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, May 27, 2013

Excuses, excuses!

Nothing much has happened around here lately, we've had a braai or two and done a couple of midweek potjies and okay I have consumed a good few beers over the period, but I haven't done any riding. That's not to say that the weather has been lousy, in fact over the past month to six weeks the weather has been absolutely amazing, sunny and calm, quite unusual for this time of the year and I'm sure we're going to have to pay for it pretty soon.
The reasons for not riding have been many and various, from having friends around (on two of the weekends we had friends and family staying over) to being just plain lazy! We planned an evening ride after work a couple of weeks back and it was a lovely day but when it came time to get the bike out we both thought; "Ah to hell with it!" and cracked a beer.
Then last week Thursday we decided that we were definitely going for a ride after work, nothing except rain would put us off dammit. I got home early and took the bike down to the garage for petrol and to check tire pressures and by the time I got back home the fog was starting come in over the hill, warm sunny days and a cold sea makes for thick fog which we have been experiencing quite often lately and sure enough by the time Janet got home we were thoroughly fogged in, I do not like riding in thick fog, too many fools and idiots around in cages so we called it off.
By the way, just for clarity and in my humble opinion a fool is a cager who thinks that his/her side or park lights are good enough in poor visibility and an idiot is one who speeds though fog or rain with no lights on at all, we seem to have plenty of both in the western cape!

On a different and somewhat sad note there is a fundraiser that I would like to attend this weekend, it is for a friend and fellow biker in need and is being held at "Vlakvarkgat" resort just outside of Saldanha, R65 gets you entry with a badge and a Snoek en patat meal and there will be a lucky draw. The only problem is that there is a bad storm forecast for this weekend! I told you we were going to have to pay! I will probably drive over and sleep in the bakkie, sorry guys I am a serious biker but not that serious! I do not feel like erecting a tent in the rain and then staggering around in the mud, been there, done that, got the tee shirt.

Here, to end off with is an "Out of Africa" photo for you;
Guys on this continent don't only wear Croc's, they ride 'em!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sheep's Head Guild revisited

If you've been reading my stuff, and I can only assume that a few have from my visitors log and my pageviews because I don't get comments, not like some of the blogs I read! They get twenty or more comments, I've never had that many! Anyway enough ranting. I don't need your comments!
My friend Vos invited me to another "Sheep's head guild" dinner the other night, and that's what I was getting at earlier, if you have been reading my stuff you will have seen that I went to one of these a while ago and loved it.
To be quite honest when I got the invite I said to Janet that I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it, it takes quite a strong stomach to eat this and I wasn't sure if I had the stomach this time.
I had the option to go for the "Offal Pot" which is a stew made from the stomach and intestines which I really enjoy but at the last minute I thought "No! I'm going for the smiley." and I was ultimately glad that I made that decision.
An attractive young lady served our wine and didn't seem at all perturbed by our culinary choices, a good red wine goes well with roast lamb, and I must say that the heads were beautifully roasted, crispy and delicious. There was an array of salads, potatoes and vegetables but we both opted for a couple of slices of bread just to cut the fat and I like to eat the brains spread on bread.
By this stage I had cleared all of the crispy skin from the head and was about to open the jaws to get at the tongue, one of the really tasty parts. Our Merlot was going down "singing hymns"!
This diner at the next table claimed that while he was trying to eat the lamb it kept trying to eat the salad! It's a great evening out with other people who like this kind of food and perhaps because of the nature of the meal there are not that many but when you get down to it, it is only roast lamb!
The last time I had this I battled to get at the brains, I had to hack a hole in the skull but this time it was at another restaurant and they had sliced the skull open making it really easy to get at them, very nice guys, I'll be back. I took my own Aromat shaker along and spread the brains on some bread with a little "sprinkle".
This time I finished my meal off by digging the eyeballs out with a fork and eating them, I avoided doing this the last time because after watching my friend Vos do that I didn't have the stomach for it but this time I was fully ready and really enjoyed them, now I feel that I have qualified and I look forward to the next Sheep's Head Guild Dinner.
What do you think of this dinner? It's not a braai but they are roasted in a fire oven, we did drink beer and I rode my bike the next day so it definitely qualifies for "Braais, beers and bikes."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Snoek run is on, we braai some and make fishcakes

For the past ten days the ubiquitous Snoek (Thyrsites Atun) has been shoaling on the West Coast just outside of Saldanha Bay and the local launching jetty has been absolutely chaotic in the early mornings with the fishing boats clogging the access road waiting their turn to use the slipway.
The sudden surge in activity is definitely beneficial for the village and it will not last for much longer, as the shoals move further south the hectic activity will move to the harbour at Yzerfontein and then the slips in and around Capetown. Unfortunately the benefits are outweighed by the incredible amount of garbage discarded into the water and the surrounding bush by the absolutely inconsiderate and uncaring fishermen and the area outside the harbour where they sell their catches to the buyers from Capetown and surrounds is a stinking mess.
Be that as it may, there are financial benefits and it is also nice to be able to acquire a fresh Snoek for the braai, as I was able to do this past weekend.
Thousands of the gleaming silver fish are offloaded every day, most are sold as a load to buyers from town at around R15 each but the fish are also available to the public at around R30 each, they are "flecked" on site, sliced open, gutted and laid flat by expert women with flashing knives, ready only to be salted, washed, dried and cooked in whatever manner takes your fancy.
Ours happens to be on the braai and on the Sunday when I had my friends over for some seafood I had three types of fish for them;
top left harders (mullet) which I marinated in olive oil and chopped onions and cooked over the coals, right angelfish fillets which I smoked and bottom Snoek fillets, also for the braai.
The Snoek is a favourite South African braai fish, especially on the West Coast where there are as many recipes as there are people who braai them. In my time as the chief cook at the famous open-air seafood braai restaurants which I did for ten years I have braaiied literally thousands of these and my best baste was made up of butter, olive oil, lemon juice, mixed herbs and a generous amount of Apricot jam, this was all heated into a thick, sweet liquid which is painted onto the fish liberally whilst cooking.
Janet made some lovely herb butter potatoes and a rocket and cheese salad, this meal was preceded by the harders which made a lovely starter;
 and by the smoked angelfish which in my haste to eat I forgot to photograph. Inevitably there will be fish left over as we always braai too much but this goes into another favourite of mine; fishcakes!
 No waste and these are delicious. Perhaps before the shoals move south I will buy another couple of Snoek and put them in the freezer for a family gathering that is coming up soon. Living in a fishing village definitely has advantages, especially if you are a lover of seafood as I am. Cheers!