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Who has left luxury behind to face the bushtucker trials down-under?

Champagne oysters

Serves 2

Lest we forget

When a restaurant has survived for over 150 years, it's easy to take it for granted. Time to pull on your navy blazer and return to Scott's, says Terry Durack

Rain or Shine...

FIERCE STORMS that battered France this week took a heavy toll not just on buildings, trees, and historic monuments. The terrible gales also have destroyed thousands of prizestocks of oysters.

Letter: Bad oyster

HERE IN Herne Bay, we can spit as far as Whitstable, and often do. How we long to be DFL'D - Down From London'd ("Whitstable: the new Chelsea", Real Life, 12 December). Of course it would be hell - we'd be forced to watch our houses triple in value - but we'd bear up somehow.

Eating out: Bites: New oyster cult

RETURN of the native and other oyster stories.

Second chance for NY oysters

TO TOURISTS on nearby Liberty Island, it looked like another eco- vandal dumping into the waters of New York Harbour. A city fireboat moved to a nearby barge and turned its hoses on to what appeared to be grey stones on its flat deck, washing them into the ocean. Except that they were shells, not stones.

Racing: Mujahid heading for the French Guineas

MUJAHID, THIRD to Island Sands in the 2,000 Guineas, headed five British acceptors yesterday for Sunday's Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) at Longchamp. John Dunlop's colt is joined by Chris Wall's Undeterred, Godolphin's Rhythm Band, Sir Mark Prescott's Triple Dash and Brian Meehan's Indiana Legend among 15 declared for the mile contest. Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien relies on Lavery from his four declarations.

Travel: 48 hours ... in Oxford

Go now to see Oxford at its eccentric best - and to beat all the summer tourists. By Rhiannon Batten

The birth of the ISA: A world of opportunity

ISAs have opened the door to a new range of investment options. By Tony Lyons

Restaurants: Oyster extravagance

Whitstable is famous for its seafood - but is it becoming too popular for its own good? Vivienne Heller finds out

Food & Drink: That old black magic

With Valentine's Day once more upon us, the sensible beer drinker is switching to stout or porter, known the world over as aphrodisiacs

Books: Cookery - A course in rocket science

IF, LIKE me, you tear Simon Hopkinson's literate, earthy temptations out of the Indy magazine and later tear your hair because you've forgotten where you've put them, then Gammon & Spinach (Macmillan, pounds 25), a collection of his columns over the past three years, will come as a blessing. His Pheasant Stewed with Cider and Calvados, so rich and unctuous that it requires a determined effort to polish off a plateful, was a star item in my repertoire until I lost the recipe. I'm certainly going to essay a "quite brilliant" version of Oysters Rockefeller, appropriated from the Sydney Opera House. Hopkinson's superior edition of mushrooms on toast, using dried morels, Madeira and double cream, will surely be on the breakfast menu in heaven.

Design: Oysters - an open and shut case

"BIG CHAP with a small moustache and the sort of eye that can open an oyster at 60 paces." Unless you happen to possess the penetrating glare of Bertie Wooster's sworn foe Roderick Spode, you'll have to use a knife to tackle the placid bivalve. As with every other kitchen utensil, designers have leaped at the chance to develop ever more stylish variations to entice the oyster-fancier.
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