Do you remember that Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film ‘You’ve got Mail’? She ran a charming little independent book store and he was the big mean chain giant threatening to crush her livelihood. Well I’ve found a book shop that makes me think about her charming little independent. It’s called Whyte Books in a place called Schull in West Cork, thankfully there ain’t no chance of a giant chain anything moving into the High St there. You can drive through this High St in a blink, and it would be such a shame if you did because you would miss so much. If you know West Cork then you know what I’m talking about. Schull may be small but it’s jam-packed. There’s my favourite kind of ‘pokey shops’ full of lovely gifts and treats, art shops full of beautiful pieces by local artists, knitwear and linen shops and of course at least three pubs, it is Ireland after all. The wonderful thing about this place is that the shop keepers know their customers, they know their stock. There’s no ‘oh hang on I’ll go and ask somebody’ or ‘um…I’ve only just started here I don’t know’.
On one of our last visits we needed to find a high chair for my toddler to use in the cottage. When we asked in the clothing shop where we could get one the shopkeeper called her husband and got him to bring down their very own for us to borrow for the week! Now that’s service. It’s the kind of community you want to be a part of.
Whyte Books is particularly charming, they have a wonderful selection of books and you are very welcome to come sit and read while having a coffee and an amazing slice of homemade cakey wonderfulness and soak up the knowledge or adventures on the pages.
This visit I just had to get the recipe for the mouth-watering Lemon Drizzle Cake that I have every time I’m there. I was worried they wouldn’t share but when I asked, after the obligatory ‘I’ll tell you but then I’ll have to kill you’, Sheila reeled the recipe off the top of her head. I scrabbled for my iPhone and made her tell me again. What I love about this recipe is that it happens to be ‘Gluten Free’. That means it’s actually good for you, right?… Right?!
Ok so it’s not calorie free or in any way low-fat but it’s incredible. I wondered if mine would turn out anywhere near as good as Sheila’s and the answer was a surprising yes. My sister has made it since too and her’s, she said,
was also pretty damn good. Is this the recipe that anyone can turn out brilliantly? I think it might just be. So here you go –
Whyte Books Lemon Drizzle
200g Demerara Sugar
90g Gluten Free Flour (Sheila uses Doves, so I did too!)
90g Ground Almonds
1 Lemon (Unwaxed)
Level teaspoon baking powder
Cream the sugar and butter together
Add eggs one by one mixing in between
Using a metal spoon fold in the flour, baking powder & ground almonds. Grate lemon zest into the bowl ( I used the zest of the whole lemon). Mix together.
Pour mixture into a loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes at 160 degrees.
While the cake is baking make your drizzle. I was told to use my own judgement for this bit!
Squeeze the juice from the lemon and pour into a bowl, and then simply add icing sugar. If you like it very sweet then add lots of icing sugar if you prefer a tangy hit from the lemon use a little less.
Once the cake is baked and out of the oven take a skewer and jab the cake all over. Pour your icing sugar and lemon juice liquid all over it. (Cake is still in the tin)
Leave to cool before turning it out to let all the juice soak in.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, don’t leave this bit out it’s incredible!
Go on, try it you’ll be blown away. It’s the perfect summer cake.
Don’t forget that if you are ever making your way around the West Coast of Ireland make sure to head to Schull and Whyte Books.
Love Katy xx