Italian rice cake | Isa Bigi

This delicious cake recipe comes from Italian contributor Isa Bigi. In the description, she shares a lovely childhood memory. The language in this story covers the B2 use of ‘would’ to describe the past, as well as A2 level ‘afterwards’ and ‘slice’. Enjoy!

The story

This cake reminds me of when I was a child. The summers were really warm and during the afternoons I used to play with my cousins and friends in my grandmother’s back yard.

Every summer afternoon, while we were playing, she would call to us from her balcony and throw some money down.

We would run to the bakery on the corner to buy a slice of this cake. Afterwards, in the shade of her kitchen, my grandmother would tell us ghost stories.

I can’t remember anything that tasted as good as that rice cake.

Language

Most learners of English know would for making offers (Would you like a cup of tea?) and in hypothetical present/future conditionals (I would buy a new car if I could afford one). However, we also use would to describe habitual past actions, just like used to. The important difference is that used to can be used to describe habitual past actions (We used to meet every Saturday) and past states (He used to be more stressed), would is only for describing past actions (We would meet every Saturday), not states (He would be more stressed).

In the comments section below, tell us about happy or unhappy food memories you have from childhood. What would your mother make you eat? What would your uncle give you as a treat? What vegetables would you refuse to try?

We use this adverb to describe a sequence of events.

We had a great meal at the Thai restaurant. Afterwards, we went out for a few drinks.

You can also use it at the end of a sentence.

Try the exercise, and I’ll give you feedback afterwards.

In the comments section, describe a very simple recipe. Try to use ‘afterwards’ when giving the instructions.

  • slice (A2 CEFR)

This word is both a verb and a noun. As a noun, it often combines with of + food. For example, you can have a slice of bread for breakfast, a slice of lemon in your Coca-Cola at lunchtime, and then a few slices of roast beef for dinner! Slices are usually quite thin and flat. When you cut something into slices (countable noun), then you slice (verb) it.

In the comments section below, share some examples of ‘slices’ of things you have eaten or used this week.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200g rice
  • 1l milk
  • 180g sugar
  • 4 medium-sized eggs
  • butter
  • breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Heat the milk and sugar in a pan.
  2. Once the milk has started to boil, add the rice and reduce the heat to very low. Cook the rice gently for 45 minutes or so.
  3. When the rice is cooked let it cool completely.
  4. When it has cooled, add the eggs one by one and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Pour the rice and egg mixture in a cake pan.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven until it becomes goldenish in colour.
  7. If you want the cake to have a crust, spread a little butter over the cake and sprinkle with breadcrumbs before putting in the oven.
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