Moroccan salad

It’s really starting to feel like summer is just around the corner and as soon as the sun peeks through those clouds we find ourselves craving a fresh salad. Our Moroccan inspired recipe has just the right amount of spice, filling chick peas and delicious roast aubergine to satisfy even the biggest of eaters. You could even serve it up in a big bowl as a ‘help yourself’ side salad.

Moroccan-salad-blog Serves 4
Prep: 15 minutes, plus standing
Cooking time: 18 minutes

Ingredients:
1 aubergine, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 tbsp local Rapeseed Oil
50g flaked almonds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp paprika
2 x 400g cans The Co-operative chick peas, drained and rinsed
100g The Co-operative dried apricots, halved
Squeeze of lemon juice
Bunch of coriander, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 x 80g bag The Co-operative sweet baby leaf or mixed leaf salad

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper and place the aubergine slices over them. Drizzle or brush with 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until golden. Remove and transfer to a serving dish.
  3. Cook almonds in a frying pan over a gentle heat, stirring for 1–2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to the serving dish.
  4. Add 2 tbsp oil to the pan and heat. Add the garlic and 2 tsp cumin, coriander seeds (or ground coriander) and paprika. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the chick peas, apricots and lemon juice. Season and mix well. Add the chopped coriander (if using) and transfer to the serving dish.
  5. Whisk the remaining oil, vinegar and remaining 1 tsp cumin together and mix with the chick peas. Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  6. Serve on top of the salad leaves.

Crafty kids activities!

If your kids are home from school this week and you’re stuck for something to do, we’ve got just the thing for you. Making, baking and learning, we’ve got suggestions for plenty of activities to keep them occupied.

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Fizzy bath bombs

Blue Peter offers a great tutorial to make your own fizzy bath bombs at home. It’s a craft that’s suitable for most kids, from pre-school to pre-teen – and they’ll love testing out their creations in the tub!

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Holiday pizza

For pizza-fiends there’s nothing better than making your own pizza from scratch – mixing the dough, rolling it out and finishing it off with a selection of tasty toppings. This Good Food recipe is part of a series that’s aimed at kids, so it’s a nice way for them to help out in the kitchen.

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Rock candy

Grow your own crystals with this easy project – you’ll need an adult to supervise but it’s a great way to squeeze some science into the school holidays. There’s also a tasty product for the little ones to enjoy at the end of it!

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Egg-carton tulips

You’ve probably got most of the bits you’ll need for this craft around the house already, and it’s the perfect way to surprise Mum or Grandma with a thoughtful handmade gift. Check out the instructions here:

Krispie nests

Spring is the season of baby animals, flowers bursting into bloom… and chocolate!

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these Easter treats – or even better, get the kids to whip up a batch.

Easter 1

Makes 16

You’ll need:

• 3 tablespoons of butter
• 4 cups of mini marshmallows
• 6 cups of Rice Krispies or puffed rice cereal
• Mini Eggs to decorate
• Cupcake cases

1. Put the butter and marshmallows in a saucepan over a medium heat to melt them.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies until they are coated well.

3. Divide the mixture between the cake cases, press down firmly and make a small dip in the centre.

4.Put them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to cool and harden.

5. Once they’ve cooled, remove from the fridge and decorate with Mini Eggs.For a fun twist, you could use smarties or jelly beans instead!

Easter 4

If you make any Easter bakes we’d love to see them – post a pic to our Facebook page or tweet us one to @lincscoop.

Limoncello layer cake

Our guest blog recipe this week features Quack duck eggs, new to our Love Local range. They’re laid in Billinghay, South Lincolnshire by Simon Lamyman’s flock. He nicknames them his Quack Queens!

When he told us that duck eggs have a distinctive rich taste with a bigger yolk, we knew they would be the perfect eggs for baking. Who better to test them out but Lincolnshire baker and winner of The Great British Bake Off 2014, Nancy Birtwhistle?

This layer cake is tall and tangy, just what we’re craving for a long Easter weekend. Take it away Nancy…

Limoncello-layer-cake-with-headshot

I was given some duck eggs which really did do this cake justice!  The eggs had bright yellow yolks and this cake is certainly dazzlingly yellow, lemony and good.

You will need two 18cm or 20cm sandwich cake tins (about 7.5cm deep) greased and base lined.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients
200g soft margarinecake-slice
200g caster sugar
3 Quack duck eggs (or large hen eggs)
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the filling
75g caster sugar
50g butter
2 Quack duck eggs (or large hen eggs)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp limoncello
100ml double cream whisked until soft peak stage

For the topping
Icing sugar
Lemon juice
Finely sliced lemon rind (boiled in sugar and water for 5 minutes)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F / gas mark 4.

In a large mixing, use an electric hand whisk to cream together the margarine and sugar until light and mousse like.  One by one add the eggs, beating well all the time.  Finally fold in the flour, baking powder and lemon and divide between the two tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and pale golden.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto cooling trays.  When completely cold slice each cake in half horizontally so that you have four layers.

To make the filling; put all the ingredients apart from the double cream into a small bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.  Using a small hand whisk mix regularly until the filling is thick and the eggs are cooked.  Take from the pan then leave to cool completely.

Finally mix together the whipped cream and the lemon mix and either pipe or spread on each cake layer. Assemble the cake carefully, one layer on top of another.

For the finishing touches make a simple, smooth lemon glaze with icing sugar and lemon juice and spread this onto the top of the cake, then decorate with lemon shreds.  The shreds should be boiled in sugar and water for a few minutes just to take away the bitterness.

By Nancy Birtwhistle

Gluten free hot cross bun cupcakes

Easter is almost upon us and what better way to enjoy the occasion than with a traditional hot cross bun? If you have a gluten allergy, you’ll find yourself sadly missing out on their spiced deliciousness. We’ve got our guest blogger Samantha Pidoux on hand to save the day with these scrumptious gluten free hot cross bun cupcakes! Take it away Sam…

GF hot cross buns Co-op

Gluten free hot cross bun cupcakes are an alternative to traditional hot cross buns.

I have had a couple of unsuccessful attempts earlier this month with making gluten free hot cross buns. My two attempts both ended up in the bin and after a few tears I decided that I was not going to be defeated, and I decided to put all of the ingredients into a cupcake.

I am pleased to say that these were much more of a success and because I used brown sugar it gave the cake a nice golden colour and once baked the cake had a nice caramel undertone to it.

Ingredients:
200g gluten free self raising flour
200g baking butter
200g light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
50g mixed peel
150g sultanas
zest from one lemon
2-teaspoons mixed spice
1-teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
2 tablespoons apricot jam
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons of water

Method

  1. Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray.
  2. Pre-heat an oven to 200°C / 393 °F / gas mark 6. In a bowl cream the sugar and the butter until pale. You will find the easier if you use a hand whisk or an electric mixer.
  3. Once the butter and sugar are creamed together add the vanilla and mix. Then add one egg at a time and fully mix in before adding another.
  4. Add the flour and xantham gum and mix until all combined. Don’t over mix. I have found that over mixing makes the flour denser. Now add the spices and lemon zest and mix. Add the sultanas and mixed peel and stir into the cake mix.
  5. Use either a desert spoon or an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin case. Place into the oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Your cakes should be a dark golden in colour and spring back at you when you touch the top of them. You can test to see if they are ready by pricking them with a knife. If the knife comes out clean, they are done.
  6. Place the cakes on a cooling rack. While the cakes are hot, using a pastry brush, brush on the apricot jam and then leave to cool.
  7. Once the cakes are cool, you can now decorate with the cross. In a bowl mix the icing sugar with a little water. You want to make a very thick paste. You should only need 1 tablespoon of water. If it is not all coming together then add a teaspoon of water. Once mixed into a thick paste, transfer into a piping bag and pipe onto the top a cross. Leave the icing to set.

Enjoy your gluten free hot cross bun cupcake with either a cup of tea of coffee.

Happy Easter and happy gluten free baking!

By Samantha Pidoux

Britannia rule the seas

Britannia

Once known as the gateway to the Empire, Southampton has been home to many famous boats.

From the Mayflower which carried the first settlers to the New World in 1620, to the first cruise liners of the steam age, it’s a natural home for the Britannia, a new ship in the great British tradition.

State-of-the-art-facilities are complemented by thoughtful design, exceptional entertainment and gourmet dining to sate even the hungriest holiday-maker.

As well as 13 restaurants and cafes, the ship boasts another 13 bars – and that’s just the start of the foodie delights available on board.

Celebrity chef James Martin is the face of the cookery classes, while wine expert Olly Smith has his own bar, The Glass House, and Marco Pierre White hosts gala dinners at sea.

Cruisers will be able to sample cuisine from India in Sindhu, the restaurant of Michelin star winner Atul Kochhar, or head to the Market Café for a lighter bite. Here, Master Pâtissier, Eric Lanlard, has brought together French style patisserie and charcuterie with Spanish tapas and speciality breads sure to delight your taste buds.

The ship also plays host to four swimming pools across 15 decks – including one that’s just for adults. An art collection on-board is valued at £1million, while each cabin also features bespoke artwork from British talent, continuing the theme of refined luxury.

A live lounge features bands and comedians, before the venue is transformed into a buzzing nightclub. Meanwhile live deck shows, dance lessons and theatre are just some of the other entertainment options on board, so there’s never a dull moment.

If you’d like to be one of the first on board this sparkling new ship you can register your interest in upcoming cruises here.

Mother’s Day: Bargain or blowout?

We’ve got loads of treats in store this week to make Mum feel really special, so don’t panic if you still need a last minute prezzie! We’ve rounded up some of the best options, whether you want to splash the cash or save some pennies:

Fun and floral

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Blowout: Our fabulous florists at the Birchwood Centre in Lincoln can create a hand-tied bouquet just for your mum, the perfect way to show how much you care.

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Bargain: Watching the pennies? Not a problem, you can still say it with flowers with these beautiful carnations, available in our food stores…

Going off with a bang…

Piper brut

Blowout: Everyone loves fizz and mums are no exception, splash the cash on this Piper Heidsieck champers and make her feel like a real superstar.

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Bargain: No fear if cash is tighter; just grab a bottle of Processo. It takes just as good as the ‘good stuff’ but doesn’t got the earth.

Have your cake and eat it

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Blowout: What better way to show your affection than with cake? If you’re lucky, she might even share… This beautifully decorated lemon cake is tasty and pretty, so spoil your mum with a teatime treat.

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Bargain: Low on funds? Our Truly Irresistable carrot cake tastes delicious but will leave plenty in your purse for flowers and a card too!

Remember, you can get 10x dividend on flowers from our florists and 10x dividend on chocs, cards and flowers from our food stores until Sunday 15th of March to treat yourself too! More here: bit.ly/mum10x 

Get away this Easter

Spring is in the air and everyone’s looking forward to a four day Easter weekend – what better way to spend it than by getting away?

With no school for two whole weeks, kids will certainly be kept busy during a trip to Butlins. Meet a host of cute baby animals at the Spring Farmyard, exclusive to Easter, and get stuck into sports and activities including Splash Waterworld, Bonnie Bear’s Easter Bonnet Parade and an Easter Egg Hunt!

If you fancy going a little further afield, treat little ones to a magical break at Euro Disney in Paris. Say hello to Mickey, Minnie and friends and explore five fairytale lands with 52 top attractions. And the Magical Kingdom isn’t as far away as you think – get there in under three hours on the Eurostar.

Try out your navigation skills with a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads. Kick back and relax as you leisurely pass windmills and moor up at the odd pub for refreshment during 125 miles of rivers and lakes.

York is one of Britain’s most beautiful cities. Spend the long weekend exploring interesting museums and historical sights including the stunning Minster. This city is also packed with great shops and restaurants to keep you entertained.

Easter heralds the start of the camping season so why not head off for the weekend? If it’s still a little chilly at this time of year, set your sights on Feather Down Farms which has luxury spacious fixed tents with heaters and proper beds at farms across the UK.

Blow the cobwebs away with a seaside getaway in Cornwall or Devon. Superbreak has some great cottages and B&Bs to choose from so you can opt for a romantic house for two right on the cliff or invite the whole family.

Even better if you book a UK break with your local Lincolnshire Co-op travel agent before 31st March you’ll get 3x dividend back!

National Pie Week: Bake or Buy?

At Lincolnshire co-op we love pie, whether it’s meat or veggie, sweet or savoury. This week is National Pie Week, and what better way to celebrate than with a pie that’s stuffed full of local goodness?

BAKE IT: This recipe features local beef, beer, cheese, eggs and oil – which sounds like the perfect excuse to have seconds, if you ask us…

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SERVES: 4 Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 tbsp local rapeseed oil
200g shallots, halved
200g mushrooms, sliced
600g Lincolnshire Quality sirloin steak, cut in chunks
2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
300ml Tom Woods Lincoln Gold ale
1 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf

for the pastry
25g butter
25g white fat
200g plain flour
100g Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, grated
Lincolnshire egg, beaten, to glaze

1. For the pastry: rub the butter and white fat into the flour and season with a little salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese and 2-3 tbsp cold water – just enough to bring the dough together. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Toss the steak pieces in the flour and add to the pan. Cook until browned all over, then add the herbs, ale, sugar and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, simmer for a minute and remove from the heat. Cool slightly and transfer to individual pie dishes.

3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan 160°C. Roll out the pastry to fit the tops of the pie dishes. Make three holes in the top of each to release the steam. Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut holly leaves for the tops. Brush with the egg and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

BUY IT: If you’re short on time, pick up a delicious Pocklingtons steak pie from the chilled section of your local Lincolnshire Co-op food store. They’re made locally in Withern and use as many local ingredients as possible – from Batemans Victory Ale, brewed in Wainfleet, to flour grown on the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Stokes Fairtrade coffee

We’re always big supporters of Fairtrade but Fairtrade Fortnight calls for a little more celebration. We’ve welcomed a new local coffee to our shelves created by Lincoln firm Stokes. Though it uses Fairtrade beans and is produced locally, the thing that makes this blend really special is that it was chosen by our members!

At Lincolnshire Show last summer, dividend card holders voted for their favourite flavours and then Stokes created the blend especially for them.

Members’ Choice is a smooth medium roast, perfect for all day drinking. It’s a blend of Fairtrade Arabica beans from Colombia, Honduras and Bolivia.

Try it for yourself! From 23rd February to 8th March Lincolnshire Co-op members will bag 10x dividend on Fairtrade products plus 12x dividend on our new Members’ Choice coffee.

Coffee – the facts:

  • Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages.
  • 80 per cent of coffee is produced by 25 million smallholders.
  • Around 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods.
  • Coffee is the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product.
  • It’s a tricky business, Global coffee production varies from year to year according to weather conditions, disease and other factors.
  • This price changes wildly which has significant consequences for those who depend on coffee for their livelihood. It makes it difficult for growers to predict their income for the coming season and budget for their household and farming needs.
  • Coffee beans pass hands through growers, traders, processors, exporters, roaster and retailers before the consumer. Most farmers have little idea of where their coffee goes or what price it ends up selling for.
  • Fairtrade was started in response to the dire struggles of Mexican coffee farmers following the collapse of world coffee prices in the late 1980s.
  • With Fairtrade, certified coffee producer organisations are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, which aims to cover their costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level.
  • Through their producer organisations, farmers also receive the additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community improvements and must use at least 25 per cent of it to enhance productivity and quality, for example by investing in processing facilities.