One of our friends owns a small slice of heaven on a deserted beach up the West
Coast, and we decided it would be the perfect place for a boys’ weekend.
When that Friday afternoon finally arrived, I slammed the laptop shut at 12:01 on the button, pointed the Wrangler’s bonnet north and started emptying the tank.
First stop: collecting the lads.
We bundled their stuff in and hit the R27. And then the bombshell dropped. One of the lads made the kind of comment that ruins friendships. He used that four-letter word that give men nightmares. He just blurted it out. “We’ll have to be careful what we eat this
weekend guys – I’m on a diet.”
There was silence in the Jeep. Well, relative silence. There is no such thing as silence in a
Wrangler shod with 35” muds. We discussed taking him back to his wife and revoking his man card. We’ve been through a lot together over the years, but this was a bit much. How can we be expected to enjoy a boys’ weekend with someone on diet?
Then he explained about this parti cular diet, and we discovered that SA has a new hero. Wolraad Woltemade, step aside for TIM NOAKES!
Much has been said and written about the Banting diet – mostly by people who believe diets should be punishment and include lots of “not food” that you should flush without bothering to digest it.
These same people frown on you for eating delicious things like red meat, cheese and full cream milk.
The truth of the matter is that the Banting diet is just sensible low-carb eati ng, avoiding heavily processed foods, ingredients that are strong on additives and eating sensible portions.
It’s nothing new, and it definitely works – plus it’s tasty, and healthy.
The big secret to the diet is actually the recipe section. High protein/low carb diets mean no potatoes, no bread, no rice, no starches and no flavour, which makes them very hard to stickto. I mean, how do you have a potjie without mashed potato or rice?
Well, the Tim Noakes book addresses this problem – homemade stocks and other flavourings are dealt with, plus starch substitutes such as cauliflower mash, which is actually nicer than potato mash, as well as carb free.
You’d be very happy to get anything from the recipe section in a good restaurant. It really is superb just as a cookbook, never mind a diet book.
So, we arrived at the “undisclosed locati on on the West Coast” and shoved four lamb shanks in a pot with pretty much the usual ingredients and got busy with the serious business of a boys’ weekend: RED MEAT.
We stared into the pot in rapture. The aromas were perfect. How could this be diet food? In unison, we cried, “We love Tim Noakes!” Then it hit us: Beer. Drinking beer is always described as being the same as eati ng a loaf of bread when it comes to carbohydrates. It’s not something you fi nd on any diet, not even our new hero Tim Noakes would approve. However, the rules of a boys’ weekend require that we get through quite a lot of beer. This is nonnegotiable.
“Tim Noakes? Who’s Tim Noakes?” we shouted happily, and popped the tops off the
first of many beers.
For this occasion, we had picked up beers from the West Coast. In our hurry, we didn’t actually stop at the brewery in the charming town of Darling. We didn’t need to. Darling Brewery is probably one of the better known craft beer producers on the market right now, and I’d hesitate to call it a micro-brewery. It’s definitely not “micro.” You can get Darling Brew all over the country in many good bottle stores.
Darling itself is an excellent destinati on for far more than its beer. It’s well known for
being the home of two other South African legends – Pieter Dirk Uys and the lovely Evita
Bezuidenhout. Both of them can frequently be found performing at Evita se Perron, and theyare just lovely people.
There are a lot of other things to do in Darling as well. Have a look at www.darlingtourism. co.za to check out the current events.
But back to the beer. Darling Brewery offers four beers. There’s Slow Beer – a crisp traditional lager that can only really please on a hot summer’s day. Bone Crusher is their
Wit Bier. Note that Wit Bier is NOT Weiss beer, although it’s also heavy on wheat. It gets its name from its cloudiness. It’s unfiltered, so it’s almost opaque.
Wit Bier is always spiced – in this case with coriander and orange peel, which is really refreshing.
Next is Native Ale – a traditional British ale, low in carbonation, with flavours of caramel. Then there is the Black Mist, which I think is the best in the range. It’s a dark ale
and, in the same way that Wit Bier is not Weiss beer, dark ale is not stout. It’s more coffee flavoured and has a slight sweetness to it.
This is a superb range of beers, very consistent, as you’d expect from a brewery that produces quite high volumes.
But they have really retained the proper processes, flavours and ingredients, which means they are still truly craft beers.
There are some brilliant restaurants in Darling, but we were on the beach, 100km away, and the Atlantic was throwing a proper Cape storm at us, so it was time for something hearty. I made a serious trinchado, which is perfect winter food, and once more we paid
homage to the man — “We love Tim Noakes!”
The trinchado was so good I’ve attached the recipe. I think Tim Noakes would approve, though he might frown at the balsamic vinegar.
Given the storm lashing our little shack, the spicy Bone Crusher was the beer of choice. There is just something about a roaring fire, the aromas of orange peel and coriander and a big bowl of red meat laden with a rich sauce that is so comforting.
Anyway, a damn fine weekend was had by all. It was, as always, over far too soon and when we got back to civilisation and, after showering, I did a little research.
Google tells me that a single slice of bread has around 30g to 40g of carbohydrates, while a 340ml serving of beer has between 6g and 13g of carbs, depending on the brew. Micro-breweries do not state content on the labels, so it’s hard to tell, but what is clear is that a
beer is nothing like the equivalent of a loaf of bread in carbohydrate terms. If you are going to cheat on your low carb diet, you are far better off having a steak with salad
and a couple of beers than having a burger or a toasted sandwich with a glass of water.
Tim Noakes might not be so disappointed with us after all.