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, December 27, 2011

Christmas weekend

Oh well it's back to work, it has been a really lovely four day break, the deputy President in his wisdom, and in the absense of the President, declared Tuesday 27th a public holiday. There were some murmers of discontent from captains of industry and from business owners over the huge losses that businesses would incur, but I am neither, I am just a working stiff so I applauded his decision. Who the hell is productive between Christmas and new year anyway?
Janet and I had already decided that Saturday would be a day for relaxing, we would not go anywhere. I bought two huge T bones from my buddy Steve at Weskus Vleismark (West Coast Meat Market) on Thursday, he had already had them hanging for about a week and I stuck them in the fridge on a rack and left them for Saturday.
The big day arrived and I took the steaks out early to marinate, I used olive oil, Aromat, garlic, ground black pepper corns and mixed herbs and let them sit for a couple of hours. 
Can you guess which one is mine? I got a nice hot fire going and started braaiing the steaks while Janet made a salad and then a lovely potato rosti.
I seared the steaks just for a couple of minutes on both sides and then balanced them on the bone to cook just for another couple of minutes.
We both like our meat medium rare so I didn't cook them for long, Janet made a nice egg and mayo salad and we had a lovely lunch - Steve's steaks are fantastic!
Man sized T bone steak with potato rosti and salad washed down with a couple of glasses of one of my best Cabernet Sauvignons, a great way to start the long weekend.
Sunday, Christmas day we had lunch at Beira Mar with friends; Frank, Jim, Helen and Fraser and then Janet and I spent the night at the nearby Saint Helena Bay Hotel so that we wouldn't have to worry about roadblocks. So far, so good.
Monday we didn't do much, it was so good to just relax at home but I was determined that we should get out on the bike on Tuesday, the last day of the long weekend.
I didn't feel like going far, the whole area is just crowded with holiday makers and I hate having to stand in a queue to get into my favourite restaurants so I suggested a ride out to Velddrif. We were up fairly early as is our custom and after an early spa bath with the obligatory bottle of bubbly we eventually got out on the bike at about 11h00.
For those of you reading this who know our riding area we headed up the R45 but only as far as Hopefield some 34kms from the R27 and then we took the secondary road that follows the Berg river to Velddrif. It is a terrible road, even with my suspension set for two people on "comfort" we had to cruise along at about 80kmh for the whole 40km trip, but on a day when you are not in a hurry it was just fine.
The road is incredibly rough, it seems to have been tarred in a hurry, almost as if they didn't really prepare it properly but just poured the tar over the original dirt road, but we enjoyed it and it was just after midday when we rode into Velddrif.
I wanted to check out the "Soverby Lapa" which is on the road between Velddrif and Dwaarskersbos, right on the coast. I don't even want to begin trying to translate those words for you, I have a bit of a problem with Afrikaans coloquialisms anyway. A "Lapa" is a casual structure, often thatched, with a braai area and this one is just that.
 Something that I really appreciated was that there was a separate area set aside for bikes to park;
What a view! You can't get any closer to the beach with out actually getting wet.
We wandered around getting a feel for the place, it was beginning to fill up so we took a seat outside to have a beer, which unfortunately could have been colder!
The seating is very casual, there is a bar which seems have all of the basic requirements for a festive day out;
The menu is of the "Fish and chips\Calamari\hamburger" type which suits the casual beach style of the place and the prices seemed very reasonable.
We didn't stay for lunch, we had already organised something else but we will be back, I envisage a group of friends sitting around one of the big tables having a leisurely seafood meal and a couple of beers and I'm looking forward to that.
By the time we took the road home, only some 30kms, the wind had come up as it tends to do here on the Cape west coast but it wasn't a problem, we had had a restful day out on the bike, cruising this time instead of low-flying which, as Janet says, is also enjoyable.
Stay on two wheels, take it easy over the new year weekend, take care....because we care, and may 2012 bring to you everything that you wish for yourself.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yzerfontein Snoek festival 2011

Last Saturday we were on our way back from a jol in Capetown and halfway along we pulled into "Die Stal" (The Stable) pub and restaurant in Yzerfontein where the annual Snoek Festival was underway.
It was a lovely warm summer's day and as we were quite early there were only a few bikers there, the disco was already on the go and people were arriving all of the time, it started to fill up quite quickly.
They do a biker breakfast from 10h00 which is usually very good, we weren't there in time for that but we did have a good pub lunch a little later.
Mike and Barbara at the table with Frank.
Alec and Mercier arrived, she is now riding their late son's Suzuki Bandit which they have customised and dedicated to his memory.
An old biker buddy, Joos pitched up and we had a chat together, he has now moved away from our area and now lives in Durbanville outside of Capetown but I think we see him more often now.
One of the badges on his jacket, although misspelt, identifies him as "Previously Advantaged"! A tongue-in-cheek commentary on the current New South African situation;
We left mid afternoon, things were slowing down and it certainly didn't appear to be as busy as it was last year, there was to be a braai down in the harbour later in the evening but there was no way we could attend that and still drive home.
Next we have the Christmas weekend and Tuesday 27th has been declared a public holiday, captains of industry and business owners are not too happy with that but I, a mere salary earner, am ecstatic! We will get out on the bike.
Sunday, Christmas lunch is a buffet at Beira Mar restaurant and then we have booked into the hotel in Saint Helena Bay, just down the road so that we don't have to worry about roadblocks.
Have a wonderful, happy Christmas my friends and may 2012 bring you all that you wish for yourselves, if you don't celebrate Christmas like we do then I wish you a happy and peaceful weekend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What am I doing wrong?

I see lots of pageviews, 65 followers and readers from 143 countries but no comments! Why aren't you commenting on my blogposts? Tell me if they are crap, don't just gloss over them and think "Nah, this is crap!" Tell me. Some of the blogs that I read attract 25 comments, go check out my friend Geoff's blog; www.geoffjames.blogspot.com and see how many comments he gets.
Go and read www.iowaharleygirl.blogspot.com and then come back and tell me what they are doing that I'm not. Seriously, go and read them and then come and tell me.
Back to this blog and more "Out of Africa" stuff;
Telkom technicians in northern Kwa Zulu Natal on a routine maintenance trip came across this scene quite recently, at first from a distance they could not be sure what it was, but on edging closer.....
 They found this massive rock python had crushed an unfortunate buck to death and was preparing to eat it, this one may have been too big to swallow but these snakes have been known to crush the animal and swallow it whole.
This was the last photo in the series and it appears that the snake has been disturbed so we don't know whether it finished its meal or not.
It does remind me of the time that I almost became a meal for an albino Rock Python though, he actually flattened my nose!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Noisy Oyster - Paternoster

Down in the quaint, but rapidly growing, fishing village of Paternoster on the Cape west coast is the "Noisy Oyster" restaurant. We had been there before but a good few years ago and decided that it was time for another visit, however on the day that we chose there was a chalkboard on the veranda on which was inscribed; "Sorry, fully booked - big tippers and fast eaters will be considered." seeing as we are neither we decided to try another time but I did like the humour.
Luckily on our next visit, which was last Sunday, we were able to get a table in the garden although we hadn't booked. The outside area is an eclectic mix of decor most of which is related to the fishing industry, very colourful and inviting.
Some of the items are not so easy to identify but very interesting nontheless!
 We ordered a bottle of wine from the friendly and attentive waitress, a Fairview Sauvignon Blanc priced at R120, a little expensive I think for a local wine but it was cold and delicious and it went down very well as we studied the menu.
As a starter I ordered "Sardines with Rosemary and Paprika stuffing wrapped in Parma Ham with Potato mash, minced onion and shaved gruyere cheese." and let me tell you it was out of this world!
It was four sardine fillets wrapped in parma ham, the rosemary and paprika did not overpower the delicate flavours and the gruyere and mash needed to be wiped up with my finger but I resisted and scooped it out with the fork! I so enjoyed it that I almost forgot to take a photograph and had actually eaten half before I remembered. A truly memorable starter which I look forward to having again. That I considered reasonably priced at R45.
Janet opted for Pan grilled chicken livers with potato mash and mild chili tomato salsa, also R45 and also delicious, I tasted it!
My main course; Yellow Fin Tuna - pan seared with vanilla tomato confit, young potato, artichoke and roast vegetable salad at R125 came rare just as I had ordered it and I enjoyed and demolished every morsel except for the carrot which I gave to Janet, that had nothing to do with the restaurant but rather personal taste, I do not eat carrots!
The portions are not huge, this is not that sort of restaurant, but there is definitely a chef involved, the sauces and confits were delicious and complimented the food rather than overpowering or disguising it. Janet's Penne Pasta with sauteed porcini mushrooms, basil pesto, gruyere cheese and truffle oil at R65 she declared to be very enjoyable and we easily finished it!
We had room for dessert and I went for my favourite creme caramel which came with a fresh fruit spoon, the crispy top on the caramel was just right and had to broken with the spoon - absolutely delicious, light and delicate with the initial rather more tart mouthful of fresh fruit!
 Janet's dessert involved fresh fruit, chocolate mousse and mini donuts and was also quite spectacular, I know because I finished it off!
The Noisy Oyster is not cheap, our bill with the tip came to just over R500, but it is no ordinary restaurant and we will certainly be going back again. There are many more menu items I want to try but I just know that I will not be able to get past the sardine starter, that's a given.
A very nice touch to keep customers entertained while waiting for the food is a bunch of trivial pursuit cards on the tables, all around us we could hear things like; "What is the capital of...?", "What was the name of the.....?" while we were testing our general knowledge, a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours spent enjoying a lovely meal - go and try it out for yourself, you won't be disappointed I assure you but you had better book; 022 7522196. Tell them I sent you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Local toy Run

Two weeks ago I attended the IMOC Toy run in Capetown and here we were buying toys again for the local toy run organised by the Meeulanders MCC, it coincides with the "Wheels on the West Coast" show at the "Wes-kus school" and is usually an interesting place for us petrolheads.
We met up with Frank and Danny at the Spur restaurant in the Mall for a light meal and then joined the steadily growing crowd of bikers in the car park.
We were a bit early but the crowd slowly grew as more and more riders arrived from the different local clubs, some bikes festooned with toys;
A club you will always find well represented, especially at events such as this one; the CMA.
Soon it was time to go, kick stands up and we headed out of the car park, about fifty bikes tried to keep a nice tight formation for the short ride down to Saldanha.
It is about ten kilometres from the Mall to the school and I think we made a pretty impressive looking convoy.
We all parked up in the show ground area and immediately people gathered round to admire our machinery,
We deposited our toys into Craig and Monica's van and went off in search of beer.
A relatively small group of bikers but a lovely big pile of toys for underprivileged local children.
Braai lamb chops for sale.
Immaculate 1949 Mercury.
They don't make 'em like this any more, more's the pity!
There were the usual trade stalls, here Steven buys himself a cowboy hat.
Lots of food and drink stalls, it was a hot day so they did a good business. We spent a couple of hours there and soon it was time to go.
Willie on his 1300BMW
As usual the last two to leave a party! We rode through to the Rooikrans pub in Vredenburg for an ABF and found most of the mob had had the same idea!
A pleasant day, a good cause and a great bunch of people - what more could anyone want?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Food, glorious (sea)food

The weather has been really bad this past couple of weeks, gale force winds just about every day but it seems to be over now - hopefully! Last Saturday we rode down to friends Neville and Janet in Simonstown, going over "Ou Kaapse Weg" in that wind was something of a trial but luckily on Sunday morning when we rode back it had moderated somewhat. Maybe we'll have some calm for a while?
I received some really bad news in my inbox this week; the Cape Town Bike Festival has been cancelled! Scheduled for the weekend of the 16th to the 18th December, I had really been looking forward to it but must confess that in the back of my mind I harboured a nagging doubt that Capetown could pull it off.
The reasons given were that sponsors hadn't come forward and ticket sales hadn't lived up to expectations but in talking to people afterwards I heard another side; Graig from the Yamaha agent in Vredenburg said they wanted a ridiculous amount of money from exhibitors for the three day event, something like R80,000! Craid said there was no way they could afford that not knowing whether their would be any business generated and "Muis", a biker friend said that he wouldn't have gone because entry was way too expensive, maybe the organisers were trying to make a quick buck and hadn't gauged their market. Pity, now we'll have to keep going to Jo'burg for the big shows.
Last Sunday I ended up at Des' Ek en Djy Visserye just after lunch and Leon and Christine were serving up Crayfish and salad for R75!
If I had known about that beforehand I would have gone there for lunch.
It was a festive scene with a good few people enjoying the meal, you just gotta go there.
Maybe that was what inspired me to do some seafood during the week;
I bought a fresh Angel fish from Charlie's Fish Shop which is conveniently just around the corner, cut the skeleton out and cut out all of the pin-bones away, placed them skin-side down in a buttered baking tray, grated some lemon zest over them, a sprinkle of mixed herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon a little salt and pepper and into a hot oven for about ten minutes.
In the meantime I steamed some fresh mussels in a bit of white wine and lemon juice while Janet prepared the accompaniments;
and there it is, lemon baked Angel fish with garlic potatoes, butternut squash and fresh mussels. We also threw on some cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and olives, what a lovely meal!
We are shortly off to join a group of local bikers on a local toy run organised by the Meeulander Club, it is a beautiful calm day, the sun is shining so it should be great - I'll tell you all about it later.