Perfect side; sweet potatoes with brown butter, yogurt and seeds

Occasionally I wish I was American. And not just for the the ability to casually refer to Autumn as ‘fall’. It’s mainly for the holidays.

I’ve only had one Thanksgiving. I was 14 and visiting family friends in Salinas, California with my Dad and sister. I have fond memories of a burnished turkey, cranberry sauce and pies; one pumpkin and one apple. We took long walks beneath the mottled shade of old trees and explored Carmel. It was also a period when I discovered a love for cinnamon raisin bagels (a gateway to many other favoured sweet carbohydrates ).

As much as I love Christmas, the food often feels secondary. There’s too much other distraction; lights on the tree, presents to unwrap, and the crummy songs peppered through the otherwise grand Ally McBeal Christmas CD to skip (though if my mother and I had our way we’d  keep Robert Downey Jnr’s version of ‘River‘ on permanent repeat for the entire of December).

But a  holiday which focuses on food, family and friends; all the things that we should be thankful for. That’s an event I can get behind.

So next year, I’m going to find some north Americans and colonise them. They’re going to come to our flat. We’re going to make a turkey. I’ll make cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries and a cinnamon quill. I’ll make an apple pie. And for sides; I’ll make a big platter of these.

Small sweet potatoes, roasted in their skins so they become caramel and soft. There’s nothing to it. Put a cross in the top of the Campari hued tubers. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, festoon them with salt and pepper. And then put them in the oven for around an hour.

After that, all they need is something to play against the mushy sweetness. A slick of yogurt (sheep yogurt would be best, but any good natural yogurt is fine). Some toasted nuts and seeds for crunch- I like a combination of black sesame seeds, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts. And then a gilding of browned butter.

It’s sweetly savoury. It’s a perfect partner to something blonde and big, like a roasted fowl. It’s also plays nicely with a piece of trout, sea bass, or a hunk of steak.

But if you’re  yet to find the right clan to split the holiday with, then they’re just fine all on their own.

(Nb, while we’re not officially celebrating Thanksgiving, it’s never a bad thing to list a few things that you’re thankful for. So here are three of mine today.)

1) The man who chose to squeeze his blackheads in front of the mirror at the gym yesterday at 9.30 am was not there today.
2) I have a husband who, after nine years of being together, still can laugh with me. Even when I spill 3000 sesame seeds all over the clean kitchen floor.
3) I have my health. Which is something I never take for granted.

Hoping there are many things in your lives to be thankful for too.

Roasted sweet potatoes with brown butter, yogurt and seeds

Serves 2 as a side dish


1 roasting dish. 1 saucepan.


2 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons of sheep yogurt/ natural yogurt
2 tablespoons of mixed nuts and seeds (sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaked almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
30 grams of butter, melted in a saucepan until it turns nut brown

Here’s how we roll

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F
2. Make a cross with a knife in the top of the two sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

3. Roast for 45 minutes – an hour, until they’re soft in the centre and the skin peels back.

4. Toast the nuts and seeds in a fry pan.

5. Remove the seeds and then melt the butter and heat until it has turned a nut brown.

6. Top the roasted sweet potatoes with the yogurt, seeds, browned butter and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.Eat them skins and all. The skins are good for you, I’m sure.

  1. You're right, calling autumn fall is great fun. πŸ˜‰

    For only having experienced one Thanksgiving, you seem to have a real knack for its food — this looks like a lovely side.

  2. I always confuse spring and autumn but fall is when leaves fall. Sounds logical:)

  3. Well, even if you are not American, you deserve a Happy Thanksgiving after this post. That certainly is a lot to be thankful, from the small blackheads in life to the things that count ;o)

  4. I know what you mean – Thanksgiving food looks the best! This is a great looking dish too. Not a marshmallow in sight!

  5. Do it! There are plenty of yanks in London πŸ™‚ Or better yet, make YOUR OWN holiday…one that you can make a yearly tradition for all your friends or family, American or not.

  6. I don't think there's quite enough time for me to bake these before tonight…but I could totally have some any day of the week and be completely pleased. You've definitely got the Thanksgiving spirit down pat!

  7. Lovely post. Happy Thanksgiving, Tori! πŸ™‚

  8. Gorgeous, as always. I love anything with brown butter and although I don't celebrate thanksgiving I'd love to eat this tonight! πŸ™‚

  9. i grew up eating a lot of sweet potatoes because we have that a lot in our garden

  10. I do love sweet potatoes. Your's would be a fine addition to our Thanksgiving table! Lately, I have been roasting them and serving with a squeezing of lime juice.

  11. This would be perfect at any time of the year! I do agree with you though, Thanksgiving food is awesome. I am thankful for this recipe!

  12. I love American holiday cooking as well the only thing I don't get is pumpkin pie. To me, pumpkin is savoury not for dessert!

  13. Ooh this looks lovely. And I'm SO with you on the Thanksgiving thing. I'll colonise with you if you don't mind next year :

  14. Yum yum yum! Do love a nicely cooked sweet potato – low GI too which is an added bonus I guess!

  15. Mmm, gateway bagels *drools*… Oops, sorry, I got distracted from the star attraction (which also looks delicious)!

    I have two married (to each other) friends whose fathers are both American, so they celebrate Thanksgiving. Last year they brought me my first-ever piece of pumpkin pie on their way home and it blew my mind. I therefore wholeheartedly encourage any attempt to up your exposure to Thanksgiving foods πŸ™‚

  16. I love your blog! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post on this topic thanks for sharing with us.Thank you

  17. I love your blog! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post on this topic thanks for sharing with us.Thank you

  18. that looks fabulous! I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes – would love to try it with the seeds πŸ™‚ as a south indian yogurt is a staple dish on the dining table πŸ™‚

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