Life and Style

Is there anything more festive than a magnum? Apart from a double magnum perhaps, a magnificent magnum is the most generous way to celebrate a great day with friends and family. It also keeps better than a bottle, so squirrel one away.

Jonathon Green: Terms of endearment: why the PM was neither right nor honourable

'Dear' is the least of it. There are plenty of ways of giving offence by mistake

Video: Dead animals on display

Controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens returns with an exhibition of plastinated animals.

Duck braised in sloe gin with rhubarb

Serves 4

Make a splash: Mark Hix shows how a little drop of alcohol can really enhance your cooking

Alcohol plays an integral part in many great dishes and it has all sorts of uses which go far beyond the notion of just slopping a bit of leftover corked vino into your cooking. Whether it be cognac, cider brandy or beer, the careful addition of a little drop of booze can really enhance the flavours of a dish.

Deep-fried turkey egg with asparagus

Serves 4

Top tips: Mark Hix cooks with asparagus

With its tender green stems and delicate sweet flavour, asparagus is the finest spring vegetable of all

Bold as brassica: Mark Hix cooks with sprouting broccoli

It's tastier, prettier and more sophisticated than its commoner cousin

Little crackers: Shell out on delicious rare-breed and specialist eggs

The foodiest of foodie Brits will be hoping for something a little more functional than a globe of gourmet chocolate by way of an Easter egg this year. Many are looking forward to a box of real eggs, which are as sensory a flavour experience as even the finest chocolate. Not to mention a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds, with their rich amber yolks, pearly whites and delicate shells that recall the pastel treats our parents painstakingly painted for egg hunts.

The Restaurant at the Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1

The problem with the RA's new restaurant is the level of its ambition. Is it to be a scoff-and-refuel addition to a few hours of art consumption? Or a destination in its own right, a recommendable eaterie which happens to have an art gallery attached?

A passion for Persia: Greg and Lucy Malouf's Iranian dishes have Skye Gyngell's tastebuds singing

Greg and Lucy Malouf have transformed perceptions of Iranian dishes in their native Australia – and their dinner party had Skye Gyngell's tastebuds singing too

Duck Breast with fesenjan sauce

Serves 6

Video: Fur farm animals in danger

Russian media reports suggest up to 15,000 animals have starved to death or were killed prematurely at a fur farm in Moscow.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1

There's a slim chance that a couple of people reading this may have missed the hoo-ha surrounding the opening of Heston Blumenthal's new restaurant, Dinner, at the beginning of last week. Booking lines were swamped, tables booked up until some time in the next millennium, journalists stole in for sneak previews before the official launch, and overnight reviews were splashed by several newspapers– including this one.

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Why winter is a time to savour small pleasures

One of the compensations of the cold months in this country for anyone who enjoys the natural world is the great arrival from the north of wintering wildfowl, of wild ducks, wild swans, and above all, wild geese. Britain is a winter haven for hundreds of thousands of these waterbirds which breed in what the naturalist and writer Mark Cocker calls "the crown of the planet" – the halo of land around the Earth's northern latitudes, below the Arctic, from Canada, through Greenland, Iceland, Northern Scandinavia, Siberia, and back to Canada again.

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

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Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

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Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

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The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

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Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
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Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

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Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

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