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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


OMG! And let me assure you I don't often use terms like that, or the word "Awesome", in fact I can't remember the last time I called anything awesome unless it was the first time I saw a Dolly Parton music video!
This, however inspires me to use similar words; this is the new BMW K1600GT and I'm thinking "Man I've gotta get me one of those!"
These photos are from BMW Motorcycle magazine and really, isn't that a beautiful motorcycle?!
I posted these on Facebook and my daughter immediately came back with; "Dad is that before or after Mom's new kitchen?" She's just like her Mother and a typical woman; always getting their priorities wrong!
This bike has just been unveiled, or introduced at the Intermot bike show so it is not yet available here in South Africa and I have no idea how much it will cost but I am quite sure it will be over R200,000. I should be able to get close to R100,000 for my R1200RT so that means I would have to find or finance another R100,000. That means putting up with the kitchen the way it is, at least I have almost completed the front gate!
I have always intended that my kids will inherit our house from us when Janet and I eventually move off this mortal coil, but I have also intended that there will be absolutely no money to inherit - we're gonna spend it all!
Decisions, decisions!
Talking about money! We decided to go to the casino at Club Mykonos the other night for a bit of a "flutter", Janet immediately settled herself in front of her 2c slot machine and started playing. She is actually quite good at this and has been known to double her original R200 stake over an evening which pays for our meal as well.
I moved around and selected a couple of machines, including the poker machine and by the time I had been playing for about half an hour and was R400 down I saw that Janet had actually lost R18:40, time to go! Who's the better gambler here?
By the way, I did tell you that I didn't like scooters didn't I? I got this the other day and thought you might like it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Slipway Restaurant and a local ride

After a wet night and a rather overcast morning the sky cleared and we decided to go and have lunch at one of our favourite restaurants in Saldanha; The Slipway.
It is right on the water's edge next to the slip that brings the fishing trawlers out of the water for maintenance. This restaurant has one of the best views of any restaurant that I know, it overlooks the yacht basin and the maintenance harbour so just about every time we go there is a different vessel moored nearby.
The Slipway is also one of my best local customers for fresh mussels, they have an extensive mussel menu and whenever I go there I have the delicious "Mussel and bacon bites" as a starter. They wrap the mussels in bacon, roll them in crumbs and then deep fry them and although this may not be hugely healthy, they are delicious indeed.

We normally order one starter to share, Janet has one and I have four - hey, it works for me!
My main course was a really good fillet of Kob (Argyrosomus hololepidotus) which was pleasantly fresh and perfectly cooked, I have very rarely been disappointed in the food at the Slipway restaurant - give them a call on o22 7144235 and have a good meal next to the sea.
On a completely different note I mentioned that we were going to the Beaver Rally next month, part of the pre-entry is that we will get a braai pack when we get there which usually consists of a lamb chop, a piece of chicken or steak and a piece of boerewors and one of the main problems at a rally is finding a place to cook it. They usually provide firewood and braai drums, but no utensils or braai grids so we usually don't bother with the braais.
In order to be prepared this time I have purchased a really testicle braai grid. This is small enough to fit in the top case but can also be used to cook meat! Cool huh?Here you see it in its carry case, which is all very well when it is new and has not been used, but this little bag is going to look pretty grotty after a couple of braais!
Here you see the whole unit assembled, and I must say that (sober) I was able to get it all together in really quick time. It will be interesting to see how it all works out later on in the evening!
After our lunch I got the big red machine out of the garage for a bit of a local cruise and was lucky enough to meet up with a bunch of local bikers, I tagged along with them even though my BMW couldn't keep up very well with the bikes that had names like "Fireblade" and letters like "GSXR", I managed pretty well and really enjoyed the ride but my top end is around 220kmh where theirs is way higher. I mentioned to the guys that Frank and I were going to the Beaver Rally next month and a couple of them had been before; "Oh yes, that's a good one if you want to introduce your Grandmother to a motorbike rally." they said. We rode at high speed from the "Victorian Times" pub, taking the long way around to "Vlakvarkgat" and I was struggling to keep up with the young hotshots on their fast machines but I felt pretty good when we got there, the big red machine is fast enough for me.
"So - guys, any of you coming to the Beaver Rally with us?...........Guys? No, huh? Any of your Grannies want to go?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Change of plans - what a blow!

We had such a good weekend organised but the weather has intervened, I had planned a Return to "Pakhuis Pass". That almost sounds like a Spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood! I had booked a chalet at the West Coast Hacienda, just outside of "Graafwater", some 28kms from Clanwilliam for two nights and we were going to do some exploring, but because I do not want to be walking amongst those majestic rock formations in the rain we have decided to postpone the trip.
I know what's going to happen, I need to make a front gate and now I will not have any excuse not to get busy with it. I have bought all of the materials so I'll just have to get on with it.
Everytime I have a ride planned and I have to cancel I end up imagining future rides, re-living the past rides and remembering particularly good sections of road that we regularly ride. Here I was on my way home from the Freedom Road rally at Stilbaai, this was taken fairly early on Sunday morning, with still nearly two hours to get home.
I am usually pretty grubby after a rally I must admit, it's usually just a case of running tap water over my head and brushing my teeth for the two days, who has time to take a shower? And anyway more often than not the facilities leave a lot to be desired! I also use deodorant so no-one would really notice, except maybe Janet when I greet her after a two day absence but she is diplomatic; "Go and have a nice shower dear!"
I always carry a couple of changes of clothing with me but very rarely use much of it!
Talking about rallies, Frank and I are going to the "Beaver Rally" at Heidelberg from the 12th to the 14th November. We have not been to one of these before so this is something to look forward to, about a 350km ride on the Friday so I will have to see how early I can get off work.
This "Beaver" is the little furry aquatic creature that builds dams, not that other kind of Beaver!
So anyway on Friday afternoon I will be back at the Phoenix bar playing pool with Frank and the boys, and I will be hoping that there will be at least a big enough gap in the weather to go for a ride, even if it is just to go somewhere for lunch.
Have a great one, keep the rubber side down and stay on two wheels, it's the best way to go!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Willie's funeral run to Capetown

Yesterday was the day of Willie's funeral, a bright, clear and sunny day seemed to contrast with the sombre mood of the large crowd of Willie's friends who gathered at the Engen One Stop to ride down to the biker's church in Brakenfell.
Willie was an energetic and charismatic personality, a dedicated CMA member and an enthusiastic biker and he will be sorely missed.
I didn't count the number of bikes that eventually gathered there but there were people from all of the surrounding towns; Saldanha, Langebaan, Velddrif and Laaiplek as well as from the nearby airforce base, all there with one common purpose, to bid farewell to a friend and brother. The convoy that roared out onto the R27 heading down to Capetown at 09h00 was impressive and Frank told me that the church was packed, a very sad but very nice service was conducted by the Christian Motorcycle Association and Willie was laid to rest.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

R.I.P. Willie Holtzhausen

I am incredibly sad right now, I haven't posted for a while because on Sunday I learned that our old friend and brother Willie Holtzhausen died as a result of an accident which took place on Friday. He and his wife Karin were both seriously injured in a collision with a bloody mini bus taxi on the road into Vredenburg.
I am afraid that the mini-bus taxis will be the eventual death of all of us, they are a law unto themselves, they regularly disregard stop signs and red lights and pretty much do what they like with the traffic authorities too afraid to deal with them....maybe it's time for us to do something about them?
Willie was a much loved and respected member of the Christian Motorcycle Association and we used to see him often at rallies around the Cape, he was a very enthusiastic photographer and we always saw him wandering around with his camera.
It wasn't even two weeks ago that I walked into the Phoenix bar and Willie was there, we greeted each other warmly and shook hands. That was the last time that I saw him alive. Damn! Karin is still in hospital, what a waste of a useful and happy life and what of their young son?
The memorial service is on Saturday at the biker's church in Brackenfell but unfortunately I will not be able to attend due to previous commitments, rest in peace my brother.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sadza balls and a trip to Capetown

Whenever I have left over sadza, and that's not often because normally my friends clean it up, I use it to make these balls for breakfast the next day, one of our favourite snacks;
The ingredients are only the sadza, cheddar cheese and streaky bacon and when I buy the bacon I always select a packet that has evenly cut strips to make things easier.
Roll portions of the sadza into hand size balls and press a block of cheddar cheese into the centre, then mold the sadza as evenly as possible around the cheese.
Then roll a strip of the bacon around the ball, it helps if you thin the bacon out a bit with the back of a knife, this "stretches" the bacon strip a little,
Then you pin the bacon in place with a toothpick, place them onto a grill pan and put them under the oven grill. This can be done on a braai, but for convenience I usually do them under the grill, it's not always so easy to light a braai just to do the sadza balls - alright if you are doing a braai breakfast, which by the way is fantastic, then you can braai them along with your other ingredients. I just grilled them this time.
Basically all you have to do is keep turning them until the bacon is cooked nice and crispy, the sadza is already cooked and the cheese melts inside!
Just look at this! Here is a photo of a sadza ball which has been recently bitten in half, the bacon is crispy and the cheese is melted and quite a lot was on my beard! Delicious!
And now for something completely different.........Today was a lovely spring day, calm and sunny so we decided to shoot down to Capetown for the day, I had something that I wanted to shop for which we couldn't get locally, what better excuse?
It was a very enjoyable ride, I took it quite easy at about 140kmh, slowing down for the places where I knew the idiot hides with the speed trap and we pulled into the parking area in front of the "Viper Lounge" at about 11h00. I take great pleasure in parking the big red machine in amongst all of the Harleys, I think it lends the place a touch of class, don't you?
This Harley is being raffled on New Year's Eve at midnight, so far we have two entries in that box and we intend to be there for the draw. That would pay for Janet's kitchen and my trip to Sturgis! (By the way that is a mannequin on the bike, looks quite realistic hey?)
We sat and chatted with the people over a couple of beers and then walked over the road to the "Ocean Basket" for lunch, definitely one of my all time favourite seafood places. My seafood platter is only R89 and a real bargain as far as I'm concerned, if I was to complain about anything it would be those bloody New Zealand mussels on the plate! I mean WTF? We must perhaps do some marketing, but it is definitely a franchise decision because any one of the restaurants you go to all have the same mussels - but I ask you with tears in my eyes, Why when we have the best mussels in the world just up the road?! But as I said, if I was to complain about anything,................I didn't, it was delicious.
The ride home was just as enjoyable as the ride down, only faster! We pulled into the Phoenix bar for a couple of cold ones and a chat with Danny and then home after a good day.
According to the weather forecast the weather is not going to be good tomorrow so we'll probably stay in, I have to wash the bike again, the only problem with riding in the spring is the mess on the windscreen and leading edges, bloody insects! It's all good though, we'll speak again soon. Stay safe everyone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oxtail pot and sadza for lunch - a team effort!

Sunday, almost the end of my sister and brother-in-law's visit, was set aside for a collaboration by the guys on an oxtail pot with sadza for lunch. We decided that the "ladies" - and I use the term loosely, could have a bit of a relax. (I am going to get into trouble for that remark!)
Mike started the pot at around 09h00 because oxtail takes at least five hours of simmering to get it tender. Mike coats the meat in flour and Aromat, heats up some cooking oil in the pot and then browns the meat well.
While he was busy I chopped up some onions, green peppers and four cloves of fresh garlic and once the meat was nicely browned Mike removed it from the pot and fried my mixture up until it was just translucent.
Mike then put all of the meat back into the pot and I mixed an oxtail soup powder into a large cup of red wine, into which I crumbled up a beef stock cube. Once this was all stirred up properly we added it to the pot, a half a beer was enough to make sure that the liquid just covered the meat and then it was simmering time.
Purists reading this will scornfully declare that it should be done over a fire! I know this and I used to do it over a fire, but for convenience you just cannot beat gas. We turned the flame right down and just left the pot to simmer, giving it the occasional stir, for the next three hours during which we consumed quite a few of our favourite beverages.
At about the time that Mike added his vegetables it was my turn to start making the sadza, I am actually quite disappointed to see (after posting about this on facebook) that quite a lot of ex Rhodesians turn their noses up at sadza! Sadza was an African staple in Rhodesia as I am sure it still is in Zimbabwe and that is where I learned how to make it, I love it as do both Mike and Loretta and several of my ex Rhodie friends.
I dug out my trusty sadza spoon which is made of Rhodesian teak and which is only used for making sadza, mainly because it is strong enough for the job, regular wooden kitchen spoons break way too easily and this spoon must not be contaminated with any other food! Tradition.
Once a couple of litres of water starts to boil in the pot I start sprinkling the Maize meal in and then the stirring begins, you cannot stop stirring otherwise you end up with lumps. Keep sprinkling and stirring until the mixture starts to thicken and it pulls away cleanly from the side of the pot, even then you keep sprinkling and stirring and try not to let the sweat that drips from your brow drip into the pot! Add some Aromat and keep stirring and now you can taste it to see if you have the mixture right, the idea is that the texture must be stiff enough so that you can roll a small amount into a ball in you hand but it mustn't stick to your hand. It takes a bit of practise!
I jam the spoon under it when I think it is done, turn the heat right down to absolute minimum and let it steam in the pot for a while. By this time Mike's pot was looking and smelling really good. I needed another cold Castle after all of my excersize!
Soon it was time to start dipping small balls of sadza into the gravy! This is heavenly food folks!
We spent a bit of time sopping the delicious gravy up with the sadza and in fact even when Janet decided to dish herself up a plateful she still had to push hands out of the way!
It was a very successful team effort, the guys did a good job and we ate way too much! A couple of glasses of "Black Pearl 2007 Merlot" accompanied the main meal - heaven!
In spite of the fact that it doesn't look like I made much sadza there was quite a bit left over and in the next post I will tell you what we make with it - what a lunch! Cheers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Braaied lamb kidneys and Mike does the meal

While Mike and Loretta were here we had a great time braaiing, they love a braai as much as we do and whilst we were sitting around one evening they told me about how my nephew Jon braais lamb kidneys. Now I love lamb kidneys but I have never tried braaiing them before, but if my nephew can do it, them so can I! Jon is a very adventurous cook, he loves experimenting and comes up with some wonderful combinations that the less adventurous among us would never try.After peeling the skin off the kidneys I "butterflied" them and laid them on the grid, I had to be careful because they could easily fall through, I kept turning them to ensure even cooking.
After I had browned them nicely I sprinkled with Aromat but I could see that there was still a lot of blood so I sliced them into thinner chunks and really made my life difficult when I placed them back on the grid! I had to be very careful turning them but it was all worth it in the end.
They do make a delicious entree which we made short work of, and already I have ideas to try for a bit of variety.
I will certainly be doing them again soon, you can be sure of that and maybe there will be a bit of a butter baste involved, maybe with a strong garlic influence!
While I was down in Capetown at the Ink and Iron show it was Mike and Loretta's turn to do the dinner and we came home to a roast loin of pork with stuffed potatoes and mushrooms! It's nice when somebody else does the meal and does it extremely well, here the stuffed potatoes and mushrooms are ready to go on the grid.
Mike decides that his meat is not far from ready and packs the potatoes and the mushrooms onto the grid, let me tell you that the aroma coming from that braai was absolutely wonderful and really got the juices flowing!
If you look closely at the right hand side of that roast you will notice that several pieces of the crackling have been removed, I can now confess that I am the culprit - that crackling was the best I have ever tasted! Here it is plated up, one of the nicest meals that I have had for a long time and made all the more enjoyable because we were not involved in the preparation.
It was a general consensus that as Sunday, the following day, was to be our last day together, Mike and I would collaborate in an oxtail potjie and that I would make some sadza to go with it...Yes! That will be my next post, stay with me here friends.