Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Butter and flour a 30 × 11 cm(12 × 4 inch) loaf tin. Spread the pecans on a baking tray and toast them in the oven until they are just crisp and lightly roasted (keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn), then remove the tray from the oven and leave them to cool.
Beat the sugar with the oil and vanilla until smooth and then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Keep on beating until you have a thick, yet light and fluffy batter. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a pinch of salt and the zucchini, several good grinds of black pepper and the lemon zest and fold together well. Coarsely chop the pecans and gently stir through the batter.
Scrape the batter into the tin and bake for 55–60 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Leave the tin on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before turning the loaf out onto the rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, buttered if you like. Well wrapped up, this stays moist and soft for days and it toasts well even after it’s lost its moistness.