Step 1: line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. mark out 3 circles: one 81/2 inches diameter, one 71/2 inches and one 51/2 inches.
Step 2: Whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks. add sugar a teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. researve one dessertspoon of sugar. divide mixture between circles. smooth with knife. lift up meringue in peaks on smallest circle then sprinkle with remaining sugar and almounds researving a few for decoration. bake on lower shelves of a very cool oven for 3-4 hours.
Step 3: when meringue layers are crisp remove them from oven then leave to cool. one hour before serving, whip the cream, add the sugar and brandy/vanilla. blend in a few of the halved strawberries. spread half mixture on two largest merginues. assemble cake in layers and press remaining strawberry halves round edge, scatter remaining almounds. serves 6
Step 5: when meringues are cooked and thoroughly cooled, whether small or large, wrap in foil or arrange in an airtight tin, putting greaseproof paper between each layer. they will still be fresh in two months’ time.