Black pepper gingerbread

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INGREDIENTS: 4oz/113g self-raising flour sieved, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of ground cloves, a good grating of nutmeg, half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 large egg, 4oz/113g soft light or dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons black treacle - dip a tablespoon into very hot water before each spoonful, quarter pint/135ml milk, 2oz/56g butter melted, grated rind of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 6 pieces of ginger, drained of their preserving syrup, and chopped finely, 3oz/85g fat raisins.

METHOD: Put the flour and spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Beat in the egg, sugar, milk, treacle and melted butter, and the grated orange rind and black pepper. Mix in the chopped ginger and raisins, mixing very well. Base line a non-stick cake tin, about 9in diameter (22cms) with a disc of baking parchment. Put the gingerbread mixture into this, and smooth the surface even. Bake in a moderate heat, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for 30-35 minutes - when you stick a knife in the centre it should emerge slightly sticky. If it is coated with raw mixture, give the gingerbread a further 10 minutes’ cooking time.

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