If you've never tried adding pepper to a sweet dish before now you'll be pleasantly surprised by its effect. It adds unusual spiciness to what is otherwise a fairly standard fruitcake and is just one example of the huge variety of fruit-cake recipes that come from this part of the world.
MAKES 8 SLICES
75 g (3 oz) raisins
75 g (3 oz) currants
100 g (4 oz) caster sugar
75 g (3 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground ginger
large pinch of ground cloves
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) finely ground black pepper
60 ml (4 tbsp) fresh milk
1 egg, beaten
1. Grease the base of a deep 18 cm (7 inch) round cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the fruit, sugar, butter and 150 ml (1/4 pint) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then leave to cool slightly. Put the flour, salt, spices and pepper in a large bowl and gently stir in the fruit mixture, milk and the egg. Mix thoroughly together without beating.
3. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for about 50 minutes or until firm to the touch and golden brown. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.