Life and Style Large breeding snails of the 'gros gris' variety in Helen Howard's production unit

Heliculturists have increased production 25-fold since 2000. Cahal Milmo meets some and finds out why more home cooks and chefs are shelling out

It's a clamity! Ming the clam, the world's oldest animal, killed at 507 years old by scientists trying to tell how old it was

Ming the clam was first discovered in 2006 and killed by scientists unaware of its age. Recent advances have revised Ming's age upwards by 103 years

Ile-de-Brehat

Postcard from... Ile de Bréhat

Place the scallop shells on plates, arrange the sea vegetables on the scallops and spoon over a little rapeseed oil

Steamed scallop with seashore vegetables

Serves 4

Peter Capaldi in 'Inside the Mind with Leonardo'

Peter Capaldi is right choice, in the right time and space for Doctor Who role

It was a moment when those of us long-haul time-travellers had to reassure ourselves that we weren’t suffering from Plasmaton-induced psychotronic hyperstimulation.

Would you shell out for a snail facial?

A face full of snails might not be your average person's idea of an expensive salon treatment, but that's just what Japan's high society have been shelling out for lately - at a cost of £65 for a five minute session.

The Handsome Family, Wilderness (Loose)

Album review: The Handsome Family, Wilderness (Loose)

A sort of bestiary of myth, legend and animal analogy, Wilderness uses wildlife traits as jumping-off points for enigmatic tales in typical Handsome Family manner.

Liber Nauticus is 7-2 for the Oaks despite a laboured win at York

Nauticus finds it far from plain sailing in Investec Oaks trial

If this was supposed to be the preliminary sketch for an Epsom masterpiece, then for now Liber Nauticus remains closer to an oil tanker than a dashing ocean clipper. Nonetheless she finds herself disputing favouritism for the Investec Oaks, bookmakers having taken an indulgent view of the heavy weather she made of her trial here.

Steamed seafood with samphire

Serves 4-6
Queenies with radishes and ponzu

Queenies with radishes and ponzu

Serves 4

A fishmonger weighs a squid at the farmers market in Quezon City, in the Philippines

Chinese fishmonger discovers live bomb inside a squid

Police were surprised it hadn't already detonated

Uncomfortable: Vanderbeke’s darkly comic tale succeeds as an allegory for political tyranny

Review: The Mussel Feast, By Birgit Vanderbeke (trs Jamie Bulloch)

Dinner time for daddy makes your flesh creep

Hokkaido University captured images of squid gliding through the air, calculated at speeds of up to 11.2 metres a second

Revealed: the secret that makes flying squid faster than Usain Bolt

The squid can eject water through a nozzle nea  its head as a form of jet propulsion

Donald McCain: Musselburgh has met the trainer’s request for a race to suit Overturn

Musselburgh trials lure star turn

Musselburgh trials day does not quite have the same ring to it as Cheltenham trials day, but racing is nevertheless most grateful to the enterprise shown at the Scottish racecourse and those at other venues responsible for keeping the jumping show properly on the road over the next few days.

Cowboy and Octopus

The Weird-ass Picture Book Awards and other literary accolades you'd rather not win

Not up for the Costa? Don't worry there's plenty others to choose from

A giant squid takes bait in the deep sea off Chichi island, Japan

Monster of the deep: Giant squid captured on film for the first time

Here it is, the monster of the depths, the sea-creature of nightmares, filmed for the first time in its natural habitat: the giant squid.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
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