New year, new start? Us too. Daisy Wyatt rounds up the best healthy snacks from popcorn and seeds to dried fruit

Sea bass en papillote with carrot, leek and ginger

Ingredients to serve 2

Hit & Run: Red hair? It's so this season

As a child I used to get called "Duracell", "copper-coloured top", "ginger-nut" and "Orangina", admits Jordan Adams. "When I was a teenager groups of boys used to hang out of their car windows and yell at me, 'gingaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!'"

Grouse snacks

Serves 4

Howard Jacobson: Ginger zingers, banana nirvanas and all my other juicy nightmares

One point stands out: lime juice stings a cut finger beyond endurance


Serves 8

New Year sweet dumplings

Makes 24

Feast days: Mark Hix celebrates Chinese New Year in style

Unlike traditional British end-of-year celebrations, where the food plays second fiddle to a festive booze-up, the Chinese celebrate in a different fashion. In communities all round the world the Chinese mark their new year with two weeks of celebrations, in which everybody visits family and friends and they share meals together. Most celebrate with a big banquet that consists of 10-15 courses and delicacies that you wouldn't find in your average Chinese restaurant.

Minor British Institutions: Ginger beer

For some reason ginger beer is regarded as a kid's drink, and a particular kind of middle-class 1950s Famous Five type of kid as well – thirsty for "lashings of ginger beer" after catching the smugglers of Kirrin Island, or whatever. (Actually, that phrase more likely comes from an Enid Blyton spoof made by the Comic Strip in the 1980s, but the point stands.)

Mushroom hot-pot with tofu

Serves 4

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/2008/10/games-master-ga.html">Games Master: Gaming - the 'ginger relation' of the creative industries?</a>

Why are games subject to ridicule by people of power? It seems convenient that Boris Johnson has changed his mind on computer games in time for this year's London Games Festival, but why the general lack of recognition for what is now such an important industry for the UK economy, especially in these troubled economic times?

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/2008/10/mixtape-recessi.html">MixTape: Recession - The Musical</a>

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe raging ginger nut Mick Hucknall was right for, as we are frequently reminded, 'money's too tight to mention'.

Ginger & Black, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

The great problem with this show is there's no connection between the two performers, Eri Jackson (Ginger, on account of her hair colour) and Daniel Taylor (Black, on account of his skin colour), or between them and the audience.

Cloudy Lane puts McCains on right road for another National

Nicholls' Mr Pointment likely to miss Liverpool but stable land feature race at Newbury

Black beluga lentil soup

Serves 4-6

Smashing Pumpkins, SECC, Glasgow

Superficially, the sci-fi gothica of one of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre's lesser halls should have blended perfectly with the Smashing Pumpkins' music. As bruise-coloured lights picked out flashes of steel ventilation ducts amidst the darkened ceiling hollows, the excesses of the band's more grinding, industrial moments could have turned the place into a cathedral built in praise of sleek functionality.

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