Guinness-baked ham hock

Serves 2-4

From plot to pot: Why buy fresh herbs when you can pick them right outside your back door?

Carolyn Hart selects eight chefs' favourites to start growing now

Baked ricotta with roast pumpkin and chard

Serves 6

Herb your enthusiasm: Meet the expert herbalist who knows exactly what thyme it is

Jekka McVicar is a bit of a legend: admirers talk of her 60 RHS gold medals; of the day Heston Blumenthal nibbled half of her stock in one visit; how she serves her staff their morning coffee with home-made meringues flavoured with her own mint and caraway seed...

Iberican ham on toasted bruschetta

Serves 4

Steamed lamb pudding

Ingredients to serve 6-8:

Love me tender: Are slow cookers worth the effort?

Sales of slow cookers are booming – but do the results always have to be bland? Jamie Merrill puts the crunch-busting appliance to the test

Parsnip, thyme and nutmeg bake with braised beef

Serves 4-6

Comfort and joy: Marcus Wareing's magical Christmas dishes

Whether it's the sweet tanginess of Christmas cranberries or the creamy perfection of a well-cooked parsnip, Marcus Wareing offers his recipes for seasonal good cheer

Cost Of Living: Alternative flooring

Wooden flooring – tasteful, practical and chameleon-like in blending in with a room's decoration – dominates today's interiors. But it can be an obvious and dull option, too, especially when you consider the many alternatives.

Chicken with figs and honey

Serves 6

Johann Hari: As life flies on, don't let poetry pass you by

If we are seeking the first great laureate of the new era, I nominate Clive James

Vegetable soup

Serves 4-6

Artichokes: Eat their hearts out

Majestic looking, versatile and easy to prepare, the artichoke is the crowning glory in Skye Gyngell's kitchen at this time of year
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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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