The cookbook author Claudia Roden at her London home. Reading her latest book is like talking with her in her garden, says food writer Nigella Lawson. Photograph: Lauren Fleishman/New York Times

If you’ve ever swiped a supple piece of pita bread through a plate of garlicky hummus and your family roots aren’t in the Middle East, you may have Cl(...)

Jennifer Jewell: “I see hope and value in a self-sustaining cycle of living with plants, loving plants, learning plants, growing plants, knowing plants, interpreting plants.”  Photograph:  John Whittlesey

  We all have our heroes and it’s not surprising so many of mine belong in one way or another to the world of plants. They include gardeners, de(...)

Fig tree: originating in Asia Minor, the culinary fig (Ficus carica) is  one of the earliest species of fruit cultivated by humankind. Photograph:  BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Ever since childhood I’ve had something of a mild obsession with ripe, garden-grown figs, a fruit that seemed more the stuff of Victorian gardening bo(...)

A spoonful of crème fraîche on top of warm fig and chocolate sponge cake. Photographs: Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times

“Although I could not quite say that figs are my favourite fruit,” wrote food writer Jane Grigson, “they are the fruit I most long for, that I have ne(...)

Persicaria ampexicaulis ‘fat Domino’.  Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Most keen gardeners can rattle off a list of the popular hardy perennials that act as the colourful mainstays of the late summer garden. Well-known e(...)

Yotam Ottolenghi’s baked paella. Photograph: Andrew Scrivani/New York Times

Every dish has a story to tell, but that story often isn’t what you expect or, indeed, want it to be. Take paella, arguably the most famous of Spanis(...)

Edna O’Brien

The 2018 Hay Festival, in collaboration with The Pool, published this list of 100 books by women, including works by Iris Murdoch, Edna O’Brien, Maria(...)

The happy pair: Brothers Stephen and David Flynn on the seafront in Bray, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We are all heartily sick of hearing about people who claim to be “social influencers” on the internet. With their free gifts, free trips, goodie bags (...)

Even if you are not planning to use the restaurants, towns with good places to eat tend to sell good ingredients, so stay there

Here follows a series of lessons learned about eating, drinking and cooking on holiday. 1 You can eat well and sleep well, or you can go camping. Don(...)

A productive and easy-to-cultivate plant – some would say too easy – the Jerusalem artichoke will happily grow in sun or light shade and in most soils

Just how and why some plants acquire their common names can be something of a puzzle. Take the Jerusalem artichoke, a glaring example of a horticultu(...)

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