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.


Do you need to improve your English?
Whether you need better English to travel or meet new people, our online English courses will give you real practice. Join thousands of learners from around the world who are making great progress with their English level with our online courses.


Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)
Profile picture for user Kukul

Submitted by Kukul on Mon, 03/09/2018 - 18:09

Hi guys I like cooking and baking. My favorite recipe is "Fesenjon". It is not easy or maybe I don't know how to cook it very well. the recipe includes meet, walnut and pomegranate sauce!! All of those should be boiled together. We serve it by rice. you can cook it with any meet. Maybe you like sweet dishes and add some sugar!
Profile picture for user Nancy T

Submitted by Nancy T on Tue, 14/08/2018 - 19:29

Here goes a recipe for chicken breast with fine herbs, it is simply delicious! Ingredients: 300 grams of chicken breast 1 lemon 1 tablespoon of soy sauce 3 pinches of salt 5 pinches of chopped black pepper 1 tablespoon thyme powder 1 tablespoon dried fine herbs chopped 10 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to fry the slices. 1 pan for frying Way to prepare: First of all, you wash the chicken breast and drain it well, cut it into 1 cm thick slices and put it in a bowl, then you add all the other ingredients, starting with the liquids of the soy and lemon juice and then the rest of the condiments dried by spreading them and stirring them well. That is what is known as marinating, then light the fire to medium-high and place the pan, you put the olive oil and wait until it is very hot, you place the slices of chicken and you must first seal them with the heat turning them from the beginning to keep their juice for the first 2 or 3 minutes and then let it fry on the first side and when you have an orange color on the bottom then lower the fire to low level and then turn each slice to that brown on the other side and ready! ... You can enjoy a delicious Chicken Breast with herbs!

Submitted by Julia Stefanovich on Fri, 10/08/2018 - 22:08

Hello everyone! My favourite recipe is paste with chicken in cheese sauce. Ingridients: chiken fillet - 200 gr. paste - 100 gr. milk - 200 ml. processed cheese - 100 gr salt, spices. First of all, you should slice a chicken fillet. The you should put the chicken fillet in a pan and add a seed oil. This ingridient should be fry about five to seven minutes, then you should add milk to chicken and wait when it will boil. After that it is necessary to add the cheese, salt and spices. Then you should cook that until the momrnt when the cheese melts. You also should cook the paste in ordinary way. After that you need to mix the chicken filler in sauce and paste.

Submitted by Lixth85 on Mon, 06/08/2018 - 03:19

The new is the dish I was prepare today "tinga de pollo" is like in English chicken in sauce. the ingredients are: 250 gr chicken shred and cooked 3/4 onion 1/2 cup of olive oil 1 tin chilli chipotle 1 piece of garlic sal to taste...

Submitted by Irina07 on Sun, 05/08/2018 - 05:41

My favourite recipe is chicken breast with lemon souce and butter: Ingredients: one chicken breast, 50 milliliters oil, 100 grams butter, 2 lemons salt,pepper and 100 grams flour. Preparation: you will cut the breast chicken in slices. You cover the slices in flour and you deep fry it in hot oil mixed with butter. When it have just been fried you must pour water in a frying pan untill everything is covered. You need to mix it untill you will get a souce with a thicker consistency. At the end, you squeeze lemons juice, you mix everything for 3 minutes and the food is done. I suggest you to eat it with spicy pepper and you can drink a glass of wine. Good meal!

Submitted by Andreo on Tue, 24/07/2018 - 12:52

Yoka Ingredients: 1. pita 2pcs 2. grate cheese 30 gr 3. chickken egg 1 pcs 4. butter 25 gramm 5. salt to taste 6. water 0.5 litre Preheat the frying pan and fry the butter in it.
Profile picture for user Juliana R Silva

Submitted by Juliana R Silva on Tue, 24/07/2018 - 12:25

Hello, One of my favourite Brazilian sweets is "Brigadeiro". Follow the recipe: 1 can of condensed milk 1 tsp of butter 2 tsp of cocoa How to make: Put all ingredients in a pan mix everything and take it the medium heat until the mixture has thickened. It's ready! Just wait it is cold and put it in a dish to serve.

Submitted by User_User on Mon, 23/07/2018 - 12:01

Hello series 03 number 01 task 4 My recipe: schnitzel I've started to write a recipe about my favorite food until I realized that I don't know many words about cooking. For example the word 'breadcrumbs' is rarely used. I've looked it up in an online dictionary and looked how often it is used. Only English learners with the level proficiency (C2) should know this word. My level is between intermedite (B1) and upper intermedidate (B2). I hope that I never must give a recipe in the future. I find that question to hard for intermeditate learners. There were other words in that recipe which only learners of English with the level advanced or proficient should know. Bye
Profile picture for user krig

Submitted by krig on Thu, 19/07/2018 - 07:29

I'd like to share recipe of "OKROSHKA" - a cold summer soup. You need: 2-3 cucumbers, some radishes, 300 g sausage or boiled beef, 3-4 boiled eggs. 3-4 boiled potatoes, 1-2 bunches of greenery (green onion, parsley, dill), sour cream, salt and traditional russian drink "kvas" (it may be replaced by kefir or even sparkling mineral water). This quantity is enough for 6-8 persons. Cooking is very simple. Cut and chop all ingredients, put them in the bowl and pour cold kvas. Add sour cream and salt to taste. It's very tasty and enjoyable in a hot sunner day!

Submitted by Timur on Fri, 01/06/2018 - 13:23

Hi. I am so sorry, i don't like to cook. But i will try to learn some our national cuisine recipe and write down here...

Submitted by marser on Thu, 31/05/2018 - 19:24

Hello! before the recipe I would like to ask for help for the type of tasks like the 3rd one in this episode. when I try to put a second word into a box where I have already put a first one, this first word gets out of the box and goes back to the top. It seems like the box accepte only one word. I don't know how to manage the exercise...

Hello marser,

To add words to the box click once on the word and then click on the title of the box, not on a word already inside the box. Clicking on the title will add the word; clicking on a word already added will swap it for the new word.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Shiiya on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:42

Hello , it is my recipe for coxinha ingredient for Dough two cup of water with chicken broth two soup spoon of butter two cup of wheat flour salt is up to your taste mix every ingredient together , and for stuffing two chicken chest , boiled and unwoven one onion minced two soup spoon of parsley salt and pepper mix every together and fill the dough made before cover with egg white and bread flour and fry until become golden And finally have a great lunch
Profile picture for user loyulan

Submitted by loyulan on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 01:31

Yu's chicken soup. Ingredients: 1/2 kg of chicken (without its skin) 1 liter of water Salt Preparation: Boil the water and the chicken and some salt Boil it for 30 minutes with a very low temperature, and that's it. Now you can enjoy my delicious chicken soup.

Submitted by Paco Salazar on Wed, 11/04/2018 - 10:39

One of the most popular and traditional Spanish dishes is named "Cocido". Despite not being very well-known abroad, it's very popular here in Spain . It's a kind of stew, basically made from potatoes and chickpeas, and usually cooked with pork and chicken meat. The "Cocido" is served and eaten in three parts. First, you eat the soup made from the stock of the stew. After that, the potatoes and the chickpeas. Finally, if you are not full up enough, you can eat the delicious meat. Normally it's eaten in winter for lunch.

Submitted by pickplayer on Sun, 08/04/2018 - 05:22

Ingredients: A. Chicken legs 2pcs Black dry mushrooms 10pcs Slices ginger B. Salt 1Tbsp. Wine 1Tbsp. Method: 1.Keep black mushrooms in hot water make them soft . 2.Chop and blanch the chicken. 3.Put the chicken in a pot, put in 12 cups of water and add A. B. 4.Cook in high heat for 20~30 mins. 5.Then simmer for 1.5~2 hrs until it's cooked.
Profile picture for user V11ker

Submitted by V11ker on Thu, 22/03/2018 - 15:49

I love to cook lasagna. In my opinion it is the best dish. You have to make a bolognese sauce, and it is needed to select the right pasta. Then you make layers putting souce, pasta, cheese, ham. You must cover the superior layer with cheese to gratin. Leave it during 45 minutes in the oven. It is so great!

Submitted by Haydee Peregrino on Mon, 19/03/2018 - 15:49

I can only make pancakes. It is quite easy to make. I bet everyone knows how to make it.

Submitted by Solimar on Tue, 13/03/2018 - 05:29

One of my favorite dishes are the Cesar Salad. Is easy to prepare... The ingredients are lettuce, toast, dressing, parmesan cheese and grill chicken. The chicken is just optional. Mix all the ingredients and eat it.

Submitted by Fernanda Jando… on Thu, 01/03/2018 - 20:18

One of my favourite dish and my speciality too is chicken stew. Its very easy to prepare. First i temper the wings with salt, pepper, vinegar, garlic and others spices that i dont know the name in the english language. So then, i fried it in oil and add tomato sauce and hot water, let this boil into the complety baking. Its delicious , i love it. I make this to my litlle sister, she loves too, makes me happy.

Submitted by marine bitker on Thu, 22/02/2018 - 08:01

One of my specilities is the salmon in spicy crust. It's my husband favorite recipe. It's very simple to do and also quicky. First in a soup plate you prepare the mix of spice, i usually use ginger, lemon juice, paprika, coriender, and sesam's seed. You roll salmon in the plate to recover it with your mixture, and then you cook it in a pan. You needn't add oil because the salmon is enought fat, and it will be more healthy without oil. When both sides are fried you can add soy sauce. It can be eaten with rice and boiled vegetables. The taste of the salmon is amazing with all the spices flavour.

Submitted by didoska on Tue, 13/02/2018 - 13:57

HELLO everyone ı love cooking cake with my son. firstly mix wiith a blender 3 eggs and one bottle of sugar than add to it one bootle of milk ,one bottle of olive oil and 2 spoons of yogurt , mix them together. afterward put it 2 bootle of wheat flour and cinnamon .ıf you prefer add grated carrot or grated apple . finally you must add baking powder and you must not mix so much.it s ready your cake after cooking at the oven under 180 c for 30 minutes. bon apetito:)

Submitted by yla.jay on Sun, 11/02/2018 - 10:17

Hello everyone, My favourite dish to prepare is fish and rice. The way to prepare it is by deep frying the fish and then boil the rice with adding some spices. In the end the fish and the rice are served with a special sauce.

Submitted by Ibrahim mo on Sun, 04/02/2018 - 11:20

My favorite dish is "Mahshy" it's a rice , spices, and cabbage. put some rice with some spices and cook together in some oil for 5 minutes. Put cabbage in hot water until be boil. then put rice with spices in small pieces of cabbage and put some soup and let them on oven for a half hour .
Profile picture for user michalzyska

Submitted by michalzyska on Tue, 30/01/2018 - 22:41

rib eye steak: cover with black pepper ,sea salt put to hot pan oil ,thyme and garlic , frying steak two minutes from each side ,leave the meat for five minutes to rested .Serve with garlic butter :)

Submitted by brzeska.bar on Sun, 28/01/2018 - 10:25

My favourite dish to prepare is a pearl barley with green beans and zucchini. Here is the recipe: Fry 1/3 cup of pearl barley on a pan. Add one chopped onion and one teespoon of oregano. Mix it together and fry for about 5 minutes. Move this mixture to the side of a frying pan, then add one diced chicken breast and pour soy sauce on it. Fry it together for about 7 minutes. After this time mix meat with pearl barley. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth into the pan. Mix everything together an boil under cover for about 20 minutes. Then add one diced zucchini and cup of sliced green beans and cook together for next 20 minutes. And that is all. Enjoy your meal!

Submitted by Yasmin321 on Sat, 27/01/2018 - 22:08

I don't have a favourite dish. So is it's a little bit difficult to share a recipe.
Profile picture for user adeljva

Submitted by adeljva on Thu, 25/01/2018 - 23:55

Well, in Venezuela we eat rice with chicken but it is not our typical dish, it is the "pabellón criollo". The rice with chicken is prepared stir frying the vegetables and the spices and cooking a bit the chicken in the same oil, after this we put a good quantity of rice in the saucepan with water until the rice is in its point.

Submitted by Mimi Gergis on Sat, 20/01/2018 - 11:00

I would like to share a recipe of an Egyptian food called molokhea First we have to bring meat soup and then we have to buy in it the molokhea leaves then we have to fried some garlic and add it on the soup
Profile picture for user Aman.

Submitted by Aman. on Mon, 15/01/2018 - 17:27

Hi everyone, I am Aman. I am new here and let me share an Afghan famous food recipe. The recipe name is KABULI PALOV. I hope you may like it. It’s actually cook rice with meat (mutton) together. You find it commonly in every restaurant at Afghanistan. Fist you take a pan and fry mixture of onion and tomatoes in hot vegetable oil, when it is cooked then you put that mixture in pressure cooker with meat, to keep the flame low for a half hour. At the mean time you also need to put the rice in another pan in hot water to make soft. After an hour you open the pressure cooker and check the meat to be cooked, after that you put rice and meat together in big pan and add hot water to covered the rice. You keep the flame very low for 20minutes. Then you switched off the flame to leave for 10minutes more which will be ready.

Submitted by yushakhov on Wed, 10/01/2018 - 16:56

Hi for everyone! I know another one recipe, very tasty meal for me! It's called "Plov". It's come to us from Middle Asia. Firstly, u have to take the big pan with circle bottom - it call "Kazan". Than u put in it vegetable oil and start to fry a carrot with onion. 10min after - take out fried vegetables, and put in the meat, usually it is mutton. I forgot to say, than this meal is cooking on the open fire - bonfire. When the meat will be done, add water and rice, add fried earlier vegetables and cover kazan by a cap. In the last moment, add the special spices for this dish - you can buy its at locals ethnic markets or in ethnic shops. Good appetite!
Hi, It’s almost same the famous Afghan food, we called Kabuli palov in Afghanistan.