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June 7, 2006We climbed slowly, our shoulders almost touching the walls of the narrow staircase that, at times, bent itself around the massive dome we were climbing.
It was a quiet journey with everyone left with their own thoughts on the history of the building and how old and big it was.
Suddenly, from somewhere, Beethoven’s “Für Elize” started playing, softly, as if it wanted to give us a little encouragement for the last stretch of the climb.
We were in Rome for a couple of days to take in the sights and to see “Benedicto”!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a history freak so Rome was the perfect place for me to be.
It was incidental but also very interesting that I had just read Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons”. We saw most of the places he mentioned in the book not because we were particularly looking for them but you just can’t miss them!
The Sunday after we arrived we went to St Peters Square to attend the weekly blessing by the Pope. It felt like we were at a pop concert.
We arrived pretty early, around 10 am or so and there were thousands of people shouting “Benedicto…Benedicto…Benedicto… a lot of them carrying banners with “We love you Benedicto” or Benedicto is the greatest” etc, etc, etc.
But, everybody was having a ball especially once he appeared and started addressing everyone in several of the main languages.
We had planned to walk around St Peters Basilica and the museums afterwards but decided against it. There were miles and miles of queues. On the way back we heard from a taxi driver that it was so busy that day because it was the second Sunday of the month and entrance is free on that day.
By the way, everything they say about Italian taxi drivers is true. Our “best” experience was on the way back to the airport with our driver talking on two mobile phones at the same time whilst thumbing through a diary and also (at the same time) trying to clean a CD.
But let’s not digress ….
I could carry on for a very long time about the beauty and history of Rome. It is incredible.
The Colosseum that could hold an estimated 80 000 spectators and dates back to year 80 AD.
It’s all just to much to mention.
One thing we were disappointed about.
Every evening we somehow got drawn back to the Trevi Fountain.
There was no way that we could have seen everything there is to see in the short space of time we had at our disposal. There is so much more and we’ll be back!
It is said that if you drink the water from the Trevi Fountain and you throw in a coin you are destined to return to Rome.
We both had a drink and gave Trevi a coin.
We must make a plan and spend some time there as well.
So, Kel, if you’re listening up there somewhere. It can be done in the rain!
It was a busy month all in all and so we start on the last month of the first half of this year.
Well that was it from me for this month. Please let us hear from you, where you have been, what you are up to and, please feel free to include some pictures.
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 20 gram to 500 gram.
The professor said “It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it.
“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.
Afrikaans has been one of South Africa’s official languages for over 50 years. Afrikaans contains literature much the same as other Western cultures, and Afrikaans can handle both commerce and technology communication very well.
Where did it come from?
Although Afrikaans was used in print such as newspapers and political and religious pamphlets as early as 1850, the real boost came in 1875 when a patriotic group of Afrikaans speakers from the Cape formed the Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaanders (Society for real Afrikaners), who published several Afrikaans books, including grammars, dictionaries, religious material and histories.
After the Great South African war in 1899-1902, a second and a third language movement started in two different places in South Africa. Academic interest in Afrikaans increased. In 1925 Afrikaans was recognized by the government as a real language, instead of a slang version of Dutch.
Where is it spoken?
Despite the increase in prices last month you, our customers, have continued to support us incredibly well during May.
For a limited period during the month of June this is what you can get on “special”
Free with all Biltong Maker orders placed
Click here to go to our on-line shop.
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 woolies! We are forced indoors when practicing our culinary arts while northern SA’ers 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 SA’ers 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 vegies, 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)
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can help other people who might have the same questions in the future)
Hoop u kan my help, ek het seker nou al 6 keer probeer om wors te maak, en elke keer skeur die derm, die wors kry nog nie eers behoorlik hitte nie dan skeur die derm uitmekaar uit.
Die slagters kyk my verbaas aan as ek hulle vra hoekom dit gebeur, want hulle gee vir my blykbaar die derms wat hulle gebruik.
Ek het al als probeer, verskillende resepte, styf stop, sag stop, middelmatig enigeiets.
Ek merk dat mens die derms in water moet lê voor die tyd, kan dit my fout wees, want ek doen dit nie? Ek sal dit werklik waardeer as u kan help.
Billy van Schalkwyk
Billy started soaking and cleaning his casings and has had no problems since!
Because of my high blood pressure I have to avoid salt under any circumstances.
Thank you in anticipations and sunny African regards,
We have been making biltong in our Rockey 5kg Biltong maker with normal beef. It works like a dream!
Yes u can use boar but you have to change your recipe.
Design of new Taxis is just not up to scratch!
By James Clarke
My friend, Togetherness Tshabalala, the demon Diepkloof taxi driver who so passionately believes in private enterprise that he shoots competitors, told me that one of the problems with the new taxis is design standards.
For example, under the new rules, sliding doors are out and this is partly why there is a holdup.
Togetherness was responsible for this last-minute rule. He was asked by the Department of Transport’s advisory committee to road test one of the prototype 23-seaters on the notorious Polokwane run.
The first thing he noticed was that with sliding doors one could squeeze in only 47 passengers. Even then, when he slid the door shut, it tended to snip off quite important parts which, despite the normal complacency of taxi commuters, led to complaints and certainly much smarting of the eyes.
But with hinged doors he could compress as many as 53 passengers in a vehicle (given a little help in shouldering the door closed).
Togetherness’ road test report caused a stir among the manufacturers and resulted in the current delay in implementing the government’s program to replace old taxis with new.
The roof of the test vehicle could support almost 2 tons of luggage, as well as chickens and building material, which surprised even the manufacturers. Despite the rather top heavy load the vehicle handled well and Togetherness said he experienced very few serious accidents except when nearing Polokwane where, he said, accidents become inevitable.
At one time the passengers at the back began muttering and Togetherness discovered the rear assembly had become incandescent because the handbrake had been left on. “This threatened to ignite the petrol tank but most of my passengers managed to alight,” Togetherness reported. (Brighter readers will spot Togetherness’ little pun.)
He managed to repair the bus at the roadside with pieces of corrugated iron and a hammer and resume his journey with a slightly reduced passenger load.
The bus put up an impressive performance on the Soweto route but only after he had neutralized the electronic speed governor by striking it with a pipe wrench. Togetherness said the speed control device would not be well accepted especially as many drivers have taken the advanced driving course offered by the manufacturers at the Kyalami race track where drivers clocked up speeds that had Grand Prix drivers clutching their foreheads in disbelief.
Togetherness explained, “If we were to crawl down the Golden Highway at a governed 60 km/h it would not only invite parking tickets, it would be an open invitation to hubcap thieves.”
On the subject of hubcaps Togetherness was not in favour of a suggestion that the new models dispense with them.
“Drivers are not going to like this for they won’t have the means to attach traditional BMW hubcaps which everybody wants”
He was in favour of seat belts on all seats because this considerably reduced the number of passengers who were propelled to the front of the vehicle every time the brakes were applied.
He warned though that although these buses were safer than current taxis they were unsuitable for driving on pavements which one often has to do in rush hour – their size tended to dismay pedestrians.
He approved the power steering for it allowed him to jinx among the traffic lanes without rolling the vehicle which, he said, saved a lot of time. But he was critical of the sturdy side-panels which he said did not allow the sideways expansion of the bus when really full.
Remember the Vetkoek we used to get in South Africa? My favourite was the ones filled with mince!
This is a traditional Afrikaans recipe. They are delicious when cut open, buttered, and then filled with either cooked mince or with syrup.
I wonder if I might ask you to include a desperate plea for help in the newsletter.
I am an ex-pupil of Nazareth House, Cape Town and was at the convent/orphanage during 1940’s – 1958. I am writing a book now and I am desperate to contact any of the “children” who were there with me. Both the males and the females.
I would be so grateful if you could add this to the next newsletter and keep it going for me. I have advertised this message on every South African Message Board and Forum that I have come across on the internet and have only had one reply. I would expect that some of them have moved to other countries, just like I did, so I am hoping that someone may read this or someone reading this will know of someone who was there.
Potjiekos is fantastic! We just made our second Potjie – the first one was Lamb Neck and the second one Leg of lamb – we just love lamb meat! It’s great fun to make!
We realized the No: 1 Potjie is a bit small, just big enough for the two of us – so we’ve just ordered a No: 3 Platpotjie for when our kids and friends come along.
My husband Ray, a Dutchman by birth, grew up in South Africa (Johannesburg) from the age of 4 to 16, and later on, with his second wife, spent three more years in South Africa. (I am his third wife.) Both of us are deaf, by the way.
Last December, we spent a wonderful holiday in South Africa, traveling a lot and seeing lots of old friends and schoolmates.
That’s when we first ate the most delicious Potjiekos at a friends’ home – and ever since then we wanted to have our own Potjiepot …
The following is from a “withdrawelstruck” expat in England.
I sit on the roof of my pondok all day, squinting across the glare from the ice and snow, hoping to see a ship on the horizon! So far, only a few banana boats with illegal immigrants.
An ossewa did come trundling past the other day, but all he had was candles, picks and shovels. I think he was lost as he asked for directions to Pofadder!
My weight has gone down to below normal levels, and my doctor, who is 97 years old and from Nababeep says if I don’t eat biltong soon I may go to the big biltong factory in the sky.
I do think he has been at the mampoer again, though!
As I sit on the dak of my pondok, still gazing out to sea, ek sien niks nie!
I did hear of a shipwreck on the coast however, and after 4 days trek in my ossewa, found only the local scavengers collecting wood from the ship to build a new squatter camp. Yes, we have them here too, but they’re called gypsies!
So it was, hey-ho, back to my pondok to sit on the roof and see if I could remember what biltong tasted like.
Still hoping that one day my Biltong Maker might arrive, but the hope I hold is dwindling, like the sunset this evening, as I sit on the tin roof of my pondok.
The other day (Fri) I was sitting on the dak of my pondok again trying to remember what biltong tasted like, thinking of Tant Sannie (who didn’t taste that lekker) when in the distance I noticed a cloud of dust.
I fell of the roof (I had been drinking mampoer!) and harnessed up my ossewa to meet this guest.
IT WAS MY BLERRIE BILTONG MACHINE !!!!!
I shot his bokkie (I did need some meat!) and told him to walk home.
It is a piece of art. The first crop of biltong has already disappeared, and am working on the next.
Thank you and I bet you are going to miss my updates!
Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much
Bok coach has his own recipe, says Stofile
Spears in Currie Cup appeal
ICC to help Gibbs, Boje avoid arrest in India
Players appeal won’t diminish umpires’ role
-Where can you watch rugby on TV?-
Click here to find out where in most countries!
We are almost halfway through the year already and have received some very nice contributions to our newsletter from all over the world!
Many people have subscribed to our newsletter and many more are joining every day. Mostly they do so because they enjoy reading it and they 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.
Perhaps you have some advice to give?
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!
Our Boerewors has again proven to be as popular as last year (and all the years before)!
Especially very well received is the vacuum packing of the wors and the posting!
You too could have some real South African Boerewors on the braai next time!!
Our Boerewors is vacuum packed in quantities of about 500 gram. The price is € 8.45 per kg.
Droëwors, as it is known in South Africa, is as much part of the country’s culinary culture as Biltong, Pap, Boerewors and Potjiekos.
Our new drying facility can handle up to 25 kg and it takes at least one week to dry the normal wet sausage to the “cracking” dryness of Droëwors.
Our price is € 29.00 per kg.
Droëwors travels well and posting is an ideal option. We can mail it to you in Europe and the UK via priority mail in minimum quantities of 1 kg.
Interested? Give us a call or email.
Lamb on the Spit is a way of entertaining as only known by very few mainly because it is thought to be very expensive.
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. Garlic or bread rolls are included as well.
There are not many dates left in June and July. If you are planning a function or party with a Lamb on the Spit in mind it is advisable to book early. Remember that we are doing these functions only during weekends.
Booking early is essential and you can do so on
+32(16) 53-9625 or email us.
-May and June 2006 are almost booked out and July is filling up as well.-(A Lamb on the Spit can only be done outside because we cook on coals!)
You can click on the links below to view some of the previous issues of our newsletter.
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