Life and Style

With each passing year, the Wines from Spain Awards throw up more variety and better quality across the board. Chosen from nearly 1,000 wines, the top awards demonstrate that while rioja is still a vital part of what Spain does well, there is so much more to the country’s wine today in style, in quality and in value. Spain in many ways is Europe’s greatest hope for a challenge to the New World dominance of the past two decades.

Fig and vanilla jam

Makes approximately 1 litre (1¾ pints)

Howard Jacobson: What fresh hell is this? A journey by train

Have you been on a train recently?

Vanilla custard pots

Makes 8 pots

St Clements crêpe soufflé

Serves 4

Spice girl: Kate Humble's aromatic journey in Indonesia

Nutmeg was once thought to cure the plague – but for European explorers, the journey to its source in Indonesia's Banda Islands was perilous. Today this remote archipelago is as intriguing as ever

Mad about Madagascar

David Attenborough loves its exuberant wildlife, but this island in the Indian ocean has much more besides lemurs to offer, reveals Kate Eshelby

Pomegranate ice-cream

I love ice-cream all year round, not just during summer. I have made the custard base here simply with milk, rather than a combination of milk and cream; the end result is lighter, cleaner and more refreshing – almost Middle Eastern in flavour.

Sweet rice with cardamom and rosewater

Serves 4-6

Apple and cinnamon pie

Serves 6

Panettone bread-and-butter pudding

Serves 6

Totally chilled: Festive ice cream flavours are on the menu this winter - including Christmas cake and stilton

As the winter chill sets in, it might seem entirely wrong to be talking about ice cream, but Robin and Caroline Weir, frozen dessert obsessives, believe wholeheartedly in eating the stuff every single day of the year. "Of course, sales go up in the summer," Robin says, "but it most definitely isn't a seasonal product. Rich ice cream is a wonderful thing to have as a dessert in even the coldest weather."

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