Arts and Entertainment Brace yourself: Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves in 'House of Fools'

Vic and Bob have done sketch shows (The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer), web series (Vic & Bob’s Afternoon Delights), comedy dramas (Catterick, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)) and the greatest quiz show of all time (Shooting Stars), but until now they’ve never done a sitcom as sit-commy as this. Their new show, House of Fools (BBC2), is filmed in front of a live studio audience, and the duo play Odd Couple-style flatmates in a home filled with bizarre bric-à-brac and beset by unwelcome visitors.

Raw power: Who says you need to slave over a hot stove to make a tasty dish?

Use this season's freshest ingredients just as they are, says Mark Hix

Don't hurt my boy, mother begs kidnappers

The mother of a five-year-old British boy snatched by gun-wielding robbers in Pakistan wept today as she begged the kidnappers not to hurt him

Love bites: Create the ultimate valentine's meal with Mark Hix's sensuous oyster recipes

It's St Valentines Day tomorrow, and I have always thought that going out to a restaurant for an intimate dîner à deux on 14 February is a bit of a rip-off – some restaurants seem to think it's a good excuse to charge a small fortune for expensive food and champagne.

Oyster and cucumber ceviche

Serves 2

Business Diary: Getting hot under their wigs

Check out this week's issue of Legal Business magazine if you want to know what it's really like to work in a City law firm. It's Christmas quiz asks about the indentities of senior lawyers involved in some racy escapades over the past years. Among the few printable questions was: "Which top mediator bored his clients so much that, on returning to the meeting after a short break, found that they had resorted to sexual intercourse on the table?" Sadly, the magazine provides no answers.

Roll with it: How to make your own sushi

Sushi may be the ultimate in sophisticated grab-and-go lunches, but making your own nigiri is surprisingly simple. Alice-Azania Jarvis develops her raw talent

Summer veg salad

Serves 4

I Want Your Job: Market trader

'If you get it right you're quids in'

Pickled cucumber

1 medium cucumber
1tbsp good-quality white wine vinegar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp chopped dill

A taste of summer: In the first part of a seasonal celebration, Mark Hix serves up delicious starters and salads

Recently I was lucky enough to win a Guild of Food Writers Award for my book, British Seasonal Food, and this week and next we are celebrating by publishing some of the recipes here.

Salad days: Now is the time to sow those delicious cut-and-come-again crops

For vegetable gardeners there is a flurry of mouthwatering firsts in July: the first shiny truncheons of courgette, the first slim, sweet carrots, the first early potatoes, the first shiny tomatoes. Perhaps even a cucumber. You can bet that somewhere, some smartypants will be saying airily, "Oh! I had those in June". But will that fantastically irritating paragon have remembered to sow more cut-and-come-again salad crops? Or a second row of French beans to crop under cloches in autumn? Or chicory, choy sum, endive, kohlrabi, komatsuna, mibuna, mizuna, oriental mustard and spinach leaf? Seed sowing is always more in our minds in spring and successional sowings of crops tend to get forgotten later in summer.

Knobbles and curves are back for fruit and veg

Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots return to supermarket shelves tomorrow thanks to the abolition of EU rules on the size and shape of 36 types of fruit and veg.

A £180m weeding job: The lake that has shrunk to half its original size

Kashmir's Dal Lake is dying, choked by algae that thrives on pollution. But a plan to clean it up threatens the livelihoods of local people
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests