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Escapes

Nuts; It began with the pilgrimage to the sweet chestnut tree...

Letter: In a nutshell

From Mr Peter Hurcomb

FOOD & DRINK : PAT A CAKE, PAT; A CAKE...

And learn to bake one as fast as you can. For the final part of our series on flour power, Michael Bateman consults an expert cake-maker and selects some of her recipes, from simple bara brith to quite sinful brownies

FOR THE GOOD OF THE PARTY

When Caroline Waldegrave gives a dinner, she keeps

A game of Russian poulette

It was the ultimate cultural exchange, a Cordon Bleu cook sent to Moscow to pass trade secrets to the Russians. Her mission? To make five amazing dishes from a single scrawny chicken. Deborah Antel managed to do just that

Confessions of a walnut

Book Review: Sid James by Cliff Goodwin (Century), pounds 15.99

BOOKS; On the trail of the walnut presser's wife

CLESTINE: Voices From a French Village by Gillian Tindall, Sinclair- Stevenson pounds 17.99

Food & Drink: So simple it's sophisticated: Jim Ainsworth finds the kind of cafe where the decor is canny, the cooks serene and nothing happens by accident

THE Union Cafe opened in the Marylebone pocket of the West End of London on Tuesday, and I went for lunch. It took me back 15 years to the day I opened the doors of my own restaurant for the first time.

Where shall we meet: Cafe de Columbia

Your friend from overseas is standing outside Lillywhites, A-Z in one hand, camcorder in the other. So this is Piccadilly Circus. You, meanwhile, are sitting in a comfortable hessian chair enjoying a Columbian espresso (pounds 1.45) and a treacle tart (pounds 2.95) in Justin de Blank's fan-cooled Cafe de Columbia. Fortnum's clock is just striking twelve as your tourist poodles past the Royal Academy down Burlington Arcade, turning right into the Museum of Mankind. Pausing only to video the Easter Island statue given to the museum by Queen Victoria (who had no idea where to put it), they join you for a fashionable salad of rocket, parmesan, pears and walnuts (pounds 7) and a bottle of chilled white wine (pounds 9.95). Let's hope your friend is paying. Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm/Sun 2-5pm.

Racing: Ryan's return is near

WILLIE RYAN is hoping to make his comeback on Saturday after successfully coming through a workout yesterday morning. Ryan, 33, has been on the sidelines since breaking three ribs when unseated by Foyer in the Derby.

Health Update: A nutty diet

MEN WHO want to avoid heart attacks would be well advised to eat more almonds and walnuts. A study of 16 Australian men, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that they reduced their cholesterol levels by 7 per cent when taking

TRIED & TESTED / Taking a crack at it: We sample seven nutcrackers. The hard shell won when it came to the crunch

Most of us would probably eat a lot more nuts - and they are now sold loose in supermarkets all the year round - if cracking them were made easier. It can be off-putting, when your nutcracker sends minute pieces of kernel flying all over the room, or if you spend more time excavating stubborn fragments from the shell than you do eating the nuts. So to find a nutcracker that is really easy to use, and effective, we asked four regular nut eaters to try out a selection. We gave them a supply of walnuts, brazils, hazelnuts and almonds to test each one against. Read on, to find out which would crack even the toughest nut.

Captain Moonlight: Spy scoop

NO HOLIDAY relaxation for the dedicated team that produces the Daily Mirror. While you were rewinding the video and thinking about more cake, two Mirror men were infiltrating the new London headquarters of MI5 at Vauxhall Bridge and gasping at the walnut, the marble, the gym, the squash courts, the German kitchen units and a little railway for whizzing documents around. Not that the Captain begrudges any of this; a happy spy is a good spy, say I. No, what caught my eye was the reference by one of the contractors quoted in the story to a 'trophy room'. Now what sort of trophies does MI5 gather in? Best Supporting Agent? Best Designed Dead Letter Drop? The Silver Spool for Bugger of the Year? Runners-up, Most Efficient Internal Security Agency, 1978, behind the Secur itate and just ahead of the Tontons Macoutes? And what will be mounted in there? The Head of MI6? I did try to ask, but a Government spokesman refused to comment. If anyone knows anything, make a rendezvous with the Captain, usual place, no umbrellas.

Put some bounce in your bird: Liven up turkey and other dishes with the help of the versatile, hardy cranberry

For years I've longed to see an American cranberry harvest. By all accounts, it is a spectacular sight. The boggy fields of low, heather-like bushes are artificially flooded, the cranberries knocked off into the water, then drained off in an enormous scarlet wave. Imagine this on a perfect autumn day, with blue skies and gold- and orange-leaved trees.
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
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Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
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Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
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Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
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The dress can be seen in different colours
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Wes Brown is sent-off
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Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?