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.

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.

Duck braised in sloe gin with rhubarb

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

Deep-fried turkey egg with asparagus

Serves 4

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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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas