Eat Your Greens: Spinach

Spinach has a high nutritional content and is rich in antioxidants. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, K, B2 and B6 as well as magnesium, folate, betaine, manganese, potassium, folic acid, copper, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a high iron, calcium and protein content.  No wonder it was Popeye’s food of choice!
Try this hearty and warming spinach and lentil soup to keep you going through the dark depths of winter.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 15 g fresh coriander
  • 1 litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp dry sherry
  • 4 tbsp Puy lentils
  • 30-40g spinach leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chilli, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the squash. Cut it in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds  with a metal spoon. Cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks.

When the onion has been frying for 10 minutes, add the squash and stir well. Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the squash pieces are starting to turn golden brown.

Pour the stock and sherry into the saucepan, then add the coriander stalks and lentils and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the squash is very tender. While the soup is simmering, cut the spinach into strips.

Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool briefly. Then purée the mixture using a hand-held blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and heat through.

Stir in the spinach and two-thirds of the coriander leaves and stir through the hot soup just until they are wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary, and adjust the consistency if desired with a little water.

Pour the soup into serving bowls and serve.



Cross Training for Roller Derby: Snowboarding

After spending the last week on the slopes of the French Alps, i find myself even more in love with snowboarding than ever before. While I was out there I realised that this was the first time I had been snowboarding since I started playing roller derby and it immediately became obvious that the sport is a great way to cross train for roller derby.

Snowboarding was developed in the USA in the 1960s to 1970s. It was inspired by skateboarding, sledging, skiing and surfing and became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998. It began in 1965 when Sherman Poppen invented a toy called the ‘snurfer’ for his daughter by fastening two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so she would have some control as she stood on the board and glided downhill. The snurfer became so popular among his daughter’s friends that Poppen licensed the idea to a manufacturer and began organizing competitions for poeple all over the USA.

During the ’60s and ’70s, skateboarder Tom Sims and surfer Dimitrije Milovich consequently invented the first snowboards using improved designs based on the original ‘snurfer’. It was, however, Jake Burton Carpenter who invented the first snowboards with bindings in 1977 and then founded Burton Snowboards that same year.

Jake Burton Carpenter

During the 1970s and 1980s as snowboarding became more popular, pioneers such as Chuck Barfoot and Mike Olson  also came up with new designs for boards and mechanisms that slowly developed into the snowboards and other related equipment that we know today.

In 1982 the first National Snowboard race was held near Woodstock, Vermont and the first World Championship halfpipe competition was held at Soda Springs, California in 1983. Snowboarding was recognised as an official sport in 1985 and the first ever World Cup was held in Zurs, Austria.  The International Snowboarding Federation was founded in 1990 to provide universal contest regulations and snowboarding has now become so popular that high-profile snowboarding events like the Winter X Games, Air & Style, US Open, Olympic Games and other events are broadcast worldwide.

Shawn White

While I was snowboarding last week, I realised very quickly that snowboarding uses all the same muscles as playing roller derby, especially as it involves maintaining a squat position much like derby position for the majority of the time. The quadriceps and hamstrings play a large part in snowboarding and maintaining that squatting position requires and trains strength and muscular endurance in these areas – perfect for roller derby.  And, similarly, the lower you are the better you balance will be.

As with roller skating, the hip and glute muscles are used to help you steer and carve so snowboarding is a great workout for these muscles as well. In fact, as with roller derby, the lower body does the majority of the work in snowboarding.  However, this doesn’t mean the upper body is neglected. As with skating the core provides the root of all stability in snowboarding so it is also a great one for core strengthening. Balance is a key part of snowboarding as well so it provides excellent proprioceptive training.  This is being able to sense the position, location, orientation and movement of the body and its parts, another vital aspect of all skating sports.
And, above all, it is awesome fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Roller Derby Events Calendar 2012

2012 is now upon us and it looks like we’ve got an exciting year of roller derby ahead of us. Check out some of this year’s great roller derby and skating events. I will add more to this as more forthcoming events are announced–watch out…

London Rollergirls first bout of 2012

Tickets available from


Flat Track Fashion: The Roller Derby Look Book out 15th March 2012



Order your copy here:

Roller Derby European Cup

‎2012 Roller Derby European Cup
– The Battle for Europe Begins – Aug. 29 – Sept. 2 2012
Baltic Hall – Malmö Sweden

Berlin 39th Inline Skating Marathon

September 29th 2012

Shoetown Slayers Default Strategy Day Bootcamps
Saturday, March 31
Sunday, April 1st
Two full days of Default Strategy with Pitchit.

SK8 Heaven –  UK Residential Roller Derby Bootcamp
5-7th October 2012 (Rookies) 12-14th October 2012(Advanced)
Weekend ticket –
Day ticket –
Just put in the notes on Paypal which weekend.


North Central Region Playoffs
Sept. 14-16, 2012
Niagara Falls, New York
Hosted by
Queen City Roller Girls
West Region Playoffs
Sept. 21-23, 2012
Oakland, California
Hosted by
B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls
East Region Playoffs
Sept. 28-30, 2012
Essex Junction, Vermont
Co-Hosted by
Green Mountain Derby Dames
Montreal Roller Derby
South Central Region Playoffs
Oct. 5-7, 2012
Lincoln, Nebraska
Hosted by
No Coast Derby Girls
WFTDA Championship Tournament
Nov. 2-4, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Hosted by
Atlanta Rollergirls