I so much look forward to another event at Burford Market: A stunning location (Upton Smokery) in the Cotswold, more than 50 stalls, and another chance to do my Christmas shopping:  I hope you can all make it!

Now, time to bake more of Mariella Bliss  Cantucci di Siena and fill the house with more festive smell! Here is my recipe if you fancy baking your own:

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

100g almonds in their skins

40g pine nuts

250g plain flour preferably Italian 00

200g caster sugar

a generous 1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)

2 large (extra-large) free-range eggs

unsalted butter for the tray

Heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6. Bruise the fennel seeds. Put the almonds and pine nuts on a baking tray and lightly toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven (leaving the oven on at the same temperature), then chop each almond in half if large.

Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder onto the work surface. Stir to mix and make a well in the middle. Beat the eggs lightly with the fennel. Pour the mixture into the well and work it gradually into the dry ingredients, adding the nuts at the end. When everything is well mixed, divide in half and pat and roll each piece with well floured hands to a 30 cm/ 12 in long sausage. Lay them, well apart, on a greased and floured baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 150 C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2 or a little less. Cool the cantucci for 10 minutes, then cut them diagonally into 1 cm / 1/2 in slices side by side on the tray and return to the oven for the second baking – for 45 minutes or so, until well dried out.

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