Night lights

Taipei - it's a 24/7 city life

As the sun falls asleep the city awakens.

Lights of every colour flash left, right and center.

People spill out of the metro coming home from work, old men and women wheel their carts into selling positions, and rivers of smoke crawl up from the vendors squished along the sidewalks.

The air thickens with steam, you can hear the crackling and spitting of meats deep-frying, inhaling a new aroma with every step you take.

When the daylight is extinguished the night market is revealed.

You step onto that side-street around the corner, and find yourself thrown into a herd of people crammed among stalls with restaurants and everything stores peaking out from behind. They line up at their favourite dumpling stand and sort through tables piled high with cheap clothing. Around midnight the hungry leave with full, satisfied bellies and the bargain hunters clutching their bursting bags.

Spotted all over the city, and across the country, Taiwan is famous for these gems.

No matter the time, there always seems to be people about, shops open, and sounds in the street, interrupted by the constant jingle of the nearest 7/11 doors sliding open.

No matter the time, I always feel safe in this city.

Vendors continue frying, steaming and juicing into the early hours of the night.

Then as the sun rises, a new day continues where the last left off.
Never really finishing, never really starting.


And then I moved to Taiwan

If someone were to have told me a year ago that in one year I'd be living in Taiwan, 

that I'd be eating bamboo shoots,

drinking bubble milk tea,

learning to read Chinese menus,

and zigzagging through crowds on a scooter...

I'd have thought they were crazy.

In fact, at any moment in my life if someone had told me I'd be moving to the opposite side of the world to this beautiful, tropical island I wouldn't have believed it.

I mean... Taiwan?! Where's that, right?

(And yes I said Taiwan, not Thailand - a mistake that countless people tend to make. Such as when friends made their farewells, singing "Have a great time in Thailand!")

And yet here I am. One year in France, barely 3 weeks back in my beloved Canadian home and I find myself transported to the hot and humid island of Taiwan.

What can I say? I just can't seem to shake the travel bug I caught when down under in Sydney, Australia. Apparently they have yet to find a cure, but I'm not complaining.

Welcome to my neighborhood in Taipei where I'll be living for the next year.

Can I show you around? Maybe interest you in some dumplings?


New Home

Where in the world...?

Know where I am yet?



I knew it was going to be hard to pack up and move home from France. I dreaded it the whole year.

The number of times I packed and repacked, moving things from one bag to another and tossing items into an ever-fattening garbage bag... why did I have so much stuff?

The amount of food and kitchen related objects in my bags was slightly embarrassing  and I'd rather not tell you how many pairs of shoes and clothes I threw out to make space for cake trays and spices. One of my favourite souvenirs (and one of 3 cake molds I successfully brought home) is my madeleine tray.


Madeleines - betchya can't just eat one.

I learned to make these madeleines during my first month living in my village. One of my students shared with me her mother's recipe, and taught me the tricks to making beautifully light and soft little cakes.

I made these a lot back in Canada. It became automatic - the routine of buttering and flouring the mold, filling it, baking, pop them out and repeat, repeat, repeat.

I really like them with some lemon zest or dried lavender added in. There are so many flavour options to try - you'll just have to make multiple batches too!


To obtain the little characteristic 'mounds' on the madeleines, be sure to let the batter rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. During the first 5 minutes in the oven, heighten the temperature up to 400C, then lower it back to 350C for the remaining oven time.



4 eggs
175 g caster sugar
225 g flour
100 g melted butter
2 tsp baking powder

Beat the eggs with the sugar by hand using a whisk for about 5-10 minutes. The mixture should become airy and mousse-like.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Add to the sugar-egg mixture, followed by the melted butter. Mix well using whisk.

If adding a flavour/mix-in (vanilla, lemon zest, lavender, chocolate chips, etc.) do so now and whisk to combine.

Leave the mixture to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350C

Butter and flour your madeleine mold. Fill the molds with a dollop of the batter so that it sits in the middle, but does not touch the edges of the shell shape. 

Bake in the oven for about 12-14 minutes, until the cakes have puffed up and are starting to lightly golden. Remove cakes immediately from tray the wire-rack to cool.