Independent Plus Channel 4's 'The Taste': Judges Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain

By Ellen E Jones

With Team Nigella already whipped into a state of expectant devotion by her court appearances, her show couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune moment. But The Taste, which began on Channel 4 tonight, is no ordinary Nigella Lawson cookery show and no ordinary competition, either. The contestants may come from the ranks of professional chefs or enthusiastic home cooks, but all will be judged, sight unseen, on the flavour of a single spoonful.

Can Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium become Britain's first cat café?

A bid to crowd-fund an eaterie where people can enjoy tea and cuddles with cats is gathering momentum

Tong Chee Hwee: 'Poached nashi pears with bitter almonds are a great way to fend off winter colds'

My Life in Food: Tong Chee Hwee

'Poached nashi pears with bitter almonds are a great way to fend off winter colds'

Wine: Something for the weekend

Night in

Wine: Something for the weekend

Night in

County Championship round-up: Mitchell leads from front on fruitful day for Pears

Daryl Mitchell, the Worcestershire captain, carried his bat through a completed innings for the second time in his career as his side fought desperately for points in the only Championship cricket in the country yesterday.

The Orange Pippin apples were badly affected during Britain's sodden summer

Soggy summer takes a huge bite out of British apple harvest

Britain's sodden summer is producing one of the country's worst fruit harvests, with shortages and higher prices on the way for favourites such as Cox's Orange Pippin apples.

The great Bradley Wiggins is a class act on the track and the road

Chris Hewett: Boris's 'conservative lesson' is confounded by Wiggins and Co

These Games have been, are being and will be politicised to within an inch of their lives

Ashwell Prince hit a priceless century for champions Lancashire

County Championship round-up: Regal knock from Prince puts Somerset on the back foot

It's make or break time for Lancashire. Last year's winners of the County Championship will turn up at Liverpool today knowing a victory over Somerset could preserve their First Division status, while defeat is unthinkable.

Plantain crisps with guacamole and salsa

Plantain crisps with guacamole and salsa

Serves 10-20

Listening to Britney Spears' greatest hits was so much more appealing than doing that economics essay…

Top ten tips for procrastination

Procrastination is not just the avoidance of essential, dull everyday tasks such as essay writing or washing. For students it is an art form to be carefully cultivated.

Wayne Amiel in the Clapham garden he has been lovingly tending for five years

'My best find was in a skip': Wayne Amiel reveals his dedication to abandoned plants

I used to know the streets round London's Clapham Old Town reasonably well, wheeling pushchairs past the grand façades of The Pavement, balancing small children on swings in Grafton Square, haring after scooters in Rectory Gardens. Someone once told me this was the oldest squat in London. I like Rectory Gardens – the random collections of stuff tacked on to walls, the small bits of garden laid straight on to the street, shored up with timber offcuts, casually, promiscuously planted with marigolds and lettuce, petunias and parsley.

Britvic sales hit by rain and recall

A wet-weather sales plunge has piled on the pain at Britvic, the soft drinks firm which is already reeling under a £25m bill to recall childrens' drink Fruit Shoot.

Robinsons Fruit Shoot recall to cost Britvic £25m

The maker of Robinsons Fruit Shoot today warned the profit impact of recalling packs with a new cap design is set to rise to up to £25 million.

Pierre Hermé, the 'picasso of pastry': 'Lime is the best seasoning. I can put it with any fruit and it will improve it'

My Life in Food: Pierre Hermé

Dubbed by French Vogue the "Picasso of pastry", Hermé was first apprenticed to a master pastry chef at age 14. He is praised for his chocolate desserts but worshipped for his macarons. He opened his first shop in Tokyo in 2000 and has since opened six more in Japan, one in London's Belgravia, and six in Paris. Hermé is the only pastry chef to have been made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform