Strawberry mice

One of our members recently sent us a photo of her daughter making these cheeky little fellows and we just had to share it. A lovely way to get your little ones eating fruit with fun thrown in, this is the perfect weekend boredom buster.

Strawb-mice-blog

You’ll need…
Strawberries
Chocolate buttons
Candy decorations
Writing icing
Strawberry laces

How to…

Chop

Carefully cut away the green and slice a piece from your strawberry, this will let it sit flat.

ears

Push two chocolate buttons into either side of your strawb to make the ears.

eyes-nose

Use writing icing to stick decorations for eyes and a nose.

tail

Lay out a piece of strawberry lace for a tail, and pop a mouse on top. Make sure to make plenty to share.

kitty

Originally made by Kitty and her mum Sally.
Thanks for the idea, we loved it!

Speedy weeknight suppers

Sometimes when you get home in the evening you just want to knock up something quickly – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty! We’ve got five scrummy suggestions for suppers to keep your tummy full without taking too much time.

Moroccan salad

speedy 1

This salad is fresh, tasty and healthy but it’s not rabbit food – it’s stuffed with chickpeas to keep you fuller for longer and has just the right amount of spice. Check it out here.

Lincolnshire sausage pasta bake

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For a dish that’s hearty and warming, look no further than this easy-peasy pasta bake. Everyone loves Lincolnshire sausage, so it’s a sure fire crowd-pleaser.

Spicy quesadillas

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These spicy vegetarian quesadillas are a moreish Mexican option you can put together for the kids in just a few minutes. Add extra spice if you’re serving to grown-ups, or tone it down for little ones. Find it here.

Lincolnshire sausage casserole

speedy3

This is a recipe you can prepare before you head out in the morning and just pop it back on the stove to simmer when you get home. Leaving it all day will make the rich flavours taste even deeper – yum yum!

Spring pasta with prawns and peas

speedy4

Pasta is always a top option for a speedy supper and this prawn and pea version is light and tasty – perfect for this time of year!

Check out more recipes in the latest edition of our members’ magazine, available in store now.

Spicy weeknight quesadillas

If you’re in need of a speedy midweek supper then you’re in the right place; these tasty quesadillas are a scrummy tea you can knock up in minutes. Tone down the spice if you’re feeding little people, or turn it up a notch if you love to feel the burn!

quesidilas 3 (web)

SERVES: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

6 tbsp Lincolnshire Rapeseed Oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
6 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
2 x 400g cans kidney beans, drained
4 flour tortillas
160g Lincolnshire Poacher or vegetarian cheddar, grated
Sour cream to serve

For the avocado salsa:

1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 x 198g can sweetcorn in brine, drained
2 ripe avocados, peeled, stoned and diced
Small bunch of coriander, freshly chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/ Gas 2. Heat 2 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, spring onions and chilli flakes. Cook for 2 minutes or until the onions are softening. Add the kidney beans and mix well. Remove from heat and lightly mash the beans.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4. Spread a portion over half of a whole tortilla and scatter 40g cheese on top of filling. Fold the plain half over the filling and gently press down. Repeat for other 3 tortillas.
  3. Clean the large frying pan and heat 1 tbsp of the remaining oil. Add a filled tortilla and fry over a low–medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until golden and filling is hot and cheese melted. Flip over once or twice during cooking and press down with the back of a fish slice. Keep tortillas warm in oven while repeating the process.
  4. Mix salsa ingredients together, season and serve with the quesadillas and cream.

Have you picked up a copy of our latest members’ magazine in store yet? Make sure to send in a pic if you try any of our recipes!  

Keep kids busy on the cheap

Holiday health

Everyone loves a bank holiday but entertaining the kids can be an expensive business. We’ve got five of the best ways to keep ‘em busy budget-style, with tips and tricks for the most frugal days out (and days in) in Lincolnshire.

  • Head for the coast – if it’s a sunny day then you can pack a lunch and all you need spend is a few quid on ice-creams.
  • Visit a free local museum like The Collection in Lincoln, which has plenty of interactive exhibits for all the family to enjoy. You can also often find free activities for youngsters during school holidays, so it’s one to watch! If Lincoln is a bit too far for you to travel, look up your local museums here.
  • For rainy day activities, sometimes all you want to do is stay inside and keep cosy – but there’s only so much Peppa Pig or Frozen that Mum and Dad can handle. Why not check out some of our crafty kids ideas on the blog, here and here. None of them will break the bank and they’ll fire up your little ones’ imagination.
  • Your local library may not be open over the bank holiday, but it can still be a great way to keep the kids occupied. Borrowing a library book is just as good as buying one – and you can swap it for something new when they’re done. Don’t forget you can also rent DVDs at knock-down prices if you want to mix up your kids’ viewing material.
  • Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust runs nature reserves across the county where kids can spot all sorts of birds, plants and creepy crawlies. Check out where your nearest one is at the website and see what activities they’re offering for kids.

If all that scrimping and saving has paid off and you’re looking to book a holiday this summer, why not pop into your local Lincolnshire Co-op travel branch? We’ve got options to suit all budgets, including bargain family getaways!

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.

blog - bath bomb

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!

blog - holiday pizza

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.