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The rates may be enticing at the grocers turned banks but consumers need to take more care than they would buying beans, says Lindsay Cook

Cider gravy

Serves 8-10

The finishing line: Part three of Mark Hix's alternative Christmas feast

In the final part of our festive series, Mark Hix cooks up easy trimmings and accompaniments to make the big day hassle-free

Partridge dressed as grouse

Serves 4

Ian Birrell: How our politicians failed to stop the rise of the far right

This is a significant moment – the fascists have come in from the cold

Billy Bob hits the wrong note in Canada

Hollywood actor-turned-musician cancels tour after 'national insult' provokes a furious reaction

Just add water: Can granules ever pass the taste test?

Instant coffee has an image problem. But Starbucks hopes to stir things up with its own brand.

Premier Foods set for £400m cash call

Premier Foods, the maker of Hovis bread and Bisto gravy, is expected to use today's announcement of full-year results to detail a £400m rights issue. The group will also confirm that the private equity firm Warburg Pincus is to take a stake in the company, which could be as high as 10 per cent or 20 per cent, depending on the success of the capital raising.

Leading article: Sir Humphrey's gravy train

If ever there was a time when Sir Humphrey simply sat at his desk cooking up devilish schemes to frustrate his minister, the first published list of hospitality accepted by senior civil servants shows it to be long past. But is that list really as shocking as some self-appointed guardians of standards in public life want us to believe? How strong, really, is the whiff of corruptibility? On this evidence, we are relieved to say, not very.

Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, London E2

Anyone looking for a neat illustration of the Two Britains would find the polarity starkly showcased in the Shoreditch area of east London. Just off Shoreditch High Street, where Brick Lane market peters out into a grungy warren of warehouses and strip pubs, are hidden some of the capital's most opulent palaces of entertainment.

Be merry AND healthy at Christmas

Jane Feinmann shows you and your family how to survive the festive season in better shape than ever before – without cutting back on the fun

Ruck and Maul: Good Evans could have been Turner's prize guy at Dragons

Forgive the Newport Gwent Dragons coach Paul Turner a pang of envy last weekend. After seeing his side give Toulouse a run for their considerable money, he retired to the Rodney Parade clubhouse to watch on TV as the equally cash-rich Stade Français were kicked to death by Harlequins' Nick Evans in the immediately immortal move of 29 phases. Turner's Dragons were offered the All Black at an eye-watering £325,000 a year last February but, like Leicester, who plumped instead for South Africa's Derick Hougaard, they declined. Eventually Quins announced Evans' signing in May – and at a decent discount, to boot. Turner, a richly gifted Wales fly-half in his day, had the consolation of one fan piping up that "Paul could have back-heeled that drop goal over the bar".

Gravy in advance

Makes about 1 litre

A partridge and a pear treat: Mark Hix's no-fuss alternative Christmas feast

I'm all for an alternative to turkey on Christmas Day and this year once again I will be cooking a selection of small game birds. A couple of my guests from last year – the artist Anya Gallaccio and her partner Kelly, who now live in San Diego – booked their places months ago for this year's feast!

Terence Blacker: The greasy gravy train of lobbyism

There is a long list of government spinners in the private sector
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
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The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
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Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition