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.

Banana and custard pie

Serves 4

Crêpe soufflé with blood oranges

Serves 4

Join the sugar rush: Life is sweeter with Skye Gyngell's gorgeous treats

There's nothing like a sweet treat to keep you going on a chilly day, says Skye Gyngell

Panna cotta with caramel and blood orange

Serves 4

Bread and butter pudding

Serves 6-8

Jeremy Warner: Bankers' pay will be curbed one way or another

Outlook The politicians have to be seen to be doing something to assuage public anger over bankers' pay, and it is indeed outrageous that organisations which would be insolvent but for the support of taxpayers are continuing to pay some employees multimillion-pound bonuses.

Roasted rhubarb with mascarpone

Serves 4

FSA chairman pulls back from direct regulation of City pay

Three-pronged approach to reform of banking rules

Quince with verjus, bay leaves and vanilla

Serves six

The Sexual Paradox, By Susan Pinker

Susan Pinker's big idea is that there are inherent psychological differences between the sexes and that they, rather than a glass ceiling, account for the persistent gap between men and women's occupancy of top professional positions. In the past, inherent differences have been used to justify all sorts of unfair treatment, but that isn't Pinker's agenda. She demolishes the idea of "vanilla gender" (the notion that men and women are basically the same) with evidence from a battery of interviews and psychological tests. It's a shame that the clichés are all true, but they seem to be: men are more competitive and single-minded; women are more empathetic, have better language skills, prefer working with people to things, and value quality of life more than career success.

Chocolate Orange cookies

Makes about 24

Christmas fruit and nut cookies

Makes about 24

Blackberry and lemon trifles

Serves 8-10

Vanilla Black, 17-18 Took's Court, London EC4

It's hardly surprising that the churn rate among newspaper restaurant reviewers is slower than the industry average. Why would anyone voluntarily give up a job that allows them to travel the country, eating and drinking? You'd have to prise this gig out of my cold, dead hand.

Camila Batmanghelidjh: When a child commits a crime, the truth is we're all responsible

Society is keen to hold children accountable for crime. In the name of justice, force and chemicals are used to achieve compliance: Prisons, Asbos and some 460,000 prescriptions of Ritalin a year, some of it for children who suffer attention disorders, but most of it for those who feel uncontained and legitimately chaotic in the face of unbearable life challenges. Criminal children are costing £280,000,000 in custody. At any given time, 3000 children are in custody. 80 per cent of them reoffend.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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