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)
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Submitted by Sajja on Wed, 30/12/2020 - 05:58

Pasta with white sauce: You need to boil the pasta in hot water for 10 minutes then wash it, for sauce you need 500ml milk ,1 tbsp flour , 10g butter ,1 clove garlic . First of all ,put pan on the fire and melt butter in it with garlic then, stir them until the garlic become yellow and add flour , continue stirring the mixture to become like a dough after that, start with adding milk but on steps l mean don't pour all amount in the same time.in the end add pasta to the sauce . Notice: you can add protein like ground beef or chicken breast as you like

Submitted by jmajo on Mon, 21/12/2020 - 15:18

Homemade Bread: First you weigh 500grs of hard wheat flour and put it in a bowl, then you measure 350ml of warm water and mix it up with 10grs of fresh yeast, once you mixed up the water and the yeast completely, you start adding the flour slowly while you mix up at the same time until you finish to add all the flour. Then you start to knead the mass and add 10grs of light salt and 10grs of olive oil and also 15 grs of seeds if you like it, you continue kneading until form a solid mass. At this point you form a ball and let rest the mass covered with a tea towel for 1 hour to get it bigger, after that time you knead it again for 1 minute and form a ball again or the shape you like the most and put it in a oven pan. You let it rest for 40minutes and then you cooked it at 200 °C for 15 minutes. Thanks for the episode! Great site!

Submitted by Vaselena on Sun, 20/12/2020 - 16:47

Hi everyone! I do not like to cook, I like to eat :) And there is why I usually like to use recipes which do not need special food-stuffs and many time for cooking. But I have one special and tasty recipe. It is chiken with pineapples. You need to chop chicken breast, for souce you have to mix mayonnaise, garlic and cheese like permezan and else you need a canned pineapple. After you chop the piece of chiken along, add inside a souse and pieces of pineapple and some of souse from above, put this dish in hot oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. It is delicious, try it!
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Submitted by cassiamattos2013 on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 16:09

Write rice: First, chop an onion and put away. Then, take a deep pan with hot oil and add the onion. Fry for a few minutes, about two minutes until golden brown. Then add the washed rice and continue to fry until golden again. After that, add half a part of the water and cook for 20 minutes. Served hot add some vegetables and a bean.

Submitted by Mohammedalbassami on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 19:37

Recipe of traditional Oman meal Lunch traditional meal contain of rice and meat with vegetables. Thery are different ways to make but I am trying to explain easiest way . However take Onion , garlic , tomato and little oil and put them in pan with deep fry . After that pour some water and put meat if lamps or chicken . To roast it close for half hour in close pan. In last put some water and put rice in it .

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 12:00

Well! actually I am not a good cooker but at least I can make a small snacks in my own method like Indomie. I put the Indomie into the cooker in a hot water and then I put cheese on it and some spices like magi and then It will be ready to serve.

Submitted by Zamira on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 14:25

Hi there. Let me tell you about a Swiss dish, which is called Rosti. You need to grate some potatoes. Put some vegetable oil in a frying pan and warm it. Then put potatoes in a pan and fry it. Then you need to grate some cheese. At the end of frying, you need to put cheese on the top of the potatoes. When cheese is melting, the dish is ready. You can put another ingredients if you want, for example a ham, etc.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sun, 09/08/2020 - 00:11

I am describing- Fried Plantain Recipe. First, get like 2 ripe plantain, slice it and add a pinch of salt to be rubbed over. Then, heat oil in deep pan- to be hot. After, if the oil is hot pour in the sliced plantain and cook- fry till it is golden brown. It can be served as a main dish with drinks or as side dish on rice, bean, pasta and so on. Thanks. Enjoy!

Submitted by The Marvelous on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 12:32

I want to tell a traditional food from my country, we called bolani first, make a batter with flour and water then slice vegetable spread batter like circle after that put vegetable in half of it and covered it with another half finally fry it in oil

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 16:07

Well!I am not good at making food ,but I am good at eating it.