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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.
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum