Happy Halloween!

Jack O' Lantern, by B.A. Pabón

Jack O’ Lantern, by B.A. Pabón

All Hallows Night

A poem by Lizette Woodworth Reese (1856 –1935)

Two things I did on Hallows Night:

Made my house April-clear;

Left open wide my door

To the ghosts of the year.

Then one came in. Across the room

It stood up long and fair—

The ghost that was myself—

And gave me stare for stare.

Halloween Costumes


10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Bay Rum Cologne

bay_leavesWas this what they used as aftershave in westerns? I wonder.

2 ½ ounces crushed bay leaves;

1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom;

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon;

½ teaspoon ground cloves;

1 pint Jamaican rum.

Add bay leaves and spices to the rum and shake well. Strain and bottle. This cologne will stay true for months if kept at room temperature.

10.07.07. Intermediate, Recipes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Vegan Stuffing

dining_roomLet me see. It’s 1 cup lentils and 4 cups water which you bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour. Then it’s 1 cup rice and 1½ cups water in the rice cooker. Goodness gracious! There are so many instructions to remember. Here’s a vegan stuffing which serves 4 from the November issue of Hour Detroit Magazine, which was meant for Thanksgiving, but which could have been done for Christmas, as well, and there’s still Epiphany coming, at least in Spain, right? My favourite holiday ever. Though soon enough no one will be able to afford turkey or have a holiday, for that matter. In Spain or elsewhere.


Olive oil for sautéing

1 cup shitake mushrooms, finely chopped/diced

1 small poblano pepper, finely chopped/diced

1 sweet potato, cut in small cubes (almost diced)

1 onion, finely chopped/diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, finely chopped/diced

6 slices bread with veganically grown grains (no animal-derived fertilizers used)

Water, enough to moisten the bread (about ½ cup)

¼ cup smoked almonds, chopped

Pink Himalayan sea salt

Soy sauce, to taste

Splash of truffle oil

1 handful spicy baby greens mix

Cooking Instructions

Sauté vegetables (except greens) in olive oil. Fold in the bread cubes. Add water. Add nuts, salt, soy, and oil. Fold in greens. Place mixture in a pre-oiled vessel and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for at least 40 minutes. If possible, make stuffing early in the day on the same day as the dinner. Uncover when done and cover again for reheating.

Now, a simple question: is there anything such as ‘vegan turkey,’ a contradiction in itself? I really wonder. A vegan consumes no animal food or dairy products. But then, vegan burgers do exist, which leads me to assume there is such a thing—or should be. The picture, from Clare Barnes, Jr’s Sleeping Under Blankets, and the level is NI1.

10.07.07. Humour, Intermediate, Recipes. Leave a comment.

Domestic Violence

wsickert_camdentownThis cloze test is meant for Intermediate students. I found the original text on my first visit to the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. What you have here is an adaptation of it. The painting that illustrates this post is The Camden Town Murder, by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942). If you are interested in seeing more of Sickert’s artwork, I strongly recommend visiting the link at the end of this post.




10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Cloze Tests, Force-Feeding, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Day(s) Off Form

cook_leftSometimes we have duties to perform which are absolutely unavoidable. Here’s a composition topic where NI2 students are required to complete a day-off form. You will find attached a file with an example of what you are supposed to do and a day-off form which you must complete. You may want to take this exercise one step further and submit the form to your partner for his/her disapproval. He/She will have to provide as good a reason as you have. Write 100 to 120 words. The photograph belongs to Clare Barnes, Jr.



10.07.07. Composition Topics, Force-Feeding, Humour, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Bird Watching

If you enjoy bird watching, the best you can do is hang a bird feeder from a branch of a tree in your own backyard. Assuming you have a bird feeder, a tree and a backyard, naturally. I have a bird feeder, my neighbour has a tree, and my niece has a backyard. That’s why I can sometimes spot these birds below: the Northern Cardinal, the House Finch, and the Black-capped Chickadee. The pictures, I found on the Internet. I left my camera in Spain and hope to retrieve it the next time I visit—in a year or so, God willing. The exercise attached, I designed for NI1 students, but I’m sure some of you NB2 students will easily answer correctly as well.

Northern Cardinal

House Finch


Black-capped Chickadee



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Intermediate, Multiple Choices, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

People talk about third world countries as if they were far away in a distant planet, but the truth is we’ve got them just round the corner. Horrid, horrid world—and so static! Nothing ever does change. Here’s a gapped text for Intermediate students.



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Gapped Texts, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Exotic Pets

Spain abolished slavery in 1542, France for a spell in 1789  and definitely in 1848, the U.K.  in 1833,  the U.S.A in 1865, and Russia in 1861. The sale and purchase of animals is nothing short of slavery. A gapped text exercise for Upper-Intermediate students.



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Gapped Texts, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Life is Beautiful

La vita è bella, but only for the chosen few. Scene? Switzerland (of course). Period? The present (today as yesterday as tomorrow, per saecula saeculorum). Here’s a multiple choices test for Intermediate students.



10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Intermediate, Multiple Choices. Leave a comment.

Comin’ out of the Kitchen

On August 15, 2011 TIME magazine published an interview with feminist Gloria Steinem in which she speaks about the road feminism has taken in the 21st century. Here’s a questions and answers exercise for NI2 students adapted from Ms. Luscombe’s interview. There’s also a link in this post to The Guardian’s May 19, 2011 article on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, in case you haven’t heard about it (which I doubt), another link to HBO’s documentary trailer Gloria in her own Words, and a last one to TIME video 10 Questions for Gloria Steinem, which you may want to watch after doing the exercise. Both the article and the videos are above your level, so don’t panic: just read, listen, and learn to the best of your abilities.






10.07.07. Force-Feeding, Intermediate, Questions & Answers. Leave a comment.

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