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February 27, 2004
A couple of days ago I would have sworn that there was a bit of Spring in the air. Walking around in the garden I saw trees and bushes in full bud and there was just this . . . . . . you know what I mean, an air of expectation perhaps?
Now, as I sit here looking out over the front garden it is snowing "cats and dogs". Thick, fat snow flakes.
The weather forecast tells us that we can expect to have weather like this most of this week. Thank goodness I have not been on the road. Last Sunday I picked up a bit of a stomach bug (probably this nice dried sausage that had been lying around for the past two months) and, for the first time in many years booked myself off and even spent a day or so in bed. Now, for you who know me that is something. I don't think I have done that anytime the past 10 or 15 years.
Last night I was looking at the Dutch news and was very happy not to have been anywhere near Holland the past couple of days.
Let me explain;
In every large city in the world you will have a morning and afternoon peak hour traffic situation. So it should not come as a surprise that the cities in Holland have the same. The only difference is that Holland is one big city, about 300km long and 200km wide!
The traffic reports are excellent and constantly interrupt your normal car radio program (if you set it to do so) with excellent up-to-date reports.
So, all day long they will give you the total length of the traffic backups (called files), where and how many there are.
On a good (normal) day in peak hour traffic this would be say 40 files with a total length of 180 km.
Early this week the worst situation was a total of 86 files with a total length of almost 600 km!!!
That's almost TWICE the length of the country!!!
So, now you understand that I was very happy to be in bed watching our newly acquired Sky TV! (Thanks to Ross and Lynette)
For the rest it has been a quiet month except for the flood of orders coming in for Rockeys' New Age Home Biltong Maker for which we ran a special for ten days. Lots of people made use of that.
Well, this will be it for this month, enjoy the newsletter and, if you have a chance, drop us a line like Lorraine Austin did this month. Her very nice and moving story can be read a bit further on.
Till next month,
Posh stands for Port Out, Starboard Home
The idea of a rich pukka sahib insisting on a cabin on the shady side of the P&O liner (the port side on the voyage out to India, the starboard for the trip home) seems so characteristic of the British Empire that nine people out of ten accept that Port Out, Starboard Home is the origin of the word Posh. This is in spite of the fact that the Peninsular & Oriental line itself has never found a scrap of evidence to support the notion.
Posh was a slang word current by the end of the 19th century, but simply meant a dandy or swell. Early in the 20th century it passed into military use and was applied to a soldier who was smart, stylish and well turned-out. It is not difficult to see how, back in civilian life, the word took on its present meaning.
In a similar way, many people believe that the Morse code distress signal S.O.S. stands for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls". In fact, it was chosen simply because the dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot (...---...) is so easy to remember!
Between February 10 and 20 both old and new customers visited our web site to place their orders for the Rockey New Age 5kg Home Biltong maker.
This was of course largely due to the special pricing of R 650.00 (instead of the normal R 825.00) that was valid during those 10 days.
In fact, we had to ask the factory to do two additional production runs to keep up with the demand!
Despite this, our despatch department is actually running at a lower lead time than usual.
The Traditional 2kg Home Biltongmaker remains a firm favourite with our customers wanting a steady small supply of biltong.
It is as reliable as ever and never ceases to amaze everyone who makes use of it.
Details of the Traditional 2kg Biltong Maker can be found here.
Details on the RNA-5kg machine can be found by clicking on this link.
During the month of March we are giving away a FREE packet of Nice 'n Spicy LAMB POTJIEKOS Spices (complete with recipe) with every Biltong Maker purchased.
The Nice 'n Spicy Lamb Potjie Spices make for an incredible Lamb Potjie.
Just follow the recipe and you cannot fail!
One of the big problems with making Biltong, or for that matter with a lot of other preservation techniques as well, is the matter of Mould.
Here are some general tips.
A few simple precautions will prevent the occurrence of this irritating phenomenon. Biltong, especially the "wettish" type, can be affected by mould after it has been purchased and not consumed within a few days.
It can also occur while making your own biltong. The following are the most common causes of mould and include some tips on how to prevent it:
Mould is more likely to occur during hot and humid summer periods, especially at coastal areas. The "Biltong Making Season" is usually the winter months, but this need not necessarily hold true. Biltong can be made all year round, just avoid periods when particularly hot and humid conditions are forecast.
Mould could occur if strips of meat touch each other during the hanging period. Special care should therefore be taken to ensure that each strip of meat hangs freely. Remember, if mould starts up it rapidly spreads to the rest of the batch.
Mould is also more likely to form on meat that has been vacuum sealed or pre-packed and been lying in its own blood for a few days on the cold racks in shops. This holds especially true for pre-packed wors (sausage). If you only have access to vacuum or pre-packed meat, establish whether the bloodiness has gone "tacky" when you unseal it.
If it has, beware, this is a prime mould stimulant. You will need to wipe the meat thoroughly with a cloth dipped in vinegar, and pat it dry with a kitchen towel before starting with your preparations for making biltong. The best is to always buy fresh meat at the butcher.
Do not hang meat in a dank out-building or a musty room which has been closed for months on end. The fresher the air and the better the ventilation, the less danger there will be of mould contamination.
Many people hang their biltong in the kitchen and there is nothing wrong with that. Take care however, if the kitchen is very compact the steam from the cooking pots, kettles and the wash-up can create unacceptably high humid conditions.
Never hang biltong in air-conditioned areas as the artificial ventilation can contribute towards mould. If you detect the first signs of mould forming you can save your batch by acting quickly. Wipe of all traces of the mould with a cloth dipped in vinegar. This kills of the mould spores and you can continue hanging the meat to dry.
If mould has severely contaminated a batch of hanging biltong it will not dry out, irrespective of how long it hangs. Give it to the dogs. It is not a pretty sight and it will get worse the longer it hangs!
Every month we receive many questions from people all over the world. These questions may be about making Biltong or Boerewors but can also be totally unrelated to these subjects.
Dear Biltong Team,
I was wondering if you use beef bouillon in your biltong spice mix. I have someone in my family that had an allergic reaction to the biltong and I used your pre-mixed spice. It appears as if there is bouillon in the mix,but can you confirm? If there is, what can I do to substitute for its flavor?
Our Safari Biltong Spice contains an artificial beef stock or bouillon (containing flavourants). The Biltong Spice itself contains MSG and a preservative. It is possible that the allergic reaction is from the MSG.
Try to make Biltong using one of our recipes. The marinades in those are totally free from MSG and preservatives of course. If there is no allergic reaction using your own marinade and spicing you will know where the problem lies!
Can you use de-frosted meat in the biltong maker?
Of course you can use defrosted meat in your Biltong maker. When still in SA we used to buy in bulk and defrosted whenever we felt like making some biltong. Fresh meat is better of course. Defrosted meat ends up loosing quite a bit of blood. But, no problem.
I have a problem which you could assist with. When I prepare a Potjie, either the fire is to hot and the Potjie burns slightly at the bottom or, if the fire is too cool, the meat does not cook but boils because there is a water build-up in the pot. How can I solve this?
The very first thing when making a Potjie is to have a good fire that you can control. Normally a couple of briquettes (5-10) is ample. Meat should always be sealed with a little oil in the Pot. Once sealed it will not lose its flavour even if there is "boiling" taking place. Keep the pot on a medium heat and make sure there is always some liquid in the bottom of the Pot. A Pot with a little liquid in it will never burn. The boiling is normal and is part of the actual cooking process.
We often get requests for "Potbrood" recipes. Here is one that seems to be very popular.
Special Pot Bread
Hello Biltong Team!
It finally arrived in England! And on schedule! I was as happy as a spider with a particularly juicy fly.
And what a machine!
A friend phoned me from the supermarket that night, and I quickly put in a personal order of a plug and 2 kg beef. We used the spice that came with the machine and gave each other anxious looks as to whether it would work or not, or be covered in fluffy white film by the morning.
A few days passed and all was looking decidedly good! This is the fabbest biltong I think I've ever tasted!
Congrats to you all on developing such a brilliant biltong-addicts machine and the spicy stuff to go with. And also what a great support brochure you send with it. Very nostalgic for a start, and also incredibly helpful.
Thank you so much!
I will be putting in an order for some droë wors soon too!
Congrats on such a success!
The Biltong Maker arrived and the first batch is done, and tastes great!
I'm recommending your company to my friends and will be a continuing customer.
Dear Biltong Team
Just made my first batch of biltong, using minute steaks, big mistake - there's none left!!!!
I live on the East Rand (Gauteng) and wanted to know if the biltong spices can be bought locally?
Thanks a lot for an excellent service!
(All our products are available on the web site www.biltongmakers.com - Ed)
The following is from Lorraine Austin from Brisbane, Australia
ONE SETTLER - ONE PLANE TICKET
Both Derek (my husband) and I are from Durban and lived there all our lives until we started going to the Australia/New Zealand seminars. We were thinking of emigrating and giving our children and ourselves a future.
Derek was a lecturer at a college in Durban. One day in late March 1995 he came home late looking terrible. All the teachers were held hostage for 5 hours. No tea, no toilet, no phone, no nothing!
So it only took us one night to sleep on it all. The next day we went to apply to immigrate to Australia. It was heart breaking but also exciting. We were all scared to do this all but to us it was the only alternative.
Because they were looking for manual arts teachers working with metal and wood we were accepted within one month! Derek also had a trade as a tool and die maker behind him, plus an N6 diploma.
Well, we sold our home, organized a container, booked our tickets, and had a big farewell party. We knew so many people, work colleagues, friends, and a big family, especially our dear mothers. That was the hardest part of leaving there. Also our roots were in South Africa and we loved our country. There were so many memories to leave behind, all those army stories, school memories, growing up stories, etc.
In May 1996 we arrived in Brisbane, Australia totally jetlagged, tired and exhausted. So much was going through our heads with so much to do and so many memories already!
My brother, his wife and their boys welcomed us at the airport. The staff as well as the customs people were fantastic, very helpful. They just took one look at us and saw how bugged we were and just welcomed us in.
From the next day our lives started already. Organizing bank accounts and the tax office were just some of the things we had to take care of. We needed a car, jobs, and a place to live. We did quite a bit of sightseeing that day as well but the jetlag took its toll on us, we were so tired. The emotional stress was just too much as well.
After a month we moved into our first (rented) home and our furniture arrived a month later. It was so nice to see all those familiar things from back home. There were only two "Aussie" guys doing everything. They were so organized and put virtually everything in place.
Derek soon got some part time work in a liquor house stacking alcohol from 5am to 2pm, Mondays to Fridays...The pay was good but soon some teaching work came up. I stayed at home at that time. Australia has a very good social security system. This really helped us a lot. We received rent assistance as well as a family grant so we could leave our savings alone and get on with our lives.
My son who was 15 at the time went straight to TAFE (college) to do his schooling. He loved it and did an equivalent to grade 10 (Standard 8). He was then introduced to engineering, vocational English etc, so much easier than being at school. My daughter started in grade 1. She also loved it.
They both made so many friends. We started to meet people, had Potjiekos parties, braais and dinners. We also went to the beach a lot.
In the beginning we were all a bit homesick of course especially at occassions like Christmas and New Year. It was very hard at times but somehow we got through.
After a while Derek got a good permanent teaching job. My son finished TAFE and went through a couple of jobs. My daughter is in High School now and I, although having had a couple of part-time jobs basically remained a housewife.
Eventually we bought a home, nothing flash, just a comfortable home with a pool. This place is really hot in summer. Worse than "Durbs". But it is home now, and its freedom even though at times our hearts are back in South Africa.
Luckily we have met tons of ex-South Africans now and made a lot of friends. We all love each other and depend on one another for all kinds of things. We entertain a lot and baby-sit each other's kids as not many of us have family here that we can depend on. We all invite each other to our homes, and its good!
It takes away the loneliness at times when the memories roll in and sometimes turn your whole life upside down. We have also met lots of "Aussies" but they are different. Maybe they think we are invading their country, but they should not worry because the only reason we are here is that we all just want a better life.
A couple of years ago we finally became Australian citizens. That was a lovely day with about 580 people doing the same thing from all kinds of different nations. If you'd asked us a couple of years ago we would not have thought that this would happen in a million years. But it did happen and it was awesome to do this. We felt wanted and that is the best feeling ever.
Lots of things have changed since then. My son went back to Durban on a working holiday. He was really homesick, so they have to do it while they are young. The kids and I have been back there three times already to see my Mom who is not well at the moment. Sometimes one has to go back to see why you came to another country.
Brisbane is a beautiful city to live in. Very, very hot in the summer and rather cool in the winter. We love it here and would not swop it for anything.
We have so much freedom here!
The sea is about an hour away, and its great to go there and swim. Apart from that we have not seen a lot of Australia yet but keep on promising ourselves that will do that soon. Life is really busy here. There is always something on.
They also cater for kids really well here. There is always something on the Brisbane River and it's all free, fireworks and all! Just lovely!
There is always so much to do during the weekends that we are hardly at home. We should really be doing all our chores, as there are no maids here. If you should want one, it would cost big money.
Cars are cheap, and so is petrol. In fact all the service stations have different prices for petrol and one of the latest perks is that if you should spend $30 or more at any supermarket you get 4c off each liter of petrol at the participating garages. Not bad hey?
If you rent a home, flat, or a caravan, the curtains and stove come with it, and sometimes they throw in a dishwasher as well!
Foreigners own a lot of businesses here and there are quite a couple of South Africans in amongst them. Our local fruit and veggie store is owned by Indians from Clairwood in Durban! We also have another friend who owns a fruit and veggie store, also from "Durbs"!
Wherever we go there is always a South Africa somewhere around. It is like a mini South Africa here in Brisbane. Sort of makes us feel at home!
What is also nice is that there isn't a South African product we can't get here anymore. Whether it is curry powder or any other groceries. Even our local butcher is an ex Turk from Newcastle in Natal! So we eat halaal meat now, its really good and they make the best wors.
We have made our own wors and biltong plenty of times and are very proud of it! The Biltongmakers.Com web site makes life so much easier with some really good recipes.
I pray that one day in the near future my family can move to Oz to be with us. Then it will feel really like home.
We do miss South Africa. All the fun we had there, the good times and the bad times. But we have a life here now and we have to live it. We love it and are proud to be South African "Aussies"
Lorraine and Derek Austin and family.
(Thank you so much for your story Lorraine, we hope to hear a lot more from you and the family! - Ed)
Bok barometer after Super 12 openers
February 23, 2004
By Dale Granger
If Jake White had to select his first Springbok Rugby Team on the basis of weekend performances, the new coach's line-up could look something like this:
Fullback: Brent Russell
He had a major role in the Sharks' 23-18 victory over the Bulls by initiating a sweeping backline move in the first half that unleashed wing Henno Mentz into space. Then Russell, racing up in support, took the return pass to score a crucial try. In the second half Russell pulled off a tackle that denied hooker Gary Botha a try.
He had the Cats at full stretch
Rightwing: Breyton Paulse
Paulse won the first round of his fight to win back his Test place from rival Ashwin Willemse with a vintage try. The wing wrong-footed three defenders to score.
Outside centre: Marius Joubert
Joubert showed he had fully recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He was impressive on defence and attack and had the Cats at full stretch to smother his acceleration into space.
Inside centre: Ettienne Botha
After De Wet Barry, solid on both defence and attack against the Cats, had blotted his copybook with a yellow card at Ellis Park, Bulls centre Botha seized the initiative at Loftus by causing consternation in the Sharks defence.
Leftwing: Henno Mentz
Mentz showed on defence and attack at Loftus why he is regarded as such an exciting prospect. The Sharks wing matched Eddie Fredericks for pace and had the Bulls scrambling on cover-defence with his speed into the gaps.
Flyhalf: Andre Pretorius
On a weekend where Bulls flyhalf Derick Hougaard looked fragile, Andre Pretorius and Chris Rossouw at Ellis Park staked early claims. Rossouw was impressive, but Pretorius wins a photo finish for his individual cameo that put his captain, Wikus van Heerden, through for the Cats' first try.
Scrumhalf: Enrico Januarie
Januarie won his duel with Bolla Conradie at Ellis Park. His awareness and positional play led to Anton Pitout scoring the try that kept the Cats in contention.
No 8: Adri Badenhorst
Badenhorst has emerged as the key man of the Western Province and Stormers packs. At the tail of the line-out he delivers quality ball that puts his team on the front foot and he does so at pace. After scoring the first try of the game, Badenhorst played a major role in the Stormers' loose trio getting the upper hand over the Cats back row.
No 7 flank: Hendrik Gerber
Gerber's positional and tactical nous played a vital role in the Stormers' victory. Gerber put the finishing touches to a build-up to score a try for the Stormers with 20 minutes to play, a try which proved decisive.
No 6 flank: Luke Watson
The Sharks flanker appears hell-bent on proving his credentials after being left out of White's SA under-21 side a year ago. Watson may give away penalties, but his energy and appetite for work is unrivaled.
Lock: Selborne Boome
Boome used his intelligence to make his presence felt at Ellis Park. He won his lineout balls and used mobility to keep the heavier Cats opponents scrambling in his shadow.
Lock: A J Venter
Venter gets the nod for leading his team by example and for standing toe to toe against the most respected tight five in South African rugby and denting a few bloated egos.
Tighthead prop: Richard Bands
The minute Bulls prop Bands came on as a substitute at Loftus the Sharks scrum disintegrated.
Hooker: Gary Botha
The Bulls No 2 is still the best attacking hooker in South African rugby and a man with an instinct for the tryline. In a weekend where no hooker in particular distinguished himself, Botha was the best.
Loosehead prop: Daan Human
Often the unsung hero of the Stormers pack, he excelled as the anchor of a scrum that passed a vital test against the Cats' tight five.
(This article was originally published on page 16 of The Cape Argus on February 23, 2004 - Ed)
The winner of the February Competition
A lot of readers this month mailed us enquiring where they could buy a Skottel Braai in their country. We put a link to the Cadac Website in the Competition page for February but, just in case you missed it, here it is again.
All details about Cadac and their products can be found by clicking on Cadac.co.za
The winner of the February competition is Louis Terreblanche from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Congratulations Louis, your brand-new Cadac Skottel Braai is on its way to you as you read this. With spring in the air in Europe we are sure that it will be put to good use soon!
Remember the following:
The prize for the March Competition
The winner for the competition for March will receive one of our fantastic State-of-the-Art Barbecue/Braai utensil sets complete in its own smart looking carry case.
To enter the competition all you have to do is to visit our home page at www.biltongmakers.com and click on one of the two competition links.
The winner of all competitions are notified by email.
Some of the other prizes for the year
So, don't wait!
You can enter right now by clicking on the competition link on our home page.
It's easy to earn a free Biltong Maker!
As a South African orientated web site we are constantly looking to contact more and more South Africans across the world.
Not only to tell them about how they can make their own Biltong but also to give them a chance to share their stories with other South Africans the world over.
So, here is your chance to help us.
If you know about a South African family or friend living near you or perhaps somewhere far away, why not tell them about us and then us about them.
Perhaps you can send us their email address so that we can mail them a copy of the newsletter.
If they like it they can stay on the mailing list, if not they can just let us know and we will remove them.
If the response we receive is large enough and directly due to your efforts you could be rewarded by receiving one of our products totally free of charge.
What an easy way to perhaps get your own Home Biltong Maker without having to pay a cent for it!
You can mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(We received a lot of referrals during February and would like to thank all those who went to the trouble - Ed)
If you are really aching for a nice piece of Billies and the funds are a bit tight don't despair!
With our new secure on-line payment facility through WorldPay (Bank of Scotland) you can also order your very own Home Biltong maker on your budget account.
You can then pay over 12 or 24 months as you wish.
With a bit of entrepreneurship you could start making Biltong and sell it to meet the monthly re-payments!
So, if you hesitated in the past you can now go to www.biltongmakers.com and follow the shopping mall link. It's as easy as that!
If you have something interesting to tell, a nice recipe to part with or perhaps a question to ask, it would be nice to hear from you!
Perhaps you have some advice to give?
You never know how you could help somebody else with your own hints and tips.
Of course it does not have to be about Biltong or food. Anything that is of interest is welcome! Share it with other people around the world!
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