Huāshēng Bǐng | 花生饼 | Chinese Peanut Cookies

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! 新年快乐 ! Happy Chinese New Year!  Today marks the beginning of the Spring Festival as we welcome the rooster. What better way to celebrate than with these addictive Chinese Peanut Cookies.

These beauties are called Hua Sheng Bing, 花生饼 in Mandarin. It translates as peanut cake but clearly they are wonderful cookie bundles. One can find them in homes and markets in China during the Lunar New Year. If you love peanuts you will adore the texture and massive dose of peanut crumbs. In fact these Chinese Peanut Cookies take cookies to a whole new level of  peanut. They are just fabulous!

Chinese peanut cookies

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Zha Jiang Mian | 炸酱面 | Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles

Zha Jiang Mian, or Fried Sauce Noodles, is a classic Chinese comfort food made from a luscious dark soybean sauce and ground pork, served over a bowl of thick wheat noodles. This recipe pumps up the meat and veggies per bowl to make a complete main dish serving.

So you know those tubs of black bean paste or sauce you see in Asian grocery stores? Well drop that can and walk away from the bean aisle in your regular supermarket if in a pinch because these are not black turtle beans at all! Nope and hopefully I am not the only one that feel a bit dumb right now. Turns out the main ingredient of these pastes/sauces is fermented black soybeans (douchi in Chinese). They are the base of many Chinese dishes with their sharp, salty and pungent flavors. Black bean sauce is truly the backbone of the Zha Jiang Mian dish.

Zha Jiang Mian Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles

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Do You Want to Discover China’s Finer Teas?

Toss those supermarket teas in the trash and discover the thrill of finer teas. A high quality sourced tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. It will change how you look at tea forever.

One of my colleagues jokes that his mom kept a pot of orange pekoe tea boiled strong in those old Pyrex tea pots. She just added water and boiled away all day long. That is fine if you have zero care in the world for what tea should actually taste like. But let me tell you, once you have experienced several cups of finer teas the rest pales in comparison. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. Today I want to introduce you to five higher grade teas, all of which are harvested in China.

finer teas keemun imperial black tea garden

Source: teavivre.com – keemun imperial black tea garden

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Montreal en Lumiere 2016

We are about half way through winter and here in Montreal that means one thing: the Montreal en Lumiere festival is just around the corner with loads of fun outdoor activities, shows and culinary treats.

Since we live in winter mode for so many months out of the year here in Montreal, we like to celebrate and even have a winter festival named Montreal en Lumiere. You will find all kinds of fun outdoor activities, many free, and lots of paid shows and food related events. But just an evening walking around the site is fun, just get a couple of snacks from the food stands and enjoy the lights! Just dress well to stay warm. Here is what this year’s Montreal en Lumiere has to offer, from February 18 to March 5 2016.

Montreal en Lumiere 2016

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Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part

Welcome to part 2 of the special Gongfu tea Chinese Tea Tasting 2 ceremony I hosted for a few friends.

It was the perfect way to enjoy the 5 tea samples I received from Teavivre. Make sure to check Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part 1 to learn more about all the teas we tried and about the Gong Fu tea way!

I thought I would start of this post with a silly shot…perhaps I will regret it lol. But this my readers is what happens when you drink too much good tea and introduce a Tibetan Singing Bowl to the mix. I recently took a Tibetan Singing Bowl workshop and basically ran out to buy one that following week. This is us being silly with the said bowl, left to right top, and then bottom: Sandra, Melanie, Evelyne, Michele and (discreet) Rebecca.

girls

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Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting part 1

I had an incredible eye opening experience. And I have to admit I never thought I would say this following a Chinese Tea Tasting, but I was left in awe after trying 5 very high grade tea samples from Teavivre. A high quality tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. I will never be able to look at the boxed stuff or tea chain stores the same way again.

Since this tea tasting was a rather unique opportunity, I decided to host my bastardized version of a Gongfu tea ceremony with the tools I had and a few friends. You can read more about the real traditional Gong Fu ceremony here but I will give you a quick resume here as well.

teavivre tea leaves

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Great book gift ideas

Still looking for a few great gift ideas for the chef or foodie in your life? I have a few excellent suggestions for you today. This is a very varied mix of books touching on recipes, travel, health and treasures to be found in the pantry.

I have been enjoying every moment spent leafing through these books, testing their theories, trying out recipe and planning a few future seasoning purchases. I am including the main description of the books and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Enjoy!

Yunnan_Cookbook

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