We loved the combination of recipes and short stories in A Day at the Beach Hut, it was like going on a wonderful escape. Do you have plans to combine the two again in the future?
Thank you so much – I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. I’ve always loved writing about the food my characters eat, and the meals they share and have often included recipes at the end of my books. This seemed an opportunity to take this one step further, especially as so much of beach hut life is centred around picnics and barbecues and of course ice cream and fish and chips! It was a secret ambition of mine to write a cookery book so when Orion agreed to do A Day at the Beach Hut it was a dream come true.
Many creative people struggled during lockdown, what helped you through this time?
Ha! We are going to go back to food again here. I did an online cookery course with Leith’s during lockdown – 24 weeks, doing a different topic each week. Everything from basic stock making, the perfect omelette, meringues, filleting a fish . . . it was both a challenge and an escape and my cooking has really improved. It was great to have something to focus on each week but without any pressure. It felt like an achievement and of course there was gorgeous food to eat!
What advice would you give to writers thinking about writing short stories as opposed to a novel?
I like to think of short stories as a snapshot rather than a whole photo album. It’s about a moment in time when something changes. Every word counts in a short story. You have to crystalise everything and be economic with your description and back story and plotting – it is best to keep things simple and streamlined. It’s a discipline, but it can be very satisfying.
Your recipes are absolutely delicious, if you could create one fabulous meal at the end of a beautiful day on the beach what would it be?
Lobster and potato salad! Which doesn’t involve a great deal of cooking, but it’s perfect. And one of my ambitions is to make Raymond Blanc’s blackcurrant vacherin – it’s a glorious concoction of sorbet and meringue and ice cream which takes about twenty-four hours to make. Maybe I’ll do it for my birthday this year!
See our review of Veronica Henry’s latest book – A Day at the Beach Hut: Stories and Recipes Inspired by Seaside Life
Image courtesy of J Lewis