Harriet Mansell’s Christmas

We had a festive natter with chef Harriet Mansell of Robin Wylde and Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lyme Regis and found out which board game may cause a family feud this Christmas, and which two-star Michelin restaurant she’s looking forward to visiting

What will Christmas look like this year?

 I will be at home in Devon for Christmas this year, with my parents. We will probably take a stroll into Lyme Regis along the seafront and then head back for a late Christmas lunch.

What are you hoping will be under the tree?

Maybe a few stocking filler type bits … maybe some Dreamies for my cat! I would ideally like some tickets to go skiing. That would be my hope, although I do think that might not happen.

Who’s cooking the turkey?

It’ll be fillet of local beef, and I will be in charge of cooking. Turkey is a little OTT for three people.

For those of us who are cooking turkey, can you give us a prepping tip?

If I was going to prep a turkey, I would brine it with aromats. This yields a juicier bird. I would then rub butter and flavourings under the skin, and fill the cavity with onions, garlic, herbs and citrus to steam the bird from the inside out. Next, sit the bird on a bed of onions and root vegetables, making sure to do everything possible to increase flavour and juiciness. I would begin the first phase of cooking at a low temperature with the bird covered, before increasing the temperature in stages, making sure to brush the skin with oil to ensure a crisp finish.

Side dishes?

Cauliflower and leek cheese and, obviously, stuffing and pigs in blankets. Plus cranberry sauce and a selection of mustards; roast potatoes and honey-roasted parsnips; and carrot and swede mash with lashings of butter and white pepper.


 A traditional sherry trifle, just like my Irish grandmother used to make.

Christmas drink of choice?

Langham English sparkling.

What board game will you play?

Articulate. Every year. It gets competitive.

What’s on TV?

Perhaps a Christmas movie after lunch beside the fire.

What does 2024 hold for you?

I have a reservation at Kitchen Table, James Knappett’s 2-star Michelin restaurant, with my good friend Justine Murphy (who has just released MACA, a new digital cookery school). Every December our tradition is to go out for an incredible meal. We have plans afoot for next year, and I am currently working on some exciting projects which I can’t wait to share. The countdown is on …

Image of Harriet: Matt Austin

Enjoyed reading about Harriet Mansell’s Christmas? Read about Adam Handling’s Christmas here.

Learn more about Robin Wylde and Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar and other Trencherman’s restaurants in Dorset.

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february, 2024


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