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.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Couch potato

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Under £6

Simon Kelner: Unappealing fake juice generates lots of pulp friction

Do you remember that scene in Fawlty Towerswhen an American guest asks for freshly-squeezed orange juice?

Memoirs: Once in a quinquennium revelations!!!

Books Of The Year

Dom Joly: I love 'Matilda'. It's almost as good as television

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.

The 10 best ports

1. Cockburn's Special Reserve

Weekend Work: Time to prune trained fruit trees

What to do

Wine: Something for the weekend

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone