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.

Pan-fried smoked salmon with potato and horseradish salad
Pan-fried smoked salmon with potato and horseradish salad

Think pink: Mark Hix's simple smoked salmon recipes are perfect for Christmas Eve

I am now officially recognised as a salmon smoker – my Hix salmon is smoked up on the rooftop at Selfridges, believe it or not – so I thought I should devote a column to this luxurious treat. Apart from enjoying simple slices of smoked salmon, there are so many tasty snacks and meals to be made with it, especially if you buy a pack of pre-sliced salmon and realise that it's not quite good enough to eat on its own, or if perhaps you have bought a side which always yields a few bits that aren't serveable as portions, such as the tail and belly. In fact, even the skin, cut into strips and deep-fried, makes a delicious snack.

Turkey steaks have typically risen to £8.15 per kg, an increase of 3.8 per cent

Let's talk turkey: your Christmas lunch will cost more than last year

The cost of ingredients for this year's Christmas dinner has risen by £7.50 since 2010, official figures have shown.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Ann Widdecombe is evidently a convert to the “prolonged frivolity” she enjoyed while competing on Strictly Come Dancing last year. She is back in sequins, feathers and ra-ra skirts this winter in deepest, darkest Dartford. The former Tory minister is now a pantomime dame, performing as Widdy-in-waiting to her ex-Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood’s wicked Queen Lucretia (from Bromley)- his third successive year in the role.

Nuno Mendes is the chef/ patron of the Michelin-starred Viajante in London

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Editor-At-Large: Most Britons' idea of exercise is reaching for their Dairy Milk

I guarantee that the one sport we'll win gold medals at in 2012 is loafing. We'll excel at lounging on a sofa staring at a screen, one hand around a jumbo bar of Dairy Milk, the other resting by a can of fizzy liquid.

Cranberry and red onion sauce

All the trimmings: Mark Hix cooks up the perfect accompaniments to roast meats

Last week I gave you recipes for festive roasts – so this week I'm showing you how to cook all the accompanying bits and bobs in advance, so that you won't have to do too much last-minute rushing around in the kitchen.

Goose fat potatoes

Goose fat potatoes

Serves 6-8

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Giorgio Locatelli is the chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Locanda Locatelli in London's Mayfair. His latest cookbook is Made in Sicily (Harper Collins, £30)

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Poor thieves punished, but what about the conscience of the rich?

Lara's crab rostis

Serves 4

Don't call them spuds: luxury £400 potatoes arrive in British supermarket

A little-known potato variety known as the "caviar of the potato world" will make its British debut this week.

Super-spuds to feed world as genetic code is cracked

The full genetic code of the potato plant has been deciphered by scientists who claim it will lead to the rapid development of new, disease-resistant varieties of the world's most important non-cereal food crop.

Super spud on menu as genetic code is cracked

The full genetic code of the potato plant has been deciphered by scientists who say that it will lead to the rapid development of new disease-resistant varieties of the world's most important non-cereal food crop.

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