Voices

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Millions vote in Delhi state poll which could indicate how general election might play out

Turn-out for last of five local polls may have broken all previous records

Baked Quails' Eggs, Trotter and Bacon

Mark Hix recipe: Baked Quails' Eggs, Trotter and Bacon

Serves 6 as a starter

La Brasserie at the Chester Grosvenor: Restaurant review - The diner brings the elegant, comforting vibe of Paris to Chester

So it turns out the heaving throng and buzzing high street of Chester are about as thumping a riposte to that hoary old phrase, "it’s grim up north" as could be imagined. True, there are places north of our offices in Kensington that are grim, but on a chilly weekend in November, this affluent town, used as a commuter point for workers from Manchester, Liverpool, Wrexham and the like, is positively bubbling. On first inspection, the restaurants aren't bad either.

Serve the sauce over the chips and scatter the cheese on top

Mark Hix recipe: A Hot Norfolk Broad

Serves 4-6

Restaurant review: Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Café is a terrific Italian but what's the Beckham connection?

Union Street Café is not a café, and isn't strictly in Union Street (see address below) but it's certainly the most talked-about new restaurant of the autumn. This, you'll doubtless know, is because it was rumoured that its owner, Gordon Ramsay, the former footballer who once had a trial with Rangers, was going into partnership with David Beckham, the well-known foodie.

Screw Stoptober - smoking is cool

Smoking is the hazy fug of a 1930s jazz club, the deadline mist of a 1970s newsroom and the chocolate-wood smell of my granddad’s lounge circa 1988

Paperback review: Point Your Face at This, By Demetri Martin

This insanely enjoyable collection of drawings and cartoons by the comedian Demetri Martin was passed around my whole family. I kept finding it in different rooms of the house.

Blind date: Istanbullux’s stylish interiors are shielded from the sun by a wooden shell

B&B and Beyond: Istanbullux Suites, Turkey

Galata is a thriving area with a sleek collection of suites in a building that's cool ... in every way. Sarah Gilbert checks in

You say tomato, I say potato: the TomTato

The TomTato: Plant which produces both potatoes and tomatoes launched in UK

Plant can grow sweet cherry tomatoes while producing white potatoes

Raj minimalism: Downstairs there's a second dining room and a cosy bar with a nice, speakeasy feel

Restaurant review: Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle Street, London

Five years ago, Trishna opened near Baker Street specialising in upmarket (and expensive) Indian cuisine. It was the brainchild of Karam Sethi and his brother Jyotin, both born in London, and specialised in the cooking of south-west India. The memory of its Isle of Shuna mussels and its coastal lamb curry has remained with me ever since, and I wasn't surprised when the place picked up a Michelin star last October.

Well-feathered: The exotic open-plan salon at the Peacock Pavilions

B&B and Beyond: Peacock Pavilions, Morocco

The globetrotting owner of this tranquil retreat outside the medina has an eclectic eye for interiors. Sarah Gilbert checks in

Bit of spice: Partridge tagine with olives

Partridge tagine with olives

Serves 4-6

Hamburger with club sauce

Serves 4

Deer steak burger with green peppercorn sauce

Serves 4

Branching out: Mark Hix gets creative with olives

People now have a great choice of olives in all sizes and brines for snacking on and cooking with. Long may it last, says our chef...

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month