Voices The Houses of Parliament illuminated at night

It’s a tough life at the House of Commons. Aperitifs are in short supply, the Cajun food is poor and there is a dearth of ‘fresh game’ on the lunchtime menu.

Barley: Planting is down 19 per cent. Seed for spring planting is in short supply

Beleaguered farmers' third poor harvest in a row means British shoppers will rely on imported food - and prices will rise

Crops from potatoes and peas to cereals are being hit, leading to increased reliance on imported produce

Top of the pots: You don't need a garden to grow your own vegetables

Tomatoes, potatoes, even courgettes, are perfectly happy in pots says our green-fingered correspondent.

My life in food: Tom Nichol

Master distiller, Tanqueray

Gizzi Erskine: 'My earliest food memories are peeling veggies, chopping and making jam tarts’

My Life in Food: Gizzi Erskine

Until the age of 23, Gizzi Erskine was a professional body-piercer in Camden, north London. Now a food writer, chef and television presenter, she is best known as the host of the Channel 4 show Cook Yourself Thin and for the bestselling book of the same name. Her latest book, Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts, is due to be released on 28 March. She is working with Total Greek Yoghurt (totalgreekyoghurt.com) to create two new recipes.

Brazil’s big landowners have far too much power

Every 12 days in Brazil, someone gets murdered in a land-related conflict - how do the landowners get away with it?

Mark Pitts-Tucker, Cheese grader: 'Every good cheese grader has a secret bit of the fridge for his finest stuff'

My Life in Food: Mark Pitts-Tucker, cheese grader

Pitts-Tucker is in charge of assessing all the cheese made by Davidstow, the largest cheddar producer in the UK. He grades each cheese on body (firmness), texture (feel) and flavour (style and strength level). He works most often with the Cathedral City brand, eating around 500 chunks of 500 different cheese blocks each week.

Pork cooked in milk with potatoes and sage by Blanche Vaughan

Pork cooked in milk with potatoes and sage

Ingredients to serve 4

Ken Hom: 'When I come to the UK and to London, I really want to eat good Chinese food and the UK has some of the best Chinese food in Europe.'

My Life in Food: Ken Hom

'If I ever feel the pang of homesickness, I eat something with rice. It's my comfort food'

Jamie Roberts: Why Bruce Springsteen, self-belief and porridge are on menu for me today

Millennium Eye: We have to play on the front foot to right the wrongs of the autumn

Chef John Torode

John Torode: My life in food...

John Torode is best known as the straight-talking TV presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef. He originally moved to the UK from his native Australia in the mid-1990s when he worked for the Conran Group. He owns two London restaurants. He is now working with IWSC Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan to launch the Neil McGuigan & John Torode Recipe Collection, a personalised food and wine matching service: mcguiganwines.co.uk

The reclusive family who didn't see another human for 40 years

Those with an interest in 20th century history will be familiar with the stories of famous recluses like Howard Hughes or the Vietnam vets who emerged from the jungle some 20 years after the war had ended, but the Lykov family beats them all.

When a team of Soviet geologists accidentally stumbled across the family in a remote part of Siberia, they were so isolated that they were unaware that the second world war had even started, never mind finished. It was 1978.

Ham, mustard and parsley tartiflette

A little oil, for greasing
1kg waxy potatoes, peeled
1 large onion, peeled
Approx. 3 thick slices of ham (200g), torn
1 whole 250g camembert cheese, torn into 2cm chunks
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon to serve
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
200ml hot vegetable stock
300ml double cream (not single as it will split during cooking)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Did the French invent chips? Or was it the Belgians?

French battle Belgians over invention of ‘les frites’

Neighbours fight for right to be named 'home of the chip'

Use leftover meat to make turkey croquettes and serve with cranberry sauce

Turkey croquettes

Serves 10

Airlines and aircraft makers use sacks of potatoes to test in-flight wireless internet connections

If the wireless internet connection during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
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
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?