Pear & Chocolate Trifle recipe by Hattie Ellis

SERVES 10

This is a slightly adapted version of trifle belle hélène in the wonderful Trifle, by Alan Davidson and Helen Saberi. Helen told me it is one of her favourite trifles, and she is certainly spoilt for choice as the book runs from the sixteenth-century English kitchen to versions from Eritrea, Mexico, Laos and Trinidad.

Halloween Two-Heat Chile Con Carne recipe from Hattie Ellis

Some-like-it-hot, some not. This version of chile con carne has proper chunks of meat and Mexican flavours, including their dried chillies, or chiles, as they call them in Mexico. Just before the meat goes in the oven, you can divide it into two pots, one hot with chillies and the other with the great fiesta of Mexican flavours, but without the heat, or with less, to suit all palates.

The Full Catastrophe: Author James Angelos on the Greek election

Last Sunday, I was in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki as Greeks went to the polls for the fourth national parliamentary election in four years. On the streets, there was almost no indication an election was taking place. Outdoor cafés were half-filled with university students apathetic to the electoral proceedings underway. “Did you vote today?” I asked one 23-year-old woman who was rolling a cigarette at a small table at one of the cafés. She, like many other students I spoke to, flashed a bitter grin. “No,” she said. “I believe whatever will happen will happen.

Amanda Prowse and editor Laura meet the Your Story, Her Words competition winner

Last Tuesday, I spent the day with Amanda Prowse and one of her readers. The reader’s name is Amy, and she won our competition, Your Story Her Words, to have her life story immortalised in Amanda’s next piece of fiction. Amy was born prematurely, at 22 weeks, and as a result she is blind. She spent a lot of her childhood in the care system. She longs to be a mother, but is determined not to partner with the wrong man in the quest for a baby. So now, at the age of 25, she has taken the decision to start fertility treatment and conceive a child on her own.

No More Champagne : fifty years on, a mea culpa to my grandmother by David Lough

I can still see the expression on my grandmother’s face when I announced on Winston Churchill’s death in 1965 that he had simply been  ‘a romantic old windbag’.  Then aged fourteen, I had stolen the line from a brilliant but cynical history teacher and adopted it as my own.  My grandmother’s jaw dropped and the blood drained visibly from her face: it was as if I had committed an act of almost unforgivable lèse majesté.

Clare Carson on Politics and Protagonists

My dad was an undercover policeman and people often assume he must have objected to my teenage acts of civil disobedience. He didn’t. After I went on a CND march in 1981, a photograph of me waving a placard appeared in a newspaper. I agonised for days, wondering whether to tell him or not. In the end I showed him the photo and he laughed. He laughed about the arrest too. He made a couple of digs of course – he was a cop after all and cops can’t help the banter. But we had our own lives, did our own things, got on with it.

Mark Roberts: SOUTH LIVERPOOL SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHER TURNS TO CRIME

This sounds like a newspaper headline and a departure from reality but, if you throw the word fiction in at the end, we're talking the whole truth.  But writing crime novels for adults wasn't so much a case of 'turning' it was a logical progression based on a long journey as a writer that has led me to DCI Eve Clay and Blood Mist, the first in her adventures in crime.

The Three-Body Problem wins the Hugo Award for Best Novel

We are pleased to announce that The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The Hugo Awards ceremony took place at Worldcon in Spokane, Washington USA as they have since they were established in 1953. It is seen as the highest honour in science fiction and fantasy writing alongside the Nebula Awards.