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 Montselo on Sun, 11/11/2018 - 19:19

In my country is typical the "allioli" sauce. It makes with garlic (all) and olive oil (oli) and salt. First the garlic is minced and added the oil slowly until it thickens. Delicius! But after eat, nobody will be near you due to the smell of garlic...
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Submitted by SandyL on Sat, 10/11/2018 - 02:39

Hi. In Colombia, the soup ¨the ajiaco is a mixture of chiken, potatos, vegetables, and milk cream. It´s delicious and very nutritive

Submitted by saezsport on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:27

Hello everyone, I'm from Spain, and my favourite recipe is "Salmorejo". It is a mix between sauce and soup and cream. I'm not sure haha. You only have to mix with a mixer: bread, tomatos, garlic, red and green peppers, a bit of apple or watermelon (to sweeten it),salt, and the most important thing olive oil. And then you can add ham and egg. hmmm very yummy! :D

Submitted by TsamSoti on Sun, 04/11/2018 - 17:57

Dear All, I hope my comment find you well, i wiil try to share with you my receipt for fish and chips cooking but i cannot, i have not any. I am specialist to making meat dishes for our daily lunch, my girlfriend has the responsibilty to cooking fish when we choose to eat it.

Submitted by Julliet Tangoo on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:14

Kirk i here to say here again ,no task 4 .no work longer i try learn engish i not good

Hi Julliet,

You're right! I'm sorry about that. It's going to take me a few days to figure out what happened here, but I will fix it soon.

Your English was good enough to tell us about this! Thank you for doing that!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nguyennga1994 on Sun, 28/10/2018 - 10:14

Hi everyone! i would like to share you a common food in vietnam is "Phở ". That is also my favourite food. The foreigners are from others country once travelled my country, they try to eat Phở . fortunately almost of them said that they liked it and it's very delicious . if you have chance to visit my country, let's try it once times Thank you !

Submitted by Mahougbe on Fri, 26/10/2018 - 14:38

Thanks Rob and Adam. One of my favourite dish I want to share the recipe with you is pounded yam. It's a common meal in Benin and Togo. Firstly, we have to peel the yam, clean it with water and slice it in a pot. Secondly, we cook the yam in the covered pot with water. Finally, the cooked yam is pounded in a mortar with a particular technic until the yam become elastic. In Benin, pounded yam is often eaten with soap made with spices and grinded peanut.

Submitted by Maiychok on Thu, 25/10/2018 - 19:29

Hi! I want to tell you my favorite recepi of apple pie. So, you slice 4 green apples. To prepare a dough you whip up 4 eggs, 1 glass of sugar and 1 glass of flour. Also you can add vanilla sugar and lemon peel. Then you add sliced apples into a dough and bake all of this in the oven during 40-50 minutes at 180-200 degrees.
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Submitted by Husnia on Wed, 24/10/2018 - 11:30

Hi In my country there is food named Chabli Kebab. you should mix grilled meat with grilled onion, garlic, salt, one egg, some chop potatoes, and flour together and then make meatball and fry them in hot oil. you can eat it with bread and salad.