Category Archives: Life in Reading

Food in the UK

  • Fish and chips

A must have, it is the most famous British dish in Great Britain! This fish (cod or haddock) covered with a thick layer of batter before being immersed in boiling oil is served with vinegar chips and/or with a pea purée. To be tested at least once! You can still enjoy it today in the oldest fish-and-chip shop still in operation “The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World ” in Yeadon, near Leeds.

  • Full English breakfast

It is also known as “bacon and eggs”. It consists of bacon, fried eggs, sausages, beans, “hash brown” (potatoes and fried bread crumbs, shaped like a hamburger), fried tomatoes and mushrooms, all served with toasted bread next to the plate. It’s a real calorie festival, but it’s delicious!

  • Sunday roast

It’s the most common dish in English cuisine. This roast beef is traditionally served with Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding is a salty cake made from eggs, milk, flour and baked in the cooking fat of the meat. The roast is served with baked potatoes and steamed or roasted vegetables – all washed down with some thick gravy sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Toad in the hole

This all-time British classic consists of sausages wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding-like smooth batter and baked in the oven. They are served with an onion juice sauce mixed with wine or English beer and mashed potatoes. It may seem strange to look at, but it tastes great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Chicken masala

Due to their past, Indian culture has strongly influenced English food. This chicken dish with tomato sauce, cream and fenugreek spice is served in most Indian restaurants. It’s served with rice. It is not uncommon for fast food companies like MacDonald’s or Burger King to launch chicken masala variants of their burgers since it’s so popular.

  • Haggis

This Scottish speciality is prepared with sheep offal, onions, oats and lard. This dish is traditionally cooked in a broth with the meat enclosed in a sheep’s belly. However, we can reassure you that today synthetic casings are used instead. Most of the time, the “haggis” is served with mashed potatoes.

  • Bangers and Mash

Nothing more than sausages served on a generous portion of mashed potatoes, topped with a gravy sauce. Simple, quick and delicious!

  • Steak and Kidney Pie

It’s a pie made with salted beef broth, thickened with flour or cornstach and often with ale or stout added. you can serve a magpie in different ways, depending on the meat you use. If you don’t like beef, other versions with chicken or fish exist.

 

Easter in Spain

Easter in Spain – Seville

Holy Week in Spain is the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions, declared of International Tourist Interest, they take place on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter. These associations have their origins in the Middle Age, but also in the Baroque Period and in the last two centuries.

It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter and features the procession of pasos, floats of life like wooden sculptures.
Some of them are of great antiquity and are considered artistic masterpieces, as well as being culturally and spiritually important to the local Catholic population.

 Traditional Dress

The nazareno or penitential are dressed with a tunic, a hood with conical tip, used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period to demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity. They carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, may walk the city streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance.

The traditional suit worn by women on Thursday is known as “La Mantilla”. This custom has become revitalized since the 1980s. The outfit consists of the lace mantle, stiffened by shell and a black dress. It is expected for the woman to hold and show a rosary.

The Paso

At the centre of each procession are the pasos, an image  set atop a moveable float of wood.

The processions start in the evening and finish in the midnight, occupying the streets with religious images, nazarenos and incense scent.

The Music

Behind the Paso, you can find the band of bugles and drums and sometimes it includes clarinets or the saxophones. Saeta is a way of singing that is full of passion. It is sang to the Image from a balcony or in the street, meanwhile the Paso is going along its path.

Traditional food

For Catholics, one of the routines during Easter is to eliminate meat from their diet. This seeks to symbolically honor the wishes of Jesus that appear in Scripture.

You can enjoy during this period particularly two products: Cod and Torrijas.

Torrijas are pieces of fried bread soaked in milk or sweet wine. Usually it has a touch of lemon, honey and cinnamon depending on the recipe.

Torrijas
Cod

Easter in France

About the history :

In a France fundamentally Christian, Easter is an essential celebration, even more important than Christmas. Indeed, it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. It takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 21th, so no earlier than March 22, if the full moon falls on the evening of the 21st, and no later than April 25. It was traditionally mandatory to drop work, to attend Mass and to receive Holy Communion after confessing. Moreover, Easter Sunday is a public holiday in all Christian countries. In France, it is only the following Monday that is.

Easter Sunday puts an end to the Holy Week. During this week, from Thursday to Saturday, the church bells no longer ring as a sign of mourning. Legend has it that, in some Catholic countries and particularly in France, on the evening of Holy Thursday, the bells go to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. On Sunday at the end of the Easter Mass, they begin to sound more beautiful again to announce the resurrection of Christ. When they return, the bells fly over gardens, houses, fields, parks and parks dropping chocolate eggs. In France, it is therefore the bells that bring chocolates to children and not rabbits as in Germanic and Anglo-Saxon countries.

About the traditions :

There are many traditions in France about Easter, but the most popular among young and old is of course the egg hunt. Indeed during Easter Sunday it is customary to find eggs that are hidden in the garden and/or the house.The eggs were laided there by the bells during the night. Equipped with a small wicker basket, young and old will then go on an Easter egg hunt. Be careful not to forget any at the risk of seeing the eggs deteriorate over time!

In France, Easter is especially synonymous with chocolate in everyone’s minds, but then why do we eat chocolate on Easter holidays?

It was in fact from the 19th century that all-chocolate eggs began to appear, particularly in the 1830s thanks to considerable progress in cocoa processing techniques. Originally it was customary to offer very well decorated eggs and one day we had the idea to insert chocolate inside. This pleases the French who swallowed 13,400 tons of chocolate at Easter in 2018 !

HOW TO MAKE NEW WORDS

Every time we create or discover something new, we need to name it. This means that we are always adding new words to our language, and it can happen in a few different ways:

  1. Adding two or more words together. For example, if we want to talk about a piece of paper that gives us news, we can call it a newspaper.
  2. Mixing words together. How do you describe a meal that happens between breakfast and lunch? Brunch, of course!
  3. ‘Borrowing’ words from other languages. We get the word ‘robot’ from Czech, ‘shampoo’ from Hindi, and ‘yogurt’ from Turkish!
  4. Using brand names. We ‘google’ information on the internet, we ‘hoover’ our houses and, if we’re lucky, we might use a ‘jacuzzi’ at the swimming pool!

Can you think of any more examples? Do you know how new words are created in your language? Tell us in the comments!

 

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

St. Patrick Day – Traditions

 

St. Patrick’s Day – St Patrick day traditions

Every 7th of March St. Patrick day is celebrated, this traditional festivity comes from an ancient story and has a lot of symbolic elements. Discover the history and the meaning of them:

  • The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

  • Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

  • The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

  • Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

  • The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

 

What’s going on with British weather?

If you’ve been living in the UK for even a short time, you’ll know that the weather is very changeable – sometimes we get four seasons in one day! Whether it’s chucking it down, or we’re having a heat wave, you should be prepared – never leave the house without an umbrella and sunglasses!

But why is the weather so unpredictable? Well, geographically, the UK sits between warm air coming from the topics and cold air from the polar regions. When the two types of air meet, the atmosphere can change very quickly, from mild to freezing in just one day.

This is one of the reasons that we love to talk about the weather so much – there’s always something new to say!

Four seasons in one day – when we experience many different types of weather in a short period of time

It’s chucking it down – it’s raining a lot (informal)

A heat wave – a short period of surprisingly hot weather

Mild ­– not cold (especially after a period when it’s been very cold)

Freezing – very cold

If you want to find out more, watch this fascinating video from the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-17223307/why-is-british-weather-so-unpredictable

 

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

FREE APPS TO LEARN ENGLISH

Some of the best and most enjoyable ways to practise your English are also completely free! All you need is a mobile phone and an internet connection, and you’ll have access to an amazing selection of apps that can help you to improve no matter where you are. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Memrise – This app was designed by a Grand Master of Memory (Google it – it’s very impressive) and a neuroscientist to help people to learn languages more efficiently and to be able to remember more. You can choose from a set of vocabulary, or you can create your own!

www.memrise.com

  1. Quizlet – This also help you to learn vocabulary, but with flashcards. You can study the words first, and then test yourself in lots of different ways. If you have a list of words that you need to learn for class, or for an exam, then you can enter it into the app and learn in no time at all!

www.quizlet.com

  1. Wordreference – We all use Google Translate to help us understand new words, but this dictionary app is much better. It includes lots of different languages, like French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and more! It also helps you to understand more about the grammar of the word and gives you example sentences.

www.wordreference.com

  1. Macmillan Sounds – This is a great app for pronunciation, as it shows you all the different sounds we use in English. You can press on a sound and then repeat it until you are happy with your pronunciation.

http://www.macmillaneducationapps.com/soundspron/

Are there any other apps that you like? Tell us about them!

What is Pancake Day?

The time has come for one of the best days of spring – Pancake Day! But why on earth do we have a day to celebrate pancakes?

Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday, as it is also called) is celebrated 40 days before Easter Sunday, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

On Pancake Day we use all of the nice foods in the house, like eggs, butter and sugar, to make pancakes and then we eat very plain food for the next 40 days. One of the most popular pancake toppings in the UK is lemon with sugar, but you can have jam, Nutella, or even cheese!

An important tradition on Pancake Day is flipping the pancakes – you have to throw them up in the air and then try to catch them in the pan! It takes a bit of practice, but it’s good fun. Some towns even have a pancake race, where people have to run and flip pancakes at the same time!

You can see one of these races on Broad Street in Reading, from 12.30pm on Tuesday 5th March.

Come and join us for the Eurospeak Pancake parties this week –

Southampton – Tuesday 5th March, 1pm

Reading – Thursday 7th March, 4pm

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

WHY ENGLISH CAN BE HARD

English can be difficult because sometimes words with the same spelling can have different meanings and / or pronunciations.

Here are some examples for you to try to figure out:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was cultivated to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that the workers had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present to his girlfriend.
  • A bass was painted on the bass drum.
  • I did not object to the object which he showed me.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid in his hospital bed.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about who would row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer.
  • To help with planting, a farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail around the mast.
  • Upon seeing the tear in her painting, she shed a tear.
  • I has to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

IDIOMS

Do you know the meaning of these frequently used English idioms? Have a think.

to beat about the bush

a bed of roses

to bite off more than you can chew

to call it a day

cat nap

The answers will be revealed in out next blog post.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on: