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.  

April Bloomfield: 'If you think you've added enough butter, just add a bit more'

My earliest food memory… Waking up on a cold frosty morning at my Nan's house and my Grandad cooking porridge on the hob with milk and the tiniest bit of sugar melted on top. Then he'd pour the cold milk around the bowl so it would set like custard. It's the best start to the day for energy. It's better than Red Bull – porridge gives you wings.

A student newspaper reveals the naughty times of politicians Maria Eagle and and Mark Fields at Oxford

Gove, Hague and Johnson feature in tales of Oxford hijinx found in student newspaper

Five-in-a-bed, 'nookie rooms' and midnight runs round medieval quads wearing little more than baby oil; the exploits of the country's current political elite in their undergraduate days at Oxford read more than a little bit like Brideshead Revisited. So it will come as no small embarrassment to them that it has all indeed been revisited.

Chickpea and coconut curry makes a great vegetarian main course

Chickpea and coconut curry

Serves 4-6

Soup is a scrumptious solution to a hungry office worker’s lunchtime woes

Soup lovers of the world, unite and rejoice (and then fact-check)

Whether you're on January girth-watch and are treating bread like a mortal enemy or are simply bored to tears of limp sandwiches eaten al-desko, soup is a scrumptious solution to a hungry office worker's lunchtime woes.

Serve braised shin of pork with cheesy mashed potato or creamy polenta

Braised shin of pork

Serves 4

Beef and Guinness Stew by Darina Allen

Beef and Guinness Stew

Ingredients to serve 6-8

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Eric Bristow misses out on the final three

Darts star Eric Bristow admitted he was disappointed not to make the final of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! after becoming the latest contestant to be voted out of the jungle.

Various Heinz Baked Beans flavours

Canned goods: Heinz meanz beanz… and, er, curry and cheese?

It was a mere three months ago that they were going all posh with a five-bean "update", but now Heinz has abandoned the kidney, pinto, cannellini and borlotti beans in favour of some more down-on-the-farm flavours. The new Heinz Flavoured Beanz range includes Cheddar cheese, fiery chilli, barbecue and curry flavour. Trending managed to track down a can of the curry beans for a taste test yesterday, and they aren't so bad.

Britain's Sam Davies leaving son behind to compete in round-the-world Vendée Globe

Northern hemisphere November is not known for its salad days but for Britain’s current queen of ocean racing, fast becoming a French star, it is sunny and fruitful and for three British sailors there is the neck hair raising challenge of taking on 12 Frenchmen, two Swiss, an Italian, a Pole, and a Spaniard in one of the toughest challenges in world sport.

Power to the (Tamil) people! There's a curry revolution going on in Tooting

An unheralded revolution is brewing in Tooting. This is extremely exciting news for revolutionaries and foodies alike. But before I tell you what it involves, some caveats.

Harriet Walker: 'I look clownish in little lilac things'

We haven't really worked out how we feel about clothes, have we?

Once we grew all our own vegetables, now I hang my head in shame at the weeds…

It's been a ropey old year down on the farm. When I retired from London life 10 years ago, accompanied by a copy of The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and romantic dreams about self-sufficiency, I was full of hope for a new dawn. Never again would I visit a supermarket. All eggs would be laid by our hens. Organic vegetables would spring forth from the garden. Home-brewed ale would comfort the evening and I would chop wood and cart muck every afternoon. The smell of freshly baked bread would fill the kitchen and the children would run free in the fields. The vulgar world with its television talent shows and mobile phones would not disturb our Epicurean retreat.

Crab cakes with tomato salsa

Serves 4

Oysters Mary

Serves 4-6

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel: