Life and Style

Modern London is a city in turbulence, a cosmopolitan cauldron in which more things change than stay the same, where all the world comes to throw a tantrum, get rich through property and complain about schools. Its restaurant scene has generally kept up.

A festive floating island is Mark's version of the classic îles flottantes

Mark Hix recipe: A festive floating island

Serves 6-8

Mark Hix recipe: Little Christmas crumbles

These make perfect festive party snacks or something to go with coffee at the end of the meal. You can use mincemeat or a combination of mincemeat  and Christmas pudding if you need to use it up.

Mark Hix recipe: Moroccan spiced chestnuts

Using argan oil, cumin, ground cinnamon and coriander. Use freshly roasted and shelled chestnuts for this or the vacuum-packed, ready-shelled ones: both yield good results. You can also vary the spices to suit your taste, making them either sweet or savoury.

An Edwardian gazebo in Kingston, passed as you meander along the river Thames

Walk of the month: Kingston upon Thames - Red bricks and boxes on the riverbank

The Thames Path combines history with nature as it forges towards the capital from Hampton Court Palace

Louie Ireland, left, 11, takes on Oliver Simons, right, 13, during the youth final

They came, they saw, they conkered: Briton triumphs at World Conker Championships

Despite fierce foreign competition, Sam Masters sees a British triumph at the World Conker Championships

Broccoli might be good for you, but you won't catch me munching on those miniature green trees

You will look in vain for an ode to broccoli. And that is because broccoli is rubbish

Hotel review: Torralbenc, Menorca

Room service at the hotel is a fine taste of things to come, as Alice Jones discovers...

Mark Leftly: Brewer's fundraising plan is a lot to swallow

Outlook Tactical Nuclear Penguin is a beast of a speciality stout that, at an ABV of 32 per cent, is seven and a half times the strength of the wildly over-rated black stuff that Guinness churns out.

Google chairman Eric-Schmidt has rejected claims that the company is not paying their fair share of taxes

Korean braised ribs recipe

Korean cooking consists of a large number of braised dishes that require considerable culinary skill. Galbijjim is one such dish. In recent years it has grown in popularity among international diners who appreciate the fine taste and, indeed, the health advantages of the dish (the fat on the short ribs is removed before braising)

10 years of Freecycle: Matchmaking compulsive off-loaders with the vaguely needy

I’ve no idea why it takes many sofa suppliers six weeks to deliver a sofa, but it does and as a result I’ve got nothing to sit on in my new gaff except an expanse  of scruffy laminate. The idea  of buying a sofa to sit on while  I wait for a sofa to arrive seems needlessly extravagant, so I’ve turned to the global network dedicated to giving away stuff and getting stuff for free.

This little piggy: a jamoneria in Madrid like the one Ian Irvine visited

The slice is right: Get a taste for Spanish ham

After a taste of Spanish ham in Madrid sent him into raptures, Ian Irvine was determined to learn more about this heavenly jamon – including how to carve his own.

The Croods – an inspired and idiosyncratic tale with a feisty teenage heroine
Did the French invent chips? Or was it the Belgians?

French battle Belgians over invention of ‘les frites’

Neighbours fight for right to be named 'home of the chip'

Jingle smells are an assault on the nose

The smell of the Christmas lunch itself, however, can be better than the consumption

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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor