Crafty co-op kids!

It’s halfway through the school holidays and parents all over the country are pulling their hair out – never fear, we’re here to save the day with some great crafty suggestions to keep your kids occupied.

We’ve chosen projects that are cheap and easy, perfect for rainy days and summer scorchers alike and you can pick up many of the supplies you’ll need for them at your local Lincolnshire Co-op.

For a rainy day project, try this melted crayon artwork. All you need is a packet of crayons (or some old broken ones) and a hairdryer. You can make this on any surface you like – to save some pennies, use a big piece of cardboard, like the back of a cereal packet.

Melted crayons

 

This project is a clever twist on an old favourite – by putting your child’s face in the cup, you make it extra personal. Just cut out a photo and place it in a clear plastic cup, line with cotton wool and sprinkle over cress seeds. Your kids will love their wacky new haircuts!

pinterestx1_72

 

Get your children outdoors with this great recipe for touchable bouncing bubbles – it’ll keep them entertained for hours. It does take 24 hours to ‘age’ so make sure you make it up before you want to use it.

Bouncing bubbles

 

Let the litlle ones blow off some steam on a hot day with these clever sponge water bombs. It’s half the mess and twice the fun because these water bombs are re-usable – just kick back and relax while they chase each other around the garden.

Sponge balls

 

Another classic you’re sure to remember from your school days, baking soda volcanoes have been captivating kids for decades. Jazz it up by getting them to make a paper mache volcano first and add a splash of food colouring, or keep it simple and just use a mug or bowl – either way, it’s sure to impress.

Baking soda volcano

 

Alternatively, Lincolnshire Co-op’s Junior Member events will be running all summer, you can find out more and book your place here.

Summer holiday crafts & projects

Wracking your brains for some interesting ways to entertain the kids this summer? We’ve got a roundup of the best cheap and cheerful crafts and activities to keep your little ones out of your hair this summer.

Light painting is a fun way to occupy children in the evening when it’s darker, and it’s much less messy than paint! By slowing down the shutter speed, you can create cool patterns on your photos. You don’t need a fancy camera, just a smartphone with an app downloaded to slow down the shutter speed – most of them are under £1.

light painting

Light painting from Sketch42

 

Pick up Angel Delight, gummy worms and chocolate bourbons and trick your kids into thinking they’re eating real worms with this fun and easy dessert. They’ll love helping to make it, and they’ll love eating it even more!

Dirt cake

Sandy dirt cake from Adventures With Gravel

 

Give your local wildlife a treat too and whip up these clever bird feeders. The seed is packed tightly into a biscuit cutter to give them their funky shapes.

Bird feeders

Hanging shape bird feeders from Inner Child Learning

 

Chalkboard paint is a small investment that will give your kids hours of fun. Paint up some old plant pots then sow seeds in them or make a plain picture frame into a chalkboard masterpiece: the world is your oyster.

chalkboard-planters-chalkboard-potters-do-it-yourself

Chalkboard pots from The Chalkboard

 

An experiment you probably did at school, it’s nonetheless a timeless classic your kids will get a kick out of. By putting food colouring into the vase, you can change carnations any colour you like – plus mum gets a lovely bunch of flowers at the end of the project!

changing flowers

Colour changing flowers from Science Sparks

 

Our Junior Members events are fun outdoor activities led by experienced professionals, another way to make sure your kids have a memorable summer. You can find out more about them here.

If you have any suggestions you’d like to add to our next roundup, email them to rkelly@lincolnshire.coop or tweet us @LincsCoop.

Pork with minty pea houmous

Summer is a time for alfresco dining and this zingy little number is perfect for an evening outside. Plus, our Lincolnshire Quality pork loin steaks are succulent and flavoursome, fresh from a county farm.

pork steaks

SERVES: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

150g frozen peas
200g houmous
½ x 25g pack fresh mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 tbsp Heart of Gold Rapeseed Oil
½ lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 Lincolnshire Quality pork loin steaks
130g seasonal salad leaves
200g radish, finely sliced

Method:

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and cook the peas for 1–2 minutes, until tender. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Whizz in a blender until chunky or use a potato masher. Stir the peas through the houmous with the mint and a little black pepper then set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp rapeseed oil with the lemon juice and zest then season to taste. Set aside.
  3. Crush the fennel seeds with a pestle and mortar. Stir through the remaining rapeseed oil, then brush over the pork loins. Heat a grill to medium then grill or pan-fry the loins for 3–4 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Rest for two minutes on a plate or board while you dress the salad.
  4. Place the salad leaves and radish in a medium bowl. Drizzle over the zesty dressing and toss gently until evenly coated. Divide between 4 plates, adding the pork steaks with a large spoonful of pea houmous.

If you are eating outdoors, why not fire up the BBQ and cook your pork on it. The perfect way to enjoy a summers eve.

Rocky road surprise

With the Great British Bake Off starting this week, get cooking with the kids and make this deliciously simple recipe. Chocolate plus marshmallows, with added popping candy, equals a tasty treat with an explosive surprise – enjoy!

Rocky Road Surprise blog sized

Why not print off and start a recipe scrap book by sticking it inside?

How about these football cupcakes for your scrap book too? http://bit.ly/footycake

 

Chicken in beer BBQ sauce

Here’s hoping that the weather holds this weekend, here at Lincolnshire Co-op there’s nothing we like better than a BBQ. This delicious barbecue sauce recipe uses some of our favourite local ingredients and it’s a perfect weeknight crowd-pleaser under the grill too.

E11 ESPRIT BBQ chicken

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

For the BBQ marinade:

(Makes about 450ml)

1 tbsp Heart of Gold Rapeseed Oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed

400g / 14oz chopped tomatoes

85g / 3oz Fairtrade brown sugar

3 tbsp malt vinegar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp tomato puree

100ml dark beer – such as Batemans Dark Lord

 

Method

 

1. Heat oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 or so minutes until softened.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, season and mix together. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 mins, until it has thickened.

3. For a smooth sauce, simply whizz the mixture in a food processor or with a hand blender for a few seconds.

4. Place each chicken breast between x2 sheets of cling film and use a rolling pin or even the bottom of a frying pan to bash them out until they are about 1cm thick.

5. Place the battered out chicken breasts into a large dish and use about half the sauce to cover them. Marinade for at least an hour.

6. You can now either grill or BBQ the chicken breasts for about 6 to 7 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Serve with a big green salad and potato wedges.

7. Leftover sauce can either be used as a dipping sauce or for marinating other meat, like a packet of Lincolnshire Quality sausages.

 

 

Get away with Lincolnshire Co-op Travel

Worried you’ve left it too late to plan a summer getaway? Think again, because Lincolnshire Co-op Travel has your back. Escape to sunny Bulgaria or exotic Tunisia, or treat the kids to an adrenaline-fuelled night away at Drayton Manor or Alton Towers with our special deals.

Bulgaria, Sunny Beach

Bulgaria

This all inclusive holiday leaves from Humberside Airport on August 9th 2014: for just £1,717 a family of four can spend a week in the modern family resort of Sunny Beach.

On the gorgeous Black Sea coast, this vibrant resort has plenty of activities on offer for the whole family.

You’ll be staying at the 3 star Hotel Pomerie and as one of the cheapest countries in Europe, your spending money will go further here!

Tunisia

Tunisia

It’s a slightly longer journey, but Tunisia is absolutely worth it. This vibrant North African country is safe and friendly, with beautiful beaches.

El Mouradi Palace is a scenic hotel with a private beach and a short walk to the nearby town of Port El Kantaoui.

Prices for a family of four start at just £2493 and the holiday leaves on August 8th from Humberside Airport.

Alton towers

Theme park breaks

We aren’t all about the jet-set lifestyle here at Lincolnshire Co-op, don’t forget that we can book UK deals too.

Prices for Alton Towers start at £256 for a family of four, with two days’ park passes and one night of accommodation included.

For Drayton Manor it’s even cheaper, a family of four can snap up a bargain with B&B accommodation and one day’s entry for just £155.

If none of those options appeal, just drop into your local Lincolnshire Co-op Travel branch and speak to one of our friendly advisors who can help find exactly what you’re looking for.

Strawberries with tangy lemon shortbread

It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some seasonal strawberries and these posh shortbread biscuits are an ideal accompaniment. Using local Lincolnshire ingredients, they’re quick and easy to whip up for a picnic or tea party.

strawberries-1.jpg

Serves: 6-8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

To serve: 
2 x 400g fresh strawberries
1 tbsp Lincolnshire honey from our local selection
1 tbsp medium white wine
Fresh mint leaves
1 scoop Dennetts honeycomb ice cream

For the shortbread:
250g butter at room temperature
110g caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
250g plain flour, sifted
50g cornflour, sifted
75g semolina

Method

  1. Wash the strawberries and remove the stalks, slice into halves and put into a bowl. Mix the honey and white wine and pour over the strawberries, then refrigerate.
  2. To make the shortbread, preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan 160°C. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice and zest in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stir in the sifted flours, cornflour and semolina.
  3. Press mixture together into a soft dough and roll it on to a floured surface. Knead but do not overwork. Roll out and cut into shapes or rounds.
  4. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, sprinkle with extra sugar and bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool and serve with the strawberries, topped with fresh mint, and ice cream.

TOP TIP: Delicious British strawberries are on offer at Lincolnshire Co-op food stores until July 22nd, just £2 a punnet.

Rhubarb and elderflower tart

Whether you’re picking up rhubarb from your local Lincolnshire Co-op or harvesting it from your very own garden, our rhubarb and elderflower tart is the perfect recipe for a spring afternoon. It’s zesty and luxurious and uses Lincolnshire Eggs and Belvoir Cordials, locally lovely!

Rhubarb and elderflower tart

Makes: 8
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus chilling.
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the pastry:

This recipe and lots more are available in our spring magazine, available to pick up in store now.

You’ll find this recipe and lots more in our spring magazine, available to pick up in store now.

250g plain flour
75g icing sugar
125g chilled butter, cubed
1 free-range Lincolnshire
farm egg
1 tbsp milk
Or use ready-made short-crust pastry

For the filling:
3 egg yolks from free-range Lincolnshire
farm eggs
150g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
70g plain flour
300ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml double cream
400g rhubarb, cut into 10cm lengths
2 tbsp Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
Cream or Dennetts ice cream to serve

Method

  1. If making your own pastry, sieve the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 egg and the milk and fold through, then bring together with your hands to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the custard, mix the eggs yolks, 75g of the caster sugar, orange zest and plain flour together in a bowl. Pour the milk and vanilla into a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, whisking continuously until the mixture comes up to the boil and thickens. Place in a bowl and cover with wet clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming. Leave until cold.
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas 5.
  4. Place the rhubarb in a bowl, stir in the remaining caster sugar and the elderflower cordial, place on a baking parchment-lined baking tray and cook for 10–15 minutes. Remove from oven (leaving oven on) and strain juices into a bowl. Set both aside to cool.
  5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin and use to line a 35cm x 11cm rectangular, fluted tin or 23cm round, fluted tin. Leave pastry hanging over the edges, prick the base a few times with a fork and chill again for 15 minutes.
  6. Cover the pastry-lined tin with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes before removing the parchment and beans and cooking for a further 10–15 minutes until golden and crisp. Leave the pastry to cool slightly then, using a sharp knife, trim the edges. Remove from the tin and leave until cold.
  7. Whisk the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. Use a large metal spoon to fold into the custard. Spoon the custard into the pastry case and level the surface. Arrange the rhubarb pieces on top of the cream and brush with the juices. Serve.

 

5 ways with eggs

You’ve had them scrambled and you’ve had them fried, but what else can you do with an egg? Easter has got us thinking about the ‘egg-cellent’ things you could do with those little delights that come from our feathered, free range friends. We scoured the web and found these simple ideas.

1. Coddled eggs… (from Whole Living)
Grease some tea cups with butter and crack an egg in each of them, sprinkle your favourite herbs over the top (we love a bit of finely chopped fresh basil). Fill a large pan, with a lid, full of enough water so you don’t fully submerge the cups. Bring to nearly boiling and sit the tea cups in the water and pop the lid on, steaming them like a bain-marie. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes to your own liking and enjoy straight from the cup with a toasted breakfast muffin.

 

 

2. Onion rings, sunny side up… (from Apron Strings)
This is a super tasty way to bring your fried eggs to life! Thickly slice a whole large onion and separate the rings. Oil a medium hot pan and drop the rings in, fry one side till lightly browned and flip over. Crack an egg inside each one and fry as you would normally. When cooked to your liking sprinkle some salt and pepper over them. Perfect with a full English brekkie.

 

 

3. Eggy in a basket… (from My Recipe Journey)
This one is simple, how does fried bread sound with an egg in the middle? Use a scone cutter to cut a hole out of the middle of a slice of bread. Cook as you would fried bread but crack an egg into the hole, frying the circle of bread tat came out of the hole alongside too. Use the circle for dipping in your yolk and enjoy.

 

4. Baked… (from All You)
Why not try cutting the tops off small crusty bread rolls, crack an egg inside and bake until the egg is cooked and the roll toasted. This is a surprisingly delicious complimentary dish to your bowl of tomato soup. You can bake an egg in just about anything, so get creative in the kitchen.

 

 

5. Brownie eggs… (from Craft Marmalade)
This one is a sneaky little dessert! It’s a little fiddly, but once you’ve blow out some egg shells, it’s not as hard as it sounds and you can search for some tips and how-to blogs on the web. Once the egg shells are all clean and dry, make your favourite chocolate brownie mix, oil the inside of your shells and fill 1/4 full with brownie mix. Bake as per your recipe, leave to cool and surprise everyone by asking them to crack open an egg to get a chocolate brownie.