Episode 01

Episode 01

LearnEnglish Podcasts is back! Some things are the same (Tess, Ravi and Carolina) and some things are new, for example the presenters. So whether you're new to LearnEnglish Podcasts or have been listening since Series 1, give it a try!


Rob and Adam – Welcome back!

Adam: Hello and welcome to the all new Learn English podcast from the British Council. My name’s Adam.

Rob: And I’m Rob. In just a moment you’ll hear from Tess and Ravi, but first I’ll tell you something about the new podcasts. We’ve changed the way we give the podcasts to you and there are two important things. Firstly, the podcasts are shorter, but there are more of them. We’re going to have a podcast every two weeks. Secondly, there are more ways for you to get in touch with us and we can answer your questions or your comments. If you have a question about English or about the podcast or about Tess and Ravi, then send it to us. Here’s how you can do it.

Adam: You can leave a comment on LearnEnglish at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. You can follow us on Facebook – look for Elementary podcasts. And you can follow Tess and Ravi on Twitter – they’re tessandravi. Ask us a question or tell us what you think and we can answer it in the next podcast.

Rob: Now, we’re new presenters, so where are Tess and Ravi? Well, we’ve given them something new to do. In this series of podcasts Tess and Ravi have a project and we hope they’ll help you learn.

Adam: Now, when you think about Britain, what do you think about? Do you think about big red buses? Cups of tea? Something else? We asked that question to hundreds of our listeners around the world – what do you think about when you think about Britain? And Tess and Ravi have the answers. They’re going to help you find out more about some of the most British things you can think of. So, let’s find out what the topic is this week.

Tess and Ravi

Ravi: Hi everyone, I’m Ravi.

Tess: And I’m Tess.

Ravi: And our job is to tell you about some of the things you think are typically British. In this series we’ll tell you about British weather, the Royal Family, British pets… lots of ‘typical’ British things. But today we’re going to tell you about a very famous British food – a dish that lots of people think is the typical British thing to eat. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s fish and chips.

Tess: Mmm, nice. It’s true that lots of people think that fish and chips is what British people eat all the time. My Spanish friends really wanted to try fish and chips when they came to visit. So, OK then Ravi – tell us what you’ve learnt.

Ravi: Well, first of all, I’ll say a little bit about what fish and chips are – people don’t always know. It’s a piece of fish, covered in batter and deep fried.

Tess: Can you tell us what batter is?

Ravi: It’s a mixture of flour and water, usually. You cover the fish...

Tess: What kind of fish is it?

Ravi: Good question. It can be different kinds of fish but the most popular are cod and haddock – two fish that were very common in the sea around Britain.

Tess: Are they not so common now?

Ravi: No, they aren’t – but I’ll talk about that in a minute. So, you cover the fish in batter and then you deep fry it – that means you cook it in a deep pan of very hot oil, vegetable oil usually. You cook the chips the same way, you deep fry the potatoes in very hot oil.

Tess: And chips are chips, aren’t they? Americans call them ‘fries’ or ‘French fries’ but we call them chips.

Ravi: I think chips are sort of bigger and thicker than French fries but yes, you’re right. Anyway, you deep fry the fish and the chips, then you serve them with salt and vinegar.

Tess: Ugh, I hate vinegar.

Ravi: When I was a kid, fish and chips would always be served in newspaper. They wrapped your fish and chips up in a sheet of old newspaper, but they don’t do that any more. They use special paper, not newspaper.

Tess: Yeah, I remember the newspaper. But, you know what, I hardly ever eat fish and chips any more. All that oil and deep frying, it’s not very healthy, is it?

Ravi: It’s not, no. But once every now and then, Tess, it’s OK to eat unhealthy things, you know.

Tess: How often do you eat fish and chips, then?

Ravi: Well, I found some information about this. Nowadays, fifty per cent of British people say they eat fish and chips once a month and fourteen per cent say they eat them once a week. I’d say I’m about once a month.

Tess: I’d say about once a year, for me. Are the numbers of people eating fish and chips going down? As I say, it’s not very healthy and people are more concerned about healthy eating these days.

Ravi: People are more concerned about healthy eating but the British still eat a lot of fish and chips. There are more than ten thousand fish and chip shops in the country and they sold more than two hundred and fifty thousand meals last year. One thing is, having fish and chips is cheaper than going to a restaurant so sales are even going up when people haven’t got a lot of money to spend on restaurant meals.

Tess: What about the fish, though? You said there weren’t so many fish any more.

Ravi: That’s right. Cod, the most popular fish for making fish and chips, is not as common in the sea around Britain any more – numbers have really gone down. And if the numbers go down, the price goes up, so fish and chip shops now sell lots of other kinds of fish as well – but lots of people think they’re not as nice… Do you know, Tess, I could talk about this for hours – I’ve not even mentioned the history of fish and chips yet, but we’re running out of time. Shall we go and get some fish and chips?

Tess: OK, then, let’s go.

Rob and Adam

Adam: That talk about fish and chips earlier has made me really hungry. How often do you eat fish and chips?

Rob: As often as I can, but not as often as when I was young.

Adam: Mmm. Right, if you’ve listened to the LearnEnglish podcast before, you might remember Tom the Teacher. Tom talked about the English you heard in the podcast. Tom’s not around this time – he’s got a job teaching in China – but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about what you heard. Listen to this:

Ravi: So, you cover the fish in batter and then you deep fry it – that means you cook it in a deep pan of very hot oil – vegetable oil usually. You cook the chips the same way – you deep fry the potatoes in very hot oil.

Rob: Ravi talked about how to cook fish and chips. He said you ‘cover the fish in batter’ and you ‘deep fry it’. Frying is a way of cooking something in oil – olive oil, vegetable oil or another kind of oil. What other ways of cooking are there?

Adam: Well, you can boil things – vegetables usually – in hot water. Errr… You can grill things. Umm… and you can bake things, in an oven. And how about the language of preparing food?

Rob: You can chop meat or vegetables, slice things, erm... grate things like cheese. We’ll put a list on the website for you. And you’ll find some other activities to help you learn and a transcript of what Tess and Ravi said.

Adam: I’ll tell you what would be great though. Ravi told you how to cook fish and chips – the instructions on how to cook something are a recipe – and it would be great to hear some recipes from you. If you send them to us we can put them on LearnEnglish and on Tess and Ravi’s Facebook page. Remember the ways you can get in touch with us?

Rob: On LearnEnglish, that’s www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. On Twitter - TessandRavi – or on Facebook – we’re Elementary podcasts on Facebook. Just time now to look at a couple of comments from LearnEnglish and the Facebook page. Khalid Al Busaidi said ‘I miss Tess and Ravi so much’ – well, I hope you’re happy you’ve got them back, Khalid – and lots of you saying you want to improve your English – Jinhee, Manjit, Abner – lots of you. Well, we’re here to help and I hope we’ll speak to you next week – we’d love to hear from you. That’s all for now.

Both: Bye!

Check your understanding

What can you remember about Tess and Ravi's conversation?


Task 1

Can you remember what Ravi said about making fish and chips?


Task 2

Practise words that describe ways of cooking, ways of preparing food or things you use when cooking.



Language level

Average: 5 (10 votes)

Submitted by Dao Thi Kieu Linh on Fri, 21/12/2018 - 07:35

Hi Peter M, For the Activity 3, I just can choose 3 words matched into 3 boxes. It means it is just max 1 word into 1 box, I cannot choose 2 words and put them into 1 box. Could you please advise me how to put more words into 1 box? Thank you so much Peter M. Best regards, KieuLinh
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 21/12/2018 - 07:56

In reply to by Dao Thi Kieu Linh


Hi Dao Thi Kieu Linh,

To add items to the groups first click on the item (the word) and then click on the name of the box, which will probably be dark grey. If you click inside the box then you will swap one word for another; if you click on the box title then you will add a new item to it.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter M, Thank you so much. I got it. Thanks a lot. Merry X'Mas and happy New Year. Best Regards, KieuLinh

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 14:07

I like cooking, even I cook very well. I want to introduce my vegetable soup. You will need pork, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and seasoning. You have to bake pork until it's soft, then you cook it with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, salt, seasoning about 30 min (cook under small fire). Finally, you put the onions and pepper in the soup. It's delicious and nutritious.

Submitted by Yury Taborsky on Fri, 23/11/2018 - 19:51

One of my favorite foods is cold soup. This national food is called okroshka. You have to chop spring onions, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, boiled chicken, cucumbers and put all this in a saucepan and pour out water or a national drink called kvass or whey (better whey) you need to add a national dairy product sour cream, like yogurt plus salt, and mix it up. When you eat, you can add mustard. In summer this is great food.

Submitted by eldi on Wed, 21/11/2018 - 13:43

mm am not really good at cooking .. but i can tell you a bit about Sundanese Fool...you need ( vegetable and some garlic if you want..mm then you can add eggs, cheese , sauce...etc really there are many different ways to cook it more than one .. it depends on you

Submitted by Yury Taborsky on Wed, 21/11/2018 - 09:37

What's right "deep-fry" or "deep fry"? Or is it the same thing?

Hi Yury,

In the Cambridge, Macmillan and Merriam-Wester online dictionaries, the verb 'deep-fry' is spelt with the hyphen. When it's an adjective, as far as I know, the correct spelling is 'deep-fried'.

Thanks for pointing out to us this error!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Oksi1001

Submitted by Oksi1001 on Mon, 12/11/2018 - 14:21

I Like cooking the chicken chops. For cooking you will need: chicken fillet, tomatos,cheese,solt and pepper. So, we take chicken fillet, cut it like a cirkles or oval. Next you need ,solt and pepper chicken and put it on a baking tray. Then you cut tomatos of circles and put it on chicken.Then you need to sprincle the chicen with cheese. And finally put chicken in the oven for 30-35 min.The dish you can serve with any garnish.