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

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Independent Travel
Burgundy
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Lake Garda
Lake Como
Bruges
Paris
Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game