Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back Chatter on 'Butter Or Margarine?' That Is The Question

How many times have you been asked if you use butter or margarine?   Inevitably your answer will lead to a sometimes heated discussion as the person posing the question will have strong opinions.

Both have their passionate admirers and equally their detractors and there are those that have simply opted for olive oil and others think that using neither is the answer.

Back Chat will give you both sides of the argument.  You decide which you prefer.   If you are still undecided, do contact me at les@leslieback.co.za or leave a comment on Back Chat.  I would be delighted to help you make up your mind or answer any question you may still have.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grand Times At Grand Café & Beach

There is a new ' happening' in Cape Town - Grand Café & Beach has exploded onto the scene.  And I mean exploded!   In no time at all, it has become one of the most sought after 'to go to' places to eat, drink, people watch and just chill out and make-believe that you are at a Beach Club in St Tropez.   In fact, one of the hottest tickets in town.  C.E.O, Suzette Main,  and  Executive chef , Seelan Sundoo have again worked their magic.

The approach to the entrance of Grand Café & Beach is a palm- frond covered walkway along a wooden boardwalk.  The restaurant is housed in a huge warehouse.  After much searching, an abandoned warehouse provided the inspiration for the restaurant.  It took months to clear the space and to prepare it to be the interior of the beach club.  Outside, a lovely 46m long sundeck provides a platform for chairs, tables and umbrellas and reaching out to the ocean, a stretch of pristine, white sea-sand, brought in from surrounding beaches.   On the beach are sun beds waiting for tanned bodies to adorn them.  Salvador Dali would surely have painted the superbly surrealistic white settee and set of easy chairs in the middle of the beach on the sand.   A giant chess set  is set out on the sand, waiting for someone to try an opening gambit.  All amazing to behold.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Back Chatter On Balsamic Vinegar

Passionate opinions abound and there is a wide and bewildering range of prices and qualities.  Sadly too there are balsamic vinegars that do not live up to their names.

An understanding of the process will both assist and protect you from making expensive mistakes and will guide you to 'your' perfect choice.

Join Back Chat as we delve into the mysteries of this centuries old food product and find out what our ancestors already knew eons ago.   Do leave a comment on Back Chat or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I would love to hear about any close encounters of the 'balsamic' kind.

And remember  'CAVEAT EMPTOR' -  BUYER BEWARE.  There are unscrupulous people out there. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

An All Day Arty Breakfast At Café Juno

Eugene and I love Paarl.   He was born there and has strong emotional ties with his birthplace.  I have come to feel very attached to this place and all that it means to him.  So imagine our excitement when Café Juno burst onto the scene!  The Café Juno, a wonderfully arty place for real people, is at 191 Main Road Paarl.

The first thing that strikes you as you approach Café Juno is the beautiful old Cape Dutch building that presides over Main Street like an elegant grande dame from another era.  The era, the 18th century, the year, 1793, when ox-wagons trundled along the main street transporting men and women to 'town'.  But now it is the 21st century and the building is home to Café Juno and the Juno Wine Company.

A few steps took us onto a stoep where upturned wine-barrels serve as tables.  Here diners can sit under umbrellas and contemplate the passing show while enjoying a light repast and a glass of wine.  Life just seems to slow down.  Into this lovely building we went and found ourselves in a world where food and art blended seamlessly.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Julie and Julia

Julie & Julia 
Directed by Nora Ephron:  Cast:  Meryl Streep, Amy Adams; Stanley Tucci; Chris Messina 

'Julie and Julia' is the first movie to have been inspired by what began as a blog.  The true story about 'chef extraordinaire,' Julia Child, and how she affected the life of  young writer and aspirant chef, Julie Powell, is the basis of this superb film.

Join Back Chat as we relive the experience.  Feel as hungry as we did all through the film.  Imagine the tastes and smells that emanated from the kitchens that produced dishes the likes of 'sole meuniere' and  'boeuf bourguignon'.   Then go and see the movie.

I would love to hear about your reactions to this delicious romp.  Leave a comment on Back Chat or email me at les@leslieback.co.za  And take note you chaps, THIS IS NOT A CHICK - FLICK !  This is for anybody who loves France and who loves French food.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back Chatter On Tea

From the venerated tea ceremonies of the East to tried and tested Western methods, tea making and tea drinking are wonderful ceremonials.

In this article Back Chat celebrates this age-old beverage.  Join us as we follow the trail from bush to kettle to cup.  And at the end of the trail, relax and experience the delights of sharing a perfect cuppa.

Do you have any questions or thoughts about tea?  Post a comment on 'Back Chat' or email me at les@leslieback.co.za . I would love to share 'Tea Time' with you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back Chatter on Oysters

'Only another oyster would find an oyster beautiful' wrote Dr R.Hedeen in his definitive book on oysters.  But to the true afficionado oysters are a thing of beauty.  Savour the sheer delight of a succulent oyster feeling it slip, like silk, down your throat - bliss!!

It is overwhelmingly extolled for its alleged enhancement of the human libido.  Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, emerged from the sea in an oyster shell and the legend was born.   But is it a legend?   Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every morning.

Back Chat lifts the veil on the mysterious world of oysters.  This is for those who love oysters and for those who have yet to learn to love them.
Should your curiosity be aroused and should you wish to know more about these amazing molluscs, please contact me at Back Chat, http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


We were in Paris.  This city that draws us back again and again.  How we love it and how very quickly it envelops us in its magic.
We had driven to Paris from Montreux in Switzerland.  This would be our last port of call on our European odyssey.

Accompany us on a joyous ride as we revisit some special favourites.  Be there as we discover new delights to add to our burgeoning treasure trove of Parisian experiences.  We'd love to share all this with you.
Do contact me at Back Chat at http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za to find out anything you need to know about our favourite place on earth. 

Friday, October 16, 2009


Montreux, the queen of the Vaud Riviera.   Pristine, ordered and beautiful beyond words and of course everything working like clock-work in true Swiss fashion.    So different from other 'Rivieras' that we had visited in the course of our travels.  

Eugene and I had entered another world and another culture.   Different from the laid back, slightly chaotic and mildly eccentric French and Italian Rivieras.  We love them all.  Back Chat invites you to join us on this adventure.   If you need to know more, post a comment on Back Chat or email me at les@leslieback.co.za
I would love to hear from you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Back Chatter On Salt

Salt has been around since before recorded history and is absolutely essential to our well being.  Our bodies would not function without it.

But the discussion rages on,  'to salt or not to salt'?

Back Chat lays out the facts and figures.   You decide!!!
But if you still have lingering doubts or unanswered questions, post a comment on 'Back Chat' or email me at les@leslieback.co.za . I would love to hear from you.  Salty problems beware!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back Chatter on Eggs

The egg is nature's fast food.  An amazing micro-meal packed with nutrients and an essential ingredient in our kitchens.  

Eggs may have become an essential ingredient in our kitchens, but are we as comfortable buying eggs as we used to be?   A bewildering array of names and choices is available on supermarket shelves.

Back Chat helps you solve these problems and sort out any indecision.  Parents of young children, carers of the elderly and anybody in between, this is for all of you.

Should you still have questions that need answering, do contact me at Back Chat http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I look forward to many eggstraordinary conversations.

Incidentally, which did come first, the chicken or the egg?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back Chatter on Chocolate

It flatters you for a while, It warms you for an instant and then it kindles a mortal fever in you."
So said Madame de Sévigné, the famous 17th-century letter writer.

Back Chat goes back 3000 years to trace the origins of chocolate and then travels up to the present day.   Join this voyage of discovery and see where the adventure takes you.

If you have chocolate tales to tell or questions to ask, please contact me at Back Chat at http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I look forward to many chocolate conversations.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuscan Temptation

Tuscany teases, tempts and tantalizes.    There is a sensual quality to everything from the superb food to the fine art that one encounters wherever one goes.  The Tuscans themselves are a joyful people, fiercely proud of their glorious place in the sun.  Eugene and I have been completely seduced by the sheer lusciousness and beauty of everything.

Explore this lovely area with Back Chat and experience a large dose of La Dolce Vita.  If you would like to know any more, do contact me at Back Chat or email me at les@leslieback.co.za . Ciao for now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rendezvous on the Riviera - A Month in Mougins - Part 1

Our 'Paradise On Earth' is the French Riviera.  Eugene and I love all things French and the French Riviera allows us to indulge that love.  Also the beauty of the scenery and the quaintness of the little villages and the 'vielles villes' that charm with their mellow age and distinction.
Join Back Chat on a romp through the high- roads and by- roads of this magic place.  Do come along and have the time of your life.

Rendezvous on the Riviera - A Month in Mougins - Part 2

"Our Paradise on earth is the French Riviera." Join Back Chat in the second of a two part series. "Only the French have the artistic quality, panache and quirkiness to preserve this dream place from becoming prosaic and commonplace."

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Secret Paris

Paris is a place of special dreams for my husband Eugene and me. In this article I have written about some of our experiences that do not involve major tourist destinations, Our Secret Paris. We discovered these during our many visits to the 'City of Lights.'

Join us in this magical city and share the wonderment. I would be most happy to share our secrets and knowledge with you. Contact me at Back Chat or by email at les@leslieback.co.za . I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back Chatter on Milk

Milk has always been an elixir of life. It is one of the basic staples of our diet. It is important that we know more about one of nature's most valuable foods.

In this article Milk, The Facts And Figures, you will find much that you need to know about milk. If you would like to know more, please  post a comment on 'Back Chat' or email me at les@leslieback.co.za . I would be most happy to hear from you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back Chatter on Coffee

The glorious aroma of coffee brewing - a heady fragrance that seduces coffee lovers world-wide.
Coffee lovers have very definite preferences and opinions as to which ingredients and varieties produce the perfect cup.   BUT are we comfortable when confronted with the array of coffees and coffee beans in speciality shops and supermarkets?

Back Chat takes you on a fascinating journey through the bewildering world of coffee.   Enjoy this learning experience and become confident in your choices.   If questions or problems still remain, do contact me at Back Chat at http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I would love to help you find the answers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back Chatter on Gluten

Checking for allergens when buying a food product is par for the course.  We all do it.  There is usually some substance to be avoided.  Gluten is one of these substances.

Mothers of young children know all too well that gluten intolerance is not a 'new age' fad.  It is a very real condition.   We have all struggled over food choices for our family members that present with this problem.

Do contact Back Chat if you need more information.  Contact me at Back Chat at http://www.leslieback.co.za or email me at les@leslieback.co.za .  I look forward to being able to help you with your problem.