Pompeii, By Mary Beard

Traditionally, and understandably, our interest in Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, has centred on the dead – the dog tethered to his post, the lovers who died in each others' arms – preserved in pumice for 2,000 years. Mary Beard's focus is on the living: what was everyday life like in this provincial Roman town? She is of a sceptical temper and shows that much of what we think we know is guesswork or mythologising.

Andrew Buncombe: 700 Rupees for a fake cheese sandwich at the best hotel in Asia

This weekend, I was in the splendid "pink city" of Jaipur to work on a forthcoming story. It so happened that I needed to try and interview someone who - on the day in question - was due to be at the Rambagh Palace hotel, a remarkable property still owned by the royal family of Jaipur but operated by the prestigious Taj Group.

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Kraft's £10 billion attempt to land UK confectionery firm Cadbury is the latest in a long line of major takeover stories involving the Illinois-based firm, maker of some of the world's best-known snack brands.

Stewed peppers with goat's cheese

Serves 4-6

Alex James: I'm going to take my cheese underground

Got to the hotel about 4.30am. Topiary, fountains and four-posters, two miles from Glastonbury. It was blissful to sit there in the morning sun, sipping tea and sucking cigarettes. I was quite content, didn't want to do anything, go anywhere, see anyone for once and was slightly annoyed with myself for having arranged to meet a cheesemaker in Shepton Mallet.

Broad bean salad with pecorino cheese

Serves 4

First person: 'I don't eat anything except cheese'

Vicki Zukiewicz, 32

Jobs at risk as dairy firm calls in administrators

The future of 2,200 jobs was at risk today after milk co-operative Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFOB) collapsed into administration.

Alex James: Mozzarella magic in the Daylesford deli

Rural Notebook

Britain's smelliest cheese named

Stinking Bishop was officially voted Britain's most pungent cheese today in the first smell championship.

Shaved asparagus and goat's cheese salad

Serves 4

Alex James: Nothing could please me more

Rural Notebook

Pumpkin Salad with Cheese

Ingredients to serve 6
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