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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Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game