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.

Mild winter will raise price of fruit

The mild winter could lead to smaller fruit crops in the autumn, potentially pushing up prices, the Royal Horticultural Society has warned.

Indonesia: Lethal deterrent for 'train surfers'

Indonesia has gone to imaginative extremes to try to stop commuters from illegally riding on the roofs of trains, including hosing down offenders with red paint, threatening them with dogs and appealing for help from religious leaders.

i Editor's Letter: Some answers to i's FAQs

As I said yesterday, readers, old and new, have been emailing in your droves – some of you not even about Scotland! For the benefit of newer readers, I have pledged – foolishly – to read all your mail, and that either Hannah Nicholls or I will reply if you need one. Please put your name and hometown on emails, and remember if you text, that we cannot text back.

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I'm not a lover of musical theatre. By this, I'm not subtly trying to put an end to the scandalous rumours that I'm a homosexual. No, it's just the truth. Musicals are not for me. OK – I did once enjoy Evita when I was a kid. I even bought the album.

Crunch time: Home-grown apples make a sweeter Christmas present than novelty gadgets

I've never been an enthusiastic shopper. Indeed, one of the delights of gardening is that you actually need very little kit to be able to do it. A box labelled 'Seeds' in which to organise your seeds (£10 from gardentrading.co.uk)? They come in nice colours – string, slate or apple green – but an old shoebox does the job just as well. An 'Apple Wizard' (£59.99 in the RHS's Christmas gift catalogue)? "No need to bend down to collect those apples which have fallen from the tree as this clever gadget will gather them up" explains the blurb. Really? Would you trek to your garden shed to fetch your Wizard when you could just bend down and pick up your windfall apple?

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Fred Dinenage occasionally wore a Hiawatha headdress while presenting How'

Who knew that Fred Dinenage, the heavily-bespectacled TV presenter best remembered for his part in the long-running children's show, How, has a daughter in the House of Commons? Caroline Dinenage is the Tory MP for Gosport. And who knew, other than the Dinenage family and their friends, that I am spelling Dinenage correctly? You can make good money betting people that there is a silent second 'n' in Fred's surname.

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