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, November 28, 2011

Which restaurant is it?

This was the view from our table at our favourite restaurant where we had lunch on Saturday. I say it is my favourite because although there are a lot of really great restaurants in the Saldanha/Langebaan and Paternoster/Velddrif areas, indeed pretty much the whole western cape area where we live, we are friends with Don and Connie and it is always a pleasure to go there.
So, here is the question - and there is no prize for the correct answer, except maybe bragging rights; what restaurant is featured here? Clue; it has been featured before in this blog.
This is another clue because this is the starter that I usually have; Portuguese sardines, absolutely delicious with pan-fried onions and peppers.
My main course was a seafood medley, with prawns, in a creamy chili sauce with rice which I found absolutely delicious and Janet opted for Portuguese baby chicken;
normally served with chips, Janet asked for mashed potatoes, no trouble to our restaurateurs they produced the most delicious mash to accompany Janet's peri-peri chicken, and I can vouch for it because I had the left-overs in my work lunch box today (Monday.)
We sat and relaxed after our meal chatting with Don while a little duckle wandered around our table, a future menu item perhaps?
 Ok what restaurant is it? The answer will appear in the comments section I hope, and if you Capetown or western cape people haven't been there yet then bad luch you're having! We have booked for our Christmas buffet lunch there with Frank and friends so that should be good.
Next write up is the toy run in Capetown which was the next day, stay with me friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My new zorst can

Well I sure chose a lousy day to ride down to Capetown to get my new exhaust can fitted! Weathersa website said nothing about rain! I met Frank at the Engen One-stop on the R27 and we could see the rain coming along from the south, we stood around and drank a couple of cups of coffee hoping that it would clear, but motorists coming from Capetown told us of lots of rain.
We hung around until about 09h30 and then decided to press on, it would only be showers. Sure enough five kilometres down the road we passed through a heavy, but brief shower and in the south I could see blue sky.
The closer we got to town the more the wind seemed to pick up until it was blowing really strong southerly, not pleasant. We rode through to the Belleville/Stigland industrial area, an area completely new to both of us but I had previously consulted Google Maps and had printed out the relevant section, this proved to be absolutely useless and we spent about an hour and three phone calls to Raynard at Scorch Designs before we eventually found the place.
I handed my baby and the new zorst can over to Raynard who said that he needed about two hours for the job and we headed off to a nearby take-away food joint for something to eat. We sat in Archie's take aways for about two hours over a hamburger and two cups of coffee while the rain hammered down.
By the time we had finished it was just drizzling and we walked back to the workshop, Raynard and his team were still busy so we had to sit around for a while but it wasn't long before we were ready to go, happily the sky had cleared by then but the wind was even stronger.
These show the standard can, it's huge and I have always felt that the bike was too quiet, sort of like a sewing machine. I bought the Scorch can a long time ago but could not get anyone to do the pipe work here in the area where I live.
Raynard and his team did a very proffesional job and the end result looks great!
When I fired it up it was magic! A very low tone, not excessively loud but definitely a good sound, I asked Raynard if it was going to improve performance and he said that it may give an improvement in top end but unless you have a dyno test it's hard to tell, the bike sounds good so you ride it harder and think it's better, happy anyway.
I thoroughly enjoyed it through the suburbs heading towards the R27, definitely the throttle-blip on downshifts sounded lovely, and accelerating up through the gears was completely different. She definitely felt more responsive, was that my imagination?
On the R27 heading home and cruising at 4,500rpm which equates to about 140kmh the sound from the exhaust was not that much louder than it used to be so it all seems like a good job. I'll have to do some more riding but I'm happy.
If you need a good exhaust job contact Raynard of Scorch Designs on 021 9454874, they are at 16 Kaymor Street, Stigland Industrial but don't ask me how to get there!
We are looking forward to the Annual Toy Run this Sunday, last year an estimated 6000 bikers took part, will it be more this year? I'll tell you all about it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Smoked Angelfish and Rock Lobster

I had occasion last weekend to smoke a whole lot of Angel fish, it was for a Christmas function and our share of the catering was the starters and two salads for eighty people. The Angel fish was part of the starter course along with a tub full of marinated mussels and it caused me to cast my mind back over the decade between 1990 and 2000 when Janet and I, along with two other couples were involved in the open-air seafood braai restaurants in Langebaan.
I used to do the cooking for groups numbering anything from 40 to 200 and I used to smoke tons of Angel fish, apart from the numerous other courses, but that is a story for another time.
This is the Angel fish, minus head and tail, about to be filleted. I had eight of these to smoke so the work of removing the skeleton took a bit of time.
It wasn't too long before I had them all cleaned up, all bones removed and ready for the smoker.
Place the fillets on tinfoil on the grid over some good hot coals, sprinkle generously with salt, throw a good double handful of beer-soaked sawdust onto the coals and cover.
The other half of the drum goea over the top, you will notice that the bottom half has the bung hole open and that the top half is not quite aligned, there is an opening at the back to allow a flow through of air. After about twenty minutes lift the lid (carefully because it gets hot!) and check the fish, it should be ready, don't overdo it.
Delicious smoked Angelfish fillets, they are pale because I don't baste them with a colourant like commercial producers do but they were delicious.
After a hectic Saturday evening party we decided to have a lunch later on Sunday and so it was that we arrived back at "Modo Mio" restaurant in Paternoster, I could not resist the special advertised for R200;
Crayfish, West Coast Rock Lobster (Jasus Lalandii) with five prawns, Janet opted for the hamburger, she did....I swear! My food was fantastic!
Here's the aftermath, signs of sheer enjoyment.
Tomorrow I have the day off to take the big red machine down to Capetown to have my new Zorst can fitted, many months ago I bought a "Scorch Designs" cannister, smaller than standard, but have not had the opportunity to get it fitted, mainly because I couldn't find anyone in the area who could do the stainless steel pipe bending required.
Frank is riding down with me to Scorch Designs where they will do the fitting, I just know the bike is going to sound much rortyer afterwards. Apparently performance will be enhanced as well, I will let you know but I am really looking forward to a midweek break on the bike.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rhodesian Independence weekend, Bamba Zonke guest farm

Last weekend saw the forty sixth anniversary of Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, when the late (great) Ian Douglas Smith said "Enough! We go it alone!" and without going into any serious political discussions about betrayal, for a good few years there was prosperity for all of the citizens, Rhodesia was the bread basket of the African continent, exports of tobacco and maize, to name a few, supported the country and benefitted its neighbours but unfortunately pressure from ......blah, blah blah....and now Zimbabwe is the basket case. (This is not a political blog!)
Every year at this time, which also happens to be Janet's birthday and our wedding anniversary, we got married on her 21st birthday on the 10th November, ex Rhodesians all over the world gather to celebrate and to commiserate and to reminisce about the good times in what was a beautiful country.
So we were invited back to the "Bamba Zonke" guest farm just outside of Yzerfontein, owned by an ex BSAP (Rhodesian Police) member and we gladly accepted, we were there two years ago and had a wonderful time but could not make it last year, I was really looking forward to it once again.
We arrived at about 16h30 and already there were a good few people there, including Neil, the owner of the place. We got settled into our room, a very comfortable double with an ensuite bathroom and then joined them for a drink around the famous fire-pit.
We sat around the fire talking crap for a good hour or two until the sun set and it started to get cold, I put a big pot of mussels on the fire for an early snack but it wasn't long until we moved inside and Eddie lit a fire in the lovely big kitchen area.
Neil's on the barstool to the left, Neville is sitting at the table and Johnny Walker is in the foreground, gradually everyone moved inside and before the braai I opened about three dozen oysters as a starter.
The guys, there were only two women there for the weekend, Janet and Belinda, all moved into the kitchen and soon made short work of the oysters.
The jokes were flying thick and fast, here's Cyril on the left who claimed that his liver was royalty; named "Sir osis" and Ross both of whom kept the party moving!
Neil, one of only three ex-Bsap members there was the first to salute the flag. The party raged on into the night and I'm not sure what time we got to bed, the only thing organised for the next day was a fishing competition and Neil wasn't even sure if there were any fish left in the dam. It certainly wasn't a high prority for me!

We awoke to the sounds of raucous laughter and to the smell of frying bacon, Sir Osis was already telling jokes, (or was he still telling jokes?) and Belinda was making breakfast and several of the guys were getting their fishing tackle ready to see who could catch the first fish. The dam is right next to the guest house so at least it wouldn't be a long trek.
They tried from different positions around the dam, and they sat there for ages but in the end;
it was Sam who bagged the first, and probably the only, Bream and that won him a case of beer. He threw the fish back because it was not big enough to feed the hungry mob and the fishing sort of petered out after that.
We had a lazy day, a very nice braai lunch and then in the early evening as the sun went down a bunch of us started playing "Lie-dice", you must know it, where you use poker dice which you throw into a  container and get the person next to you to accept your nomination, he then has to improve the hand to the person next to him and if he is proved to be a lier he has to drink, if not the challenger has to...etc., it's dangerous!
We played that for a while and then the mob moved into the bar where they carried on with "7-14-21", also using poker dice the person who throws the seventh Ace nominates the drink, the person who throws the fourteenth Ace pays for it and the one who throws the twenty-first Ace has to drink it!
This was where I opted out and left them to it, I had to open the rest of the oysters, I remember that kind of drinking game from my youth and I was bad enough at it then!
The guys moved through to the kitchen and attacked the oysters with gusto but as the evening progressed it seemed like most of those who had been playing dice were fading quite quickly!
While this was going on Eddie was preparing one of his outstanding chicken potjies out on the front veranda, in between popping in to eat oysters!
We ate in the kitchen again, it is a lovely big room with a huge fireplace that lends itself to happy and comfortable conversation and of course lots of bullshit!
The later it got, the quieter it got and people started contemplating a comfortable bed, there were some though who were not ready to pack it in;
The ever-ebullient and indefatigable Sir Osis kept the party going with his jokes and his raucous laughter, I don't know what time it was when I eventually fell into my bed but it had been a fantastic weekend thus far.
Sunday we awoke to pouring rain, that put paid to the traditional five kilometre walk but Eddie and Belinda made us a delicious breakfast of fried eggs on top of left-overs and gradually everyone said their farewells and headed off home.
Another very memorable and festive "Bamba Zonke" weekend and I hope we are around for next year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dramatic Elephant rescue

Every now and then I like to post wildlife stories from this beautiful continent of ours as opposed to the many biker "wild-life" stories that I usually post! This is a lovely story out of Zambia in an area called the "Kapani Lagoon" which like many areas in Central Africa is suffering with a particularly harsh dry spell. I received this story via email so I will quote;
Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that nature should be allowed to run its course, no matter how grim or cruel. However every rule has an exception and when members of the South Luangwa Conservation Society, attracted by their screams, came across a baby elephant trapped in the rapidly drying mud of the Kapani Lagoon, along with its mother who had tried to save it, they knew that they could not stand by and with the assistance of the Wildlife Authority, they attempted a difficult and dangerous rescue.
The frantic herd members were desparately trying to help the baby and its mother who were screaming in terror. The baby had become stuck first and the mother tried to help and became stuck herself.
They had no hope at all of getting free and the mud was rapidly drying.
Carefully avoiding the mother's flailing trunk the team managed to get a rope around the baby elephant.
With the whole team pulling they begin to drag the baby out of the cloying mud.
Slowly and painstakingly, being careful not to injure the baby, they manage to drag it from the mud.
But it wont leave its mother's side and struggles back into the mud!
Again the team manages to pull the young elephant out of the mud.
But again, and in spite of members shouting and waving their arms, the baby again returns to its mother's side.
This time they drag it further away from the mud hole hoping that it will run away.
Luckily a call from a cousin in the herd convinces the baby elephant to join them, now the team can turn their attention to the mother.
With much difficulty they manage to get a rope around the huge, rapidly tiring beast.
Using a tractor they slowly begin to pull, not knowing if they were going to be able to get her out.
She seems to sense that she is almost free, with the team shouting encouragement "Come on Mama, come on, you can do it!" she struggles to free herself.
Almost there, she was obviously exhausted but could sense freedom.
Success! Weak and wobbly she hurried off to join the herd and her baby.
The happy team members drink to their success on the Kapani deck after a very long, exhausting but extremely rewarding day. Congratulations on a job well done, they could not have left those Elephants to their fate.
After that beautiful story I will leave you with a picture showing how Elephants scratch their nuts;
Use a hired car when you visit game reserves!