i Robert Burns, 1759 to 1796. Scottish Poet

Ah, Scotland’s favourite son.

Sausage binge prompted Ricky Gervais to shed weight

Ricky Gervais has revealed he was moved to lose weight after gorging himself on 11 sausages in one sitting.

Minor British Institutions: Toad in the hole

No one knows why toad in the hole is so-called, though it sounds suitably archaic, English and bucolic. Perhaps. A Captain Francis Grose wrote his A Provincial Glossary in 1787 and this appears to be the first mention, though tantalisingly without explanation.

Apricot butter

250g/8oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g/7oz plump dried apricots (or any other dried fruit such as figs or prunes or a combination)
1 tbsp icing sugar

Guy Adams: Here's one US symbol not worth saving

LA Notebook

'Ambient' sausage rolls 'an error'

The Co-op said it was correcting an "error" which led to "ambient sausage rolls" going on sale after a group which campaigns against gobbledegook complained that the description took the linguistic biscuit.

270 jobs at new sausage plant

A pork and bacon producer announced 270 new jobs today with the creation of a state-of-the-art sausage manufacturing plant.

A porcine adventure: Award-winning food writer Lori De Mori embarks on a 'Pig Weekend' in the Auvergne

One bleak morning in the dead heart of a winter that was beginning to feel interminable, an invitation intriguingly entitled "Pig Weekend" landed in my inbox. It had been sent from the Auberge de Chassignolles, an eight-room country inn in the Auvergne, and it proposed a three-day workshop: "The weekend will begin with the butchery of a whole pig and conclude with the taking home of a range of charcuterie products that participants have made themselves. Potted meats –brawn, terrine and rillettes – will be jarred and can be taken immediately. Saucissons will be prepared for curing, labelled and hung to dry here in Chassignolles. These will be forwarded by post two to three months later."

M&S adverts help drive sales at Waitrose

Waitrose cheekily "thanked" its up-market food rival Marks & Spencer yesterday for an advertising campaign that helped it post its best weekly sales since 2006.

A new house of horrors that shocked America

The gruesome details of the Sowell case have plumbed new depths in criminal depravity. But the revelations of skulls and smells have also put the authorities in the spotlight

Haggis baked potatoes

Serves 4

Cole hungry for a place at the heart of Chelsea and England

With Ancelotti playing no wide men, the returning midfielder could claim dream role tucking into the hole behind strikers – or the 'sausage roll', as he has it

My Edinburgh: Lucy Porter, Comedian

I guarantee that if you follow my Edinburgh festival diet and exercise plan you will lose at least half a stone.*

Business Diary: 11/07/2009

John Lewis lobs sun & strokes into excuse mix

There's a new excuse for corporate PRs to gloss over bad news. Had a slump in sales? Ratings down? Here's your communications solution: Blame the hot weather, right, and tennis ... as if either has ever ground the UK to a halt before.

Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons, By Matthew Fort

In 1973, Fort ate a plate of sausages in Sicily. There were only two, but "they tasted more of sausage than any sausage I have ever eaten, firm, juicy, salty and sweet."

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?