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, June 24, 2014

A lazy winter's day seafood lunch with friends

Whilst on the subject of braais......I was in the mood to do some seafood this last Sunday and as luck would have it our friends Joe and Annie were coming up from Capetown, both serious seafood lovers so I was in my element. Janet is not a seafood lover but will eat anything that "doesn't taste fishy" such as hake, sole or my famous smoked angel fish. As you can see I need to have seafood lovers around every now and then.
It is winter here on the west coast, in fact this was the day after the winter solstice, so although the sun was shining it was still rather cold. The three of us started off with some delicious oysters from the Saldanha Bay Oyster Company,
followed by fresh mussels steamed in wine, garlic and herbs. As with the oysters, the mussels are at their best this time of the year, this is when you should be eating them people!
My next course was the angel fish, I have a small stainless steel smoker which can take up to six medium sized fillets at a time, a bit difficult for feeding large groups but ideal for a bunch of friends. A light sprinkle of aromat and mixed herbs and a very short time in the hot smoker, served with brown bread, Joe's favourite.
Next one of my favourites and a very underrated fish, mullet or to use their colloquial name; harders. They are rather bony so fussy eaters tend to be put off them, I however, am a seafood lover and will happily eat around bones, picking them out of my mouth in between mouthfulls, they are also great eaten with fresh brown bread,
 They are easily split open to remove the skeleton, so really there aren't that many bones, a succulent snack, after that we had a bit of a break for digestion and to make space for the rest, I had a couple of fresh hake fillets and a kingklip fillet. I am not a big fan of the latter fish, finding it much like fillet steak; bland and tasteless and only influenced by the sauce you pour over it, but "Charlie's Fish Shop" which is literally just around the corner from my house had it fresh so I decided to give it a try.
Dusted in "Maizena", cornflower and fried in butter it was really rather nice!
We made a light batter out of egg whites whipped up with ice cold water and deep fried the hake fillets for a short while,
and there was my plate, with Janet's delicious garlic potatoes, before I added the olives and feta cheese. A very relaxed and drawn out Sunday lunch which I rather think I'm going to do on a more regular basis, us South Africans prefer a meat braai most of the time but fish is good.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

West Coast Yamaha open day

My apologies for the lack of updates, but nothing's happened! We have had some seriously bad weather over the past two weeks with extreme cold, driving wind and heavy rain. Winter set in with a vengeance, I don't remember such cold weather in previous years, certainly not biking weather.
I borrowed this beautiful picture taken by Paul Darne' from facebook, these mountains are within 200kms from us, this is why it has been so cold!
Right now the weather has cleared but we had some heavy rain yesterday and this morning, I had contemplated going to the "Whale Rally" in Plettenberg Bay this weekend, it is about 650kms from home and I know that my friends Nancy and Peter went up from Capetown but when I looked at the weather forcast I decided against it, and besides I wanted to attend the West Coast Yamaha open day.
Seeing the amount of rain I was glad I didn't go. We all know that if you ride motorbikes you are going to get caught in rain, that's a given, but high on my list of "dislikes" is having to pack up a wet tent in the rain and set off for home. That's right up there with some of my other dislikes such as carrots, pizza, Elvis Presley impersonators and prostate exams, although with the latter according to a friend of mine, if you go often enough you start to enjoy it, I haven't got to that stage yet!
West Coast Yamaha, owned by Craig and Monica Welch, celebrated their tenth birthday this weekend, that is to say the bike shop is ten years old, not the Yamaha agency - they started as "Executive Bikes" selling mostly second hand machines and have grown into one of the top Yamaha dealerships. Good people, we wish them every success for the future and if you're looking to buy a new Yamaha you should give them a call 022 7191398.
We arrived just after 10h00, even on the 13km ride from home we were buffeted by strong winds and I could see that rain was on its way again, good to be out on the bike though and I was looking forward to taking the demo 2014 Yamaha Tenere' for a ride.
There were already quite a few bike enthusiasts present and there was a braai going with free boerewors rolls on offer. Craig had four demo rides available including the new R1 so before the weather got too bad Janet and I headed out for a cruise.
The Tenere is a lovely machine, unfortunately we had pretty much the same weather as when we took the new Yamaha FJR out but I suppose it's better to assess a bike in lousy weather than in perfect conditions. There is plenty of power available from the 1200cc mill and I started off in "Touring" mode. I went slowly at first, getting used to the position of the controls, I enjoyed the upright seating positon and the high and wide handlebars made for comfortable handling and encouraged a bit of hooliganism.
The dash readout is user friendly, especially the large gear-position indicator which you can read in any light condition, not like mine which is often difficult to read resulting in me "fishing for another gear". I found the standard windscreen, even on it's high setting, (on the new model the windscreen is adjustable) not quite adequate, although I must say that I have been spoilt by my bike's wind protection, and a larger screen is available as an after market part which I would certainly go for.
Sport mode on this bike is another animal altogether! An amazing difference, I had to be careful with Janet behind me as she is used to having a backrest and a couple of times she grabbed onto me. Unfortunately it started to rain while we were out and it was getting bloody cold so we headed back to the shop.
This machine goes for R180,000 and unfortunately luggage is extra which would put another R12,000 to R15.000 on top of that but what a lively and exciting machine it is and it's certainly good looking.
Back at the shop more guys had arrived and were standing around discussing the merits of the other machines, as guys are wont to do; Alex left, Craig the owner third from left and Joe.
We stayed around a bit longer, had one of their very nice boerewors rolls to fill the gap as we had not had breakfast, Monica had brought in a nice range of jackets, jeans, gloves and helmets making the shop a very interesting place. After a cup of coffee and with more rain imminent we took our leave.
As we were leaving Alex was taking the Tenere' out, he rides a ZX14 so it will be interesting to find out what he thought of it. We had rain on the way home, time to put the bike away and go out for lunch - that boerewors roll had just tickled my taste buds!
Lunch was at one of my favourite restaurants; the Slipway, a delicious Yellowtail fillet with chips and man did it rain while we were there! I was glad I wasn't out on the road.
Monday is a public holiday and I'm hoping to get out on the bike again, I'll let you know what happens.