Melon sorbet with mint crush

Serves 6

Fig and vanilla jam

Makes approximately 1 litre (1¾ pints)

Melon with ginger caramel

Serves 2

Cherry granita

Serves 6-8

Blue-eyed Boy, By Joanne Harris

An online obsessive known as "blueyedboy" is the narrator of this creepy pyschodrama. The 42-year-old "BB" lives with his mother in the small Yorkshire village where he spends long hours glued to his computer.

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The historian Arcinegas once wrote that the discovery of the New World was as significant as the passing from the third to the fourth day in Genesis. And, as Matthew Parker documents in The Sugar Barons, for 200 years after 1650 it was the wild and lawless islands of the Caribbean, not the more prosaic settlements of the North American mainland, where the drama of that eventful age unfolded. The West Indies, Parker points out, "held out the promise of freedom and opportunities for social mobility unknown in Europe".

What a carrion: plant lovers flock to see a rare and smelly flower

Thousands of plant lovers have flocked to the northern Swiss city of Basel to see a giant, foul-smelling flower bloom for the first time. The Basel Botanical Gardens expects 10,000 people to have filed past its Amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower, standing in its full glory before the bloom wilts.

Smarter ways to snack

Britons consume more crisps, biscuits and sweets than any other European nation. But eating between meals needn't be a one-way ticket to weight gain, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

Album: k d lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

Sing It Loud is k d lang's first work with a band of her own since her original albums with The Reclines two decades ago. But compared to the sprightly tone of those breakthrough recordings, this is tough going.

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Sweet beetroot tart

Serves 4

Dry season: Add an extra dimension to your fruit intake with Skye Gyngell's sweet snacks

There's still very little fresh fruit in season right now – blood oranges are few and far between and quinces have left us now, so we wait for loquats and the first apricots to arrive. What is not to be underestimated, however, is the use of dried fruits in the kitchen. Almost all fruit can be dried, although their flavour does change dramatically: the sugar content becomes intense and it changes their flavour – though that does not prohibit the goodness of their taste. Buy in small quantities and keep in airtight jars. Look for fruit that is dried as naturally as possible with little added sugar. 1

Gnocchi fritti

Makes about 30 pieces
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