Orchid English Blog

10 Delicious British Puddings to Buy in the UK

Posted on November 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!  Here 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 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 October 11, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

Should we say “University” or “The university”?

It depends. Do you go to university regularly as a student, or as a visitor? “I’m going to university” seems like you are a student of that university. Saying “I’m going to the university” seems like you are visiting as an academic or as a prospective student. 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 said “I went to church” you may assume I have a religious reason for going, and I am a member of that church. “If I said “I went to the church” it is sensible to wonder whether 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.

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

How Much is Too Much? How to Use “Too Much” in English

Posted on October 7, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

This is an easy mistake to make in English. Saying something like “the explanation was too much detailed” or “we were too much early”. What’s wrong with this?

With adjectives such as “detailed” or “early”, we use “too” not “too much”. So we should say “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 such as “money, “information”, or “equipment”. For grammatically countable nouns such as “people”, “pens” or coins” you have to say “too much”.

So: “There is too much information and too many people”.

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”.

If you’d like to practise countable versus uncountable nouns, there is a good quiz here.


How to start and finish professional emails in English

Posted on September 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.

When emailing colleagues I will usually start “Hi” and their first name. While this may look casual to people from other cultures it is still more formal than using “Hi” or “Hey” with no name, as you may write to a friend.

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. Some people use “Dear” with a title and surname and this is a question of personal preference. I often use this if addressing someone from a culture which uses more formal forms of address. In British business culture this is generally considered over-formal.

British businesspeople tend to sign off emails using these words and phrases. I have listed them in approximate order of formality from 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.

Try it, and let us know how you get on!

How to use -ware and -wear in English

Posted on September 6, 2016

By Emily Stallard, Owner and Trainer at Orchid English

Recently I saw a student’s written work and I realised that people do not always use the word endings -ware and -ware correctly. In spoken English it doesn’t matter because they sound the same.

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 dress” etc.

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

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