Orchid English Blog

10 Delicious British Puddings to Buy in the UK

Posted on 11月 18, 2016


By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

We are often asked for recommendations for food for newcomers to London to try. There are quite a lot so we’ll just focus on puddings today! We couldn’t agree on the best British pudding so we put together a list.

Below are some of our favourite British puddings typically eaten in colder seasons. They can all be served hot and are particularly satisfying on cold winter evenings. All of these are quite easy to find if you go to good gastropubs. If you’re making these yourself or buying them to eat at home, don’t forget to buy custard, ice cream or clotted cream to go with them!


Winter Puddings

Christmas Pudding – rich moist dark pudding made with dried fruits and sometimes brandy, sherry or rum. For those with a low tolerance to alcohol, bear in mind that Christmas puddings are cooked for a long time so most of the alcohol has evaporated. 

Mince Pies – similar flavour to Christmas pudding but with mincemeat (sweet rich jam with dried fruits) in individual pastry cases. 


Fruit Puddings

Apple Crumble – like apple pie but with a crust of butter sugar and flour “crumbled” into breadcrumbs. Very easy to make at home or to find in a good pub. 

Bakewell Tart – from Bakewell in the North of England, made with frangipane and jam, we can also get Bakewell slices. These are best bought fresh from a bakery. 

Spotted Dick – a traditional mild-tasting suet pudding with dried fruits.


Toffee and Fudge Puddings

Sticky Toffee Pudding – a soft toffee cake with a rich toffee sauce and a pub favourite. The illustration for this post is sticky toffee pudding. 

Treacle Tart – a very sweet, simple tart made with golden syrup and breadcrumbs. 

Banoffee Pie – a modern favourite invented in 1971 by a top chef in Sussex made with banana and toffee. Best made fresh in a restaurant or café although you can buy them in supermarkets. 


Bread-Based Puddings

Bread? In a pudding? Yes, try it!

Bread and Butter Pudding – a soft and light pudding with dried fruit that you can make very easily and is widely available in pubs. Similar to pain perdu or French toast. I grew up on this. 

Bread Pudding – a moist, dense, fruity pudding with spices. I often get warm bread pudding from Greggs the baker.


Which are your favourites? Let us know on social media.

Using “The” When You’re a Member of an Institution

Posted on 10月 11, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

Is your English teacher always telling you to add or remove “the”? “The” is also called “the definite article” in English. Here’s our quick guide on how to use the definite article for institutions. It depends on whether you’re a member of the institution or not. Today we will look at universities, hospitals, churches and prisons.



Should we say “I’m going to university” or “I’m going to the university”? It depends. Do you go to university regularly as a student, or as a visitor? “I’m going to university” sounds like you are a student of that university. “I’m going to the university” seems like you are visiting as an academic or as a prospective student. Perhaps you’re going to “the university” as a one-off to make a presentation there. It depends on whether you are a member of that institution or not.



Likewise, we say we are going to “hospital” if we are a patient, or “the hospital” if we are a visitor or if we work at the hospital. Americans may use “the” in both cases in this example here.



If I say “I went to church” you may assume I have a religious reason for going, and I am a member of that church. “If I say “I went to the church” perhaps I visited the church for a fair or as a tourist.



“Prison” is another example of an institution. Next time you read about a crime in the paper, note whether the criminals are are “going to prison” where they will be members of that institution. Perhaps their families will “go to the prison” to visit them.


So in summary, here’s how to use the definite article for institutions:

  • Use “the” if it’s not your usual institution.
  • Don’t use “the” if it’s an institution you are a member of or go to regularly.

Using “the” in English can be a real pain – you’ll get there! It’s easier to learn the rules bit by bit like this. Confident you know to use the definite article for institutions now? Read more about using “the” in business English here.  

Let us know if you have any questions, or requests for future blog posts on Facebook or Twitter.

How to Use “Too Much” in English

Posted on 10月 7, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

This is a really common mistake our students make. They say “the explanation was too much detailed” or “we were too much early”. What’s wrong with this? Here’s how to use “too much” in English. 


In English we use “too much” with an uncountable noun, and not with an adjective. With adjectives such as “detailed” or “early”, we use “too” not “too much”. The correct sentence is “the explanation was too detailed”. If you want to emphasise your point, you can say “the explanation was much too detailed”.


To use “too much” with nouns, the nouns must be grammatically uncountable.  Grammatically uncountable nouns include “money, “information”, or “equipment”. You can’t say “I have one money”. Grammatically countable nouns include “people”, “pens” or coins”. You CAN say “I have one person”. It’s only with grammatically countable nouns that you can use“too much”.

So this is the correct form:

  • “There is too much money”
  • “There is too much  information
  • “There is too much  equipment

Not: There is too much people

Negative Sentences

For the negative, you can use “not enough” for countable and uncountable nouns: “I don’t have enough information and I don’t have enough pens”.

Test Yourself

So now you know how to use “too much” in English. To practise countable versus uncountable nouns, there is a great quiz here. Good luck! 


How to start and finish professional emails in English

Posted on 9月 13, 2016

By Emily Stallard, owner and trainer at Orchid English


Do you struggle with formality in business writing? Even native English speakers sometimes wonder which form to address to use, and which sign off is best. Here are some of our tips on how to start and finish professional emails in English.


How to Start Emails

Hi Donna,

When emailing colleagues I usually start “Hi” and their first name. This may look too casual to some people from other cultures but it’s “business casual” in the UK. It’s still more formal than using “Hi” or “Hey” with no name, as you may write to a friend.

Hello Jane,

If I am emailing a potential client or someone else I don’t know well I might start “Hi”, “Hello” or “Dear” and their first name. How do I decide? Sometimes I check how they have addressed me and I use the same form!

Dear Ms Sandberg,

Some people use “Dear” with a title and surname and this is a question of personal preference. I often use this if I’m emailing for the first time, or addressing someone from a culture which uses more formal forms of address. In British business culture this is generally considered over-formal with people who you have already met.


How to Finish Emails

British professionals tend to sign off emails using these words and phrases. Here they are in approximate order of least formal to most formal:

  • Thanks,
  • Best wishes,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Regards,

You may have seen “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully” and these are generally used in letter writing.


So now you know how to start and finish professional emails in English. What style do you prefer? How does this compare to email writing in your culture?

How to use -ware and -wear in English

Posted on 9月 6, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English


Do you know to use the word endings “ware” and “wear”? Had you ever considered that they were different? Recently I saw a student’s written work and I realised that she didn’t use the word endings -ware and -ware correctly. She is a very high level and I wondered how many other people confuse these endings. In spoken English it doesn’t matter because they sound the same. This is how to use “ware” and “wear”:



If you’re talking about clothing, the spelling at the end of the word should be “wear“:

  • Formalwear
  • Menswear
  • Sportswear
  • Swimwear
  • Womenswear

Note that you cannot just say “wear” as an alternative noun for “clothing”. I have heard people learning English say “I like your wear” but this should be “I like your outfit” or “I like your suit” etc. If you want to use the word “wear” you could say “I like what you’re wearing”.


Material or Use

If you are talking about items made from a particular material or items for a particular use, the spelling at the end should be “ware“:

Items made from a particular material

  • Glassware
  • Lacquerware
  • Leatherware

Items for a particular use

  • Giftware
  • Kitchenware
  • Tableware


So now you know! It’s menswear not mensware and tableware not tablewear.

Thanks for reading and please let us know suggestions for future blog posts on Facebook or Twitter!