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.


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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by amola on Sun, 04/07/2021 - 15:14

I think Adam is Rafi .He is good at itimate voices ! does it ?^-^

Submitted by amola on Sun, 28/03/2021 - 14:30

Hi.first of all I would like to thank u. after that the task number 3 is not working I mean you can't move all the right words in same box plz find out that and solve it. about cooking i could make many receips of fish and chips ,but to be honest the delicious way to be fried o serve this kind of dish t

Hello amola,

In task 3 and other similar tasks, you have to click or press on the small white hand at the side of the words in the box. If you don't do this, then the new words will stay but the old words will disappear from the box.

Hope this helps, but please let me know if you'd like me to explain it again.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team


yes it is working . you explain it very well.thank you

Submitted by Keke on Fri, 19/02/2021 - 17:11

in the first Podcast Serie 3 is a big mistake. There are more than 10.000 shops to sell fish and ships and this shops sold more than 250.000.000 meals last year ( not 250.000)

Hello Keke,

Thanks for your comment. In the transcript, I see 'two hundred and fifty thousand meals'. Could you please tell me where you see '250,000,000' (two hundred and fifty million)?

Thanks in advance.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Amora Abolela on Mon, 15/02/2021 - 12:17

My recipe has no name but I love it so much . I created it during my stay at accommodation at port-said. The ingredients are potatoes, eggs and white creamy cheese. you boil potatoes and eggs and then put them together in a bowl with the cheese and mix all of that with fork and you will get a very cool meal

Submitted by May Thida Su on Fri, 12/02/2021 - 14:26

Hello !!! I can cook many recipe. But I cannot tell you the recipe.

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.
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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.
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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

Submitted by simten on Mon, 17/06/2019 - 09:38

hello, I am simona form Italy. I'm not a great cook but I'm able to make a chocolate cake. the ingredients you need are: 3 eggs, 100 gr of sugar, 200 gr of flour, 100 gr of butter, a lemon, baking powder, powdered cocoa powder. first of all add the eggs and sugar and beat until you get a cream. then add the butter, the peel of a lemon, the flour and cocoa. finally add the yeast. cook for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees. enjoy it. the name of the cake is MORETTA:
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Submitted by Last biker on Thu, 06/06/2019 - 07:22

Sir, I can't download the exercises from all tasks (Task1,Task 2 and so on). It appears : "gamadata.britishcoucil.org refused to connect". What shoud I do? I have done all the Podcasts from Series 1 and 2 ( and all the exercises) and now I would like to go foward along with these new series from BritishCouncil. Thank you very much for your answer and Best wishes
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Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 06/06/2019 - 07:55

In reply to by Last biker

Hello Last biker There seems to be a technical problem with some of our tasks, and I thank you for reporting it to us. I've just reported it to our technical team. I'm sorry for the inconvenience! We will fix this as soon as we can. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team
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Submitted by rustamjonmuradov on Tue, 21/05/2019 - 07:20

Hi! I am very happy! Good Luck all participants!

Submitted by Sarah Badr on Sat, 11/05/2019 - 16:14

It's me very first time to listen to these podcasts and I've really enjoyed them.

Submitted by parisaach on Sun, 28/04/2019 - 06:01

Sorry I don't know why you replace Adam and Rob by Tess and Ravi?
Hello parisaach There are changes in the people in the podcasts from series to series because some were available and others were not. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Domingas Aguiar on Fri, 26/04/2019 - 15:16

Hi, I am from Sao Tome and Principe and here we eat "banana and fried fish". Is so good... Recipe: - season the fish with garlic, lemon and salt; - envelop the fish in wheat flour (without water) and fry; - cut half ripe banana, in slices and fry; - eat with salad.    Enjoy your food.

Submitted by gullıstan on Sun, 24/03/2019 - 18:32

Hello from Turkey. We are a very famous and rich cuisine. also, many people know döner, kebab, iskender, lahmacun.. but today ı want to recipe different meal. ıts name is tava. Tava is made from different vegetables and meat. We chop onions, tomatoes, eggplants, garlic, zucchini and meat on chopping board. and we add olive oil and different spice on it. we bake in the oven for one hour. here it is.

Submitted by anton from tyrol on Sat, 16/03/2019 - 10:20

My recipe is not different, but for batter i use beer instead of water, because beer reject the oil and so the food is less oily.

Submitted by msoriano on Tue, 12/03/2019 - 17:17

Hi! My name is Angel. I am from Mexico. Here we have a similar soucer, also its way of cooking is similar, the only difference are th fittings which are in many cases vegetables like letuce, avocado, cucumber or tomato with a little bit of sal. We can buy it in a tianguis and are cheaper than other foods,

Submitted by icbalula on Thu, 07/03/2019 - 20:18

there is a lot of recipes you can do with fish I always prefer my fish done traditionally: after removing all the unnecessary stuff I clean my fish nicely and add spices on it, let it marinate for 1 to 3 hours depending on the kind of fish. after that, I will braai it over a charcoal foyer or woods fire. will add a little bit of vegetable oil at the end serve with hot chili and onion plus cassava bread. here one of real African type of dish

Submitted by Mrs Ola on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 13:29

In Nigeria, we eat fish and chips as well, however, we grill or roast the fish and we use croaker mostly, you can get catfish in a few other places. It's served with sliced cabbage, cucumber, onions, and tomato. And then they grizzle ketchup and/or spicy pepper sauce on it, some serve this in a separate small dish. We have other variants as well; chicken and chips and chips and shawarma. Shawarma is sliced veggies, minced grilled meat and sausage wrapped in unleavened bread. Chips and shawarma are served alone without the extras you get with the other variants.
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Submitted by Ethel on Thu, 28/02/2019 - 14:20

A typical Argentine dish is "empanadas". It consists of a small bag closed of puff pastry with minced meat, onion, garlic, hard-boiled eggs and olives inside, all chopped. It can be fried or baked. It is my specialty!
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Submitted by Tuhin Ahsan on Tue, 26/02/2019 - 06:58

hello I have no expertise about cooking. But its good to know about it . I would like to share a dish called "vorta". Its basically smashed potato. First you have to boil some potato then rub the skin off. The second thing is you have to smash it and mix some chili, onion and vegetable oil in it. Mix them properly and if you want you can add some clarified butter. And now eat it with some white rice. that was it. I hope you will like it.

Submitted by paulystano on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 21:48

Hi everyone, I´m not a good cooker, but I can teach you guys to cook a sweet rice. So you cook rice as you cook normally, but you put sugar, coconut grated, condensed milk and cinnamon (I hope I wrote right). Keep on the fridge for a moment and you can eat. It´s delicious!
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Submitted by jorge jor on Sat, 23/02/2019 - 11:25

My recipe is simple: the fish used is tilapia. To season: garlic salt, lime and preserves for 2 hours, cover with wheat flour and fried with olive oil, serve with rice, olives, mangericão and salads.

Submitted by cadu on Tue, 19/02/2019 - 10:23

Hi I love the grill ribs. There is the recipie: the most important thing in to buy a good ribs, then you apply salt for grills and preheat the BBQ. Put the ribs on the grill in the maximum temperature and count seven minutes for each side. When the ribs are grilled for each side you turn off the BBQ and wait five minutes. Serve it and enjoy!!!

Submitted by Brunettegirl on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 21:33

I have the same reciepe by using cutlets instead of fish