The time is ripe: Skye Gyngell reveals how to cook with the freshest English produce in the simplest ways

From tomatoes and lovage grown in the garden to salmon plucked from the river...

Clams with peas and fino sherry

Serves 4

Ham hock and flageolet bean soup

Serves 4-6

JD warns of more trouble in store for the high street

JD Sports Fashion added to the anxiety of retailers yesterday, warning it was "extremely cautious" about its outlook for the sector, despite posting a sharp jump in annual profits to nearly £80m.

Chilli: C'mon baby, light my fire

Spicing our food with chilli has become as British as salt and pepper. But what does our obsession with heat reveal about the national psyche? And can we ever get enough? Christopher Hirst feels the burn

Fennel, radish, pea and mozzarella salad

Serves 4

White bulb moment: Skye Gyngell cooks with fennel

Perfectly in season and versatile enough to roast or eat raw – it's no wonder fennel is finding its way into almost everything Skye feels like eating right now

Top tuber: Skye Gyngell cooks with Jerusalem artichoke

Whoever named Jerusalem artichokes was taking the rest of us for a ride – but you don't have to be in on the gag to enjoy their nutty sweetness, says Skye Gyngell

Are elephants scared of spice?

When the big mammals are crushing crops and violating villages, there’s only one humane way to get rid of them. Sue Corfield looks at the chilli’s role as a security pepper

Last Night's TV: The Spice Trail/ITV1<br />MasterChef/BBC1

I'm a bit in love with Kate Humble. More than a bit, in fact. She's just so... lovely- seeming. And so clever. And so good at what she does. Were she at school – instead, that is, of being on television – she would be head girl. Head girl of the BBC2 Academy for Gifted Pupils. Stephen Fry would be headmaster, of course. And Paxo the swot. Jeremy Clarkson, needless to say, would never have made it in.

Spice girl: Kate Humble's aromatic journey in Indonesia

Nutmeg was once thought to cure the plague &ndash; but for European explorers, the journey to its source in Indonesia's Banda Islands was perilous. Today this remote archipelago is as intriguing as ever
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003