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.

David Pears: Philosopher renowned for his work on Wittgenstein

For those who knew and loved him, the philosopher David Pears seemed touched by greatness, not only in his work, but in the rich and accomplished breadth of his interests. These ranged from his self-acquired mastery of butterflies and botany (begun in his bucolic Devon holidays and continued on family walks with his children), to his passion for the visual arts (he was the first curator of the Christ Church Picture Gallery, instrumental in its being built, and a very hands-on chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford at the time when its directors included Nicholas Serota), to his soigné cooking (almost always fish served with a distinguished white wine) for his and his wife Anne's Oxford dinner parties.

Heston Blumenthal has torn up the rulebook again

Dishwasher-poached pears, strawberries glazed in a sandwich toaster and beef cooked for an entire day.

Britten, the boy wonder

Music the composer wrote as a child can now be heard for the first time. It shows a precocious genius, says Lynne Walker

Move over, Nigella ... here comes Norman

He was famous for his hard-boiled politics. Now Lord Tebbit is joining the ranks of celebrity chefs with his first cook book (and there's lots of red meat)

The Sonnets: 97

By William Shakespeare

When you are Engulfed in Flames, By David Sedaris

For the last decade, David Sedaris, a humourist in the Woody Allen mode, has been carrying around a small notebook in his front pocket which he pulls out on average ten times a day, jotting down observations and "thoughts on how to make money, or torment people." The fruits of his most recent labours are to be found here - including a diary of his quest to quit smoking, excerpts of which have previously appeared in The New Yorker.

Sausage rolls

Makes 4

Days of Grace, By Catherine Hall

Ghosts both contemporary (Sarah Waters) and classic (Daphne du Maurier) hover around this striking and, finally, chilling novel of wartime passion and repression. A 12-year-old evacuee, Nora from the East End discovers the wreckage behind respectability when lodging with the Rev Rivers and his family in Kent.

Pear and frangipane tart

Serves 8

Land Securities sells Trillium arm for lower-than-expected £750m

Land Securities has finally managed to sell its Trillium outsourcing unit, but has had to settle for a lower-than-expected headline price of £750m.

A bird in hand: Marcus Wareing gives us his tips on the best game in town

They're perfectly in season now, so why wait until the first day of Christmas to enjoy partridge and pears? Our guest chef Marcus Wareing shares his recipes

Spiced pear and chestnut-crumble muffins

Makes 12
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Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
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