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.  

Mark Hix: A light touch with pasta

Pasta doesn't have to mean heavy, high-carb dishes – our resident chef creates delicious and healthy recipes for summer

Gnocchi with tomatoes and basil

Serves 4

Hawksmoor: The food is American and trashy… and absolutely delicious

On The Menu: Short ribs, an open book, cool canapés, tomato treats and an ode to bacon

This week I've been eating... Short ribs

Deep-fried courgette flowers with oxheart tomatoes and shaved courgettes
Simple starter: Courgette tart

Courgette tart

Serves 4-6

The Big Six: Beach clubs in Ibiza

From a chic hangout in a quiet cove to a left-field chill-out bar that aims to channel "the hippy spirit of India in the Eighties"...

Rectory Farm
and its
grounds

B&B And Beyond: Rectory Farm, Cambridge

A Georgian-style house surrounded by fields makes a charming alternative to urban chain hotels, discovers Cathy Packe

Panzanella by Matt Wilkinson

Panzanella by Matt Wilkinson

Ingredients to serve 4

Mismatched furniture and soft lighting make The Hampshire Hog very welcoming

The Hampshire Hog, 227 King Street, London, W6

The team behind The Engineer have moved, but have they taken their cachet with them?

The café crowd: locals gather at L’Excelsior in the Grand Place

Mons: The culinary king of the hill

Mons puts traditional local specialities at the heart of its cuisine. By Emily Reynolds

Natalie Haynes: Thanks for the advice, but my fridge contents don't lie

Notebook: Surely food safety can be distilled into one simple rule... nuke it, and the stuff that might have killed you gets nuked, too

Award-winner: the Curve theatre in Leicester

Countyfile: Leicestershire - The stage is set for an all-action summer in the Midlands

Leicestershire's struck gold. At least it has in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012. At last month's prize-giving ceremony, Leicester Theatre Trust, the body behind the city's performance space, Curve (0116 242 3595; curveonline.co.uk), picked up a gold Access for All Tourism Award for its commitment to theatregoers with disabilities. You can take a closer look at Curve on one of its fortnightly guided tours (the next one is on 23 June, adults £3, under-18s £2), while, front of house, this month's performances include the family favourite Horrible Histories, performed by the Birmingham Stage Company on 11-13 June (tickets £14).

1. Duchy Originals Sweet Pea with Mint, £2.99, waitrose.com:
A classic summer soup done remarkably well. It's graceful, fresh and as pea-y as you'd expect. Benefits from a dash of pepper.

The 10 Best summer soups

For a simple supper, give salad a swerve and sit down to an even more refreshing meal in a bowl...

Britain's Got Palate: Simon Cowell set to launch new cookery talent show

Cooking will be the subject of Simon Cowell’s latest talent search as the X Factor judge launches a new prime-time competition to discover the best British dish.

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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
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us