News

Boutique cinema chain Curzon Cinemas will almost double the number of its screens in the capital, from 12 to 20, as part of a £6 million expansion plan and design makeover.

The scrudle we've been waiting for

Amateur cook wins competition with her invention: a budget-priced kitchen scraper-scoop

My Secret Life: Heston Blumenthal, chef, 43

My parents were ... eccentric. My mum's not shy in speaking her mind. My old man prefers an easy life – like me. Dad had a leasing company but retired over 15 years ago. Mum helped with the business and brought up me and my sister, Alexis.

Channel 4 to crash 300-seat jet into desert

Two pilots will parachute from a passenger jet before it crash-lands at high speed in an empty desert as part of a scientific experiment to be screened on television next year.

Susie Rushton: Mean streets where even mayors get angry

Urban Notebook

From grim battleground to sparkling playground

Mozambique has survived a bleak past to become a hot destination for the well-heeled, says Sarah Barrell

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, By Richard Wrangham<br />The Fat Duck Cookbook, By Heston Blumenthal

In his "Dissertation upon Roast Pig", the whimsical essayist, Charles Lamb, envisaged the invention of cooking by a Chinese boy who accidentally burnt the family pigs: "Some of the crumbs of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world's life indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted – crackling! The truth at length broke into his slow understanding, that it was the pig that smelt so, and the pig that tasted so delicious." Though located in the wrong continent – Africa was the birthplace of humanity – Lamb's early 19th-century drollery may not have been too far from reality.

Consuming Issues: Is your favourite restaurant dirty?

Marco Pierre White once likened the front of his star restaurant to heaven and its kitchen to hell. He was talking about the ordeal for staff (among them Gordon Ramsay), but there are other, unknown horrors happening behind the swing doors.

Bloomsbury hopes Heston can cook up a storm after profits fall

Bloomsbury Group, which published the Harry Potter series, hopes that celebrity chefs and the Ashes can conjure up some magic in the second half, after profits plunged 66 per cent in the six months to June.

Tips and deals: 16/08/2009

The book

Pandora: From spook to squatter: Shayler goes undercover

Goodness. Last time we heard from David Shayler, he was posing as the Messiah, offering "messages of love and salvation" in regular "sermons on the mount".

Heston Blumenthal has torn up the rulebook again

Dishwasher-poached pears, strawberries glazed in a sandwich toaster and beef cooked for an entire day.

Pandora: Palin wields his pen as Israel's army advances

Hats off to Michael Palin, who will once again prove his credentials as show business's very own Indiana Jones by pressing ahead with plans to address an audience at the Palestinian Festival of Literature today – apparently undaunted – by Israeli attempts to put an end to the event.

Credit crisis diary: Mood music that set the wrong tone at the Bank

A nice inside joke at the Bank of England yesterday, with its multimedia folks poking some fun at their boss, Mervyn King. The Governor's Inflation Report presentation is carried live on the web and while you wait for the Bank's brass to take their seats, you get some very pleasant Vivaldi piped down the line. Yesterday, King took his seat just as the tumultuous storm section of Four Seasons began.

Blumenthal savaged by health watchdog

Restaurant criticised over virus that affected more than 500 diners

Deborah Orr: Apologies change nothing

Unlike a huge list of others – from Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Haringey social services head Sharon Shoesmith, from disgraced banker Fred Goodwin to child-killer Sean Mercer – Bernard Madoff has at least apologised. "I'm deeply sorry and ashamed for my crimes," he said after pleading guilty to the biggest fraud in history this week. "I am painfully aware that I have hurt many people."

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
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Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
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Homeless Veterans appeal

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all