You know the birthday cakes I made for Dave? I made a third flavour too. Strawberry! Not the most seasonal, but perfect for Valentines because it’s red and shaped a bit like a heart and being simple, I am amused by this. Also, they are very, very good. I think in the summer when British strawberries are abundant and juicy and so, so sweet, this will make the most amazing Victoria sponge.
Black pepper and strawberries are one of those combinations that at first thought is odd, but then you taste it and wonder why you haven’t tried it before. It is divine. Here, a syrup is made with the pepper and added to slices of strawberries.
Add equal amounts of water and sugar to a pan with some lemon peel, add some crushed black peppercorns, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then take the syrup off the heat and leave it to cool for at least two hours. It’ll get all thick and, well, syrupy, and you pour that over some sliced strawberries and leave for half an hour or so.
Place strawberries on the bottom of your cake moulds, add a teaspoon of the syrup, add cake batter and bake. Once they’re cooked, pour a little more syrup over the top, leave to cool slightly and then eat with a massive mug of tea.