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Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was due to chair a meeting of the Government’s crisis committee Cobra in response to the bad weather and power cuts.

Dorian Gray (15)

For Oliver Parker to have made one Oscar Wilde adaptation (An Ideal Husband) could be considered a misfortune.

Golden tomatoes with feta, olives and basil

Serves 4

In the red: Mark Hix cooks with juicy, late-summer tomatoes

Most of the tomatoes bought in the UK have, until quite recently, been imported – and they can vary from being pretty good to tasteless. Our home growers seem to be getting more enthusiastic these days, though, and are producing some great fruits including some unusual forgotten heritage varieties. This gives us tomato lovers great scope to create some simple late-summer tomato recipes. When you have a lovely ingredient like a tomato, you really don't need to do too much to it initially, except dress it with a good oil and vinegar, or add another simple ingredient, such as basil.

Aubergine and chard gratin

Serves 4

Sybil the Downing St mouser is dead

Chancellor Alistair Darling's cat Sybil, the former chief mouser of Downing Street, has died after a short illness.

Salad of Parma ham, figs, tomatoes, dates and basil

This salad is simple and light, comprising ripe, sweet, summer dates pinned down with the slightly salty flavour of the Parma ham. Heritage tomatoes are not difficult to find these days and the basil here I have seemed to grow very easily this year in my garden at home. You don't have to use either these tomatoes or the basil – but do make sure the ingredients are ripe.

Grilled rabbit with basil oil

Serves 4

Tiny tubs of taste: Growing your herbs is the biggest favour you'll ever do your food

Herbs are simple, inexpensive and the crowning glory of so many dishes

Pea shoot and purple basil salad

Serves 4

From plot to plate: Skye Gyngell makes the most of her beautiful early-summer crop

There's a whole treasure trove of simple green goodies to be harvested at Petersham – and Skye Gyngell has the recipes to make the most of their raw appeal

From plot to pot: Why buy fresh herbs when you can pick them right outside your back door?

Carolyn Hart selects eight chefs' favourites to start growing now

Extra cash to hunt down killers

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has vowed to give Northern Ireland's Chief Constable Hugh Orde extra financial assistance to track down the dissident republican killers of two soldiers and a police constable.

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