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.

Caponata, 3-7 Delancey Street, London NW1

The Caponata opened in April on the site of the old Café Delancey, in the heart of trendy Camden. I remember the Café from years ago, mainly for the crepuscular gloom of its candlelit dining areas, regularly filled with whispering couples planning some act of colossal infidelity. At lunchtime, light would pour in like a blessing on to the heads of more innocent eaters, but the evenings were mostly devoted to spicy romance and low, urgent voices.

Woodland mushrooms with chestnuts

Serves 6-8

Dom Joly: Conkers, my secret weapon in the war on spiders

Apparently it's going to be a bumper autumn for spiders. Oh dear. I am a committed arachnophobe, and run screaming like a girl from any room in which the presence of one is even suspected. It's a true phobia –irrational, and totally without cause. And it's only spiders – I don't mind snakes, for example. (Well, I wouldn't say I like snakes but I'd leave a room containing one a tad slower than I would one with a spider in.)

An old chestnut recycled: Miss Earth

It may seem odd to combine a traditional beauty contest with a green agenda, but not to the 62 contestants gathered in a hotel outside Coventry, hoping to win the chance to represent Britain at the world's third-largest beauty pageant

Album: Loudon Wainwright III, High, Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (Proper)

Charlie Poole was a roguish, semi-literate banjo-playing minstrel of the 1920s prohibition era, a rapscallion entertainer whose intemperate worldview is succinctly summarised in Loudon Wainwright's title-track to this 2-CD tribute to his enduring influence.

The Sketch: Of laws and wars – the battle to avoid responsibility

Now there's an Autism Bill. They're going to make a law (or "put on a statutory basis") to define how the authorities should deal with autistic people. This is absurd. This is insane. This is politics.

Hit & Run: Don't call them autocuties

Peter Sissons took a swipe at young, pretty newsreaders last week, suggesting they lacked "front-line reporting experience." Mary Nightingale, co-presenter of ITV Evening News, retaliated yesterday, "It's a bit of a tired old chestnut that if a woman is pretty than she can't be bright." Is it? Are female newsreaders now less bright (or prettier) than when Sissons was a pink-faced ITN hack?

Christmas mess

Serves 8

Spiced pear and chestnut-crumble muffins

Makes 12

Cleve West: Walking tall at Kew

Urban Gardener
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Day In a Page

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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

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Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment