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Blog
10/12/2014 12:38
Wednesday Recipe: How To Make English Scones

Ingredients

225g/8oz self raising flour

A pinch of salt

55g/2oz butter

25g/1oz caster sugar

150ml/5fl oz milk

1 free-range egg, beaten, (alternatively use a little milk)

 

Preparation method

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.

Stir in the sugar and then the milk to get a soft dough.

Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/¾in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up.

Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.

27/11/2014 19:50

At 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drilled an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole--it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or "Chunnel," was not a new idea. It had been suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte as early as 1802. It wasn't until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France.

 

 Over the next four years, nearly 13,000 workers dug 95 miles of tunnels at an average depth of 150 feet (45 meters) below sea level. Eight million cubic meters of soil were removed, at a rate of 2,400 tons per hour. The completed Chunnel would have three interconnected tubes, including one rail track in each direction and one service tunnel. The price? A whopping $15 billion.

 

After workers drilled that final hole on December 1, 1990, they exchanged French and British flags and toasted each other with champagne. Final construction took four more years, and the Channel Tunnel finally opened for passenger service on May 6, 1994, with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and France's President Francois Mitterrand on hand in Calais for the inaugural run. The Chunnel is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, after the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

 

20/11/2014 13:19
This Week In History: Thomas Edison's First Great Invention. Level A2

On November 21st 1877, the American inventor invented the phonograph, a machine designed to record and play sound.

Edison stumbled on this invention while he was working on a method to record telephone communication at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He experimented with a stylus on metallic cylinder, which, to his surprise, played back the short song he had recorded, "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB".  

Edison then began to work on the light bulb, and other inventors worked to improve the phonograph. In 1887, Edison resumed work on the recording device again. The phonograph proved to be a popular tool for entertainment, and in 1906 Edison unveiled a series of musical and theatrical selections to the public through his National Phonograph Company.  

During the 1920s, the early record business suffered because of the growing popularity of radio, and in 1929 recording production at Edison ceased forever. Edison, who acquired an astounding 1,093 patents in his 84 years, died in 1931.

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