Fairtrade gooey coffee brownies

These treats are an interesting twist on a classic, and they’re so quick and easy that there’s no excuse not to try them! Get the kids involved and teach them why Fairtrade is so important for so many people across the world while you’re whipping up a tasty bake!

brownies

Makes 12

Ingredients:

200g Co-op Fairtrade dark chocolate
175g unsalted butter
325g Fairtrade caster sugar
160g plain flour
3 eggs from our love local range
Fairtrade icing sugar to dust
3 tsp Co-op Truly Irresistible Fairtrade Columbian Coffee
50g chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
  2. Melt together chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in instant coffee, which will dissolve in the butter and chocolate. Add in sugar and flour and stir until well incorporated, then add eggs and mix until thick and lump-free.
  4. Stir in the chopped pieces of walnut.
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray (33cm x 23cm) and bake in your preheated oven until it is cooked, but not dry – around 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool then dust with icing sugar or serve in a sundae with some Dennetts ice cream from our Love Local range.

Top Tip: Keep it local and substitute the instant coffee for some of our new member’s choice blend of Fairtrade coffee from Stokes!

Fairtrade banana choc-chip cookies

These cookies are choc-full of lovely Fairtrade ingredients including bananas, chocolate and sugar. That means that the people who produce them are paid a fair price for their goods – so they’re a naughty treat you can feel good about!

Even better they’re super simple, so why not get your kids involved in baking a batch?

cookies

You will need:

220g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
113g butter
100g Fairtrade caster sugar
35g Fairtrade brown sugar
1 egg from our Love Local range
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
125g mashed Fairtrade banana
175g Fairtrade milk chocolate, chopped up into small pieces

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar and dark brown sugar, then beat in an egg.
  3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the vanilla essence and mashed banana, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture on to greased baking trays, making sure to leave plenty of room between the cookies.
  6. Bake for 11-13 mins or until golden, then remove from the tray and leave to cool on a rack.

Say it right this Valentines’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s still time to think about how you’ll say “I love you” this year. Our florists have given us the lowdown on their top three bouquets to send the right message to whomever you want to surprise.

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about your partner, it’s also a good excuse to cheer up your bestie or show your gran you care. Treat them with a beautifully simple hand tied bunch of fresh flowers as a sweet gesture, this could be from as little as £10-£15.

If you want your bunch to say something more, bump up your budget with a £25 posey of petals and a single red rose nestled in the centre. It won’t break the bank and it won’t break any hearts either.

For that truly special someone, show that they’re your one and only with a glorious hand tied bouquet of fresh flowers including three red roses. Traditionally giving three roses means ‘I love you’, the other flowers that come with them are just a bonus! At around £40, you’ll be number one on V-day with this option.

You can give something and get something back this Valentine’s Day with 10x dividend at our Florists ‘til Saturday 14th Feb 2015. Click here to visit our website…

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“I care…”

medium

“Something more…”

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“My one and only…”

Sweet treats and indulgent dinners…

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – and we think that applies to women too! Win your sweetheart’s affections with some lovely local products, perfect to serve up this Valentine’s Day.Valentines_Day_Chocolates_from_2005

Breakfast in bed

Woo your beau with a fabulous breakfast in bed – and what better start to the day than a yummy bacon sandwich? Our Lincolnshire Quality bacon is born and reared in the county, which means you’re supporting local producers as well as playing cupid! For a lighter option, try a slice of Gadsby’s bread, baked in Newark, with Jenny’s Jam a local spread made in Lincoln.

 Table for two

Restaurants on Valentine’s Day can be over-crowded and over-priced, so show them you care with a lovingly home cooked meal. Keep it classic with a local sirloin steak, buttery mash and a healthy dollop of Lymn Bank Farm’s Caramelised Red Onion chutney, washed down with fruity wine from Peaks Top Farm near Grimsby.

For a veggie option try a tasty vegetable curry made with Scunthorpe’s favourite Mr Huda’s curry paste – you’ll blow their socks off one way or another!

 Sweet treats

For an indulgent dessert, why not treat someone you love to a slice of tasty elderflower and lime cheesecake, featuring Belvoir cordial? There’s no baking involved, so it’s a quick and easy pudding.

Alternatively, try a luxurious white chocolate cake for a twist on a classic that’s sure to wow. It’s made with Fairtrade chocolate, meaning producers are paid a fair price for their goods.

There are plenty more recipes in the food section, so check them out to come up with your perfect Valentine’s Day menu, full of locally sourced goodness!

It’s all about brekkie!

We’re all guilty of ditching breakfast for another 15 minutes in bed but did you know just a little snack in the morning can make you feel happier, more alert and improve your chances of maintaining a healthy weight?

In fact studies have shown that eating breakfast can increase memory and concentration levels, it acts as a stress buster, and amongst children, it can improve behaviour and even lead to higher grades!

During Farmhouse Breakfast Week from 25th – 31st January, we’re encouraging people to ‘Shake Up Your Wake Up!’ and what’s better, you can get everything you need right on our doorstep.

If you’re one of the 32 per cent of the population who like toast in the morning, look no further than Lincolnshire Co-op’s own bakery Gadsby’s in Newark. Spread with some Jenny’s Jam or marmalade handmade in Lincoln and wash down with a glass of St Botolph’s Pure Apple Juice from the Skidbrooke Cyder Company in Louth. Job done!

If you’ve got a little more time on your hands and you prefer your bread as soldiers, pick up some tasty Fairburn’s free range eggs. Based in Alford, this family firm has passed through three generations and the chickens are treated as part of the family.

The nation’s favourite way to start the day is with a fried breakfast. Grace your plate with Gadsby’s bread, Fairburn’s eggs, beans and of course, Lincolnshire sausages and bacon. Every day five million Britons will tuck into a banger but with our Lincolnshire Quality sausages and bacon you can rest assured the pork is born and reared on local farms.

Whatever your breakfast choice, it’s likely to be accompanied by a cuppa. Make your first one of the day the best with a local brew from Stokes of Lincoln. They’ve been filling cups since the 1900s and their Gold Medal tea bags are made especially to suit Lincolnshire’s water.

There you have it – a breakfast fit for a king that supports local producers too – the perfect start to any yellowbelly’s day!

Five iconic destinations for 2015

Check out our run-down of five of the best destinations that dazzle. These places are classic for a reason – and what better time than the present to tick them off your bucket list?China

The Great Wall of China

The wall is one of the biggest man-made structures on the planet, and it’s been there for 2000 years. It stretches for more than 13,000 miles, and it’s a sight not to be missed. Why not tie in your trip with the Chinese New Year which falls on February 19th this year, and join in the party?

New York

The Big Apple or the city that never sleeps – whatever you call it, New York is somewhere you’ve probably dreamed of going. From the Empire State building to the Statue of Liberty, there are more iconic sights in this city than you can shake a stick at. Make sure you don’t miss the Staten Island ferry, one of the best views of the city you’re likely to get.Paris Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Paris is the city of love and the Eiffel tower is right at its heart. If you’re feeling googly-eyed there’s no better place to visit with the one you love, and if you’re single, what better place to find love over a plate of escargot (snails)? Visit in time for Bastille Day and you can watch spectacular fireworks over the Eiffel tower.

Taj Mahal Turkey

Taj Mahal

India’s most famous landmark is nearly 500 years old, and it’s just as spectacular as the day it was built. It’s well worth a visit, but it’s just one of many beautiful sights to see in India. From the relaxed coast of Goa to the magnificent Himalayas, there’s something for everyone in this exotic country.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House together form one of the most recognisable locations in the world, so why not use Sydney as a jumping-off point for your Australian adventure?

Our friendly travel agents can help you book holidays to these places and many others. To start planning your trip of a lifetime, pop in to your local Lincolnshire Co-op travel branch.

Cut down on food waste this January

Here in the UK, we waste a staggering seven million tonnes of food and drink every year. That’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium eight times over, and it costs the average family up to £700 a year.

With such big savings to be made, we’ve come up with some top tips to help you cut your own food waste.

fruit & veg

Portions, portions, portions.

We’ve all found ourselves cooking more pasta than we (or in fact, a small infantry division) could reasonably eat. You think about making pasta salad for lunch the next day, but it never quite happens and it ends up in the bin.

No more!

With the Perfect Portion Planner on the Love Food Hate Waste website, you can input what you need portioning and for how many people, and like magic, it will calculate how much you need to cook.

Game plan

Another downfall is spur of the moment purchases during the weekly food shop, which end up forgotten in a fridge drawer until one day they emerge fuzzy and inedible.

A great solution to this is meal planning, which eliminates a lot of food wastage. If you work out what you need and stick to the plan, you’re much less likely to end up with furry lurkers behind the milk.

You can find a blank meal planner here, or suggestions for weekly plans here.

Store and order

One of the biggest reasons that food goes to waste in this country is inadequate storage – it’s hard to know what the best way to store some foods is.

Lots of people don’t know that fruit and veg like carrots, peppers and apples keep best in the bag they were bought in. For example, a shrink-wrapped cucumber will last around three times longer than a non-shrink-wrapped one.

It’s important for our pockets and our planet to minimise how much food we waste, so check out the Love Food Hate Waste website, where there are loads more great tips on how to store food and stop food waste.

Exotic skiing in Japan

Tea, cherry blossom and Hello Kitty are all things that you might associate with Japan, but it probably wouldn’t be the first destination you’d think of for a skiing holiday.

japan ski

It’s a mountainous country with widespread snowfall and, according to many, the best powder in the world. This incredibly light snow means you cut through, giving you the feeling of floating on air.

The resort of Niseko is the perfect place to stay, with plenty of other small resorts in easy travelling distance, if you want to mix things up a bit. Whatever you fancy, there’s sure to be somewhere serving it, from western inspired cuisine to traditional noodle, tempura and sushi dishes.

If you’re into the apres-ski scene, there are lots of lively bars to mingle with your fellow skiers, including the Ice Bar, if you don’t mind staying cold a little longer! Slopes tend to be less steep, making it the perfect destination for beginners, while slightly more experienced skiers will enjoy incredible glade runs, weaving in between beautiful birch trees.

Head to the Onsen, traditional Japanese hot springs, to relax, warm up and soak away your aches and pains after a day on the slopes. This mineral water is heated by geothermal energy from deep inside the earth – the perfect way to wind down.

japan ski 2

To cram more Japanese culture into your trip, why not opt to stop off in Tokyo, an option available on packages booked through Crystal Ski? You’ll find tranquil gardens and historic temples tucked away all around this bustling city, while the nightlife is also notorious.

Check out the neon Robot Restaurant near Shinjuku station, where three times a night a floor show featuring giant robots takes place, with tasty local food and drink available to buy.If all this appeals, pop into your local Lincolnshire Co-op travel branch and speak to one of our friendly advisors today.

Quick festive cocktails!

Add a little sparkle to your festivities this year and try out some of our delicious cocktail recipes. They’re choc-full of delicious local ingredients and easy on the alcohol, so it’s a guilt-free indulgence!

cocktails sml

Berry cocktail

Makes 1.

Chill a Martini glass in the fridge. Place some caster sugar on a saucer. Turn the glass upside down so the rim is dipped in the sugar. Twist glass to make a sugar rim, then stand it upright.

Place 3-4 semi-frozen raspberries in the glass and use a fork to crush lightly.

Spoon over 2 tbsp Belvoir Raspberry & Lemon Cordial and 2 tbsp vodka.

Stir then top up with soda water (approx 115ml).

Decorate with a cocktail stick with lemon slices and raspberries.

Virgin mojito

Serves 4.

Pick the leaves from a bunch of mint and place in a large jug. Use the end of a rolling pin or wooden spoon to lightly crush the mint leaves.

Pour over 75cl bottle St Botolph’s Pure Apple Juice and 300ml ginger beer.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and lots of ice and serve in tall glasses with extra fresh mint sprigs to decorate.

If you’re feeling cheeky you could always add a splash of white rum after all…

Alcohol-free punch

Serves 4-6.

Pour 75cl bottle Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch into a pan and add 1 cinnamon stick, 1 orange, studded with cloves and sliced, and 1 lemon. Heat gently until hot and serve in glasses.

Make sure you’re all stocked up for the festive season with our offers and check out our opening hours to make sure you aren’t caught short.

Christmas: The survival guide

The big day is less than a week away and that means it’s time to start planning Christmas dinner. Whether it’s stuffing a turkey, glazing a ham or basting a bird, we’ve got tips, tricks and cheats to help your festive feasting run smoothly.

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Plan ahead

You don’t want anyone going hungry at Christmas dinner, so make sure your turkey is big enough to feed the whole family. A good rule of thumb is to allow 375g of turkey on the bone per person. That should be enough for lunch on Christmas Day, plus at least one portion of Boxing Day leftovers.

Top techy tip: Find cooking times here (hyperlink)

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Veg out

Got a vegetarian coming for dinner? It can be tricky to think of appropriate options if you’re a devoted carnivore, but nut roasts are no longer the only option. Why not try a cheese and parsnip roulade with some yummy local cheese like Cote Hill Red or Lincolnshire Poacher? Another tasty option is a savoy, red onion and egg pie, perfect with a dollop of Lymn Bank Farm’s red onion chutney.

Top techy tip: The Vegetarian Society has a whole section on veggie and vegan Christmas options.

Mr Huda's Xmas Turkey - social media

Love your leftovers

Using up all the bits and pieces on Boxing Day can seem like a daunting task, but never fear! A tasty curry using Mr Huda’s lovely local curry paste could be a great way to use up leftover turkey, while soup can help you make the most of your extra veg – plus you can use the bones to whip up some stock!

Top techy tip: This handy website comes up with recipes for any combination of ingredients.

Remember, you can check the opening times of your local Lincolnshire Co-op food store here –  just in case you run out of any last-minute essentials!