he was able to get away by jumping onto the back of the camera vehicle because hippos are responsible for many deaths in the wilds, they may look fat and ungainly but they are very fast. I have had some close encounters with these beasts out in the bush and on the Zambezi river and I gained a healthy respect for them, but that's another story.
This coming weekend Dick and Janet and Joe and Annie are coming to stay and we are planning some good food so keep reading, if the weather's good we will ride down to meet Dick and Janet halfway and I've got some good braais planned.
Stay safe, keep the shiny side up and keep reading this blog!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Local breakfast run

Well we managed to get out for a bit of a ride yesterday, I finished work early and Janet managed to get the afternoon off. Frank wasn't available for the usual FA cup pool games as he had to go to Capetown for the weekend.
It wasn't the best afternoon for a ride as the wind was still blowing quite strong northerly but we did a local cruise so that Janet could have a look at the Spring flowers which are now showing brilliantly. We ended up at the Buffalo bar for a beer - go figure! We sat chatting to Duncan, the owner for a while and then headed for home.
I bought a pair of "Armourgear" biking trousers and had to have them lengthened, they have Kevlar inserts in the knees and butt and I'm thinking; "Kevlar is bullet-proof so how the hell can you sew it?" But then I was also pleased about the Kevlar because any kind of bullet-proof clothing is a good thing in South Africa these days, at least the bad guys won't be able to shoot me in the butt or in the knees!
This morning the weather was a heck of a lot better so we decided to have a short breakfast run, we couldn't go far because I have a lodge meeting this afternoon so we headed for the Farm stall on the R27 just about twenty k's away from home. The weather is still quite fresh but there was no wind and it was great being out on the road.
It's quite a picturesque spot on a farm right next to the national road, well known for their farm fresh bread and a huge variety of home made jams. They also make their own boerewors (Farmer's sausage) which is really good, I bought a kilo to take home. I am not sure what the significance of the boat wheelhouse is but I suppose it is eyecatching.
It is quaint and colourful inside, crammed with odds and sods for sale from enamel kitchen ware to a huge array of fresh farm bread, biscuits and jams. The breakfast was good, for only R29.50 we got two eggs, two rashers of really tasty bacon, a peice of their delicious boerewors and some fresh farm bread.
Why oh why do people serve frozen butter?!! I hate it when you are trying to spread butter and all it does is pull the bread apart! The coffee was not very good either, just coffee bags in hot water, apart from that though it was good value.
We carried on riding for a bit but now my winscreen is plastered with insects, the rest of the bike is still clean so I'll just have to wash the front.
We're off to Capetown tomorrow for a braai with Joe for his birthday, unfortunately we have to go in the bakkie again as I have stuff to take down but we are getting closer to the Polar bear run to Sutherland which takes place on the 5th September, really looking forward to that, I just hope the weather is kind to us.
Cheers for now, we'll talk again soon - ride safe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More out of Africa

Today was the public holiday and I had been hoping to go for a ride but the weather has been seriously crap all day! Saturday and Sunday were great but we had to go to Capetown in the bakkie because I had some major stuff to carry, just my luck! We got back in time to go for lunch to my friend X Kotze's place, he said to be there at 12 for an oxtail pot and when we got there I asked him "Where's the pot?" expecting to get a good plate of oxtail and he said, "I'm just about to put it on." Shit man! He was expecting to cook a quick pot of oxtail, luckily Adi had a pressure cooker and we managed to eat at about 3pm. I was a good pot though!

I have got some more out of Africa photos to show you, I love these pictures because there is always something interesting going on;How's this ambulance? Isn't that great? Just not too good for trauma cases!This inventive fellow has got his "Walkman" sorted out, we would see this sort of thing while travelling through the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape.Here's another one depicting a somewhat dicey motorcycle and trailer combination! At least I have got something about bikes in this blog entry.
I am hoping to go down to Capetown one day this week or at the latest next week to get a new zorst can fitted, while Janet and I were down at the "Viper lounge" the week before last I heard a bike arriving before I saw it and it sounded just so damn good. I went outside to see what it was and it was a BMW similar to mine! I went to speak to the rider and he had bought the slip-on from the agents, he said it improved performance and fuel consumption but that is secondary! It just sounded so bloody good so I gotta get me one, I got all the details so I will let you know all about it.
Here's hoping for a ride real soon, I'm a summer person - can't wait for it to get here!

Friday, August 7, 2009

No riding yet

You will all no doubt be glad to hear that I won the FA cup this afternoon! Actually Frank was on form and I only managed to pull the decider once we got to 3 all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon with seven close games, lots of rude words and a couple of cold beers. Another great afternoon at the "Rooikraans" pub.
Don came in for a beer, just back from a holiday in England, he's the owner of "Beira Mar" restaurant which you will have read about in earlier posts and which he is re-opening at the beginning of September, there's something to look forward to!
We are hoping to go for a ride on Monday, it's a public holiday but we're not sure about the weather yet so we'll see. I will have to wash the bike again, I washed it before last week's short cruise but because it's now Spring there are gazillions of insects about and my windscreen and headlight are plastered with multi-coloured splotches, can't have that!
I see from my Neo counter that I have picked up a reader from Zimbabwe - cool! I hope he comes back, I am an ex Rhodesian so it would be good to hear from him, leave me a comment brother.
Here are some more out of Africa pictures, and apparently this one is from Zimbabwe;
How's that for loading a bakkie? Obviously with the fuel shortage there they had to share transport, but man I can't see that vehicle lasting very long! Here's another one which was taken on the main road from Johannesburg to Durban in the early hours of the morning when the driver was hoping to avoid the traffic cops, can you imagine what this bakkie must have felt like in a corner?! I wouldn't have liked to be driving it that's for sure. Man you just gotta love Africa, there's so much going on here.
For any of you living in this area or the Cape, we had a good dinner at the "Buffalo bar" in Vredenburg on Thursday so give it a try, we both had peri peri chicken livers as a starter and it was excellent! Many restaurants over cook the livers but they didn't and the sauce was great. I then had a very good T bone and Janet had the rump steak, a good pub meal with a bottle of red wine and the bill came to R176 - you do the math, excellent value and we'll go back.
We are going down to Capetown tomorrow to visit Dave and Nikki, will stay over with them and then back on Sunday for an oxtail pot lunch with friends here in Saldanha - life is good man!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spring is sprung

Today was a beautiful day so we decided to stay in and do a quiet braai just for the two of us, this is quite unusual for me because I prefer cooking or braaiing for a mob, it turned out to be a very nice and relaxed morning which started with the bottle of sparkling wine in the spa bath. What a great way to start the day!
My first course was lamb ribs, one of my favourite starters; I first seal the meat over hot coals and then sprinkle them with Aromat, garlic flakes and ground black pepper, then carry on braaiing until the are nicely browned for a delicious almost crunchy starter.Next we had chicken (which is considered the vegetable in most South African braais!) and the ubiquitous boerewors, without which no braai is complete. For my foreign readers boerewors is literally "Farmer's sausage" in Afrikaans and is made in different styles and variations in different parts of the country, but all with common ingredients and is a truly delicious part of any braai.
I did the chicken "spatchcock" style and marinated it in olive oil, liberally sprinkled with cayenne pepper, garlic and mixed herbs and placed it on the grid over good hot coals.Braaiing chicken like this takes quite a while, you have to ensure that the chicken is well cooked without burning the skin so it takes quite a lot of turning and juggling and balancing, but the result is well worth the effort.
Janet made some nice creamy potatoes and a green bean and feta cheese salad and we enjoyed a lovely meal, there was enough left to make some of my work meals very interesting for a couple of days too.

I think that looks pretty damn good, and it went down very well. Janet decided that she was going to have a bit of a kip after that so I got the big red machine out and went for a cruise around to get some photos of the flowers, which are really starting to show now.

Ain't she beautiful? Ok the flowers are pretty good too if you like that kind of thing! Cheers for now, back again soon and keep the rubber side down.