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April 1, 2004
Outside it can still be somber and cold. The noise of a windy March rain shower and the hail stones against the window don't exactly point to the fact that spring is on the way.
When we, in between the rain showers, take a nice long walk, we can hear the happy "wietoewiet" from a couple of Kieviten.
Hearing that we know that spring can't be far away!
The coming back of the Kievit heralds the start of the spring in the Low Lands.
There is this tradition in some of the northern provinces of Holland that once the first Kievit egg is found, spring has officially arrived. The person who finds this egg takes it to the Town hall where it is, with much ceremony, handed to the Queen's representative of the province.
Well, it is so far!
The egg has been found and handed over, the trees and bushes are full of blossoms and the tulips, crocuses and a host of other flowers are adorning every garden you see. Our alarm clock is packed away because we are once again woken up with the birds singing in the trees outside our bedroom window.
I am looking forward to getting into the garden and start making it shipshape for the coming months.
All the old leaves from last year, all the branches that came of the trees during the winter and a host of other things have to be cleaned and taken away. The lawn (moss) has to be mowed, the driveway cleaned and the tables and chairs put back in the garden.
Even the cats (Miss Muffett and Mr Woolly) know that they can now stay out all night long, much to June's horror!
Although we prefer the winter to the summer, this winter has been a long one. Towards February and March you really want it to be over with and wish for some warm sunshine on your body.
Last Sunday we changed to summer time and set our clocks forward by one hour. Strange to think that somehow you lost a whole hour of your life! They just took it! Resetting the clock is quite a job. You try to do this; clocks, watches, car clocks, mobile phones, microwaves, central heating, alarm clocks etc. etc. etc.
We had 17 in all!
With the summer on its way so is the new Boerewors season. Harry, our friendly butcher has been warned that we will be there full force for the next couple of Thursdays to make several fresh batches!
Last weekend Derek and Jeanine invited us to join them, the boys and Jeanine's father Vic, in a little cottage in the Ardennen they had organized for the weekend. So, off we went on Saturday morning. All along the E314 and E25 to Liege and near a little town called Petites Tailles, just 50km north of Bastogne in the east of the country. It was lovely. A lot of fresh air and very cold! That did not bother us however because inside we had this huge open fire place, almost the size of a small room, that kept us nice and warm.
It was nice to get away a bit and just to relax and do nothing.
Nice long walks with the boys through the forests and lots of boeries for supper and breakfast!
On the Sunday we drove into Bastogne where we visited the war museum from the second world war.
It is amazing how little one knows of what went on in Belgium during the war. There it was, all laid out, the whole history of "The battle of the Bulge"!
Between December 16, 1944 and late January 1945, 100 000 Germans and 80 000 Americans died in that part of the world. The Americans prevailed.
What a lot of history there is to be seen all over!
Coming back home we discovered that I had left the garage door wide open and the lights on! But, this is Belgium so everything was quite safe!
Derek left his back door wide open!
Well, it's time to go.
I hope you all have a wonderful month and I'll be back again in May.
Till next month,
Golf was invented in Scotland
Though a good Scot would contest it, there is some doubt about the generally accepted belief that golf was a Scottish invention. A form of the game has been knocking around the world for centuries.
The Romans had a sport called paganica, played with a bent stick and a leather ball filled with feathers, which is believed to have developed into golf.
There is also the ancient Dutch game of kolven, similar in name and technique to golf and often played on ice.
Still, there is no question that golf has been played in Scotland for a very long time.
A statue of King James II of Scotland, dated 1457, demanded that "fute-ball and golfe be utterly cryed down". Presumably this was so that his subjects could spend their spare time in training for war!
A later King, James IV of Scotland (1488-1513), is probably the first authentically recorded golfer. His records included several entries for "golf clubbis and ballis".
A major restructuring
Due to the continuous long lead-time for the shipping of our Home Biltong Makers we are presently undertaking a major restructuring program. Once completed, the normal lead-time of around 14 days will then be reduced to a maximum of seven days.
This restructuring has become necessary due to the continued and unbelievable support from our customers across the world!
So, to those people who waited a relatively long time for their orders to arrive our sincere apologies. To those people who are still waiting for their orders; it will be there soon. We are working day and night to complete the shipping of all outstanding orders. Please bear with us.
The bottom line is that we never really expected so many people, all over the world, wanting to make their own Biltong.
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 April we are giving away a number of Freebies with every Biltong Maker purchased!
Our famous Safari Biltong Spice will only cost you R 55.00 per 500 gram during the whole month of April!!
That is a massive saving of R 20.00 on every 500 gram of spice you buy!!
Every day we get asked what type of meat should be used to make Biltong, how to cut it, how to store it. . . . . . . . .
Here are some of the answers.
Biltong can be made from virtually any meat or venison, but remember, the better the cut and grade of the meat, the better the Biltong!
Silverside is perfect.
This cut of meat is called by many different names all over the world but it can be recognized by the "silvery" shine on the meat. It is part of the hind quarter of the beast.
Always use freshly cut meat. If at all possible do not use vacuum sealed meat.
Always slice the meat with the grain and use a very sharp knife for best results.
Slicing the meat
This is very important. The thicker the meat the longer it takes to dry. Aim for slices of anything up to 1cm in thickness.
Careful now, this needs a bit of concentration. While slicing, one inevitably tends to end up with the bottom of the strip being much thicker than the top. It is not like slicing bread! The trick is to start slicing thinly, and to carry on slicing till the strip of meat falls away. Do not hack at the meat, then stop to assess your progress, and slice further. You will end up with unattractive strips of meat covered in nicks and cuts.
Marinading the meat
When marinading the meat always put the thicker pieces at the bottom of the dish or tray with the thinner pieces at the top. ALWAYS use a cover to keep away any flies for hygienic purposes.
Hanging the meat
Always hang your meat in a dry, drafty area, free of insects and flies. If flies lay eggs on the meat you will end up with maggots and you can throw your biltong away!
Storing your Biltong
Biltong or smoked foods should be consumed within a week of preparation in order to avoid the possibility of mould, especially during wet and rainy periods or if you live in humid coastal areas.
If you want to keep biltong over an extended period, rather put some pieces into a plastic bag, suck out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for months.
If mould should occur, it can be removed by wiping it of with a cloth which has been dampened with vinegar.
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 wonder if you can help. I live and work in the middle east where it is practically impossible ( and illegal) to get pork. Is it possible to make boerewors without pork and what could I use as a tasty alternative? I hope you can help
Thank you for your email!
We often make Boerewors without Pork. In fact most of last year was "No Pork in the Boeries" year. All we did was to leave out the Pork and only used beef.
A lot of people commented on how this was the best wors we ever made!
Just make sure that your 70/30% meat/fat ratio still applies.
How many cups are there in a gram? Also, where can I get hold of a proper cooking conversion table?
The answer to both questions is simple.
We have a very nice cooking converter on the Biltongmakers.Com web site. Just click here to get to it!
Now here is one that crops up all the time and perhaps there is someone out there who can help!
As a child growing up in S.A., my father would bring home something he called, "Russian Sausage". Much to my health conscious mother's horror he would deep fry this wonderful treat. I recall it to be reddish in color, with a bit or sourness to it. Could you please tell me where I can get some and if it is the correct name.
We have no answer for this and wonder if there could be something similar? Perhaps it is called by a different name?
Anyone out there please help?
It is getting towards summer again in the Northern parts of this world and many Potjies will be dusted off, ready to be put to good use.
Here is a very nice Potjiekos recipe.
If you enjoy Mexican food, you'll not be able to refuse this chicken pot. It's unique taste is mainly thanks to the mixture of herbs and spices and it's so filling that nothing extra, besides a nice tossed salad, needs to be served with the pot.
It's enough for 5 to 6 people and a size 3 pot is recommended.
The Mini 30kg Biltong cabinet has arrived intact by me in Tavistock, England and is running faultlessly, and producing excellent biltong! We are making so much Biltong there seems to be no time for anything else these days!!
I would like to thank you and the Biltong team for keeping me updated at all times and for being unfailingly courteous and helpful from start to finish. By such efficiency you and your team took the anxiety out of importing the cabinet over such a long distance.
It is good to find such personal service in a world of corporate anonymity.
Jeffreys Bay Biltong Ltd
(Perhaps all you biltong lovers can now contact Andrew for your so much longed for Biltong!! - Ed)
If the Biltong is anywhere near your promptness and helpfulness it is going to be fantastic!
I will let you know how it turned out and am sure to still come back and trouble you with further queries as I start making "Versatile" biltong etc.
PO Box 29157
Direct Phone: +27 (11) 269-7777
Direct Fax: +27 (11) 269-7877
CellPhone: +27 (82) 904-1777
E-Mail : email@example.com
I am sure Kel knows well that he did not invent this style of biltong box, but merely re-made a very old idea. I have had a box like the one he claims to have invented for at least 20 years.
What do you say to that?
+27 (11) 485-2302
+27 (82) 337-5528
We were caught out there, weren't we?
Of course we all know that Kel took a very old cardboard biltong box (the one with the light in it) and worked around that idea.
If he had not who would have?
Thanks to Kel's idea all those people, all over the world craving biltong in the past, can now enjoy it.
Just like you and me.
(All our products are available on the web site www.biltongmakers.com - Ed)
The Saffies Down-Under column
By Craigh Rudolph in Sydney
Well the days are growing shorter and the sun is losing its bite. Summer in Sydney has been a bit kinder than last year with very few bush fires and a little more rain.
But still not enough.
Mandatory water restrictions are in place and the "Water Police" are out in the suburbs trying to catch people who are doing the wrong thing. But how do you stop migrants from the Mediterranean from watering their concrete and paved "gardens."?
God forbid if they try using a broom to sweep the leaves away. Wasting water is much easier.
Sydney is full of the hype over the Olympic swimming trials. Wonder athletes are putting their best flippers forward to ensure they make the Greece games.
Ian Thorpe has inadvertently put a lot of pressure on a little known swimming colleague. Owing to Ian's blunder on the starting blocks he was disqualified and, the only way for him to gain qualification for the game in the 400m Freestyle race, would be for Craig Stevens to withdraw and allow Ian Thorpe to take his place.
A bit sad that the youngster could possibly be saddled with the guilt that he could have allowed Ian Thorpe to win another gold medal in an event he has dominated for the past 4 years - watch this space.
Cricket has also finally come to an end (thank goodness) - I am sure they started playing this season about 12 months ago.
It just goes on and on.
There is just the odd mention of the Protea's against New Zealand. Unfortunately no great heroics from the guys, but then again who ever plays well in a country that has only two months of warm weather every year. Pitches are never going to be dry and fast - one could only call them "putty-pitches" at best.
Fortunately though, three of the four Super Twelve Rugby Teams are holding their own despite the words of wisdom from rugby guru, David Campese.
At the beginning of the year he had written in one of the local Sydney papers that the bottom 5 sides of the competition will be dominated by South African sides and the Waikato Chiefs making up the numbers.
It's funny you never here any of these so-called professors of the game admit they were wrong and concede any side, other than an Australian side, is playing well.
But I move on.
So with the demise of day-light saving over the last week-end in March, the walks now in the park at the end of a long day at the office are once again in the dark. By the time one gets home through the Sydney traffic and transport system, the day-light is well and truly fast asleep. However it is still wonderful to be able to go for these walks even though it is dark. The bats are still very busy gathering what blossoms and fruit they can steal before the winter weather starts to take its hold.
We have also this past week-end spent our time doing the "un-democratic" forced voting that makes up this Australian Democracy. If you do not vote, you can and will be fined A$100 - but I can understand why they have gone this way - Australia could end up being run by a fool like George Bush.
Sydney has recently also had the Greek festival at Darling Harbour and the tastes and aromas, sites and people were wonderful. The Greek community in Sydney is prosperous and many. It is a delight to watch them live their traditions in a very cosmopolitan way, as many communities do in Sydney. I am in no doubt that in the future there will be a South African Festival of similar proportions as more and more expats make their way to this hospitable country.
Until next quarter, if you haven't visited Sydney and Australia, it is well worth considering. The food is good and the weather is not that bad either.
(Thank you so much for your column again Craig. Our readers really enjoy hearing from you! - (Ed)
How about this for a new use for the biltong maker.
We have a couple of Spotted Dikkops (Latin name Burhinus Capensis) which are like large Plovers with a wide head (hence Dik Kop) which hatched two babies a few weeks ago.
They are night birds and run around our lawn at night chasing insects, but often don't look where they are running.
During the day on Thursday I saw the two parents standing at the edge of our swimming pool staring at the water, so I went to investigate. One of the babies had fallen into the pool and was drowning, but I lifted it out, held it upside down by the legs to let the water drain out of its lungs and then gave it artificial respiration (gently, so that I did not crack its fragile ribs).
The two parents, which are usually very aggressive when anyone gets near their babies, just sat quietly on the grass watching what I was doing.
The baby eventually gave a few coughs and then started breathing normally. As it was very wet I tried drying it with my handkerchief, but it was still damp and was starting to shiver. I then phoned our animal rescue society to ask what else I should do. They said I must dry the bird gently with a soft towel and then put it under a lamp to warm up and dry out.
Of course, the bird would not sit still (it has very long, strong legs) and I did not have a cardboard box and lamp readily available, so I thought of the biltong maker!
I put a thin cloth at the bottom so that its feet would not get burnt, put the bird inside, put the lid on to stop it from jumping out, put a paint tin on top to keep the perforated lid on, then switched the maker on.
After about 15 minutes in the warm draught the baby bird had dried out sufficiently (I did not want to roast it alive!) so I took it out into the garden and handed it back to its parents. They all then went happily running back into the bushes, squawking merrily.
I am glad to say that today, after 5 days the baby bird is alive and healthy, back to normal!
Of course, I had to strip my biltong maker completely and clean it thoroughly with a disinfectant to get rid of any germs and the smell!
TRI (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 (11) 463-3100
Fax: +27 (11) 463-3133
Butch's perfect 10 in Bok form book
March 31, 2004
By Stephen Nell
(Cape Times rugby writer, convenor)
If the Super 12 form book is anything to go by, Sharks star Butch James will be wearing the Springbok No 10 jersey against Ireland in Bloemfontein on June 12.
James was a unanimous choice at flyhalf when a Cape Times rugby panel picked a South African Form XV at the halfway mark of the tournament.
The panellists - Mercury rugby scribe Mike Greenaway, former Springbok centre Brendan Venter and I - concentrated on current form.
The teams we picked did not take historic form or natural talent into account.
'I want a flyhalf who can dictate like Derick' It's for this reason that Derick Hougaard finds himself out in the cold, and it will be interesting to see how Springbok coach Jake White manages the flyhalf situation.
Hougaard has been a non-entity on attack and will continue to be while he stands so deep.
But Venter made the point in our discussions that he would have no hesitation in picking the Bulls halfback pair of Fourie du Preez and Hougaard ahead of the Sharks' Craig Davidson and James if he had to pick a Springbok team on the spot.
"If we want to move forward in the long term, we need a flyhalf who can run the show," said Venter. "Butch is playing as well as he can. He's trying hard to defend the right way, passing well and kicking miles out of hand. But I want a flyhalf who can dictate like Derick ... He's a general."
Venter said Hougaard's shortcomings would simply have to be addressed through coaching. "Derick is no threat on attack, so they will have to work on his positional play. He's an explosive little character, but he's standing too deep and far behind the scrum."
With those deficiencies removed, Du Preez is likely to be the man on his inside. "Derick has the potential to make South Africa the best team in the world. He can kick the ball 70 metres," said Venter.
"Fourie also has everything. He kicks the ball a mile into the air, and if you have a kicking game with those two, you will annihilate opponents.
"When you pick Fourie and Derick, you are going to play a certain style. The moment you play Bolla Conradie at scrumhalf, you have to pick another flyhalf, maybe André Pretorius. The bad news is that it doesn't win a lot of Tests."
At centre, the Stormers duo of De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert are wearing undisputed crowns. There have been noises about Bulls No 12 Ettienne Botha, but he was put in his place in their 25-11 defeat to the Stormers.
Indeed, derby matches of such magnitude have a way of showing who is who in the pecking order, so it's a mystery as to why they are always being talked down by Springbok coaches.
Piet Krause was being written up as the next great Springbok loose forward - until he ran into Corné Krige, who has already retired from international rugby.
Some players may perform well at Super 12 level, but simply do not have the ability to take the step up. Krause belongs in that category. Conversely, the feeling persists that Hougaard has the ability to achieve that and an adjustment or two will make a big difference.
We were unanimous that Breyton Paulse and Ashwin Willemse have been the best South African wings. Willemse has enjoyed the occasional flash of brilliance in a dreadful Cats team and just shades the Sharks' Henno Mentz.
At lock, all three panellists have credited AJ Venter for sparking the Sharks pack. He has physical presence and plays a big role in giving them forward momentum.
We were also unanimous that Luke Watson has been the form openside flank. Whether Watson's cause is a lost one due to White's insistence that Schalk Burger should play as a fetcher remains to be seen.
At loosehead prop, there has been none better than Stormers man Daan Human. He has been strong at the scrums and busy in the loose. It's time to stop clinging to the memory of Os du Randt's exploits in the mid-1990s. We are already heading into the mid-2000s.
Brent Russell has not stood out for any of the panellists when it came to picking a fullback. He scored a magnificent try against the Highlanders, but was poor for most of the game as he shied away from physical contact. Gaffie du Toit beat Werner Greeff by two votes to one.
At hooker, all three panellists have picked newly appointed Springbok captain John Smit, but he will have to maintain his form to fend off Bulls duo Gary Botha and Danie Coetzee.
Another unanimous choice was that of Bulls No 8 Anton Leonard. However, he will probably fall away when it comes to assessing Test-match qualities. The Stormers and Sharks dominate our South Africa Form XV, with Willemse the sole Cats player.
Clearly André Markgraaff, Allister Coetzee and White have some tough calls to make, especially as the multitude of talent in the Cats region with players such as Jaque Fourie and Juan Smith cannot simply be overlooked.
Panellists' Teams (In the order No 1-15)
(Cape Times rugby writer, convenor)
Stormers 6, Sharks 5, Bulls 3, Cats 1.
(Former Springbok centre and London Irish coach)
Stormers 8, Sharks 5, Bulls 1, Cats 1.
(Mercury rugby writer)
Sharks 6, Stormers 5, Bulls 3, Cats 1.
(This article was originally published on page 17 of The Cape Times on March 31, 2004)
The winner of the March Competition
We certainly had some people ripping the bottom out of our invitation that you can enter as many times as you like.
A couple of people must have programmed their systems in such a way that they kept on sending in entries all day and all night.
The idea of the competition is that it is a fun thing and everybody should have a fair chance to win. In the end it is the computer that chooses the winner.
So, let's keep it a fun thing and not misuse it.
The winner of the March competition is Charles Cook from Kelvin in Sandton, Johannesburg. It is not often that we have a South African winner and we look forward to hearing from Charles what his friends have to say about his newly acquired Braai Utensil Kit.
Congratulations Charles, your Braai Utensil Kit is on its way to you!
Remember the following:
The prize for the April Competition
The winner for the competition for April will receive one of our Manual Semi-Industrial Biltong Cutters (See the picture on the competition page).
This cutter makes it very easy to slice or shred your biltong.
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 is 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 March 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!
We realize that with a very strong South African currency at the moment the prices have gone through the roof.
So we made a plan!
With our 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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