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In the middle of the night, hidden beneath the covers, I start laughing at the idea of anyone else finding out what I'm Googling. No, I'm not funding the dark web, I'm not streaming illegal stuff of any kind, I'm not even shopping for kittens; I'm soothing my troubled insomniac brow on frenchclick.co.uk, gazing at things formerly only purchasable in French supermarkets, now brought all the way across the Channel to my London front door – with no delivery charge on orders of more than £35. (More than £35? Pah. I can spend over £35 on biscuits alone in a French supermarket.)

Hideaways in Crete

The Big Six: From beautiful stone farmhouses to pastel-coloured cottages

Restaurant review: Picture, 110 Great Portland St, London W1

'It's the restaurant equivalent of BBC Four - upmarket but quirky'

University College Birmingham

Overall ranking: 123rd out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

Seasonal treats: fine dining at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Food Miles: Cutting-edge cuisine at Britain's country-house hotels

Imagine yourself on a weekend away at a British country-house hotel, and thoughts of afternoon tea on the terrace and reading the papers over a full English breakfast may well spring to mind. But those traditions have now been supplemented by some of the most modern cooking happening anywhere in the country.

Jeremy Brown, Chef: 'If it is good enough for the Italians, it's good enough for me'

My life in food: Jeremy Brown, chef

'If it is good enough for the Italians, it's good enough for me'

Man About Town: Lobster is everywhere and these crustaceans couldn't get any cooler

This mass-marketisation of one our most highly-prized foods is now in evidence

Nigella Lawson 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'

Nigella Lawson makes comeback to Channel 4 with US cookery contest The Taste

Nigella Lawson is to return to our TV screens following her “quickie” divorce to Charles Saatchi with a version of her popular US series The Taste.

The handwritten compendium of recipes, which traverses the years 1690 to 1830, was re-discovered by Judith Finnamore

Cookbook of Unknown Ladies: Historian discovers 300-year-old recipe collection - now, roast sheep’s head, anyone?

If the maxim “know us through our food” still holds water, then not many would care to be on nodding terms with the authors of the Cookbook of Unknown Ladies, given that it’s long on recipes using sheep heads and cow heel and short on things like summer salads or posh burgers. But, then again, we ought to make exceptions, it being 300 years old and all.

Chef Oliver Gladwin (left) and staff prepare food in The Shed. But restaurants are facing a staffing squeeze

Why can't restaurateurs hire enough kitchen and waiting staff to keep up with the foodie boom?

It could be the prospect of hard work, unsociable hours and low pay

Mary McCartney: The photographer talks vegetarianism, childhood chips and her first encounter with snails

My earliest food memory Watching my mum [Linda McCartney] preparing family meals. The kitchen was the social hub of our home, where we'd meet, talk and eat. I'd watch her make a cream of tomato soup, when the tomatoes were at their plumpest. She'd add onions and mushrooms and blend them all together into this gorgeous hearty soup. I can still remember the beautiful smells.

Lake escape: Yew Tree Farm was once owned by the writer Beatrix Potter but is now a cosy rental, sleeping six

Stay the Night: Yew Tree Farm, Cumbria

A farm with literary connections near Coniston Water has been converted into a self-catering let

The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent

Until last week, the best fish dish I have ever eaten was grilled slip sole in seaweed butter at the Sportsman in Seasalter in Kent. This maritime marvel formed the starter in a lunch that has echoed my memory for years, but I discovered that I had missed the pub's most esteemed offering, a tasting menu whose expertise and finesse are legendary among the food-obsessed. So I called the Sportsman to remedy this annoying omission (48 hours warning is required). "It starts at 7pm," I was informed, "and lasts for three and half hours." Good grief! I wasn't sure that I was quite as food-obsessed as all that.

Review: The Last Banquet, By Jonathan Grimwood

This feast will leave you sated

Tips and deals of the week: Ananda cruise; luxury self-catering at Montpellier House; New Gourmet London restaurant guide

The cruise: Ananda joins the Sanctuary Retreats collection when the ship sets sail in Burma next year. Bookings are now open for the vessel, which will navigate the Chindwin and Ayeyarwady rivers (sanctuaryretreats.com).

Look, don’t touch! Ferran Adria expects adulation, not emulation

Exhibition review: elBulli: Ferran Adria and the Art of Food - feast your eyes, mortals but don’t try this at home

Don’t play with your food! Isn’t that what every child is told when they attempt to mould mashed potato into pea-sized balls, or find the colour result of squashing a strawberry into pistachio icecream? For most budding food lovers that is the beginning and end of experiment. For Ferran Adria, playing with food became a stellar career.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam