Monday, 30 June 2014

The Obligatory "Room Tour"

Two blog posts in one day? Crazy talk! Sorry about that though.
I said I'd give a little photo-tour of our officetel at some point, so while I was testing out my new phone I thought I'd combine the two.

Firstly, the living room:

Look at that giant window. Aw yeah. So really this place is pretty much open-plan. It makes 20-30sq.ft. feel that bit bigger. Every little bit of space gets used, so that wardrobe is pretty big, and each segment under the stairs is actually a cupboard.

There's two fairly confusing and intimidating things on the wall, one for the hot water and underfloor heating, and the other is our doorbell. It's meant to have a digital peephole for the front door, but it's seemingly broken except for the intercom, and occasionally the whole thing just decides to yell at us. I can only assume they're party political broadcasts, urgent news, and building maintenance updates.

There's also two big sofas (with throws on, for comfort, because nobody likes a sticky leather seat in 30C+ weather) and a table that I assume should be our dining table but instead gets used to hold most of the kitchen appliances.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Seoul Food | 만두 Mandu

 (insert man do pun here)

I know I don't live in Seoul, but I'm pretty darn close, and it's a great pun that I've been wanting to use since before I even made the blog, so here's my ongoing series of food from South Korea.

I love cooking, and trying new things, and considering I'm in Korea I'm currently in the mindset of "why don't I try making Korean food?"

I know what Korean food tastes like, I eat it every day at school, and once or twice a week in restaurants, but I'm struggling to get my versions to taste anything other than...Filipino-esque. There are a lot of crossovers with Filipino food, and even mostly the same ingredients, but there's a definite difference that I am missing out on, no matter how closely I follow an authentic recipe.

So it's an ongoing project. I was craving some siopao asado the other day, but I'm struggling to find yeast, so I thought I'd browse Maangchi's excellent blog for some ideas. In doing so, I discovered mandu and got a bit excited. I threw in a pack of mandu skins in our next grocery trip and got cooking.

Big nooby noob forgot to take any progress pics until now.

I made gunmandu (fried instead of steamed or boiled) because I prefer the crispy texture to chewy, but I'll have to try the boiled and soup varieties sometime soon.

I assume they're more of a side dish, but we ate all 12 with plain rice and it was great. I threw together a dipping sauce with vinegar, soy, and sesame seeds and everything was wonderful. I had some proper fried mandu a few days later to compare, and...I prefer mine. The taste and texture was VERY similar, but mine was a bit richer. Mine's probably wrong but oh well ;)

UPDATE: at school today we had what I can only assume was mandu and it tasted a LOT more similar to the ones I made, so yay~~

Monday, 23 June 2014

Wookie Cookies

Again, no internet other than school, so uploading photos for blogs is kind of difficult! Here's a retroactive post using old photos and stuff I dug up for original use on a different blog.

Here's the worst thing about our officetel:

We don't have an oven.

We've got a 2-ring hob, a microwave, rice/slow cooker, toaster oven, and even a blender. But we don't have an oven.
That means no baking. Sob.

So, browsing my photos I accidentally came across a little photo project that Nick and I did a couple of months ago that never actually made it onto the internet. I like it a little too much, so in memory of my beloved hobby I thought I'd put them here while I try and think of some recipes that don't require an oven.

Chocolate(-ish) Ready Brek Cookies
(Recipe modified from

  • 5oz butter
  • 5oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4oz Ready Brek
  • 3oz self raising flour
  • 2oz cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder

1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy

Saturday, 21 June 2014

종묘 와 낙원동 | Jongmyo and Nakwon Arcade

I'm torn between using amusing/weird titles for my blog posts, or the more sensible, descriptive option.

Anyway, this weekend we went to Jongno-gu, the "bell" district near Dondaemun, previously the eastern wall of old Seoul. We came here to get some guitars for Nick from the renowned Nakwon Music Arcade, but to make the most of our day out, we decided to go to one of the nearby palaces.

We kind of failed, in that we got a bit lost, but found Jongmyo Shrine, which was also on our list of "places to visit", so it wasn't the end of the world.

On our lost wanderings, we went through a small park area, and felt distinctly uncomfortable from all the rowdy elders just hanging around in large groups everywhere. It really felt like we'd entered some kind of gang territory and there'd be a clicking advance a la West Side Story at any moment.

Except this guy.

Too cute. But anyway, we found the shrine, which was enormous, and paid our paltry 1000₩ each before heading in. Because of all the trees, it was actually surprisingly cool inside the walls of the shrine, and many of the buildings were (I think) designed to make the most of passing breezes.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

"Is that man pooping?" | Seoul's Trick Eye Museum

In the name of the moon... and cutting off your ear for love~!

So, quite a while ago now, f(x)'s Amber posted a series of photos to her instagram from the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, Seoul. When we found out we would be meeting up with some lovely Korvia recruits in Hongdae, we took the opportunity to head off to the museum first.

Being completely unaccustomed to Korea's odd street labelling system (or lack thereof), combined with the fact we didn't have our usual option of Google Maps to fall back on (all hail the Googly Overlords), it took us quite a long time to find. The museum itself is in a basement, so the entrance at surface level is only really big enough for a staircase. I think we wandered all over the place in completely the wrong direction before finding it pretty much right where we started. Sigh.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

월미도 | A Trip to Wolmido

Selfie Faux Pas Prevention Tip #1: Make sure you're zoomed out first.
Hello! Sorry for the ridiculous lack of posts about Korea! We don't have any internet set up in our officetel yet, so I can only get online at school, whereupon I'm usually (surprise surprise) working.

But here's a little post about one of the places we went to last week, to celebrate the final day of our 5 day weekend! You read that right. We were in school for 2 days, then it was Election Day so no work, then Founder's Day at my school (so I got the day off, alas Nick still had to work. I was very exciting and did housewife duties.) Finally it was Labour Day followed by the usual weekend, so that was a pretty great way to start our year in South Korea ;)

We decided to go to Wolmido, an island that is technically not an island, and home to Incheon Harbour. We got the subway there, which was just like any other subway, apart from the fact there's a lot more room, better aircon and ventilation, and better signage. Oh, and, it cost us about £1.50 return.

We'd already had a brief tour of Wolmi Island thanks to Nick's co-teachers, which is why we opted for it over the slightly more intimidating original plan of Seoul.

It's quite a walk from the station to the harbour, which is probably why most places suggest you get off a stop early and grab the bus the rest of the way. Although getting a bit lost probably didn't help us out much.

There's a lot of cute art on the walls in the area, all with lovely, deep, and sometimes just odd messages on them. It's a nice way of brightening up an area, as well as a good community project. I wish more places would do it!

We finally made it to where we were going (we had to skip past a park which I can only assume had deer inside, so we're definitely going back!) and the first thing we encountered was a pretty lively funfair! On one side were loads of rides, mostly overshadowed by the two huge, dangerous-looking and apparently famous pirate ship rides.

While on the other side were dozens of street food vendors, selling all kinds of weird and wonderful foods, from your standard sweets and ice cream all the way to, erm, dried and fried fish and seafood? I swear I saw just a giant tentacle hanging around in one stall.

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