PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Love and pancakes!

We had a great time this year at Peartree on Pancake Day! Aunty Jean (that is Nicky’s real aunty!) came to visit and she brought us homemade pancakes and also some Welsh cakes, which although are not typical for this time of year, are always delicious. 

Aunty Jean with our international students at Peartree Languages

So, this week’s blog post has two parts. The first is a bit of information about why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, what is done in other countries and also a delicious recipe. The second section is all about that other famous celebration taking place this week; Valentine’s Day. As it falls on Sunday this year our school will be closed and we will be taking a little rest, but that is the perfect excuse to find someone you love and share a special day with them. And, don’t forget, someone you love can also be a friend, family member or why not just be kind to someone you meet in the street? Let’s spread some love in Cardiff and remember that a smile is much easier to make than a frown!

Pancake Day around the world 

Elsewhere in the world, Pancake Day is known by other names, such as Mardi Gras (literally "fat Tuesday" in French), or Fasnacht (the Germanic "night of the fast"). In our school, Peartree Languages, we have different students from all over the world. Some of them told us that in their country they don’t have this traditional day but they are grateful it exists in the U.K. Everybody loves candies, cookies and every type of sweets!

Samuel is taking a break from his FCE preparation course
and trying our pancakes
Everybody loves Welsh Cakes made by Aunty Jean

Other students who have this special day said that in their country it is a little bit different. When you have the opportunity to speak with them, they aren’t used to eating pancakes, they eat meat with a lot of fat and fruit with sugar.

Marta could not say no to delicious home-made cakes

Anyway we need to say thank you to Nicky’s aunt because she brought pancakes and Welsh cakes. She can come back whenever she wants, hopefully soon! All students could enjoy the typical pancake day and they are deeply thankful to have been able to live that experience. This is one of the reasons they are here, in Wales, apart from improving their English, of course.

By Arturo Ortigosa, student at Peartree Languages 

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day? 

It is probably impossible to know when the Tradition of making pancake started, pancakes were eaten on this day like a “fat food”, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. But although it is a Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes - symbolising the sun - was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring. The slavs believed that eating pancakes they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirit of the ancestors, also some pancakes and other kind of food were burnt on a bonfire as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.

 6 things you didn't know about pancakes 

1. The world's largest pancake breakfast was held in Springfield, America, in 2012. The breakfast saw 15,000 people get together in Main Street to enjoy a huge number of pancakes and raised $10,000 for a local charity.
2. The largest number of pancake flips in the shortest amount of time is currently 349 flips in two minutes, a record achieved by Dean Gould in Felixstowe, Suffolk, in 1995.
3. While we in Britain tend to keep our pancake ingredients nice and simple, in Newfoundland, Canada, objects with symbolic value are added to the batter to be cooked. These items are then used to interpret different messages about the future - for example, a pancake served with a ring inside may signify marriage. 4. In France, it is traditional while flipping a pancake to hold a coin in one hand and to make a wish.
5. It is estimated that an impressive 52 million eggs are used in Britain each year on pancake day - that's 22 million more than every other day of the year.
6.The French call pancake day Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. This originates from the ancient ritual of parading a large ox through Paris to remind people that meat was forbidden during the Lent period.

Pancake recipes: how do I make pancakes?

Perfect pancakes

Makes: around 8 pancakes 

110g/4 oz plain flour
1 large egg ½ pint/280ml milk
2 tbsp melted butter


You must to introduce the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Break in the egg, add a pinch of salt and a splash of the milk.

Whisk the egg, gradually incorporating the flour, to make a smooth cream. Whisk in the rest of the milk and the melted butter.

Put all the ingredients in a blender jug with a pinch of salt. Whizz until smooth.

Brush a hot pan with oil before adding a ladleful of batter, tipping the pan so the mixture spreads evenly. Pour any excess back into the bowl.

When the pancake is browned on the bottom give the pan a shake to make sure the pancake is loose. If it is sticking, use a spatula to loosen it. When it moves freely you are ready to toss it. The other side will only need a few seconds.

Valentine’s Day - Spread the Love! 


In the third century after Christ, Valentine was the bishop of Terni (Italy). He performed weddings for couples who were not allowed to get married. They may not have been allowed to get married because their parents did not agree with the connection or because the boyfriend was a soldier or a slave, so the marriage was forbidden. Valentine gave the married couple flowers from his garden. That's why flowers play a very important role on Valentine's Day. This did not please the emperor. On February 14, 269 AD, Valentine was beheaded because of his Christian faith.

United States and Europe 

In the 19th century, the tradition of sending Valentine's Cards became very popular. The cards usually have pictures of hearts or flowers and contain some sort of poem, message, or code. Codes and simple messages give some people the courage to show their true feelings to the person they love. Today, some people still use mysterious codes to show their love. People can use newspapers to give a coded message to their loved one, giving other readers a view of the couples with one another. Sometimes they will give each other chocolates.

Valentine's Day gifts: 4 simple ideas you can make at home. 

For many couples, Valentine’s Day brings with it a weight of expectation. It's like money has to be spent on great presents, flowers and meals out.

In fact, Brits are set to spend £1.6billion this year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are loads of simple, easy (and cheap) ideas to make a unique personal gift for your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

Make a cake 

There are some really easy ‘hacks’ to make your own.

52 Things i love about you 

This is such a brilliantly simple idea! Take a pack of playing cards, and on each one, write a reason why you love your partner. 
You can find out how to do it.

Origami flowers

Valentine’s flowers don’t have to be super expensive bunches of a dozen red roses. Try your hand at a spot of origami and give flowers that just keep on giving!

Heart-shaped fudge

This Peanut Butter Fudge is so incredibly easy, and once it’s set, you can use heart-shaped biscuit cutters to cut out the hearts.
 Again, a jam jar would be ideal packaging for this. If your loved one prefers savoury treats, you can fashion heart shaped pizzas, or even cut sandwiches into hearts.

Text adapted from ‘The Telegraph’
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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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