Please wait, the site is loading...

Food

Meet Elinor Hill, aka the Beach Hut Cook

by Chloe Scott-Moncrieff
Meet Elinor Hill, aka the Beach Hut Cook
Image: Sarah Weal

Food blogger Elinor Hill, aka the Beach Hut Cook, loves to rustle up cocktails and family feasts by the seaside. She lives in East Sussex and shares her beach hut-inspired recipes at beachhutcook.com, or follow her on Instagram @beachhutcook.

Have you always lived by the sea?

No, but when we returned from Germany with two young boys in 2006, where my husband had been working, we got a string out and worked out the nearest coastline from his new job – it was Bexhill. We got our first very small beach hut there soon after moving. Since then, we’ve upgraded to a bigger hut on the shingle.

It must be a challenge cooking in a shed...

You’re out in nature so it could be a disaster, or a great success! Everything takes a lot longer than conventional cooking, especially when cooking over fire, but you’re wonderfully distracted by the sea and laughter around you. We have friends over, my sons (now 19 and 22) and their girlfriends, and we all chop together.

Image: Sarah Weal
Image: Sarah Weal

So is your space like a camping kitchen?

Inside the hut, there’s just a gas cooker. It was always a single burner but recently we’ve replaced it with two burners and a grill. Our house is 350 metres from the beach so we transport our ingredients in a wicker trolley I found in a local junk shop. Outside the hut, there are tables, deck chairs and a fire pit. We stay up all hours and just keep throwing logs on. We use the cuttings from the apple and cherry trees in our garden, as these smell heavenly.

Image: Sarah Weal
Image: Sarah Weal

What sort of food suits outdoor dining?

You need to keep it simple. On the fire pit, my favourites are things like paella, which you can cook in a large flat pan, or fish cooked in wet newspaper. I think food that ‘feeds the eyes’ is important – I like serving everything on big platters. It’s more relaxed.

How did you get into cooking?

My mum was a great cook. There were three kids and Dad was always working. My sister would look after the grill, I’d lay the table. It was simple food but it tasted good. When she died, I lost the desire to feed people. But when we got the hut, I’d write a list, then shop and a recipe would evolve. I started my blog as a place to keep the recipes. The process became a way of talking to her.

Image: Kris Kirkham. Coffee and rum-marinated steaks with griddled courgettes and roasted vine tomatoes
Image: Kris Kirkham. Coffee and rum-marinated steaks with griddled courgettes and roasted vine tomatoes

So this is partially therapeutic for you?

Oh yes. What’s beautiful is this place never sits still. It can be empty at dusk, when everyone is going home, but in the midday sun, it’s full. The best time is when everyone stays for the sunset. We get out loads of blankets and cushions – it’s so peaceful.

Do you forage much for your ingredients?

We do a lot of shrimping. My husband is the best, the rest of us get distracted by the fun of the waves. We also enjoy making cocktails from picked ingredients. Herbs like mint, basil and rosemary are a simple way of adding flavour and colour. On a summer’s day, cocktails add an injection of glamour and it’s wonderful drinking one, watching the boats sailing past.

Image: Kris Kirkham. Raspberry and custard poke cake
Image: Kris Kirkham. Raspberry and custard poke cake

Are your dishes just for the beach?

No, you could do this with an outdoor fire at home, or camp stove on a camping trip, or festival. But mainly, whether camping or on the beach, keep things achievable. It’s more about the coming together to enjoy good people and food. Life is short, so spend time with those you love.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years