Tongue Twister

Thank you to Dr J.G who gave me this marvellous tongue twister yesterday:

"Three witches watch three Swatch watches. Which witch watches which Swatch watch?"

Can you say it really fast?

Just in case you're wondering, here's the French translation: "Trois sorcières regardent trois montres Swatch. Quelle sorcière regarde quelle montre Swatch?"

Vocabulary: A tongue twister (n) - une phrase difficile à prononcer.
tongue - la langue; twisted - tordu(e) (adj)

If you know any other English tongue twisters, send them to me at the usual address.

How to write... A book review

1. Have a clear plan for each paragraph and do not repeat yourself.

2. Try to use a rich vocabulary. Level B1 & B2: keep the grammatical structure simple.
Level C1: More complicated structures such as “fronting” should be attempted.

3. Use the following plan as a model.

Plan for the review of “French Kiss”

Title & Author

Paragraph 1: Overall short summary of the story, without giving away the ending.

Paragraph 2: Genre – autobiography

Paragraph 3: Writing style

Paragraph 4: Personal opinion

Date of publication, Language, Publisher, Where to buy the book.

Now read the review. There is also an interview with the author which follows the review.

What books are you reading at the moment?

I look forward to receiving your reviews! Send them to me at

Going Nuts! 2

Nutty Recipe 2

If you made the banana & walnut cake successfully, perhaps you would like to try this next recipe:

Nut Tart (Gâteau au noix)

It’s slightly more difficult than the cake, but well worth it. I often make this as a dessert when people come to dinner. You can make it in advance, even the day before, and everyone loves it. However, it does contain alcohol, so this dessert is strictly for grown-ups!

gâteau au noix

For the pastry:
250g flour
100g butter
25g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
300ml cream (crème liquide douce – NOT crème fraiche.)
2 egg whites – beaten until stiff
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Packet of powdered almonds (125g)
100g caster sugar

For the topping:
100g Icing sugar
50ml Cognac or Armagnac
12 perfect walnut halves

slice of nut tart

Mix all the pastry ingredients together into a firm ball. Butter & flour a pie dish, then roll out the pastry & place it in the dish. Put it into the oven at 180° for 10 minutes. It should NOT go brown at all.
Meanwhile, mix the cream, vanilla essence, sugar, salt & powdered almonds together. Then carefully fold in the stiff egg whites.
Take the pie out of the oven & fill it with this mixture. Put it back into the oven & cook for another 30 -35 minutes until it is a golden colour.
When the pie has cooled a little, mix the icing sugar with the Armagnac & pour it all over the top of the tart. Decorate with the walnut halves.

Then sit back and wait for the complements!

baskets of walnuts

Going Nuts!

There is a walnut tree in our garden which is probably about 40 years old. This year, it has produced a bumper crop*.

A bumper crop of walnuts

So what can we do with so many walnuts?


Easy Banana & Walnut Cake

75g semi-salted butter
110g caster sugar
1 large, beaten egg
Grated rind of 1 lemon
225g flour + raising agent
4 ripe bananas
75g chopped walnuts

Pre- heat your oven to 180°. Put buttered, greaseproof paper into a deep cake tin.
Put butter, sugar, beaten egg, flour & raising agent in a large bowl.
Slice & mash* bananas with a fork in a smaller bowl.
Mix the sugar, butter & flour using an electric whisk. (Don’t worry if it looks dry at this stage.)
Add the lemon rind, the mashed bananas & the walnuts. Mix together with a fork.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Bake in the centre of the oven at 180° for 45 minutes, until golden.

This cake is delicious warm or cold, with a cup of coffee or a cup of English tea!

Banana and walnut cake

*a bumper crop = more fruit or vegetables than usual.
* to mash = to crush fruit or vegetables, eg:mashed potatoes
*"going nuts" = (idiomatic expression) to become mad or crazy