As Spring sets in, Charlotte Hodgekins-Byrne from the GB Rowing Team tells us how she is creating delicious seasonal dishes with her Pale Green Dot fruit & veg boxes.
As the skies are starting to clear and brighten and blossom seems to cover all the trees, I’m feeling inspired to reflect this freshness into my food! It’s nice to no longer rely on my food to protect me from the weather; where meals used to be deeply scented bowls of soft warmth, I notice my meals are now brighter in colour and crisper in texture. The hearty suppers that I used to crave give way to salads, albeit still mostly containing roasted vegetables with rice or lentils, it’s not just summer yet! Now I’m only returning to the comforting warmth of winter food on the windiest evenings and when I’ve felt particularly chilled coming in from training. I can’t prove it’s the change in weather that’s caused my current shift in appetite, but it seems as the weather becomes lighter and more alive, I’m wanting to make the food on my plate really sing with colours.
On the few days where I have more time I’ve been making scallion pancakes, and I really do only do this when I have excess time… I find they’re one of those food that takes seconds to eat, yet I’ll easily spend over an hour making them. However, these crispy, salty, flaky pancakes stuffed with as many spring onions as they’ll hold really are so very worth it, in my opinion at least! I’ll dip them into a bowl of soy sauce and freshly grated ginger before I eat the rest of my dinner. As these pancakes are a little time consuming I’ll always want something speedy to go alongside them. Typically, a stir-fry of as many vegetables as possible feels natural. Earlier in the week I quickly fried strips of red peppers, Chinese cabbage, chard and carrots alongside thin, crisp pieces of tofu I’d cooked in some sesame oil. As soon as this was out of the pan, I poured over the remaining dipping sauce from my scallion pancakes and ate this vibrant mound of vegetables on the steps into my back garden, watching the evening sun slowly fade away.
Roast Beetroot Hummus
I’m a huge snack fan and recently I’ve been trying to play around with different types of snacks which will keep me full and satisfy my cravings. Today I think I found a winner, roast beetroot hummus! It was incredibly easy to make, but so, SO delicious. I’ve been dipping celery, carrots and radishes into it all afternoon, and even had some on top of my dinner!
I roasted 300g (ish) of beetroots for just under an hour and let them cool for a couple of minutes before peeling them.
Then blend with:
- A tin of chickpeas
- A couple of pressed garlic cloves
- A good teaspoon of cumin (I love cumin, but it’s definitely something that can be adjusted depending on personal preference!),
- 80ml (ish) of olive oil
- Juice of a whole lemon
- Salt to taste. I’m a bit of a salt fiend so I added quite a bit…
I’m still dabbling with fermenting foods and my latest is a jar of sauerkraut happily sat on the counter. I didn’t realise how easy it was to make!
- Thinly slice 1kg of cabbage into a big bowl
- Add 20g of salt
- Scrunch/massage the mix until the cabbage starts to become limp and release its water. It really shrinks down in size!
- I like it a little flavoured, so I added in a good amount of yellow mustard seeds, caraway seeds and a few juniper berries.
- Pack this mix into a Kilner jar and let it ferment on the counter for a few weeks. Every day I open the lid a little to release some of the pressure and it really does smell fantastic!
Refresh, Train & Fuel Well!
I’ve just arrived back from the first race of the season, the European Championships. To finally race after 20 months of training was fantastic, and even more fantastic to come home with a silver medal. Finally seeing the results of lockdown training paying off was great, and even a bit of a surprise. I think it’s easy to overlook how hard situations are and how well you’ve done in them, until they’ve passed and you’re happily through them – not just in training but also in life. I’ve now got another four weeks or so of training before we go away again to race, so it’ll be a good block of time to refresh, train and fuel well!
Charlotte Hodgkins Byrne is a double world U23 champion sculler looking to make her mark on the senior GB Rowing Team.