Arts and Entertainment

The province of Lopburi, 150km north-east of Bangkok, is famous for the hundreds of crab-eating macaques that overrun its Old Town – including the 13th-century temple of Phra Prang Sam Yot.

Claws celebre: Mark Hix praises tasty, versatile crab with recipes inspired by his own festival

The other week I instigated a crab festival in Lyme Regis to coincide with the RNLI week, where the Red Arrows perform their annual sky show, and various sea awareness demonstrations take place. This was a great opportunity to show off our local crab and Kevin Gratton, my right hand man, did a demo on the Cob, right next to the water. Between us we cooked 20 different crab dishes and sold them at a fiver each for the lifeboat pot.

Spider crab and sweetcorn chowder

Serves 4-6

Crab summer rolls

Makes 10

Spider crabs: Monsters of the deep

They might look terrifyingly alien, but spider crabs are sustainable, plentiful – and utterly scrumptious. It's time we faced our fears and tucked in, says Claire Hargreaves

Bring me my spears: Skye Gyngell's asparagus tips

It may be here for only six weeks of the year, but its sweet nuttiness has Skye Gyngell singing a hymn of praise to the delights of English asparagus

Dorset crab with white asparagus

Serves 4

The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn, By Richard Mabey

A feast for each of the senses

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, By Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is a story of pioneers and mavericks; of serendipity, risk-taking and wild leaps of faith; of meetings of minds that changed medical history and obsessive experiments conducted in solitude. It is a story of inspiration found in bathtubs, blizzards and on night-time walks; one in which the studios of Titian have their place: artists assisted student Andreas Vesalius in creating his atlas of anatomy that would tumble Claudius Galen's theory of humours, its "black bile" long considered the origin of cancer). As does a Japanese painter of birds and fish whose illustrations helped bring Greek cytologist George Papanicolaou's discoveries – as in the Pap smear - out of obscurity.

Pincer movement: Angela Hartnett champions the cause of the brown crab

Why does Britain export 90 per cent of its brown crabs? We should be enjoying them ourselves, argues chef Angela Hartnett.

Corn chowder

Serves 4-6

Dough patrol: Skye Gyngell cooks pizza

Roll out your base, crisp it up and let your imagination run wild: there's no end to the toppings you can combine on home-made pizza. Skye Gyngell shares her favourites

Pizzette with crab and chilli

Serves 4

In a pickle: Mark Hix's easy-to-prepare potted and preserved New Year dishes

Potted foods make a refreshing change from leftover turkey and are a perfect snacking food

Potted crab

Serves 4-6

Bite-sized crab cakes

Makes about 18
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