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Have spent the afternoon making Certosino aka Pan Speziale from a recipe in the British Museum Cook Book from the 'Renaissance Italy' section. It's one of those recipes which looks, and is, terribly simple, except for the hour or more spent in preparation. Put raisins in brandy to soak. Cook apple. Sieve. Cook some more because you haven't got the 6oz required and sieve. Chop walnuts and almonds. Chop orange and lemon candied peel. Chop stem ginger. Break up chocolate. Sieve flour. Add cinnamon. Only then are you ready to put the oven on, measure out the honey, butter and water in a saucepan and heat very, very gently until the butter melts.

After that it is, indeed, easy, provided you have a strong wrist, because the dough is stiff even before you add all the fruit and nuts and chocolate plus bicarb in water.

I must admit to some uneasiness as it went into the low oven. It's a long time since I baked a cake of any kind (really, with only two people in the house, cake lasts far too long) but this one looks fabulous where it sits cooling on the table. If it stays risen and the decoration works, I might even post a picture.

Yesterday's solstice dinner was roast pheasant, with goose fat roast potatoes, carrots and gravy, followed by baked quince with vanilla ice cream. Tonight's on the other hand is sausage, fried egg, potato croquettes and baked beans!
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I'm impressed. I'm just not a baking person - my brother is much more that way inclined, though I do enjoy just reading old recipes for the fascination value. I have, however, managed to remember to get the turkey out to defrost!

I like baking, but doing it for two is ridiculous. And doing it to provide basics for a desert (like Madeira cake for trifle) is a lot less reliable than the supermarket!

Fingers crossed, it will be yum. I intend to use glace cherries for the decoration and then it really will be full of my favourite things.

That cake sounds fabulous!

It tastes fabulous. Soft and light and chock-a-block with goodies.

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