I pod: Mark Hix sings the praises of the versatile pea – his favourite vegetable of the moment

Peas are very in vogue at the moment, and whether they are fresh or frozen, they're still one of my favourite vegetables. I always have a packet of frozen peas in my tiny freezer at home as they are so versatile when I want to knock up a quick soup or add a finishing touch to pastas and risottos. The market tends to get flooded with foreign imports during May and June and our own native peas and beans start to appear properly around now. Peas are at their best when freshly picked; if you wait too long they can end up being a bit tough and not quite so sweet. I love serving them at the table in their pods for guests to snack on during a meal.

Dieters warned over weight loss pills

Dieters have been warned to stop taking the best-selling weight loss supplement, Hydroxycut, after it was linked to 23 cases of serious liver damage and one death.

Hepatitis victims lose battle for extra cash

Haemophiliacs who contracted HIV from infected blood will see payments they receive from the Government double but those infected with hepatitis C will get no extra cash, ministers have announced.

Royal Liver latest lender to put its adviser offshoot up for sale

Liverpool's friendly society tries to sell off Park Row after it posts a £6m loss for 2008

Sophie Morris: Confessions of a binge-drinker

For me, alcohol is as normal a part of everyday life as making a cup of tea

New Boy, Trafalgar Studios, London

The new boy on the block is Hamlet for the Skins generation, and as played by Nicholas Hoult of that E4 television "edgy teen drama" about a bunch of horrid party monsters, the claim is not unreasonable. He's not missing his parents much – they were liberal, easy on drugs but he is genuinely mixed up, mostly about his own sexuality.

The Bear Hunt: Only the liver is wasted once the Inuits strike

Inuit hunters call it the nanniaq, the quest to track, chase and kill the animal they consider to be king of the beasts that stalk the ice floes and plains of the Arctic.

Album: Oumou Sangaré, Seya, (World Circuit)

The Malian diva’s first album for six years is as detailed and sophisticated as it is funky, as progressive as it is traditional, and as sexy as it is graceful and austere.

Alcohol abuse leads to rise in liver swaps

The past decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of transplanted livers going to people whose own organs have been damaged by alcohol misuse.

Booze: Why you need a day off

January is detox time. But experts now believe that taking an alcohol ‘holiday’ each week can be just as important as counting units. Hugh Wilson reports

Four-week-old conjoined sister dies

Conjoined twin Faith Williams has lost her battle for life, four weeks after she was born.

Liver disease resulting from binge drinking could become big killer

Half of Britain's young adults first got drunk before the age of 15, according to a study which warns that liver disease could become one of the biggest killers as a result of the country's binge drinking culture.

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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick