Monthly Archives: March 2014

Book review: Chinese Hoardes and Human Waves – Brigadier Brian Parritt CBE

I had the immense pleasure of meeting Brigadier Brian Parritt  CBE recently when he gave a fascinating talk on his personal experiences as a young gunner officer during the Korean war. Laced with humanity and humour his tales of the realities of conflict were a sobering reminder of the price of war. The book itself is a magnificent achievement, combining gripping personal tales, strategic analyses  and exposes of military errors and  a great and unexpected revelation of  his consequent life involvement in the complexities and nuances of military intelligence.
Watch an interview with Brig. Parritt  on the Korean War and his book here .

Rightly lauded by reviewers, it is available to buy here ( 20% off)

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The author as a young man. Remarkably ,as Brig Parritt asked me to say, he has barely aged at all.

Also by Brig. Parritt ,available to buy here for Kindle.

A great man .


President Park makes 3-point proposal to Pyongyang

President Park makes 3-point proposal to Pyongyang.

President Park Geun-hye proposes three steps to North Korea that would lead to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on March 28 at the Dresden University of Technology. (photo: Cheong Wa Dae)

Korea Market Focus 2014. The London Book Fair; 7th-11th April.

The official brochure for the British Council Cultural Programme at The London Book Fair 2014 is now published. Please have a look for more information on all the exciting events coming up in April!




North Korean University Students Are Now Reportedly Required to Get the Same Haircut as Kim Jong Un


Until now, everyone in North Korea had to choose their haircuts from a list of state-approved styles. But now, all men in the hermit kingdom will be required to sport the same hairstyle as supreme leader Kim Jong Un, the BBC reports.

Pyongyang introduced the new law two weeks ago but is now rolling it out across the country. Unfortunately, some North Koreans may not be thrilled about the new look. According to a former Pyongyang resident now living in China, the Kim Jong Un cut is unpopular because it apparently resembles the style of Chinese smugglers. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut,” the source told the Korea Times.

For now, it seems women will still be able to choose one of the several state-approved styles. Though if Kim Jong Un is a Friends fan, maybe he’ll mandate that all women get “The…

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Interactive tourist map

Interactive tourist map of regions and cities of South Korea. Click here to open up the map below in clickable mode.


top 5 tourist attractions – with links

1 Traditional Markets and shopping areas – Seoul

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 Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market, Myeong-dong and Insa-dong


2 Gyeongju Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto TourBulguksa Temple [UNE...

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The Seokguram grotto in particular defies adequate description. The carvings in hard granite are a testament to the mastery and skill of the ancient architects, and an enduring mystery of geometrical symmetry and precision.

 3 DMZ-Tour

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A slightly surreal and very sobering experience that brings home the tragic partition of the Korean peninsula.

4 Jeju UNESCO Natural Heritage Tour

  5 Famous Mountain Tour (Seoraksan Mountain, Jirisan Mountain, Geumgangsan Mountain)

Recipe for Korean-inspired bread rolls ( aka Kimbap baps)

Recently I had the pleasure of learning how to cook a couple of simple dishes from an eminent Korean chef  Ba-Oo (바우)  at the West End based School of Wok.


We made  seafood pancakes (Haemul Pa Jun/해물파전) and Korean barbequed beef ( Bulgogi/불고기 ).


The lesson ended in true “Ready Steady Cook”  ( Ready Steady Hanguk perhaps?)style with a cook-off , which I’m delighted to say saw a victory for our team of budding 요리사.win

Inspired by this I decided to attempt to combine my twin loves of baking and Korea. After a few false starts I eventually settled on a kimbap/김밥 inspired bread roll. Kimbap is a traditional Korean snack made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients, rolled in gim (sheets of dried laver seaweed) and served in bite-size slices.

video here:

ingredients: 500g strong white flour, 10g salt, 10g fresh yeast ( or packet dried yeast) , 325g water, 4 sheets dried seaweed sheets, soju, sesame seeds, poppy seeds.

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So these are relatively straight forward to make and combine a crusty bread roll with seaweed, sesame seeds and soju. The way they are shaped ensure that the gim seaweed is spread throughout the roll .Great as a savoury snack and they go particularly well with seafood or kimchi , or even fishfingers!