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)
Profile picture for user fluidaster

Submitted by fluidaster on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 10:20

Hi there, what does typically mean here? "lots of typically British things" it refers to some traditions or things that people think they are more common in Britain that the other countries and know Britain with them? thank you ;)
Profile picture for user Kirk

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 13:56

In reply to by fluidaster


Hello fluidaster

Yes, that is the idea. You can see more example sentences in the Cambridge Dictionary.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by fluidaster on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 09:15

Hi there thank you for your nice podcast could you tell me the differences between the meaning of chopping and slicing, please? thanks again
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Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 16/02/2019 - 14:01

In reply to by fluidaster


Hello again fluidaster

When we slice something, we cut it in a way so that we get a thin and flat piece of it. We often slice bread or cheese, for example.

The verb chop isn't as specific about the result -- it means to cut something into pieces, but the shape or size of these pieces isn't specified, though the pieces tend to be considered small in some way.

I like the verb dice, which means to cut something into small cubes -- this is often used in cooking as well, though beware it is not as commonly used as the other two words.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jithinthomasc on Tue, 12/02/2019 - 16:28

Hai , Every One , I would like to spread idea about the Indian dish. Which is Kerala Banana Fry . Its So simple to make first you have to chose proper banana to fry which we are using commonly Nenthra Pazham (Etha pazham) is one of the common types of bananas available in Kerala. Make it slices of small verticaly keep aside , next we will prepare the mix which is used to dip banana and fry . Method of preparation rice power and hot water equal ration and one teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix it well and put banana in it then make the curved pan with hot oil and deep fry .
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Submitted by carnero on Sat, 09/02/2019 - 01:08

Hi , everyone this is for learningEnglish

Submitted by Lucien on Thu, 31/01/2019 - 16:26

Track 3 I can't move the words into right boxes
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 01/02/2019 - 05:59

In reply to by Lucien


Hello Lucien,

To move the words in our tasks you need to click on the word and then click on the space where you want to put it: two individual clicks rather than trying to drag and drop.

I hope that helps.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lucien on Thu, 31/01/2019 - 16:22

Hi there, I cook every day. I love red beans, batter and pork. Here is recipe : You boil a mixture a flour ant water with red beans. You eat that with pork roast

Submitted by shamsukprm on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 07:37

GOOD MORNING, Ravi and Tessa is best friends, i Liked their attitude, I expected, I can speak english like Ravi and Tessa. Thanks to Both of them.

Submitted by Betini on Tue, 22/01/2019 - 13:02

Hi I love cooking. I like to makes Brazilian barbecue. In my country every like to comemorate on weekend with barbecue and beers. The Brazilian barbecue is made with a piece of meat in the metal skewer. This metal skewer is put into brick barbecue over ember vegetable coal. Only coarse Salt on the meat. Só the meat stay very tasty
Profile picture for user Ndayishimiye

Submitted by Ndayishimiye on Thu, 17/01/2019 - 15:13

I am not really fun of cooking but I know it is very exciting for some people. Sometimes when I have enough time a like cooking our traditional dish which is generally based on boiling a mixture of beans, sweet potatoes, cassava or potatoes. at the beginning beans are boiled in a pot disposed over the flame of firewood and when they are ready that's when chopped potatoes are added within salt to the beans. Some people can add vegetables. This kind of food is currently appreciated because it does contains any kind of oil.

Submitted by Lucianokb on Wed, 16/01/2019 - 19:43

I hate cooking but I love eating!

Submitted by nuam7273 on Sun, 13/01/2019 - 22:00

Hi I love cooking I always search in you tube and find new recipe and from the ingredient I guess it looks delicious or not then I try to do it, if my kids like it then I do for them many time as much as they ask me.

Submitted by Mohammad Taqi … on Sat, 12/01/2019 - 10:56

Hi, I hope you be healthy. Is this listening audio or video? Mine is audio. Thanks for your service.

Hello Mohammad Taqi

All of the pages in LearnEnglish podcasts have audio and no video. For video, I would suggest our Starting Out series and Speaking skills pages.

Good luck!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ADELE on Thu, 10/01/2019 - 15:00

Hi everyone, I like cooking specially local dishes. I would like to describe how to cook milk and rice. First you cook rice measure 3 cups of rice and add 4cups of water, you can add a small salt, wait at least 15minutes. Let it cool and add milk liquid. It so delicious

Submitted by mariana montez… on Wed, 09/01/2019 - 17:47

Hi everyone; I love cook. My family like when I prepared International Shrimp. It's not a typical Brazilian food but its delicious! Recipe: Rice Shrimp chopped onion and garlic milk cream nutmeg chopped ham maize starch Prepare: cook the rice separately and make a white salsa with the others ingredients. Finally mix the rice with the salda. Put potato sticks and parmezon cheese. Oven 15 minutes.

Submitted by Southern Pilgrim on Mon, 07/01/2019 - 22:47

I like to bake pizza. For the dough, you mix flour, water, salt, yeast and a bit of sugar. It's necessary to knead the dough until its smooth, and then let it rest in a bowl for a while, until it has doubled its size. Next, stretch the dough in a baking tray, and add your favorite topping. It can be tomato sauce and mozzarella or anchovies, onion, etc. Then put in a hot oven (220°C is ok) for about twenty minutes.

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
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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

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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.

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...
Profile picture for user SandyL

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.
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Submitted by Maria Andrea on Tue, 23/10/2018 - 20:55

In my country the fish is prepared fried with rice or potatoes and salad, sometimes it is served as a fish sandwich, a fried fish with bread, tomato and lettuce.

Submitted by Gabriela Leal on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 16:51

Hi,my favorite recipe is the "ajiaco" is a traditional like soup of Bogota, Colombia. This soup have chicken in small pieces, common potatoes, yellow potatoes or (criolla) how is known in Colombia, peas, and corncob in pieces. First put to boil water in a big pot, with salt and onion in branch. When de water is boiling we add the potatoes, the corncob and the peas; 20 minutes after put the chicken in the pot and left cook until the chicken is well cooked. And finally we can add chopped parsley.

Submitted by jdarc_17 on Thu, 20/09/2018 - 15:31

Hi guys, I would like to share a recipe of very simple and delicious salada with you. Cut one tomato in slices. After that mix with it half lemon juice, salt as you like, oregons and two (soup) spoons of olive oil. Add to it some rocket and lettuce leaves, involve it all with the tomatos and enjoy it. If you prefer add some seeds. ;)

Submitted by anngan on Mon, 17/09/2018 - 10:09

Hi! This is a really simple way to enhance any salad, rice, potatoes or meal. Fry seeds in oil för about ten minutes on medium heat until they are golden. You need to stir frequently. When they´re done add a pinch of salt and sprinkle them hot or cold on your food. I use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds and sesame seeds. Both young and old sees to appreciate this, because the bowl is always empty when we´ve eaten! Anna

Submitted by Abeer92 on Sat, 15/09/2018 - 13:29

The food recipe is klecha is common in my country Iraq on occasions Ingredients: kilo of white flour cup and half oil, a cup of liquid milk, a large spoon, vanilla and baking powder, hal, mix the ingredients and become a dough by the hands, and then make a small dum of dough and fillthem with dates, sesame or walnuts, put in oven for 10 minutes 180°c
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Submitted by Gehad Fathy on Tue, 11/09/2018 - 23:01

Thanks Adam and Rob, I enjoyed the podcast. In fact, the last few days were my peak for eating "Indomie", as you know it is instant noodles and all you need is to put it in a container with boiled water and leave it for few minutes. It's found in different flavors like chicken, curry, vegetables and so on. Some people prefer to make their own one by adding or mixing some spices, ketchup, meat or small vegetable pieces, others get rid of soup as they prefer to have it like Spaghetti pasta. To me, it tastes delicious by anyway
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Submitted by mostafa.elkilany on Thu, 06/09/2018 - 11:02

hi this is the first participate for me , hope every one is ok. in Egypt the dishes is the same like Europe cities , we called " chips " not " french fries " I like it so much , i like also most kind of fish thanks for allowing me participate
Hey Mostafa, I am Egyptian and glad that I have an English Egyptian practitioner with me, my best wishes.
Hi Gehad, A really happy surprise, I did not expect a person from Egypt to participate here like me, so I invite you to share the training together, but I do not know how we can get to the email so how we can communicate , generally we can participate in the comments, which I always get a notification from her via my email Welcome again, best wishes
Thanks a lot Mostafa by the way, I can't find any icons for notifications here, how can you get them?
i get notification Daily via e-mail i was registered in my account , I think that the notifications will certainly sent you via registered email, so try checking your email, In any case, it is a good opportunity to know you. all my best wishes