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The Biltongmakers.Com Newsletter
December 2005

You are receiving this newsletter because you have previously placed an order with Biltongmakers or made an enquiry about Biltong, Boerewors or Potjie Pots or someone has submitted your name to us thinking that you might be interested.
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In this Newsletter

What did you drag across the world?

From the editor

Keerbergen
Belgium
December 7, 2005

Standing outside the back door by the kitchen a minute ago I saw two squirrels playing in the trees. Running up and down and jumping from branch to branch they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I should put some more nuts out for them. They must be hungry for there is very little for them to eat right now in the winter.

It's lovely to watch them stuffing their little cheeks full and then disappearing in the undergrowth to store it somewhere I suppose. A little while later they will reappear to start the whole process all over again.

We are a little like them, especially over the festive season. The only difference is that we don't take it away to be stored. We store it in the ever-increasing waistline, which just seems to grow and grow as we draw closer to Christmas and the end of the year!

The little exercise I get at the moment does not help at all it seems. Just the other day I spent yet another day in the garden clearing away leaves and making it somehow a little presentable but the scale that night just did not want to cooperate!

I have just finished with the Christmas lights outside. Always quite a job but certainly worth it! They're in the bushes and up the trees and along the gutter in the front. I'm quite proud actually. Sadly our neighbours are too lazy to do anything of the sort. In other towns people have really put in an effort and some houses look quite spectacular!

Driving around the little towns in Vlaanderen last night it was great to see all the trouble some people have gone to. I even saw a Father Christmas complete with reindeer on top of a roof, all done with rope lights!

It gets dark around 4.30 in the afternoon now so that's when our lights come on and we sit inside, nice and warm, and enjoy them!

Christmas in Europe is so totally different from the Southern hemisphere. It is dark and cold outside and, with a bit of luck, you even have snow! But, everywhere you go it is warm and cozy with lots of candles and of course the Christmas tree!

Going into town is incredible to say the least. Everywhere you go there is an air of festivity. There are decorations everywhere. In the streets, on the squares, along the buildings and in the trees. It is just one big light show.

There are people everywhere either doing shopping or listening to one of the many little groups and choirs playing or singing Christmas carols. The bistros and cafes are chock and block with people enjoying a "pintje" or a glass of wine by a roaring fireplace. Many of them are open throughout the night and if you drive into town early in the morning you still find most places full to capacity. Funny enough there are no incidents of drunkenness or hooliganism. So much for 24 hour drinking in Europe!

And so it is almost Christmas and yet another year has gone by. A year that promised a lot at the start and kept itself to its word by and large. We must just try to get away a little more next year.

It's always nice to look back on what you did during the year and to pick out the highlights.

Our trip to northern France, Reims and Paris with Penny and Skye was one of those highlights. Paris is great any time of the year as long as you don't end up with a mad taxi driver like we did on our way to the Moulin Rouge.

Then there was our trip to the UK a couple of weeks ago
 
We always enjoy those trips when we go to see June's sister Carol and her husband Peter in Worthing. This time we decided to take the ferry from Calais to Dover instead of the tunnel train. It was lovely! It's about 200km to Calais from where we live and if you take the train you are in Folkestone (near Dover) in 25 minutes and you have to do another 200 km to get to the Brighton area right away.


But, with the ferry we had a nice break. It takes about 2 hours all-in-all and you have a chance to walk about, have a nice breakfast or lunch and browse through the shops on board and you can see the white cliffs of Dover! We'll certainly do that again!

Another highlight for me was an unexpected visit to Jake's school where all the little children were waiting in the school hall to meet Sinterklaas. And sure enough there he came, just after nine in the morning, with his Zwarte Pieten in tow. The look of total awe and trepidation on those little ones faces was enough to bring a tear to the eye. It so reminded me of when I was that age and went through the same thing every December 5th, the birthday of the dear old man.

The children all sang songs and presented him with the presents they had been making especially for his birthday. One class even made a big pot of carrot soup for his horse!

Above, on the right you can see a picture of him and if you want to read the story of Sinterklaas just click on the newsletter for December 2004.

The worst news this year was when I heard that my best friend of 40 years, Kel Malherbe, had passed away suddenly on the 4th of November. Kel and I first met in May of 1966 and literally went through thick and thin together. It was Kel who originally developed the first Home Biltong Maker which he roughly based on an old cardboard box dryer he had from way back. The original 2kg Home Biltong Maker became what is now known as the Biltong Buddy and is used by thousands of people all over the world.
I will miss him dearly and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those who were close to him.
But, while we feel sad because he has gone we can also smile and feel happy because he was alive and so much a part of us.

And so I will leave you for this year.
Both June and I hope that you will have a great Christmas and a very nice end of the year.
Don't overdo it now!
Like my dear old Mum always used to say: "You can do anything you want as long as it is in moderation!"

Sadly, although I totally agree with her, it somehow never works for me and I always end up doing exactly the opposite and suffer the consequences afterwards.

So, to all our friends and customers all over the world, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you all the happiness and health and the fulfillment of all your dreams!

Till next year,

Take care,


Lo


Food for thought

Steady effort

Sometimes the way to move ahead faster is to slow down. Sometimes the way to get more done is to stop trying so hard.
When you're relentlessly pushing yourself, then the pushing becomes your focus and you can lose sight of your true objective. When you're constantly busy being constantly busy, it can be easy to forget what you seek to accomplish.

Hurrying through a task can burn you out and create mistakes that you'll have to spend more time fixing. Keep in mind that sprinting is not a workable strategy for winning a marathon.

Slowing down to a sustainable pace can actually make the results come faster. Remember that your goal is not simply to be busy, but to accomplish something of value with your efforts.

Take a deep breath, calm your mind, and focus your thoughts on where you're going. There is much power in moving thoughtfully and deliberately.

Time and steady persistence will achieve much more than frantic, hurried turmoil. Go fast enough to get it done, yet slow enough to get it right.

Ralph Marston


Story of the month

The search for the real father Christmas

Henry Christmas has spent 50 years researching his surname. A team of scientists in Oxford is trying to prove whether families with the rare surname of "Christmas" all descend from a single male ancestor.

They want to compare the DNA of men from different Christmas clans to see if they are linked by a common genetic heritage as well as by their surnames.

This will be done by looking at similarities and differences in the male, or Y, chromosomes of volunteers.

The work is part of wider research on the links between surnames and DNA.

DNA analysis company Oxford Ancestors is currently appealing for volunteers to participate in the study and is being assisted in the effort by Henry Christmas, a former telecommunications engineer who has spent 50 years researching the origins and history of his own family name.

Professor Bryan Sykes, who is leading the study at Oxford Ancestors, told the BBC News website: "There are several interesting questions such as was there one original 'father' Christmas or were there several different ones?"

A bit of cheek

His team will be taking cheek swabs from those volunteers selected by Mr Christmas in order to extract their DNA.

Every male possesses a Y chromosome which can be inherited only from his father, so this package of genetic material represents a unique record of paternal inheritance.

"If it's a single family with one original founder, then most of them will have the same Y chromosome fingerprint. If there's more than one, we'll identify that," said Bryan Sykes.

"But generally this is the kind of name that, from experience, has one or very few founders."

The work forms a small part of a wider project being conducted by Professor Sykes on the genetic history of Britain.

Surnames can be remarkably informative in reconstructing the genetic family tree of the British Isles, especially those of moderate frequency that can be tied closely to genealogical records.

"Generally speaking, the rarer the name, the more likely it is to have one founder. Most surnames are moderate frequency," he explained.

"Many, even now, are clustered around the historical origin of the name.

"This gives you a way of measuring how much spreading and mixing and movement there has been over the last 800 years - because many English surnames started then."

Norman origin

Professor Sykes found about 70% of the men he studied with his own surname had near-identical Y chromosomes. The 70% were all descended from one man who lived in Yorkshire in the 13th Century.

The Christmas family name is established widely through the home counties, but there are two significant geographical clusters; one in Essex and one in Sussex.

"We will select volunteers from those two branches," said Professor Sykes.

"If you didn't have that genealogical information, you wouldn't have the first idea about those two branches or where they come from."

Some genealogy books state that the origin of the surname derives from "one born at Christmas". But Henry Christmas believes this is "too easy".

"The original spelling was 'Chrystmasse', which perhaps indicates Norman origin. There were also Huguenots who came over [from France] with that name," he told the BBC News website.

Professor Sykes said the study should also be able to show how people with the Christmas surname were linked by their genes to other lineages.

And it should connect the common male founder - if indeed there was one - with one of the major population groups that have settled in the British Isles over the ages.

But the technique can also reveal signs of female infidelity, turning up errant Y chromosomes that do not fit in the overall genetic tree for a particular


What did you drag accross the world?

All those things we took with us....

Did we not want to take everything, thinking that if we got rid of something we might not be able to replace it wherever we went to?
Then, once on "the other side", we either realized how lucky we were to have taken all those "special" things or how stupid it really was.

I for one remember that is was very difficult to part with all the things we had gathered over so many years.

But some of the things .......really!!

I can just think of the SEVEN braais we took! There was our Cadac gas braai (with every conceivable attachment!), our Weber, spitbraai, large cast iron braai, another (smaller) Weber, our gas bottle with the large cast iron top......just to mention some!
All we have used in the end has been perhaps one or two of them. The rest stands in the garage collecting dust!
And those are just some of the many things we could have left behind.

In this part of our newsletter we are inviting you to write in telling us what YOU took with you when you left.
These may be things you really need right now or things that you could have left behind and were really totally unnecessary to have taken along.

We will have a small Competition to see who writes in with the most unusual item that they dragged with them across the world!

We will be running this competition until the end of the year so submit your entries as soon as possible.

The person with the most unusual item (and we will want to see a picture of it!) will get one of Rockey's 5kg Home Biltong Makers!

So, here we go!



This one is from Nico Botha in Australia
We bought a very old antique French bed, in France, then packed it all up moved with it to South Africa, and that with my inheritance furniture is now here in Australia.
I have three braai dromme, a smoker, a 4x4 Camper Trailer,about 20 fishing rods from RSA a few cast nets, enough ander kakkas for camping and even our Venter Trailer the 6 ft Venter Camel here in Australia!
If I have to list all Skippy's kakkas, the newsletter will be just a bit too small to list everything!



From Lorraine and Derek Austin in Brisbane
We emigrated and wondered what to take with us to Brisbane Australia, so we took everything with us, plus two new fridge/freezers.
When we got here, one fridge packed up, so we thought we would make it into a tool cabinet, and it even has a built in lock so when the second fridge packed up just at the end of last year, we did the same with it.
Now in the shed we have two lovely KIC fridges that no longer work but are our two lock up tool cabinets. The neighbour asked us one day why we have a fridge in the shed so we joked with him and told him to keep the beers cold. So that's what happens to lockable fridges from South Africa!



From Paddy Johnson in Australia
Great newsletter !!!
I have been in Aussie for 8 yrs. now and whilst unpacking an old tool box the other day came across this most unusual " BRINGALONG".
Just in case not everybody knows, this "deadly" piece of weaponry is a pair of BIDIZZOS!
They are for castrating young bulls and turning them into oxen.
My partner (Aussie-City girl) thinks that this little operation she wants to perform comes a little too late. I have twin sons (22 year olds).
They came for the ride as we stopped farming in South Africa 33 yrs ago. I am 50 now and my Dad had these before I was born. I guess they are just part of the family.



From Kerry Booysen-Finch in Holland
The strangest thing I "HAD TO" bring with when we left SA in 1999 (and I will be surprised if anyone has anything stranger) is approximately 1 kg of dried rose petals which came from the garden of the first home we ever owned.
I had them in a bowl on the coffee table in SA for 6 years before leaving and now they proudly (and a little faded) sit in the same bowl on a different coffee table in The Netherlands (and NO I am not smoking some good stuff)!!
Let's see if anyone can beat that!!



From Tanja Köhn in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
As for the strangest item that we took: Bruce is absolutely boat mad and had started building boats in Cape Town. He always collected bits and bobs for boats for future use, so in our driveway in Hout Bay we had this massive 7 m square wooden mast lying around.
He promised me to get rid of it before the movers would arrive, but when they stood in the door and he looked at the container, he decided to take it along, because it fitted in!
I was not amused, and I am still not - it is now lying around in our driveway of the little oriental townhouse we are renting here in Dushanbe!
Tajikistan is an inland country with no sailing boats in a 500 km radius! - I already considered cutting it up and using it as braai wood... Maybe we should put it up as a flagpole though and fly the South African flag high above the roofs of Dushanbe!



From John and Mel Berry from Loxahatchee, Florida, USA
We first moved from Johannesburg to Virginia 3 years ago before moving down to Florida at the beginning of this year.
We have some items that have made it all the way to Loxahatchee with us. We used to go off-road in our 4x4 in SA, so guess what came with us?
The hi-rise jack!
I'm not quite sure what John plans to do with it and it lives with our gardening tools, our gun safe, all our "Get Away" magazines and of course our Staffie dog Angel.



From Jacki Martin in New Hampshire in the US of A
I was reading your newsletter from last month and saw the section about the strangest things moved from SA.
My parents brought the top tier of their wedding cake. They had kept it for 20 years and were determined to have a piece on their anniversary!
Well, after dousing it with brandy, the cake was just short of cement and they managed a small bite ...... but the rest was history!

I love the newsletter - thanks for the great stories!!



From Gavin van Heusden in Durban, South Africa
After eight years of living in the UK it was time to return home to South Africa. Leaving as a bachelor in 1997 I was returning a married man and my wonderful wife was expecting at the time!! This is where the plant in my life (Henry) comes into the story.
Before meeting my wife to be (April 1999) I moved to Windsor, it was late 1997 and there on the dining room table was this rather sickly plant. After adopting it and nursing it back to health it followed me from house to house, which included 3 moves over 7 years. Now this is one hardy little plant which has gone for 4 weeks at a time without water (on a number of occasions) and by all means should have gone back to dust a good few times.

After deciding it was time we go back to our roots in South Africa the BIG MOVE got under way in November 2004. After everything was moved and all our suitcases for the last two weeks stay were packed and booted I was walking out the door for the final time with Henry in my arms. He was to be given to my cousin for safe keeping. This I believe was preoccupying me, and low and behold my jacket got caught on the door handle as I was walking through. I stumbled, found the lip of the step, slipped and launched into the air……trying to get my balance meant letting go! Watching the pot tumble through the air in slow motion was sickening but at the same time it felt like a fitting end for my plant.

One smashed pot later, and a plant that had snapped at the root system and leaf system I was cleaning up the mess before the new owners moved in. I actually found a few leaves still joined together and thought I would drop them in some water and see what happens. Well, what did I expect, after a few days there were a few roots off the bottom of the leaves. On the day of leaving we wrapped him in wet cotton wool and stuffed him into my golf bag. Expectations of survival were highly based on past performance and as expected we now have Henry on our balcony looking healthier than ever before.

I dragged a doomed plant, which I have known longer than my wife all the way across the world!!



From Ansie and Tollie de Waal from Ireland
I have read the things that some of our ex-South Africans brought with them and I started thinking....what did we bring?
We brought two pieces of driftwood from Richards Bay and a glass bottle full of small glass pebbles that our son picked up on the shore of Mossel Bay!

Strange it is, but it means a lot to us!
Keep up the good work!



This is it! We cannot accept any more entries.
In January we will announce who we thought was the most original out of the above.



Our Home Biltong Makers

Some more comments from our GuestMap entries

To see all the entries and to meet other South Africans in your area just visit our GuestMap!

Hi to all the other South Africans home away from home. Been here for 7 years now and still enjoying....however I do miss the good old SA wors and biltong..........so maybe I need to get myself one of the Biltong Makers.
Biltong Mmmmmmmmmmmm lekker !!!

Phillip Gervais
New Westminster Canada
November 23, 2005
pgervais@western-rubber.com



The biltong maker is lekker.... and nice to see a few other SA faces...

Jade E Moore (JEM)
Narre Warren, Australia
November 20, 2005
jade_emoore@hotmail.com




Great to see we all love our heritage still.
Would love to come into contact with other South Africans or Zimbabweans. Need to share the Biltong!!!

Billy and Noeline Nagel
Brisbane, Australia
December 01, 2005
noelinen@multitrode.com.au




This country is wonderful, but you still feel like going home sometimes, just to get the South African feeling. I miss the bushveld, Saturday braaivleis and friends
Miss you all!
Meisie Doubell
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
November 22, 2005
meisie39@yahoo.com




Great website - I never knew making biltong was that easy. It's edible everytime!
Kevin Albertus
Melbourne, Australia
November 08, 2005
k.albertus@ridley.unimelb.edu.au




The most popular Home Biltong Maker in the world! You too could be making your own Biltong in a very short space of time.
Have a look at our Home Biltong Makers and see how easy it is!!

Details on ROCKEY'S 5kg Home Biltong Maker can be found by clicking on this link.

It's as easy as 1-2-3 to make your own Biltong!







You can have a look at the BILTONG BUDDY here.


This month's special offer

Something special for Christmas and beyond!

Well, it is almost Christmas and I suppose that most people will have either bought or ordered their presents by now. But, we will still tempt you with some final special prices for the year.

Until the middle of January the following products will be on special:

  • The price of the incredible BILTONG BUDDY Home Biltong Maker will remain at only R 565.00.
    That is almost R 100.00 below the normal retail price!
  • Our ever so popular wooden Blackwood Biltong Cutter will be priced at only R 290.00. That amounts to a discount of 25%!!
Make use of this opportunity because we expect a price increase from the factory before the end of the year.

Click
here to go to our on-line shop.


Tip of the month

How to buy/make tender meat

Last month Rob Fowler from Midrand in South Africa had a question to which we received quite some feedback.

The question was:
After realizing from sad experience that quite often fresh steaks from supermarkets are not very well cured (or aged) and may be quite tough, I was wondering if your readers had any thoughts on how to improve the overall tenderness of meat before braaing or hot frying.
Beating the meat to bits with a tenderising hammer is not an option!
We prefer our steaks rare to medium-rare so the cooking process should have very little effect on the eventual tenderness when its eaten.
Vacuum packing perhaps?
Marinading is probably one way to go but often changes the original meat flavour and may not please everyone.

All the best, wherever you may be.
Rob Fowler
Midrand, South Africa
robf@iafrica.com

Here is some of the feedback we received

Dear Rob,

I was wondering what type of meat you use for the braai and frying?
The most tender cuts are naturally the fillet, rib eye (cube roll), rump and sirloin. I would even recommend the eye-round from the knuckle, (the round has a sinew strip down the middle for easy identification) this is the part that I use most frequently for my braais as it is as tender as rump and sirloin, has flavour and can be eaten rare to medium rare which is the way you like it.
It is also a cheaper alternative.

Although vacuum packing is an option, you have to keep fresh meat vacuumed for at least 20 days for optimal results and this must be kept a constant temperature of 0-3 degrees which most kitchen fridges are not!

Here is a tip:
When getting meat from your local butcher shop, check that the meat has some firmness to it, this shows that the meat has at least been hanging for a while, maturing. If it is too soft it probably has just recently been slaughtered and will tend to be tough.

Meat is normally at its best if it has been dry-hanged for at least 20-30 days. Yes it will have fungus on the outside of the meat but trim this off and the meat internally will be tender. Also make sure that the product that you buy is A2 – A3. This is the ideal fat and conformation to buy. The markings are normally in purple, and I don’t think he would have a problem showing you the carcasses he sells, if he does beware.
Hope this helps your case, let me know the results.

Glen Norrie
Meat Specialist, Al Fair LLC, Dubai
glen.n@spinneys-dubai.com



Rob

Ask the butcher to cryvac it and leave for 3 weeks minimum. We leave ours for 6 weeks, but sometimes it has a slight bloody taste. Let it stand out of cryvac for a day and it will be as tender as fillet!

Fred Ericsen-Miller
Cape to Cairo. (Springbok Foods)
Box 506
Wembley, Australia

springbok2@hotkey.net.au



Hi Rob,

I had the same problem.
Then I found this product made by Robertons spices, called "meat tenderiser". It worked for me, I hope it works for you. It can be found with all the other Robertsons spices in any supermarket. (In Southern Africa that is -Ed)

Sean Williams
Gaborone, Botswana
seanw@eafrica.bw



What to take and what not when emigrating from South Africa?

The following tip from Bruce Prescott in Johannesburg, was published last month as well. However, we received no feedback to it and wondered if anyone is really interested in pursuing this idea. We have published it again in the hope that there are some people out there who might have some thoughts on this.

Bruce wrote:

Just a suggestion - in your newsletter you have a section where you ask subscribers to list odd/strange items that they took with them when they emigrated from SA.
What would be really useful for those folks who are leaving or planning to leave SA, for whatever reason, is some recommendations from those who have been living overseas for a while what they should or should not have taken with them.
There are the obvious items such as TVs and electrical appliances which are not compatible with the US and Canadian TV and electrical supply (NTSC vs PAL, 110V 60Hz vs 220V 50Hz, etc).

With the benefit of hindsight, what should they have sold and what should they have bought before leaving SA?

Let's see if between all of us we can come up with a list (for different countries perhaps?) of tips what to take and what not to take?

Please send your tips to the editor at the webmaster@biltongmakers.com.



Want to learn Afrikaans?


As julle iemand daar raakloop wat Afrikaans wil leer, verwys hulle na www.afrikaans.us
Groete,
Jacques du Plessis
School of Information Studies
Bolton 580
3210 Maryland Ave
Milwaukee WI 53211, USA
Tel 1.414.229.2856

www.sois.uwm.edu/jacques/index.html



Important notice!!

It was brought to our notice that some people try to use a higher wattage and different shape globe than supplied with the Biltong Makers. They do this to try and decrease the drying time. Not only does this not work but it it also dangerous!
Firstly, a higher wattage light will dry the meat too quick resulting in a hard outer crust and a soft inside. And.....a higher wattage globe will burn certain of the components in the machines. ONLY USE a candle shaped 25 watt globe for the Biltong Buddy and a 40 watt candle shaped globe for Rockey's 5kg machine.
If you can't get a 25 watt candle shaped globe for the Buddy you can use a 40 watt but the 25 watt globe is normally sufficient and works the best.


Questions and Answers

Here is our regular section on the many questions we receive from our readers all over the world.
If we have not given an answer and you can help these people could you please mail them?
(Please copy us in on your mails @
info@biltongmakers.com
so we can help other people who might have the same questions in the future)



QUESTION

Hi my name is Colleen.

I live in Kampala and have just started making biltong. I have also book marked your fabulous site!
I have been approached to make pepper biltong. I imagine I would then add black pepper?
Would you please be as kind as to help on how to do this. I am making 10 kilos silverside. How much pepper would be required? And what sort of pepper? Ground pepper?

Thank you for a wonderful site. It has certainly helped me a lot.

Colleen Kimmel
Kampala, Uganda
colleen_kimmel@hotmail.com



QUESTION

How do I know how to cut a whole carcass into the different cuts to make biltong from?
Can you help me with a picture where it shows the different cuts of meat on a carcass please?
This is actually to help my sister-in-law in Canada

Esmé van der Merwe
Namibia
esme@wce.com.na



QUESTION

Hi Lo, Probably a silly question for you, can you tell me the difference between the coated and uncoated Potjie?

Elaine Deysel
Luxemburg
elaine.deysel@jpmorgan.com

ANSWER

That is a good question to which I did not know the exact answer. I called our suppliers in Johannesburg and was told the following:

There are three types of finishes to a Potjie.

The first one is a normal rough cast iron pot that has not been treated at all but just painted black after manufacture.
These potjies take a long time to cure. Curing is normally done by boiling potatoes and some fatty meat like pork for a day or so.
The second type of Potjie is the oil cured pot.
This is also the rough cast iron pot but treated with fish oil. The curing of this Potjie is easy. Just boil some water with a cup of vinegar for about an hour or two to remove the fish oil and the pot is ready for use.
The third type of Potjie is the one which has been enamelled on the inside. This type of pot does not need any curing and is ready for use straight from the factory.



Stoep Talk

Stoep Talk

When Charlie shuffled and 60c was a lot
By James Clarke

Some older readers may recall the Phoenix Restaurant in Bree Street, Johannesburg, when the city was a real city and people came to town in the evenings to see a film or eat out, or simply to window shop.

One could stroll about and one was hardly ever murdered.

The Phoenix, a very German restaurant, was across the road from the East Africa Pavilion. In the Pavilion the waiters wore red fezzes and white, floor-length robes and in the corner sat a punkah wallah – a man who pulled a string that caused a huge rectangular screen hanging from the ceiling (a punkah) to move back and forth creating a cooling draught.

The waiter at the Phoenix was named Charlie and he looked and shuffled about just like Manuel, the waiter from Barcelona in Fawlty Towers.

Charlie always had his thumb in the soup. It was expected of him. You took your friends there just to show them Charlie.

When we journalists were feeling flush in the 1960s we'd hotfoot it to the Phoenix and have an eisbein and chips washed down with a Hansa draught beer from “South West Africa”.

Charlie appeared humourless but that was a false impression. I remember us ordering four coffees and Peter Hawthorne (who later joined Time) saying, “Charlie! Make sure my cup is clean, hey?”

Later, Charlie shuffled back with the four cups of coffee and said, deadpan, “Now, which one of you wanted a clean cup?”

The maitre d' at the Phoenix was a young fellow named Gerhard Maritzen and the other day I found myself in a restaurant called The Berliner in Coachman's Crossing, in Peter Place, Bryanston. And who should own it but Gerhard himself. He is now 64.

And on the wall was a menu from the Phoenix in 1967.

An eisbein with sauerkraut was 60c. It was the most expensive thing on the menu. A mixed grill cost 40c.

The soup of the day was free and one wasn't even charged for Charlie's famous thumbprint.

A dozen oysters cost R1,25. Crayfish was 60c, the same as sole meunière.

These dishes were all way beyond our pockets of course because, as journalists, we had to take a vow of poverty.

A plate of a dozen LM prawns was certainly beyond our pockets – at R1,30.

For 45c you could order roast pork and apple sauce with vegetables; German pot roast and dumplings; braised ox tongue in Madeira sauce and a host of other dishes.

Cheese with bread and butter was 15c – unless it was fancy cheese. Then it was 17c.

A tankard of draught beer was 25c. A bottle of Chateau Libertas was 70c (32c in bottle stores). If you were seriously wealthy you could order a bottle of Zonnebloem Cabernet at R1,40.

At Gerhard's Berliner I ordered roast duck, potatoes and vegetables and a tankard of draught beer. I then had coffee and a port. When the bill came Gerhard charged me 1967 prices – 70c for the duck, 20c for the beer, and 13c for the port and 7c for the coffee – R1,10.

We fell into conversation with Gulhan, the waiter at the Berliner, about “the good old days” and I recalled how, around 1968, I was cross with my wife because she had allowed the month's grocery bill to hit R62.

“How can you spend R62 in a month for groceries for a family of four?” I asked angrily.

I think she replied, “Just watch me.”

Gulhan said how nice it would be to go back to those times, so when my bill arrived for R1,10 I gave him R1,20 and told him he could keep the change.


Recipe corner

Raan

Love, as the old song has it, is a many splendoured thing. So, we daresay, is the leg of lamb. It comes donning many garbs assuming dozens of alluring names.

One of those names is Raan

Raan is a leg of lamb marinated in a yoghurt-based spice mixture and originally roasted on the spit or over a wood fire. We will do ours in the oven.

Ingredients

2.5 kg Leg of Lamb

The sauce
  • 60 gram almonds, blanched
  • 250 gram onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 cubes ginger, 1", peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 600 ml yoghurt, plain
  • 2 tb cumin seed, ground
  • 4 ts coriander seed, ground
  • 1/2 ts cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 ts salt
  • 1/2 ts garam masala
  • 6 tb vegetable oil
  • 1/2 ts whole cloves
  • 16 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 5cm long
  • 10 peppercorns, black
The Garnish
  • 4 tb Sultana raisins
  • 25 gram Almonds, blanched and slivered
Method
  • Remove all the white membranes from the surface of the lamb. Prick it with a fork repeatedly and very thoroughly, down to the bone, until the fibres are broken and the meat is well loosened. The success of this special dish depends upon how well this is done!
  • Put the leg in a baking dish made, preferably, of Pyrex or stainless steel.
  • Put the almonds, onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, and 3 tablespoons of the yoghurt into the container of a food processor or blender and blend until you have a paste.
  • Put the remaining yoghurt into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork or a whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add to the paste from the processor, the cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and garam masala and mix.
  • Push some of the spice paste into all the openings you made in the lamb. Be very generous. Spread a very thick layer of the paste evenly on the underside of the leg (the side that originally had less fat.
  • Turn the leg over and do the same.
  • Pour all the remaining spice paste over and around the meat.
  • Cover with plastic cling film and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours (or overnight).
  • Take the baking dish with the meat out of the refrigerator and let the meat come to room temperature. Remove the cling film.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns. When the cloves swell - this takes just a few seconds - pour the hot oil and spices over the leg of lamb. (Watch out because the spices might jump and splatter in the oil quite a lot - make sure your arms and counter are well protected)
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C (gas mark 6, 400 F). Cover the baking dish tightly either with its own lid or with a large piece of aluminum foil. Bake, covered, for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Baste 3-4 times with the sauce during this period.
  • Scatter, or arrange in a pattern, the sultanas and the 25 gram of almonds over the top of the leg and bake for another 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes. Take the leg out of the pan and set it on a warm platter. Spoon off all the fat from the top of the sauce. Use a slotted spoon and fish out all the whole spice in the sauce. Discard the spices.
  • Pour some of the sauce around the leg and the rest in a gravy boat.
Recommended with hot Naan and Aloo Gobhi (see the following recipe)

Serves about 6 people



Aloo Bobhi

This dish of seasoned potatoes and cauliflower is one of the most popular accompaniments in Indian restaurants

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or ground nut oil
  • 60 gram butter
  • 5 tb cold water
  • 1 ts finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 ts turmeric powder
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1/2 ts cayenne pepper (optional, hot)
  • 1/2 ts ground cumin
  • 1/2 ts ground coriander or 1 tsp. fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 ts garam masala
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into small flowerets
  • 3 green finger chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 smallish potatoes, diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 ts mustard seed
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
Method
  • Wash the cauliflower well in salted cold water
  • Heat oil and butter over a moderate heat until butter is melted
  • Add mustard seed, ginger, onion, chillies and salt
  • Stir constantly 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is deep yellow and translucent
  • Add the cauliflower and fry for a further 3 minutes until light brown
  • Add the other spices and continue stirring for another 3 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and tomato and continue stirring for 5 minutes
  • Transfer to a baking dish and bake at 160C (gas mark 3, 325F) for 40 minutes.
Serves 4 people


Around the World

Bits and Bobs from people around the world

The following poem was received from Wayne Visser who wrote it. Wayne is also the author (with Guy Lundy) of the book "South Africa: Reasons to Believe".

I am an African...

I am an African
Not because I was born there
But because my heart beats with Africa’s
I am an African
Not because my skin is black
But because my mind is engaged by Africa
I am an African
Not because I live on its soil
But because my soul is at home in Africa

When Africa weeps for her children
My cheeks are stained with tears
When Africa honours her elders
My head is bowed in respect
When Africa mourns for her victims
My hands are joined in prayer
When Africa celebrates her triumphs
My feet are alive with dancing

I am an African
For her blue skies take my breath away
And my hope for the future is bright
I am an African
For her people greet me as family
And teach me the meaning of community
I am an African
For her wildness quenches my spirit
And brings me closer to the source of life

When the music of Africa beats in the wind
My blood pulses to its rhythm
And I become the essence of music
When the colours of Africa dazzle in the sun
My senses drink in its rainbow
And I become the palette of nature
When the stories of Africa echo round the fire
My feet walk in its pathways
And I become the footprints of history

I am an African
Because she is the cradle of our birth
And nurtures an ancient wisdom
I am an African
Because she lives in the world’s shadow
And bursts with a radiant luminosity
I am an African
Because she is the land of tomorrow
And I recognise her gifts as sacred

You can visit Wayne's site
here


Something to smile about

How to handle creditors

Dear Sir/Madam,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September, 12 in which for the third time you request that I pay the monies owed to you. I first want you to know that by no means do I dispute my debt and I intend to reimburse you as soon as possible.

However, I bring to your attention that I have many more creditors, quite as honourable as you, and whom I wish to reimburse too. That is why, each month, I throw all the names of my creditors into a hat and draw one randomly whom I hasten to refund immediately. I hope that yours will come out shortly.

Sincerely yours,
Christopher Fisher

PS: I have great regret in informing you that given the unceremonious tone of your last letter, you will not be taking part in the next three draws.



Chicken at a Chinese restaurant

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the "Chicken Surprise". The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot.
Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.
"Good grief, did you see that?" she asks her husband.
He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.
Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.
"Please sir," says the waiter, "what you order?"
The husband replies, "Chicken Surprise."
Ah... so sorry," says the waiter, "I bring you Peeking Duck"



Self Analysis

It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help get you started...

During a visit to the Mental Asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the  criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon,a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a room with or without a view?"


Sport talk

Links to the sport pages

The curse of the big away games
It is now eight long years since the Springboks have beaten one of the northern hemisphere's big two - England and France - away from home, writes Gavin Rich
Full Story....

White gives 2005 Boks 70% pass mark
So what has it all told us, this South African version of Jules Verne's journey around the world? Well, that the Springboks are one of only three sides with a realistic chance of winning the 2007 World Cup in France, reckons Peter Bills
Full Story....

SA to target Australia's top order
The Proteas have marked Australia's top three batsmen as a key target in the upcoming Test series
Full Story...

Smith will give Aussies no quarter
Former national cricket selector Hugh Page is optimistic about the Proteas' chances against Australia - and a lot of his growing confidence is due to captain Graeme Smith
Full Story...



-Where can you watch rugby on TV?-
Click here to find out where in most countries!


The monthly competition

The winner of the November Competition!

The winner of the November competition is:
Jenine Sjoblom from Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada.
Jenine found out via the new competition page that she was the winner before we even had a chance to mail her with the good news! Congratulations Jenine!
You certainly submitted enough entries!
Your camera is on its way and we would appreciate it if you would send us some pictures taken with it!



This from our previous winner!

Dear BILTONG TEAM,

Wow.....I'm blown away. This is the first time I have ever won anything. I'm looking forward to receiving my MP3 Player.
Once again many thanks, for the great web site. I so enjoy the recipes given and all the information you provide us with.

Many thanks,
Isa Kahn
Israel



Remember the following:
  • The monthly draw or competition is totally free to everyone at the moment.
  • You can enter as many times as you like.
  • You can only enter via the Competition link on our home page or by clicking here
  • All prizes are sent to the winners free of charge.


  • The prize for the December Competition
    The prize for this competition is the worlds' best known and most used Home Biltong Maker, Rockey's 5kg dryer.

    Click here to see a picture of it on the competition page!

    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 our competitions are notified by email.

    Some of the other prizes for the year
  • Biltongmakers
  • Biltong spices
  • Boerewors spices
  • Braai tool sets
  • Potjie Pots
  • Barbecues
  • Digital cameras
  • Cadac Skottel Braais and .......... much, much more!!!


  • So, don't wait!

    You can enter right now by clicking on the competition link on our home page.


    A free Biltong Maker?

    Something for free?

    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 from the list.

    If the response we receive is large enough and, directly due to your efforts people place orders with us, 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
    info@biltongmakers.com

    During the last month many people went to the trouble once again of submitting their friend's and family's names and we would like to thank all!


    Let's hear from you too!!

    Why not write to us

    It is almost Christmas again and it would be nice to get some contributions for the December newsletter from all our readers.

    Many people are subscribing to this newsletter every day. Mostly they do so because they enjoy reading it and like to hear from people in other parts of the world.

    They would love to hear from you too!!

    Why not put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard!), 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!



    Boerewors in the Benelux

    Boerewors

    It is autumn in our part of the world and not many people will be going outside for a braai anymore.

    But, that does not mean that you cannot have Boerewors rolls any longer!Boeries on the braai! Boerie rolls are great for indoor parties and even as a meal!

    We will be making our last batches for the year shortly and suggest that you place your orders for the winter timely to avoid disappointment.

    You can contact us on +32 (16) 53.96.25 or mail us at Boerewors-Benelux.

    The price is € 7.50 per kg


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    Potjiekos

    Click to see me biggerPotjiekos ...... a fun way to entertain!

    The Potjiekos season is over for this year. No more nice sunny days to stand around the Potjie, beer in hand just enjoying yourself.
    But, you are probably already making plans for the spring and next summer. If so, keep us in mind for our famous "Potjiekos". We do this for a minimum of 50 and up to 100 people.

    We make our "Potjie" in our size 25 Pot (see left) and you can have a choice between Beef, Chicken and Lamb.

    The Chicken "Potjie" is the most popular because it is a really inexpensive way to entertain.
    A Chicken "Potjie" costs only € 6.50 per head and this includes everything from the "Potjie" itself to the plates and eating utensils.
    For an extra € 2.00 we even make the Pap!

    To book please give us a call on +32 (16) 53.96.25

    (Please note that our "Potjiekos" can only be done outside because we cook on gas or coals!)

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    Lamb on the Spit

    Lamb on the spit ....... something special!

    As with the Potjiekos our Lamb-on-the-Spit is also somthing of the past this year (unless you want one in the snow!).
    But keep it in mind for next year

    Lamb on the spit is a way of entertaining as only known by very few mainly because it is thought to be very expensive.

    Click to see me big! Not so!
    We will do a lamb on the Spit for parties of a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 40 people for just € 15.00 and € 12.00 a head respectively.

    Together with the lamb we will treat you to a big pot of curried potatoes as well as a choice between a pasta salad or three-bean salad.
    Bread rolls are included as well with garlic bread as an optional extra.
    For venues more than 50km from our home base in Keerbergen there is a small charge of 25c per km.

    Booking early is essential and you can do so on
    +32 (16) 53.96.25

    -May and June 2006 are almost booked out-

    (As with our "Potjiekos" a Lamb on the Spit can only be done outside because we cook on coals!)

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    Previous issues of our Newsletter

    You can click on the links below to view some of the previous issues of our newsletter.
    December 2004
    January 2005
    February 2005
    March 2005
    April 2005
    May 2005
    June 2005
    July 2005
    August 2005
    September 2005
    October 2005
    November 2005
    Subscribing and Unsubscribing

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