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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor