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.

Busaba Eathai, 8-13 Bird Street, London W1

Does Alan Yau's Busaba chain still offer the same comfort 10 years after its launch?

Take a turn around the magic circle

Walk Of The Month: The Somerset Levels - This county, on a sunny winter's day, offers great scenery and stunning wildlife, says Mark Rowe

The Lake poets' Cumbria: Wander lonely – and happily – as a cloud

Not all writers loved the Lake District. In his A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, published in 1722, Daniel Defoe said he found the Cumberland and Westmorland hills "high and formidable" with "a kind of unhospitable terror in them". They were, he said, "all barren and wild, of no use or advantage either to man or beast".

The Yuck Factor: How disgusting became the last word in luxury

Bird droppings, snail slime, excreted coffee beans – there's no substance so vile that it can't be a must-have product. Gillian Orr explores a world of (very) gross profits

Brawn, 49 Columbia Road, London E2

Remember the fuss that London foodies and critics made about Terroirs when it opened just off the Strand in 2008. Everyone loved its wine-bar vibe, its groovy "sharing plates", and its indescribably smelly vacherin mont d'or, which ponged out the basement. Well, the owners have moved on. Brawn is a high-concept, low-overheads place in Columbia Road, home of the flower market, and is currently the trendiest eating-house in town.

Kopapa, 32-34 Monmouth Street, London

Our cover is blown – but we'll be back for more of Peter Gordon's fantasy fusion food

Heat treatment: Kick-start the new year with Mark Hix's healthy yet flavourful winter soups

After all the excesses of the Christmas festivities there's nothing like a healthy winter broth to get the year off to a good start. But I'm not talking about just bunging a load of ingredients into a pot and hoping for the best – a truly delicious winter soup requires a careful balance of different tastes in order to create a fresh and flavourful soup. Here are four recipes to get your new year off to a great start.

Duck and ginger broth

Serves 4

Toast, BBC1, Thursday<br/>Just William, BBC1, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Other channels used the hiatus between holidays to serve up turkeys. But the Beeb had two treats

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

Duck liver p&#226;t&#233;

Serves 4-6

South Korea culls poultry as bird flu is confirmed

South Korea, already battling a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock, yesterday confirmed an outbreak of bird flu at poultry farms.

Business Diary: Death is no escape from junk mailers

You'd think in the era of electronic communication that the volume of junk "snail" mail, and the problems caused by it, would be on the wane. Not so. The Deceased Preference Service, which performs the useful service of deleting the names of dead people from mailing lists,says that 5.2 million pieces of direct mail (junk mail to you and me) will be delivered during the festive period to those who have departed this mortal coil. Quite apart from the pain these unnecessary letters might cause to recently bereaved relatives, that's enough rubbish to fill 245 dustbins. An awful lot of landfill.

Peter and the Wolf / Tales of Beatrix Potter, Royal Opera House, London

Even for Christmassy ballet, this is a show with a high sugar content.

Paul McDonald: Heard the one about the oldest joke in the world? It's a cracker!

Why do we still groan at the gags over Christmas lunch? Our writer delivers the punchline
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us