Tips to lower your blood pressure

Having your blood pressure checked is vital for identifying potential health risks – in lots of cases high blood pressure has no symptoms but it can lead to serious problems. All Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacies offer free blood pressure checks. It’s quick and easy and there’s no need to make an appointment, just pop in to your local branch.

If you have high blood pressure, don’t worry, there’s lots you can do to start lowering blood pressure today. But you don’t have to wait until you have high blood pressure to make healthy lifestyle changes – the more you can reduce your blood pressure, the lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke will be.

1.Eat less salt
Cutting your salt can dramatically improve your blood pressure. There is lots of hidden salt in prepared foods like bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals and very little of what we eat is down to what we add to our food. A good tip is to always check labels and choose low-salt options where possible.

2.Eat more fruit and veg
Everyone know fruit and vegetables are good for you and eating more can also help lower your blood pressure. Adults should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is 80 grams, or roughly the size of your fist.

3.Keep your weight healthy
If you are overweight a good way to lower your blood pressure is by losing weight which will reduce your risk of health problems. Choose more low-fat and low-calorie foods, and increase your physical activity but be sure to set achievable goals and changes that you can keep to for life.

4.Drink less alcohol
We all enjoy a tipple but if you drink too much alcohol, over time this will raise your blood pressure. The current recommended limits are 21 units of alcohol a week for men, and 14 units a week for women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirits.

5.Get moving
At least 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week is recommended to keep your heart healthy and it can also lower your blood pressure. You don’t have to run a marathon – anything that raises your heart rate and makes you feel slightly out of breath will do. Try making small changes too like walking to a further bus stop or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

Mixed fruit and jam pie with mint sweet shortcrust pastry

We’re loving every minute of this year’s Great British Bake Off, once we found out that this weeks episode is all about pies and tarts, we started looking for the perfect fruit pie recipe, which we think we’ve found for you. Our guest blogger Dominic Franks is no stranger to the pie and this one is packed with rich mixed fruit and our favourite Jenny’s Jam, all finished off with a sweet mint pastry. Take it away Dom…


It seems to be pie time again, which is not a bad thing if you’re a pastry lover like me! Pies are a beautiful way to use up a glut of fruit or if, like me, you’re running around with loads of fruit in a bowl that’s in danger of going off, a pie is a great way of using it up.


For the fresh mint sweet shortcrust pastry
280g plain flour
140g butter or margarine
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Fairtrade golden caster sugar
3 or 4 leaves of fresh mint, shredded and chopped (dried will work too)
Cold water to mix

For the pie fillingfruitpie3
1 apple – diced
1 nectarine – diced
Roughy 10 raspberries
Roughly 12 wild strawberries
1 tablespoon plain flour
Jenny’s Jam, raspberry flavour
A little Fairtrade sugar to taste

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/338°F/gas mark 4.
  1. Start with the pastry and take a large bowl into which you place the flour and butter and combine with your fingertips until you have what looks like rough breadcrumbs.
  1. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and stir together, pour in a little cold water and combine with your hand until you have a soft dough.
  1. Wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  1. For the pie filling, place the fruit and flour in a pan and stir together, then gently heat until it all begins to bubble – you may need to stir occasionally to prevent it sticking. Once it begins to soften add the Jenny’s Jam and any additional sugar and let it bubble for a few minutes or so. I don’t like my fruit too soft at this stage – take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  1. Roll out your pastry and line a pie dish, you should have enough pastry left over to create a lattice top of a plain lid.
  1. Pour the pie filling into the dish, create the pie top of your choice, brush the pastry with a little egg milk wash and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden

Eat and of course, enjoy!

By Dom Franks @ Bealleau Kitchen


Greek honey doughnuts

These tasty delights are sure to have you reaching for more. A sticky mix with local honey, crunchy walnuts and cool ice cream made by Dennetts in Spilsby.

SERVES: 4–6 (MAKES 25–30)


300g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp easy bake dried yeast
1 tbsp honey from the Love Local range
150ml milk
Vegetable oil for deep frying
150ml honey from the Love Local range
Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
15g butter
Icing sugar, ground cinnamon, to dust,
Chopped walnuts, to scatter over

Dennetts Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve


1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre. Put the honey in a jug and add 100ml of boiling water. Stir until honey dissolves then add the milk. Pour into well and mix until you have a soft dough.
2. Cover with clingfilm or damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
3. For the syrup, gently heat ingredients in a saucepan, stirring, until butter has melted and honey is runny. Simmer for 1 minute or until syrupy. Remove from heat.
4. Ten minutes before end of the dough’s proving time, fill a large saucepan ¾ full of vegetable oil. Heat gently until a small piece of the dough sizzles and browns within 30 seconds when added to the oil.
5. Dip a teaspoon in a cup of water and then scoop up a small amount of dough. Wet the palm of one hand and place dough into palm, then place back onto teaspoon (this smooths the dough and makes a ball shape). Add to oil and cook dough balls in batches, turning occasionally, for 2–3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and place in a serving dish.
6. Gently reheat syrup and remove cinnamon stick (if using). Pour over doughnuts. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon, scatter with walnuts and serve with ice cream.

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

From Naptime = Craft Time


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!


From Rainbows Within Reach


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

From Play at Home Mom


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

From Come Together Kids


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

from Educate First


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 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 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

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


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


  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?


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


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


  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


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!



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.


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


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


  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.