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June 1, 2004
Looking at the thermometer reading on our web site I saw that at 9am this morning it was 4C in Johannesburg and a lovely 11C here in Keerbergen.
Although the summer isn't quite here yet we have had some lovely days with loads of sun!
It's June and we are already almost halfway through the year.
How time flies!
May has been an incredible month in many respects. The first thing we must do is to thank all those people who sent us their best wishes. It was really very much appreciated and so nice to hear from so many!
Some of our suppliers even gave us a discount as a birthday present!!
A couple of weeks ago June and I went down to Dunkirk.
At home we first watched a two hour documentary on what happened there in 1940 when all those armies were cornered by the Germans and how so many boats, from fishing boat, to army vessels to pleasure craft went across the channel to take them of the beaches. it was fascinating to see where it all took place.
I love history so here is a little something I put together to refresh our memories of that incredible happening.
In the closing days of May 1940, just months into World War II, Britain teetered on the edge of military disaster. The German army had advanced across Europe and penned the British forces into a tiny area around the French port of Dunkirk. Hitler’s tanks were just 10 miles away and the capture or death of the 400,000 troops seemed imminent. Yet by 4 June, over 338,000 men had been evacuated to England in one of the greatest rescues of all time.
They were rescued from the harbour and beaches near to Dunkirk by a curious assembly of many different types of craft.
Many of the little ships, such as motor yachts, fishing boats and all manner of other such craft, were privately owned.
The British, French and Belgium governments had seriously underestimated the strength of the German forces in their equipment, transport and fire power - which was far superior to much of our outdated armoury.
Consequently the British Expeditionary Force, as well as the French and Belgian forces, found themselves defending positions against overwhelming odds.
Before long, with the Germans effectively cutting off nearly all of the escape routes to the channel, the BEF found itself desperately retreating to the harbour and beaches of Dunkirk.
However, before long, the harbour became partially blocked by ships sunk in consistent attacks from enemy aircraft. It became necessary to take the troops off the nearby beaches as well - something that was thought to be an almost impossible task because of shallow water.
This is when the little ships came to play their part. A variety of motor boats, fishing smacks, trawlers, lifeboats, paddle steamers and many other types of craft came over the channel to assist in the escape.
They mainly ferried the troops from the beaches to the destroyers laying offshore - but thousands of troops came all the way back to England in some of these boats.
The escape captured the minds and hearts of the British people at a time when it looked probable that they too would soon be invaded. It seemed like a victory in just getting the troops back - over a third of a million of them - to fight another day.
Apart from going to Dunkirk we stayed home most of the time tending to the garden and getting the outside shipshape for the summer.
It's nice to feel some sun on our bodies again although it must not get too warm!
Somehow Paris did not happen this month but we are sure to do it again soon, although not in June. This month we are going to the UK to see a play at the Westend. That should be quite an experience as well because we will be taking the Eurotrain.
This will mean a trip down to Calais where they put your car on the train. Thirty minutes later you are through the channel tunnel and in England!
We'll tell you all about that trip the next time.
That was it again.
I hope you will all have a very good month of June so.......
Till next month
A professor was giving a lecture to his students on stress management.
He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, "How heavy do you think this glass of water is?"
The students' answers ranged from 20mg to 500mg.
The professor said "It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, it is OK.
If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance.
It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
"If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier."
"What you have to do is to put the glass down and rest for a while before holding it up again."
We have to put down the burden periodically so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on.
So, before you return home from work tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it back home. You can pick it up tomorrow.
Whatever burdens you have on your shoulders, let it down for a moment if you can.
Pirate ships hoisted the Jolly Roger
"There was the Jolly Roger - the black flag of piracy - flying from her peak"
The ship is the Hispaniola and it has just been seized by John Silver. The book is that classic saga of piracy, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson.
But would Long John have run the Jolly Roger up the mast? Was there ever such a flag? Strangely enough, the answer is almost certainly no.
The black flag with the white skull and crossed bones appears to be mythical.
Pirates might possibly have used a plain black flag to strike terror into merchantmen. Or, more probably, the idea of the Jolly Roger may stem from the old Imperial Austrian flag which features a black double-headed eagle on a yellow background.
From a distance, it may have resembled a skull and crossbones.
In the eighteenth century a great many privateers sailed under the Austrian letters of marque which were more easily obtained than these of other nations.
These privateers were considered little better than pirates.
Rockey's New Age Home Biltong maker has really proved to be a winner with a lot of people making their own Biltong.
It is not only suitable for use at home but also for those people who are making Biltong as a small Home Industry.
The machine dries the meat quick, under very hygienic conditions and in sufficient quantities to allow a regular small resale stock.
The Traditional 2kg Home Biltong maker remains a steady stallward for those people who like a piece of Billies while watching a rugby match or some cricket.
After a small but shortlived stock hiccup during May (because of all the "specials" orders being placed) the factories are again up-to-date. There is ample stock and orders are now once again going out as they come in.
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.
Let's do it some more!!
As a "THANK YOU!" for the tremendous response and support we had, as well as all the good wishes we received during our birthday month in May we have decided to carry on a little while longer with some of the same special offers!!
For a limited period during the month of June this is what you can still get on "special"
All about Potjiekos
This one from the all-time Master of Potjiekos - Kel Malherbe.
Some lucky folk living on Planet North are currently basking in summer sunshine whereas those of us here on Planet South are chattering away in our winter woollies! We are forced indoors when practicing our culinary arts while northern SAers and other outdoor lovers are free to enjoy the griddles, grates, sizzles and aromas which come with outdoor feasting around the open fire.
And speaking about Potjiekos, what a great opportunity for you northern SAers and Potjiekos fanatics to haul out that three legged Pot Bellied marvel for an outdoor summer occasion with friends.
Just brush up on the fundamentals:
- The whole foundation of Potjiekos preparation rests on long cooking times and this strikes at the heart of present day living where meals must often be prepared as quickly as possible. If your desire is for quality and flavour, go for Potjiekos; if in a hurry, leave the Potjie in storage until a relaxing weekend comes up.
Potjiekos is creation, not cremation.
- Although the heat must be strong initially, once the pot itself (and the lid!) has been well warmed up, the bulk of the cooking time should be done on the lowest possible heat. Gas is ideal at the level of the smallest blue flame. Some scattered embers of an open fire should do the trick, but do not allow the coals to die out!
- The secret of Potjiekos is to firstly sauté the onions in the heated pot and remove. Then brown the meat and add back the onions. Add liquid as per recipe, replace the lid and let this gently simmer for a few hours. Do not open the lid or stir until the meat is nearly done! You can now remove the lid, layer the veggies, the slower cooking ones first, and add the herbs and seasoning. Replace the lid and be ready to serve after the pot has bubbled for another 30 minutes or so.
- If possible, never add water on its own to any Potjie. Use a good stock, beer, fresh fruit juice or wine. Remember, wine is the heart of any Potjie!
- Herbs and spices are also a must, especially garlic. A Potjie is just not a Potjie without garlic!
Although many Potjie recipes are available always remember that the end result of each Potjiekos is as individual as its creator and, that with time, each Potjie seems to develop its own character devoted to the whims of its master!
(We have some very nice Potjiekos Recipes on our web site -Ed)
Every month we receive many questions from people all over the world. These questions may be about making Biltong, Boerewors or Potjiekos but can also be totally unrelated to these subjects.
How well will the biltong maker work in a cool well ventilated room? There is air conditioning and the room is sub 15 deg, always. Would that be too cool to allow the lightbulb to dry the meat?
A Sub Zero temperature is too cold to effectively dry the meat. The dampness in such surroundings would also work against the drying process.
The best place to keep a Biltong maker is in a well ventilated room at a normal temperature. Preferably a room where no air conditioning is used.
I live in NZ and want to purchase a biltong making machine.
Yours looks great, but I'm concerned about meat juices etc dripping down onto the bottom of the unit from the hanging meat and into the element, making it difficult to clean and possibly a hygiene issue further down the track.
Could you comment on this, please?
Also, your machine doesn't appear to have a fan option, only heat ... does it rely solely on natural convection for air circulation?
All biltong meat is dried to a more or lesser extent, even at the butchers!
What a mess it would make if you did not dry the meat before hanging it. And we are not even talking about the flies and other insects it would attract.
Once the meat is patted dry very little drippings will fall on the bottom plate of the machine. To clean the plate you simply remove it and wash it under the tap with some nice warm soapy water.
The answer to the second question is easy; our machines use simple convection to dry the meat. The machines are too small to make use of a fan. It would cool the meat too much. We have tried fans in our Home Dryers and it just does not work.
Our large industrial dryers make use of fans but then you dry up to 120kg of wet meat at a time!
I have just bought a biltong box from a friend and so far have done two batches.
The first (his) was very salty, and the second (mine) was very nicely flavoured. The problem is that the outside of the strips are very hard to chew whilst the inside is still relatively wet.
The box is basically an Addis dirt bin with several holes drilled in the lower side bottoms with an extractor fan. This operation was carried out in my garage which has very little ventilation and air flow.
The temperature in Pietermaritzburg has been very hot until now.
Someone has suggested that I place a 40 watt light bulb at the base of the box as there might be to much moisture in the air resulting in the biltong being tough (the meat was in the box for 6 days)
Can you assist??
We don't know what your "Addis" box does apart from blowing air into it. A Meat Dryer needs a certain amount of warmth at the bottom to dry the meat. Also, you have holes in the bottom of the machine. Hot air rises and needs to escape somewhere so the holes should be on top! It looks like you have just a bin with a fan blowing air into it. This air (without heat) will only dry the outside of the meat.
We have taken a long time to come up with the right temperature to dry the meat.
The solution to your problem could be to fit a 40 watt globe at the bottom of the bin so that the rising warm air can dry the meat.
Alternatively a foolproof way is to get yourself a Home Biltong Maker from Biltongmakers.Com!
That is sure to work!
I have recently started using a Weber and I am most impressed by the smoky flavour the meat has once cooked in there.
I've done a few whole spiced chickens and the meat just falls off the bone and is very moist. I'm not normally a great fan of chicken breast because of the drynes of the meat but done in the Weber it remains moist even when well cooked.
What I am searching for is preparation/operating instructions and any cooking tips. i.e. How to prepare and place the fire in the Weber; when to put meat in - with flames or once fire has died down a bit; which vents to open/close etc.
I would appreciate any suggestions or web links you might have regarding the Weber.
There are many Weber manuals on the market.
The one we use is called "Barbecuing the WEBER© covered way. The book is published by R Arthur Barrett and published for Weber-Stephen products company by TRP (Tested Recipes Publishers, Inc, Chicago.
Bushveld venison roast
The hunting season is around the corner in South Africa and venison aplenty is available in food stores and butchers across the country.
Personally, as a conservationist, I am no hunter and have never pointed a gun at man nor beast. Fortunately, I have several friends who are hunter freaks partaking in culling as often as the opportunity presents itself and I often get to be invited along as a "gun bearer"!
I jump at it every time as I am addicted to the great outdoors of this country, where game abounds, be it on the plateaus of the Eastern Cape, the endless savannas of the far North Western Cape or, my favourite, the Transvaal bushveld.
Nothing can beat being up and about with a steaming cup of coffee before sunrise, standing next to the fire discussing the route of the day ahead while listening to the cries of the wild as they rise from their slumbers.
For me, a wonderful day of stealth and stalking always lies ahead, drinking in the smell of the bush and listening to the screech of the sun-beatles - and then the weight of that bloody gun!
I always thought that a rifle has a constant weight factor. Not so, I am living proof when I say there is a dramatic increase in weight as morning gives way to afternoon.
But all is well around the huge redwood campfire in the evening with meat sizzling on the coals, the pot of pap steaming away and brown liquid sustenance flowing by the gallon!
So, here we go with a venison dish as the recipe this month.
Venison is readily available in most countries and if you manage to stumble across a 2.5kg leg of Springbok you're in big business!
Otherwise 2.5kg of any other leg of venison will do or a 1.5 to 1.75kg deboned venison roast (use two small roasts to make up the weight if required) is also excellent.
It is imperative to use a heavy duty cast iron pot (or any other heavy based one) which can fit the meat as we are looking at a long cooking time and must avoid base burn.
An elongated or oval pot is ideal for a "bone-in" roast, or you can ask your butcher to cut through the bone in a couple of places so that you can "roll" the roast into a round pot.
You will also need a suitable size plastic marinating container with a tightly fitting lid.
Preparing/Marinating the meat
Start early as cooking time is going to be about three hours, shorter or longer depending on the quality of the cut of meat.
Present this dish to the guests with aplomb!
Hi there Biltong Team!
I am proud to say that making biltong seemed a daunting task - but after purchasing the 2kg biltong maker, it's a breeze!
(May 6, 2004)
Just to let you know that my 2kg biltong maker arrived 2 weeks ago.
It was a birthday present for my boyfriend who's from Joburg and he was really made up with it. He logged on to your web site where he got the chilli recipe and went straight to work on it when he got home.
His batches don't seem to last kissing time which says a lot. He's even tried kangaroo meat and was really happy with it!!!!
To be honest, I don't think he has turned the machine off yet.
Boys and their toys hey?
I'll see him this weekend and warned him to have some ready!
I will ask him to e-mail you to let you know what he thinks of it.
Thanks a mil, it was worth the wait!
(May 5, 2004)
(We are eagerly awaiting his email Stephanie-Ed)
Hi Biltong Team,
Last friday I finally received my very own biltong-maker, thank you very much!
I actually had the first biltong ready to eat and it is delicious.
Many greetings from Germany,
(May 3, 2004)
From here, there and everywhere
Hi Lo and the Team,
I have been using the HBM for several months now and we always seem to have a batch of biltong on the go.
I have used up all the spice I originally ordered from you and tried the versatile biltong recipe. That was a disaster because I used silverside from the supermarket and the meat was cut in the wrong direction, across the muscle, not down.
I also think the type of sugar I used was wrong. It was very fine dark brown sugar and two cups seemed to be too much. It took ages to dry and tasted "not nice". Even the dog wasn't too keen on it and I eventually minced it up for the birds.
I then started buying the meat direct from our very helpful butcher and made the "Dark and Shiny Biltong".
That works very well!
Also, I just make ordinary biltong with coriander, salt, pepper and vinegar and worcestershire sauce, that is very good also.
I am now considering buying another biltong maker!
Do you think that red wine vinegar would be suitable for making biltong? All we get over here is either malt vinegar or distilled white vinegar and I think it has a much sharper taste than the grape vinegar we used to get in SA.
I always remember the smell of the big barrel of vinegar my grandfather used to have in his shop when I was a child. People used to bring along their own bottles and they were filled with vinegar pumped from the barrel.
I recently had some red wine vinegar with a salad, and this seemed to smell and taste similar to old fashioned grape vinegar.
Thanks again for the HBM
PS. A cheeky question: How many news letters do you send out each month? I typed "biltong maker" in the Google search engine and Biltongmakers.Com seemed to pop up from all over the world.
(We send out around 12000 newsletter every month -Ed)
Hello everybody at Biltongmakers!
People are pretty hyped up since the announcement that the Soccer World Cup 2010 will be taking place in South Africa. I can't really relate to sports' fans, except for F1 racing (Michael Schumacher to be precise).
Trying to describe Cape Town or the Western Cape is really a matter of "you have to see it to believe it".
We, as Capetonians, tend to forget that we are surrounded by towns within driving distance where one can relax and enjoy a break from the city life. Judging from what I see, tourism is booming in South Africa all year round.
Just for a teaser - we have:
I hope the visitors of Biltongmakers will get to Cape Town sometime to give their opinion of this side of the world.
For a glimpse of what we have to offer, log on to: www.cape-town.org
Letter to a mother
A mother enters her daughter's bedroom and sees a letter over the bed.
With the worst premonition, she reads it, with trembling hands:
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm telling you that I eloped with my new boyfriend. I found real passion, and he is so nice, with all his piercings and tattoos and his big motorcycle.
But not only that Mom, I'm pregnant and Ahmed said that we will be very happy in his trailer in the woods. He wants to have many more children with me and that's one of my dreams also.
I've learned that marijuana doesn't hurt anyone and we'll be growing it for ourselves and his friends, who are providing us with all the cocaine and ecstasy we may want.
In the meantime, we'll pray for science to find the AIDS cure for Ahmed to get better - he deserves it.
Don't worry Mom,
I'm 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself.
Some day I'll visit you so you can get to know your grandchildren.
PS: Mom, it's not true. I'm at the neighbour's house. I just wanted to show you that there are worse things in life than the report card that's in my desk drawer...I love you!
Boks in disarray ahead of Irish visit
(By Brenden Nel)
Springbok coach Jake White's two-Test series against Ireland is in jeopardy, not only because of a reported pay strike by the Irish players, but also because of shoddy planning by the South African Rugby Football Union. And, while Sarfu have promised responsibility and a new dawn for our rugby, they have resorted to the age-old tactic of denial, sweeping problems under the carpet.
If the Irish can overcome their pay dispute and bring their troops to these shores, they will find a disorganised bunch of Springboks.
The Boks have no logistics manager - Emile Ferris resigned from this position after failing to arrive in Bloemfontein for the training camp - and no team doctor. In addition, 10 players have failed fitness tests under White's regime.
It is a far cry from the new dawn promised by the Springbok coach. And while those within the team ranks have talked openly about the failure to get the basics right, Sarfu has denied the existence of a problem.
Ferris, whose appointment was initially questioned because he worked for Sarfu President Brian van Rooyen's company, LABAT SA, had no experience in the position to which he was appointed. It was reported on Sunday that he had failed to send energy drinks and mineral water - to be used in the away leg of the Tri Nations later this year - to Australia and New Zealand, in compliance with the those countries' customs regulations.
Ferris had previously been suspended by the Golden Lions for fielding over-age players in a youth tournament.
Mac Hendricks, the successful Bok logistics manager for the past four years, was fired without proper notice and told to return his Laptop and Cellphone while on tour with the Cats.
Negotiations have started to return Hendricks to the side as a consultant, but the team have announced they would share the responsibilities for the logistical arrangements.
On Sunday the team released a statement saying that allegations that Ferris had not fulfilled his tasks were "unfounded".
"Mr Ferris was unable to continue in the position as a result of work commitments and pressures. Since his appointment earlier this year Mr Ferris had made much progress in putting in place the logistics plan for the forthcoming international season. The team's management fully understands and respects Mr Ferris's decision," the statement said.
Yet Ferris is employed by Van Rooyen - surely any commitments would have been sorted out by the head of his enterprise.
As for Lekalakala, the former team doctor slammed Sarfu at the weekend for their "deplorable arrangements" - he had received his first sight of the Springbok schedule just four hours before he discovered he was due to be on a flight to Bloemfontein. After being approached by White, Lekalakala, the head of the 90-strong medical team at the Road Accident Fund, tried in vain to get a letter of appointment. He finally got an email on May 4, but still had no schedule to arrange leave with.
"The communication lines were deplorable and the letter did not make sense to me. Still, I went to my boss and he said that it was impossible and that I had two choices: I could either resign or turn down the Springboks," he said.
As with the Ferris issue, the team has tried to distance itself from Lekalakala's complaints.
In the same statement, it said: "Team management also wishes to confirm that Dr Palty Lekalakala has been unable to take up the post of team doctor, also due to other work commitments. Negotiations are currently under way with the Western Province Rugby Union regarding Dr Yusuf Hassan's availability for the post. Once these negotiations have been successfully concluded, Dr Hassan will join the team in Bloemfontein. In the meantime, management wishes to thank Dr Louis Holtzhausen of Free State for assisting the team in a part-time capacity."
With 10 Springboks not up to scratch by Bok coaching standards, a lot of hard work awaits the side before the Irish arrive for their two Tests in Bloemfontein. Unless drastic changes are made, the Irish are likely to play a team that are ripe for the picking.
(This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on May 24, 2004)
-Where can you watch rugby on TV-?
Click here to find out where in most countries!
The winner of the May Competition
The winner of the May competition is Avril Barnard from Bethlehem in the Free State.
We've had a couple of winners from South Africa over the years but never one from the Free State, let alone Bethlehem!
Well done and congratulations Avril, your brandnew RNA-5kg Home Biltong maker as well as 1kg of our famous pre-mixed Biltong spice is on its way to you!
Remember the following:
The prize for the June Competition
The winner for the competition for June will receive one of the ever so popular OmpaGrills.
We have had the OmpaGrill as a prize on a number of occasions and it has always proved to be very popular.
Click here to see a picture of the famous OmpaGrill taken on Derek and Jeanine's patio in Antwerp.
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 winners 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 this 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 email@example.com
During May many people went to the trouble once again of submitting their friend's and family's names and we would like to thank all!
One RNA-5kg Biltongmaker has already been given away to Mike Rogers who lives in Amsterdam!
Well done and thank you very much Mike. Three of the people who were recommended to our web site by you have placed orders of their own!
Help us to make it even better!
Many people are subscribing to this newsletter every day. Mostly they do so because they enjoy reading it and like to hear from people all over the world.
If you are one of our subscribers why don't you write something yourself?
Just like you enjoy reading about what other people are up to, they might enjoy reading about you and your family.
Why not put pen to paper and tell us about anything interesting. About life in your part of the world, what you do and how you live. Perhaps something that happened to you.
You might have a nice recipe to part with or perhaps a question to ask.
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!
It would be so nice to hear from you!
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