Food in books: boeuf en daube from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Take time out of your festive schedule to make a beef stew that will reward you with enough flavour to inspire a masterpiece of modernismBy Kate Young for The Little Library Café, part of the Guardian Books Network... an exquisite scent of olives and oil and juice rose from the great brown dish as Marthe, with a little flourish, took the cover off. The cook had spent three days over that dish. And she must take great care, Mrs Ramsay thought, diving into the soft mass, to choose a specially tender piece for William Bankes. And she peered into the dish, with its shiny walls and its confusion of savoury brown and yellow meats and its bay leaves and its wine ... To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf Continue...

Wine: what to look out for in 2016

The developments in 2016 that are worth keeping an eye out forOne of the things critics are expected to do at this time of year is to spot trends for the coming 12 months, but the problem with wine is that there tends not to be a huge difference between one year and the next – I see no diminution in the public’s appetite for prosecco, New Zealand sauvignon blanc and rioja, for instance. On the other hand, we started drinking malbec in quantity only a couple of years ago; it wasn’t “a thing” back in 2012. So what is going to happen in 2016? Continue...

Eco-condoms to Ikea’s veggie balls: the top 5 ethical living stories of 2015

Kimye got drought shamed and Ikea introduced horsemeat-free veggie balls. But what have we missed? Tell us in the comments belowThere’s more to Ikea than its flatpack furnishings, something customers were reminded of not once but twice this year when the famous purveyor of the Billy bookcase announced it was adding veggie balls and certified seafood to its menus. Continue...

New Year resolution to lose weight? Ditch the fad diets, say experts

There’s more to losing weight after the festive binge than cutting calories – lifestyle, psychology and setting realistic goals are also key to successAfter the culinary excesses of the festive season, it is no surprise that one of the most common New Year resolutions is to lose weight. And while reaching a healthy weight can take commitment and willpower, there are some tried and tested approaches that should make the task easier.There is no doubt that people with an optimum body weight live longer and have healthier lives. Overweight or obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis, and experience fertility problems. They die younger too. Body mass index is not a perfect measure, particularly for heavy people who are lean and muscular, but it works for much of the population. The healthiest BMIs range from 22.5 to 25. When it reaches 30 to 35, life expectancy falls by two to four years. A BMI from 40 to 45 typically shortens life by eight to 10 years. Many deaths in overweight people are the result of vascular disease. Continue...

Kylee Newton’s celeriac and beetroot pickle recipe | Cook residency

Simple flavours are an antidote to the over-indulgences of Christmas. They’re also hugely seductive, as proved by the success of our resident’s ceviche, served here with a quick pickle ...Today’s column is something of a love story. Five years ago I met a man at a friend’s party. We chatted throughout the evening, but at some point, on the dancefloor, I realised I’d lost him. Oh my god, I thought to myself, I like him. I went in search of the man and, when faced with him, blurted out: “I’m really attracted to you, do you feel this?” Smooth, Kylee. But, as it happens, he did feel it. Phew.For our first date, I decided to make him dinner at my house – bold, I know, but true to form! I wanted to impress him with dishes that were close to my heart. I planned the three courses: ceviche, prawn and pea risotto and miniature summer puddings with lemon mascarpone – simple recipes which, I hoped, didn’t make it look like I’d tried too hard. Continue...