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It’s crazy how quickly a trip feels so distant. We’ve been back for a week now and with my book deadline closing in fast I’m only now sitting down to tell you about our trip to London.

First of all, thank you for all the great recommendations. I tried to reach them all but failed miserably. I did not, however, fail in eating lots of incredible food and falling deeply in love with that city.

As I mentioned before, the purpose of the trip was to come together with a number of people with different areas of expertise to brainstorm concepts around the idea of a healthy vending machine. The original idea was submitted to a stunning site created around the idea of innovative travel created by Marriott Hotels. The winner was Anjana, a beautiful, intelligent young woman from Atlanta, Georgia.

I went into the trip with a very standard concept of what a healthy vending machine would look like but around that table we talked about curated boxes, refrigerators, juice bars and deeply discussed what exactly is healthy eating. I was keenly reminded of the beauty of collaborating; of not being tied to one idea but rather allowing others to help shape, focus and refine the concept.

Before we sat down to talk about the idea we visited a number of places around the city getting inspiration for healthy eating and great design.

London // Not Without Salt

Spitafields City Farm –  A unique teaching farm in the middle of the city. The train zooms past while the pigs tear through the path to return to their pin. Locals are encouraged to get involved and get dirty growing native edibles and learning about healthful living at the same time.

Pitfields – A stunning shop where food meets design. Also, check our their stunning homes around England where you can rent and throw an amazing party.

London // Not Without Salt

London // Not Without Salt


H. Forman & Sons – For authentic, smoked Scottish Salmon. Here you can see the entire operation then head upstairs for a stunning breakfast featuring their smoked salmon. It also happens to be located right across the river from the Olympic Stadium so the view is definitely not terrible.

London // Not Without Salt

London // Not Without Salt

London // Not Without Salt

Farmer’s Market – This is where I lit up. People poured through the gates eager to buy fresh produce, towering meat pies and fresh fish being scaled right in front of you.


Gabe and I also got to do a bit of exploring on our own:

Ottolenghi – I was a little star-struck walking into this space. I’ve read about it in all three of their books. It did not disappoint. I only wish we had more time to linger as we raced through the streets of Notting Hill to get there before they closed.

Nopi – Another Ottolenghi spot. You must make a reservation here as it is always full. Start to finish this place was perfection.

Rasa  W1- Great Indian food, not too expensive.


photo 1 IMG_5680 London // Not Without Salt

St. John’s Bread & Wine – This place required a second visit and I’m a little sad there wasn’t a third. The old spot bacon – essentially toasted white bread with English bacon – was one of the best things I ate in London. We also had yogurt (why is European dairy so much better than ours?!) with poached quince and then came back the next day for their donuts. The custard donut is the best I’ve ever had. The restaurant is located right across from Spitafield’s Market which is perfect for a bit of shopping while you attempt to work off the bacon and donuts. Thursday is the best day to go for antiques (the plate you see in the photo below is from the market).

Monmouth – I was tempted to have Gabe give a coffee tour of London as he made his way to several shops and had a great experience in many. Manmouth was the one place I went with him. They have several beans from all over the world. My macchiato was great but the butter cookie has made a lasting impression.

Borough Market – It’s crazy on a Saturday but still totally worth it. I only wished I had a kitchen to cook in so I could snag some mushrooms, cheese and vibrant produce. Instead I settle for Raclette; melted under a flame than drizzled onto buttery potatoes. A few little cornichons on the side.

Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions // Not Without Salt

Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions // Not Without Salt

Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions // Not Without Salt


Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions

Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions

We had already eaten before I realized how close we were to Ottolenghi. I couldn’t not get several things when we got there. Most of what I chose was sweet and all were amazing. This vibrant salad of orange yams, purple pickled onions and bright green herbs lured me in and I ate it in between bites of lemon polenta cake and a s’mores cookie. For me it’s perfect for the Thanksgiving table; classic, seasonal ingredients combined in a new, fresh way.

For Gabe’s family we are doing a latin inspired Thanksgiving which basically means that I found a recipe for Turkey bathed in chiles and I had to have it. I’ll be adding cumin to the yogurt that I’ll mix with a bit of Mexican Crema and topping it with Cotija and cilantro along with the pickled red onions.


Serves 6 as a side


2 pounds yams, about 2 medium

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1/2 cup / 115 grams whole-fat greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon (or more if you like it stronger) finely minced ginger

Pickled red onions

a handful of Italian parsley leaves


Preheat your oven 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Toss the yams with a hefty pinch of salt and the olive oil. Add them in a single layer to the prepared pan then roast for 40 to 45 minutes until they are tender and charred in parts.

While the yams roast combine the yogurt, ginger and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Let the yams cool to room temperature before you transfer them to a serving platter. Dollop the ginger yogurt on top. Finish with pickled red onions, parsley leaves, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and flake salt.

I may, for Thanksgiving, add a bit of Feta to the mix as well.

41 Responses to “Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt, Pickled Red Onions + London”

  1. Kasey

    I love London! It’s so amazing to read about a place through someone else’s lens…I have yet to make it to Ottolenghi (and Nopi). One day!

  2. victoria

    We lived in London for 5 years so I always love about someone else discovering a city we came to love so. Borough was one of weekly excursions, with my best girlfriend at times when we’d cook for our husbands together and other times just Geoff and I. Spitalfields was also just taking off back then, always popular, but nowhere near what it is now. So glad you squeezed in all you did. Hasn’t this blog taken you to some amazing places A!

  3. sara forte

    I’m jealous you guys are doing something out of the usual for Thanksgiving! I’ve been trying to get my family to do that for years, but we’ve got a lot of people who like the tradition. This side looks perfect and all your notes make me want to visit and follow in your footsteps! So glad you had a great time.

  4. Jenny @ BAKE

    I’m glad you had a fantastic time in London, it’s such a beautiful city. I love the idea of a healthy vending machine, I’ve only ever seen one, and I’ve wished ever since that we could have one at work. This salad looks incredible.

  5. Kathryn

    Your Latin-inspired Thanksgiving meal sounds incredible; I’m trying to work out if I can persuade my mother that she should do something similar with our Christmas turkey!

  6. Rachel

    I’m so glad you enjoyed my amazing city! And yes, we have all the luck getting all the Ottolenghi restaurants. And I practically live in Borough Market! Funnily enough, I was buying kale there the other week, and I turned around to find the man himself standing right behind me filming.

    Thanks for all the recommendations, I’ll be sure to check them out!

  7. mimi

    What a fantastic experience. London is my favorite city ever. And I’ve actually had raclette at Borough market in December. It’s a fabulous city for eating. If this was your first experience, I’m really happy for you!

  8. Rachel Fletcher

    I feel about 17 years older every time I read your blog in your new format. I think it’s because everything is so BIG and maybe my screen is so SMALL (although it’s a normal laptop) that it’s like I am reading for 8.4 seconds and then WHAM, there’s a really large photo of YAMS or a SLICE OF CAKE and I have to scroll down. But maybe it’s just me… and maybe I have aged 17 years in the last 3 months.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Thanks for the feedback although I’m not sure what you like to see changed. Of course I want the reading and viewing experience on the site to be enjoyable not make you feel old. Although I do know, as much as I’d like to, I can’t please everyone. If you have suggestions, I’m happy to hear them.

  9. Laura Dembowski

    A healthy vending machine is a great idea! Your trip sounds like a blast. What I wouldn’t do for tomatoes that beautiful right now. And I’m always up for another sweet potato recipe!

  10. Yumbles

    What a great write-up and photos. I’ve lived in London for 10 years and still learned about so many new places!

    The recipe sounds yummy too – will be giving it a go for sure!


  11. Beth

    I love your process in your posts. Giving links to all of the places you visited in London keeps me coming back. I have recently started my own blog, born out of a divorce,
    Congratulations on your 1st place win!

  12. molly

    oh, ashley, gah! and love. and welcome home. and thank you!

    ottolenghi is a team after my own heart, their flavors so bold and so veg-based and so brilliant, i simply cannot get enough. this is so up my alley. and will so be a lunch, soon.

    now, go, go, go!!!! get that book out the door. and breathe.


  13. Yi @ Yi Reservation

    Just found your gorgeous blog through Saveur! I like how you captured London through scenes and food. I can’t wait to go back to London sometime soon! Thank for sharing the roast yam salad recipe. It’s exactly what I need after all that Thanksgiving binge eating!

  14. Laura

    I think I might hyperventilate the day I make it to Ottolenghi. Or just require an immediate nap from trying to eat everything. I’m so glad you shared a little riff on a dish you had there. The balance of flavour sounds really wonderful. And love your notes on discussing “health” as a concept and how open to change it is when engaged minds come together. It’s so individual.

  15. Kathleen

    One of my dear friend’s mom’s brought her home some Ottolenghi candy. She & I had lunch at Revel one day and she snuck open her purse pulling out the Ottolenghi ribbon while saying “Only you will geek out about this like me, so I’m sharing with you.” I about died with excitement at what was coming. It was tasty! But, oh, how I long to have their savories at the store. What a delight! (PS- Really excited to hear about healthy vending ideas.)

  16. bec

    one edit for you – it’s Monmouth (not Manmouth) named after the street their first premises was located on in Covent Garden.

  17. Ruby

    I pickle my own sliced radishes with onions–would those be a good/decent substitute for the pickled red onions in this recipe?

  18. Anne

    I know this is an older posting, but I just had to comment! I had some yams to use up, and happened to have all of the other ingredients for this in the house. All of the elements in this dish work so well together. This is definitely a dish I will make again, thank you!


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