Friday, 31 October 2014

How to make the perfect Risotto!

B1 + level - Intermediate

How to make a perfect Risotto... For two.

I have it on good authority, that I make a pretty good Risotto!

Before you start prepare a litre of chicken stock with boiling water, this is to add little by little to the risotto as you cook it.

First I pour in a glug of olive oil into the pan, with some finely chopped garlic approximately 3 cloves of garlic.

Then I add a cup of rice, coat the rice in olive oil and stir well to make sure all the rice has been coated. Then I add half a glass of cheap white wine and stir well until wine has almost evaporated.

Start adding the stock bit by bit, whilst constantly stirring on a high heat.

When you have used up all the stock, and the rice is 'al dente'. (this is when the rice is not quite done).

Take the risotto off the hob. Season with salt and black pepper.

Take a packet of grated cheese, preferably with a mix of 4 cheeses and add as much as you like to the risotto and stir.

Then add some Gorgonzola, and stir in. Don't let it melt completely, this way you will be able to taste the Gorgonzola cheese.

Dish out and add a dollop of mushroom pate and grate a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

A nice glass of chilled white wine would go nicely with this dish. I recommend a glass of Ruedo ( Spanish white wine).

Bon appetite!

What are your favourite recipes?
Why don't you try to describe a recipe in English?

Vocabulary - The relevant definition of words in the text.

stock; (noun) liquid made by cooking bones, meat, fish or vegetables slowly in water.

glug; (noun) an amount of liquid poured from a bottle.

chop; (verb) cut (something) into pieces with repeated sharp blows of an axe or knife.

coat; (verb) (cooking definition) to cover with a 'coating' can be wet or dry.

evaporate; (verb) turn from liquid to vapour

melt; (melt) make or become liquified by heating.

dollop; (noun) a large shapeless mass of something, especially soft food.

For English classes on Skype, email Lisa:  Skype name: friendlyteacher14

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Subtle culture differences.... B2 +

Subtle culture differences... 

Comparing Spanish and English customs and cultures 

I've lived in both countries throughout my childhood and adult life. You could say that I have adopted both culture and customs alike. I believe I have kept the best of both... But have I? Why don't you be the judge of that? 

I like to have a cup of tea and a biscuit at around 5 pm (tea time). Friends laugh at me and say "ooh Lisa, you're so English." or "You can take the girl out of England, but you can't take England out of the girl." I have met and worked with people who have lived in Spain for over 20 years, and have remained British to the core! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Why should people change just because they move to another country? This is a good question, and I shall address this in my next blog.

I'm so terribly polite all the time... "Would you mind passing me the salt, please." "Thank you, your so kind..." ok well, maybe I don't bother with the  "your so kind" bit. 
In Spanish I would simply say "pass the salt" or even "the salt" accompanied by a small hand gesture to indicate the salt. Obviously it would be said in a polite tone, but without the need for any airs or graces. And I do accept this. However, the only thing that makes me feel a little uncomfortable is when someone says "give me!" (dame) in English, this sounds somewhat rude to me.

Another thing which baffles me is why can't we say a flat "No" in Britain. We say, "not really" or "maybe not, eh" or we come up with a million excuses why it's not convenient to do something. Here in Spain I can just say "no" without the need to excuse myself. I have said this many times, Spain has taught me to say no. And I'm grateful for it. As I feel less pressured, less stressed as a result. 

There are many more culture differences to explore... I'll keep you posted.

What differences have you found when travelling abroad?
Do you have an experiences to share?

For more information about online classes, contact Lisa by email or skype friendlyteacher14. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Arriving on time.... B1 +

Punctuality... What's your view?

Is it ok to keep someone waiting?

Would you be late for an interview? No! To meet the Queen or Antonio Banderas or Penelope Cruz? Then why arrive late when meeting a friend?

I don't like being late, it's physically impossible for me to be late. So, why is it so hard for others to keep time?

I live in a country where it's "acceptable " to be late... My students are sometimes late, my friends are late and some even turn up late for Zumba class. Some people do find it a challenge to be on time, especially with kids, etc. But I'm talking about single people.

For me it's quite simple... I know how long it takes me to get ready, I know that it takes an X amount of time to get somewhere (on foot, by car is different because your subject to traffic delays) and I leave enough time to do all this... The result? I arrive bang smack on time!

I try not to take it personally when someone is late.... I take a book and pretend that I'm having some quiet time alone to contemplate life... When really I look like Billy no mates, all dressed up and alone! Why? Cause my so called "best mate" could not be bothered to keep our engagement or simply got sidetracked on facebook and lost track of time! Is that a good enough excuse? I think not!

In my opinion, if you can't make it to the bar/restaurant for 8pm, make it 8.30!

What do you think?
Should people be on time?
Do I sound too condescending?
Maybe I should just chill out and not get annoyed about such trivial things....

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Kissing Etiquette - B2 +

Kissing etiquette

For Skype English classes Contact Lisa by email or Whatsapp 0034
645424237. Skype friendlyteacher14.

A potential minefield


Kissing friends and acquaintances

I have lived in Spain for more than ten years now, and have grown accustomed to cheek kissing as a form of greeting. I do believe that it is a lovely way to greet someone you know or someone you have never met before, in a social setting. It says a lot about a person, it shows that they don't find you repulsive, you don't smell bad! It means that they like you enough to get up close and give you two small pecks on the cheek and you in turn feel the same way.  I do like it when I walk into a room and everyone gets up out of their chairs to greet me.  In the United Kingdom, you would be lucky to get a small wave from someone as you enter, but I'm referring to acquaintances! I am sure if I walked into a pub in my home town and a bunch of friends were waiting for me, most of them would stand up to give me a kiss (one peck, never two) and maybe even a hug.  It makes you feel nice and special, and you also feel welcome.  I sometimes do feel a little awkward in the UK, when I am introduced to someone new, I immediately (as if on impulse) step forward to kiss them, then quickly step back and offer my hand for them to shake. I feel ridiculous!  Why can't I just give them a peck on the cheek? I guess its because I don't want to make them feel awkward either. Most of the time I get accused of being 'Oh, so continental!'

Kissing at work

Now, this is something I don't feel comfortable with, perhaps its the English in me, but I would prefer a good old handshake any day!  Why do I have to kiss my boss or colleague when I meet them?  I usually offer my hand straight out. I've asked a few of my students about this, and they agree, kissing has no place in the office! Men aren't expected to kiss at work, why are women expected to do this?

Who makes up these these rules?

It's probably a case with most customes, they evolve over time... Maybe one day women won't be expected kiss in the work place.

How to avoid embarrassment!

Make your actions clear to avoid embarrassing situations.  In Spain it's usually right cheek first, then the left cheek.  If you are just giving one kiss, pull back decisively, don't hover! You don't want the other person to go in for a second kiss only to be shot down! Very embarrassing indeed! Humour can cover this up, just laugh a little and pretend that it's funny, this will relax you both. On one hand, if you really object to being kissed, then Spain isn't the country for you! But if you insist on living in Spain and not joining in with the customs, then I suggest that you stand back hold out a straight arm and offer to shake their hand, which should give a clear message. On the other hand, if you are in a social situation where kissing prevails it is more polite to go along with everyone else... When in Rome and all that!

Other kinds of kisses



minefield; This an expression, meaning that something is very difficult to understand or confusing.

repulsive; disgusting, offensive. Tending to repel.

straight out; Phrasal verb meaning - with out hesitation or deliberation.

makes up; Phrasal verb meaning - to invent something.

For Skype English classes Contact Lisa by email or Whatsapp 0034
645424237. Skype friendlyteacher14.