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)
Profile picture for user Tatiana gonzalez

Submitted by Tatiana gonzalez on Mon, 06/04/2020 - 19:16

Hi everyone! I´m from Colombia, I am not a great cook, but I´ll tell you how to prepare an easy and delicious dish. Just need rice, some vegetables, salt, sausages, chicken and few mushrooms. Well, first of all, make the rice mixed with all ingredients. Next, slices the sausages and put into the pan of rice, After that, add salt, shredded chicken and no more. Enjoy your special with a soda bye!

Submitted by sarasb1010 on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 20:24

i could not find tessandravi on twitter! does anybodey know how i can find them?

Hello sarasb1010

They are @tessandravi, but I'm afraid they haven't been active in quite a long time. We do have an active twitter account at @LearnEnglish_BC.

I hope that helps you!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by PMU_STUDENT2020 on Sat, 22/02/2020 - 17:54

I like it ..

Submitted by Rezan0FF on Sun, 15/09/2019 - 16:16

I can explain recipe for lazy people. You need mixture of frozen vegetables from supermarket and sausage. Slice sausage and put it on pan, after that add vegetables on pan. Add salt and spices. That’s all :)

Submitted by sunna chowdhury on Sat, 14/09/2019 - 16:14

I am going to write about the traditional Bangali food item that like most. It is a dessert made with flour,milk,sugar oil( mostly vegetable oil) and most important item potatoes. It is well known "Alor Kalujam" Potatoes dessert. There are two cooking style you have use for this recipe.First, all the potatoes needed to boil well and it requires mess up with flour milk and others two ingredients.When the mixture turn into a thick dough your work is half done. Just divide the dough into small pieces and rolled it like football. I's time two use second cooking style it's deep frying the small circle with vegetable oil. And finally you will serve the dishes with sugar syrup. Actually it is the most delicious dish i have ever taste.

Submitted by nelson_ on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 04:57

hi everyone!!! First time here, i hope learn a lot, and i hope make friends here...... thanks

Submitted by _maryam_ on Mon, 26/08/2019 - 08:34

. my recipy is for a light meal that is a traditional fast food in iran. mirzaghasemi that its name come from the name of the man who cooked it for first. so we need three potatos, two eggplants , one egg, some garlic and salt, oil, turmeric. ok first of all roast eggplants and put them over to get cold.then sqeeze tomatos and mix them with afew oil in a pan. after that add egg to it. at the end add roasted and crushed eggplant, salt and turmeric. its ready fast and we eat mirzaghasemi with bread. i like invite you iran and cook mirzaghasemi for you.
Profile picture for user Sergey Sh

Submitted by Sergey Sh on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:30

Anybody heard about Borsch? It’s tradition food from Russia. In order to complete writing part of my learning, I’ll try to describe of how I usually cook it. Here is the recipe. All you need from ingredients are: a cake of meat (I use pork most of the times), potatoes, cabbage, beet, red beans, onion, carrot, sweet pepper and tomatoes paste. Later you’ll need some herbs and salt. First of all, I take a deep pan full of water and put it on the stove in order to boil water. I put a cake of meat and some of chopped onion, carrot, beet and sweet pepper into the pan at once after the stove was turned on. When water is boiled, I’ll have ready bouillon. Meanwhile, the other part of chopped vegetables I fry in hot oil and later, I put there some tomatoes paste. I put chopped cabbage, beet and sliced potatoes into my bouillon and boil it further. In about 10 of 15 minutes when vegetables in bouillon are ready, all I need is just add fried ones there and thoroughly mix it. After use some salt and herbs to complete the whole dish. If you do everything correct, you’ll get red-colored, aromatic soup, that here in Russia we called Borsch. It’s really tasty. As for fish and chips, that was mensioned by Ravi, here in Russia we have lots of stores and cafes where you can order it. This kind of food can be different, I mean fish and chips as well as fish rolls or something else made by means of frying with oil, all of these are considered to be unhealthy food. What I noticed is true for my country, that kind of food is cheaper than if you would go to restaurant or to market for fresh products. The same situation is in the whole world I guess. Funny, if you take a look on Cook Islands inhabitants, you’ll see that about 90 percent of them suffer obesity. Usually, if person looks fat it means that he or she have rich life and lots of money and on the contrary, most part of Africans look very thin and even emaciated just because of lack of food and clear water. Cook Islands is a country that doesn’t have some factories, works and resources to export except of bananas. Therefore, people are not so reach. Due to its geographic location, all products is delivered from outside and have high price. It turned out that fast food is more preferred food for inhabitants due to much less prices. And if you eat that food too often, you’ll get extra kilograms of fat very soon.

Submitted by Akmal Karimov on Mon, 01/07/2019 - 06:41

Uzbek national dishes are the best meal PALOV