Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Traditional British Food and Drink - First Certificate

Our Full-Time First Certificate group are looking at Food and Food Issues at the moment.  

This topic is wide and varied and is creating some interesting debates in the classroom.  

While students are concentrating on this topic, we thought it would be nice to look at some traditional British Food and Drink.  

1.      Fish and Chips

Consists of fish (usually cod or haddock but any white fish could be used) which is battered and then deep-fried served with chips (fried potatoes). It is sometimes accompanied by other items such as mushy peas or tartar sauce.  Friday night in the UK is often ‘Chippy Night’ – the busiest night for Fish and Chip shops, originally because Catholics chose to eat fish on this day. 

2.       Sunday Roast

The Sunday roast is a traditional British and Irish main meal served on Sundays, consisting of roasted meat, roast potato or mashed potato, with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy.  For many families, this is the most important meal of the week and has deep-rooted traditions varying from family to family. 

3.       Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea or low tea is a small meal snack typically eaten between 4pm and 6pm. Observance of the custom originated amongst the wealthy classes in England in the 1840s.  Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar, accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam), usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg cake, fruit cake or Victoria sponge).

4.       Haggis

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casing rather than an actual stomach.  Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, considered the national dish of Scotland as a result of Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis of 1787. 

5.       Calcannon

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish, made from mashed potatoes and kale (or cabbage), with milk (or cream), butter, salt and pepper added. It can contain other ingredients such as scallions, leeks, onions and chives. There are many regional variations of this dish

6.       Welsh Rarebit

Welsh rarebit is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese (usually Cheddar) and various other ingredients and served hot, after being poured over slices (or other pieces) of toasted bread, or the hot cheese sauce may be served in a bowl accompanied by sliced, toasted bread. 

7.       British Ale

Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm-fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which help preserve the beer and impart a bitter herbal flavour that balances the sweetness of the malt.

8.       English Cider

Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice, but also the juice of peaches or other fruit.  Cloudy, unfiltered ciders made in the West Country are often called "scrumpy", from "scrump",[45] a local dialect term for a small or withered apple. 

9.       English Cheese
English cheese is generally hard, and made from cows' milk. Cheddar cheese, originally made in the village of Cheddar, is by far the most common type, with many variations. Tangy Cheshire, salty Caerphilly, Sage Derby, Lancashire Cheese, Red Leicester, creamy Double Gloucester and sweet Wensleydale are some traditional regional varieties. Cheddar and the rich, blue-veined Stilton have both been called the king of English cheeses.

  10.  Manchester Tart

The Manchester tart is a traditional English baked tart, which consists of a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with raspberry jam, covered with a custard filling and topped with flakes of coconut and a Maraschino cherry.  A staple on school dinner menus until the mid 1980s, the original Manchester Tart is a variation on an earlier recipe, the Manchester Pudding, which was first recorded by the Victorian cookery writer, Mrs Beeton.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancake Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day.  

For Christians, this day marks the last day before the 40 days of Lent.  

Pancakes are associated with this day because they were a way to use up rich foods, such as eggs, sugar and flour, before the fasting season began.  

Though people have come up with many fillings for pancakes over the years, the tradition is to sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over the hot pancakes before eating.  

Today the Young Learners at our school will be learning more about the tradition of eating pancakes in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other former British colonies.  They will also be thinking of what fillings they would like to have in a pancake.  

For those that want to try traditional British pancakes at home, here is a video showing you how to make them.  We hope you enjoy eating them!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Typical versus Traditional

Often, our students seem to use the word typical when describing Sicilian food or food which is special for a particular festival or time of year.  

This is because the word typical is similar to the word tipico in Italian, though the meanings have subtle differences between the two languages.  

Although the sense of the word is understood if used in this way, native English-speakers would argue that the word traditional would be much more appropriate.  

Let's look at the meanings of the two words:


- definition


like most people or things of the same type
fairly typical
typical of

used about people or things that are exactly like what most people imagine they are like

typical of


 - definition


typical of the things that people have usually done

So, next time you are using English to describe regional food or food associated with special events, take time to consider if the word you choose is really the most appropriate.   

Friday, 8 February 2013

Student of the Month - February

Name:                  Alessandro Lorefice

Level:                   Elementary

Course:               Key (Formally KET)

Our latest Student of the Month is sixteen year old Alessadro, who is studying towards the Cambridge Key (KET).  Alessandro is in the third year of high school in Scicli and started at English International School this year.  

Key is the first level of the Cambridge English certificates and is at A2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference.  This basic level qualification shows that you can use English in simple situations and incorporates the four skills of learning a language; speaking, listening, reading and writing.  Attending this course is a fantastic way to build the foundations of learning the English language and Cambridge certificates are internationally recognised.  

Alessandro answered a few questions about learning English at our school:

Why did you decide to come to English International School?

I came to the school to improve my English, so that in the future I can speak better.  

Tell us about the students in your class...

There are four students and we are all really good!  Alex is my friend from Scicli, he is friendly.  The other students are from Modica, Alessandro and Francesco.  Alessandro is very good at English and Francesco is passionate about horse riding.  And the best is our teacher, Catherine.  

What do you find easy and difficult about the course?

The writing and reading are easy, infact, I'm really good at these activities.  The listening is very difficult.  

What do you hope to become in the future?

In the future, I would like to find a job where you have to speak English.  I hope to become an international lawyer.  

Seeing Alessandro at school is always a great pleasure, he always has a ready smile and a cheerful hello.  Though he is new to studying English, he is making steady progress and is already able to have simple conversations with teachers and fellow students.  We are sure that over time he will be able to master the language and become a fluent English-speaker.  

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Happy Waitangi Day!

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.
English is the national language of New Zealand, spoken by 98% of the population.  New Zealand's other official language is that of the indiginous Māori people.  The New Zealand English accent is similar to the Australian accent, in fact, it is almost impossible for English speakers from the northern hemisphere to tell speakers of the two nations apart.  
May we suggest you celebrate Waitangi Day by trying to perform the Haka, as demonstrated here by the All-Blacks Rugby Team:

Friday, 1 February 2013


Welcome to a new month!


Many people pronounce the 'ru' of "February," as if it were spelled "Feb-u-ary".   This comes about by analogy with "January" (which ends in "-uary" but not "-ruary"); as well as by a dissimilation effect whereby having two "r"s close to each other causes one to change for ease of pronunciation. 
The Scots language names for the month are Feberwary and Februar, the latter usually pronounced with a long "ay" in the first syllable.