Grammar Mondays: adjectives 1

I still sometimes struggle with adjectives in French, because they change. You have to know the gender of the noun, adjust for plurals, etc.; that confuses me, or, even when it doesn’t, sometimes I simply forget!

In English, adjectives are pretty simple. They never change! No matter what you pair it with, your adjective will always be the same. For example: your old shoe, and, your old shoes. There may be more than one shoe, that’s ok, it has no effect on the adjective.

Aldo, adjectives go in front of the noun. For example: a happy face.

There you go! More on this again next week, when we’ll deal with multiple adjectives to describe one thing.

Word of the Day: jeopardize

Here is another word that I really like, perhaps also because it reminds me of the gameshow Jeopardy! that I used to watch as a kid.

When we talk of “danger” in the definition, it is not necessarily mortal danger, it can be, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. You might jeopardize your education if you don’t study; you can jeopardize your health if you smoke; you can put a project in jeopardy by neglecting to get help when you need it.

Have a look at Jeopardy!, the gameshow, I used to absolutely love it and felt so smart when I got a question right!

It’s brownie time!

I just love this brownie recipe. It’s a mix of two recipes I had been using previously, and decided to take the basic principles form both and see what happens. Well, what happens is fab! It’s not very hard to do, even if browning the butter takes a little while, but trust me, it’s worth it!

The extra chocolate chips are an option, this one was a test run for my son’s birthday, hence the little stars!

Let’s practice our cooking vocabulary with this delicious brownie recipe! 

What you will need:

  • Measuring cups
  • ½ tablet of dark cooking chocolate
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • baking pan (the last time I made this I used a glass oven pan, which worked really well because I have a gas oven where all the heat comes from the bottom, so it really protected my brownie from burning).

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease your pan with butter, or line it with baking paper. 
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, if you really want it to taste great, you should brown the butter. To do this, you need to not only melt it, but keep it over the heat until it bubbles and browns. So, continue stirring the butter after it melts, it will begin to foam and make a crackling noise, stay close to it, after a while, brown bits of butter will begin to form at the top. You don’t have to do this, but it adds a richness to the brownies. 
  • Break up the chocolate into squares and place it in a heat safe bowl, then add in the butter, stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted and mixed nicely with the butter. Set it aside to cool for about 10 minutes. 
  • In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt, then add the butter and chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition. 
  • Add in the flour until just combined (don’t mix it too much).
  • Pour the mixture into your pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the centre is just set. If you put a toothpick in the centre, it should come out clean, with maybe just a bit of the batter sticking to it. The baking time for my gas oven is about 25 minutes because it gets very hot, and I don’t have a thermostat on it. Either way, you should check on your brownie after 20 minutes as baking times may differ based on the type of pan you use. 
  • Let it cool before serving.

I used to make this recipe without melting the chocolate with the butter, but it’s so much better this way! 

I hope you enjoy this brownie, it’s a mix of two recipes I found online; you can find the links below. 

Just a Taste: Quick and Easy Skillet Brownie

Browned Butter Blondie: The Best Brown Butter Brownies

Glossary

mid middle
measuring cups cups used to verify the quantity of ingredients
all purpose flour de la farine tout usage
sugar du sucre
unsalted butter beurre doux
egg oeuf
unsalted butter not from the refrigerator
unsalted butter a dish used to cook things in the oven 
oven four
preheat prechauffer
grease rub the butter into the pan to make it greasy
baking paper papier sulfurisé
melt heat it until it becomes liquid
saucepan a pot
taste le goût 
bubbles des bulles
stir mélanger
crackling crépitant
bit a small amount
form become
safe not dangerous
bowl un bol
whisk fouet
set become solid
toothpick un cure dent
batter the mixture you just made, before it becomes a cake
stick to become fixed to something

Recipe time: curry risotto

If we are going to do fusion cuisine, why not go all the way, right? I made this dish yesterday for myself and my husband, and it was delicious, if almost totally accidental. 

Over the holidays, we kind of dropped off our planned grocery shopping outings, and last night, we wound up wondering what on earth we were going to cook for dinner with a mostly empty fridge. Luckily for us, we had onions, parmesan, and lots of different spices. So here we go!

Here is my recipe for a curry risotto; but beware, it’s spicy! 

For 3 people

Ingredients

250g of risotto rice  (riz)
tablespoons of olive oil (approximately, you may have to adjust the quantity a little depending on your pan) (l’huile d’olive)
1 tablespoon of curry powder (poudre de curry)
1 tablespoon of cumin powder (poudre de cumin)
teaspoons of sweet chili powder (poudre de piment doux)
1 vegetable stock cube (carré de bouillon de légumes)
800ml of water (you may have to adjust this slightly)
100g of grated parmesan + more to taste if you like (parmesan rapé)
1 onion, or 2 if your onions are very small; finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 gousse d’ail)

Method

Make the stock and set it on the side.

Fry (frire) the garlic and the onion over a medium heat (feu moyen) in the olive oil until golden. This should take about 5 minutes. Make sure you stay beside it, stirring often so it doesn’t burn (brûler). 

Add the rice, and continue stirring often, for about 2 to 5 minutes, until the rice is golden. 

Pour (verser) enough stock to just cover the rice, stir almost continuously. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the stock, add more, using the same procedure as before. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked; about 25 minutes over a medium heat. 

When most of the stock is absorbed, add the Parmesan, little by little, and stir continuously. 

When all the Parmesan is mixed in, your risotto is ready to serve. Enjoy! 

Let me know if you made the recipe, and how it turned out in the comments below !

Glossary

fusion cuisine the type of cooking which mixes recipes from different cultures 
dish food prepared in a particular way
dropped off stopped doing something (not to confuse with to drop off which means to take a person somewhere)
grocery shopping buying food
outing a trip outside somewhere
wind up doing something to do something unplanned
beware be careful
tablespoons big soup spoon
teaspoons small spoon
adjust change a little bit
finely chopped cut into very small pieces
stirring mixing

Word of the day: flamboyant

Flamboyant is an excellent word. It’s fun and colourful and filled with confidence. You might use the word flamboyant to describe a person who has a larger-than-life personality, and/or who has a colourful and original style. A friend of mine in university had a very flamboyant personality, and he was the life of the party!

Is there anything or anyone you can describe as flamboyant?

Grammar Mondays

As you know, we don’t only use conjunctions for opposition, we also need them to add information or make a further point. That’s why these are great; you can use them all at the start or in the middle of a sentence, always at the beginning of a clause.

Can you make a sentence with each one?

Let us know if you have any questions!

IMMERSION EN ANGLAIS À TRAVERS LES SÉRIES

Personne ne veut que son enfant passe trop de temps devant les écrans, mais si on est réaliste, on admet que nos enfants regardent quand même des dessins animés. Alors, pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour qu’il apprennent en même temps ? 

C’est bien connu que les personnes dans les pays scandinaves, tel la Norvège, parlent très bien anglais. Alors voyons pourquoi. 

Il y a, bien sûr, des raisons linguistiques et économiques pour ces compétences. Les pays scandinaves ont des petites populations; ils ont besoin de parler l’anglais professionnellement pour pouvoir communiquer avec des étrangers. Les langues scandinaves sont aussi plus rapprochées linguistiquement de l’anglais que les langues latines. 

Aujourd’hui, cependant, je vais vous parler des médias. En Norvège, ou en Suède, les séries et les films ne sont généralement pas doublés. Si la version originale est en anglais, elle reste en anglais. Grâce à ça, les scandinaves ont l’anglais tout autour d’eux, alors qu’en France, regarder une série ou bien un film en VO n’est pas toujours possible. Ça change, bien-sûr, mais pour moi, on pourrait vraiment faire mieux. Je connais très peu de français qui regardent leurs médias en VO, même ceux qui parlent anglais ! 

C’est important, pour l’apprentissage d’une langue, de l’entendre. Si le seul endroit où l’on rencontre une nouvelle langue est dans un livre de grammaire, ou dans un cours à l’école où il y a tellement d’enfants que même si l’enseignant est bon, il y a peu de chance qu’il arrive à aider tous les élèves; alors c’est certain que l’on n’apprendra pas. 

Alors, mettez les séries en VO ! Mettez les films et les jeux en VO. Si vous souhaitez que votre enfant parle bien anglais, mettez lui ses dessins animés en anglais. Il n’est pas important ce que vous lui mettez, tant que c’est en anglais, mais voici quelques séries bien aimées de mon fils de 4 ans: Paw Patrol ; Peppa Pig ; Mickey Mouse Club House (génial pour l’apprentissage car en plus d’être en anglais, c’est une série où les enfants apprennent plein de choses) ; Mickey Mouse Roadster Racers ; Curious George et Llama Llama.

Ce n’est pas une liste exhaustive, mais elle est déjà pas mal. Je recommande vivement Mickey Mouse Club House pour les plus jeunes, car c’est vraiment basé sur l’apprentissage des plus petits. 

Donc voilà, j’espère que je ne vous ai pas trop ennuyé ! Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à nous écrire ou laissez un commentaire ci- dessous.

Bonne journée et bon week-end à tous !  

P.S. Cet article est écrit avec l’anglais à l’esprit, mais vous pouvez tout à fait transférer ces idées à n’importe quel autre langue !

Friday Idiom: under the weather

Mandy: How are you today?

Roger: I’m a bit under the weather. How are you?

Mandy: Yeah, same. There must be a bug going around.

This expression is often used when you’re not terribly sick, but you have a cold, for example. Usually, we use the qualifier ‘bit’ right before.

So, have you “caught a bug”? Are you feeling under the weather?

Virtual Museums

Over the past year, visiting any kind of museum has become impossible; they’re all closed. Even when they’re open, many people feel a bit nervous about going on a visit, particularly if they have loved ones with fragile health. Thank goodness, then, for technology. Today, anyone with a computer, or a tablet, and an internet connection, can go on a virtual tour. You might be thinking: but it’s not the same! I absolutely agree. However, many museums have really found their feet in their virtual worlds and have reinvented how we might go about a visit. 

Here are just a few examples of how technological innovation is changing our approach to the modern museum tour. 

The British Museum

The Museum of the World (https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/) is just plain cool. When you enter the museum, you are confronted with a timeline. You use this to travel through time, up and down, using your mouse, or the arrows displayed on the screen. As you travel, you will notice different coloured points, which represent the objects that have been found from each period. Each colour represents a different geographical region. What’s interesting about this, is that you can compare what was happening, or what was produced in different geographical areas around the world at roughly the same period. 

When once you click on a point, you can learn more, with a high resolution image, and information about the object, which you can read or listen to. Honestly, it’s pretty awesome. There is also a legend on the right hand side from which you can choose the topic you’re most interested in, for example, art and design. 

This is really something you can do on a rainy day, or in the evening by yourself or with your kids. I’ve never seen world history presented in a linear fashion like this, and it’s definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to see if it’s something that floats your boat. 

If, on the other hand, you are interested in a more traditional online visit, you can simply navigate to the British Museum’s collection (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection) and browse to your heart’s content. 

The MET

Do you like art? History? Art history? On the MET’s website, you’ll find videos, their whole collection, learning resources, and all sorts of things for kids and adults alike. They even have a site dedicated specially to kids, with videos, stories, and lot’s more. 

It’s really interesting to just explore the site and get lost in all the different things that are offered. 

woman at artwork gallery
Photo by Matheus Viana on Pexels.com

Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps you would like to find everything in one place. Then hit up Google Arts & Culture. There you will find the online collections of all the major world museums; it’s stunning and impressive that we can see all this without ever leaving our home. Of course, you can’t beat going there in person, but few of us are able to travel so widely, even without a Pandemic raging. So, why not check it out?

Granted, this is a rather short list, but it’s already more than enough to occupy eons of your time over the next few weeks. So have a go! 

And don’t forget to let us know if you have found any online collections we should know about! 

Grammar Mondays: conjunctions 2

Today’s grammar spot is once again, about conjunctions. We’re going to persevere with these over the next couple of weeks because I think they’re very important. As I said previously, they’re marvelous in terms of increasing fluidity in writing.

Here are some more example sentences for each conjunction:

However

The trampoline is a great way to exercise, however, there is a maximum weight!

In summer time, the days a long and lazy. However, the days in winter are very short.

But

Add the eggs, but remember to keep stirring.

I like scrambled eggs, but I really prefer an omelet.

On the other hand

There’s something so romantic about an old-fashioned record player. On the other hand, it’s so much easier to just listen to music from my phone.

Wireless vacuum cleaners have become my absolute favourite, on the other hand, they’re much more expensive!

Do you have questions? Do you need more examples or help? Leave us a comment below!