Let’s go to…

There’s less than a month to go before the big day, but December 25th is far from the only date for your diary. We’ve rounded up three of the best local events and activities this month to fill you with Christmas cheer!

Gunby Hall Xmas 3 Credit National Trust, Emma Williams

Gunby Hall goes festive

Indulge in some historical festive cheer with Christmas at Gunby Hall. This beautiful 18th-century manor house will be filled with Christmas spirit during the weekend events, which include storytelling in the library, carol singing in the music room and tasty treats in the tea room.

Spread over three floors, the house has enormous well-tended gardens, perfect for a bracing winter walk.

There’s lots to discover as you explore, so why not take a step back in time? You can find out more about the events here.

Bauble Barn 01 (Credit to Rachel Connerton)

Deck your halls at Doddington

Never mind boughs of holly, head for Doddington Hall Bauble Barn and transform your home with a beautiful decoration or two. This famous annual shopping experience is running until Christmas Eve and features Christmas trees grown in the grounds, as well as a barn filled with baubles of all shapes and sizes.

There’s a café serving hot drinks and tasty homemade cakes, alongside hearty main meals, and at the weekend you can tie in your visit with a wander around the house and gardens.

You can find more information about Doddington Hall on the website, here.

Lincoln Carol Concert 7 (Credit Stuart Wilde)

Come sing with us

Warm up your vocal cords with some festive tunes at our annual carol concerts. We’ll have seasonal readings and songs, as well as performances from local children’s choirs.

The events are discounted for Lincolnshire Co-op members, and to top it off, guests will be treated to seasonal light refreshments afterwards.

Concerts will be taking place at Boston Stump on Wednesday, 10 December; at Lincoln Cathedral on Monday, 15 December and at St Mary Magdalene in Newark on Thursday, 18 December. All concerts start at 7.30pm.

For more information or to book a ticket, visit our website.

Whatever you do, remember to wrap up warm!

Stir-up Sunday: mix it up

Are you planning to take part in a traditional Stir-up Sunday this weekend? For those who don’t know what it is, we’ve got a comprehensive guide to Christmas Puddings:

Christmas pudding 2013 (2)

Causing a stir

For families across the country, Stir-up Sunday is a tradition which marks the start of the Christmas season. Falling on the last Sunday before Advent, the occasion is connected to a bible passage which would be read to churchgoers: “Stir up; we beseech thee, O Lord”.

Suitably enthused, the congregation would go home, don aprons and stir up their Christmas pudding. By making it so far in advance, the flavours are allowed to intensify, ready to wow guests on Christmas Day.

Make a wish

It’s traditional for every member of the family to make a wish and take a turn at stirring the pudding mixture once all the ingredients are incorporated. As long as the wish isn’t shared with anyone, tradition dictates that it should come true, so it’s a good time to get those extravagant Christmas present requests in!

Stir-Up-Sunday-Victorians

Penny for ‘em

Watch your teeth, because it used to be common practice to include small coins in the mixture, to be kept by the person who found them. This practice was supposed to bring wealth to the finder in the coming year, (if they avoided a trip to A&E).

Christmas porridge

An early version of the dish was said to be of a porridge-like consistency and include fruit, vegetables, beef and mutton.

If you fancy a sweeter modern recipe, you can find one on page 7 of our members’ magazine, available to pick up in your local Lincolnshire Co-op food store now!

Cathy’s creamy carrot and potato bake

Lincolnshire Co-op is supporting Working on Waste – a scheme to help cut food waste. As part of the project we challenged customers to come up with a recipe using four common leftover ingredients, plus two of their own. The lucky winner was Cathy from Newark who sent in this creamy carrot and potato bake.

“I love experimenting with using leftovers creatively.This dish is an excellent way of using up bendy carrots and potatoes which are starting to sprout.” Cathy

Ingredients (serves 4):

450g carrots (peeled & sliced weight)
1 small onion, sliced
800g cooked potatoes, cut into slices
75g stale bread, whizzed up into breadcrumbs
100g cheddar or other hard tasty cheese, grated
160ml single cream
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried herbs (I used sage)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6 and lightly grease an oven-proof dish.
2. Put the carrots, onion and bay leaf in a small pan with a pinch of salt. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 mins until carrots are tender.
3. Drain, remove bay leaf, cool a little and puree using a stick blender. Add half tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
4. Spread a thin layer of puree in the base of the greased dish, followed by a layer of sliced potatoes.
5. Continue to alternate layers of puree & potato slices, ending with a layer of potatoes.
6. Pour the cream evenly over the top.
7. Mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese and dried herbs and spoon evenly over the top of the dish.
8. Bake for 30-40 mins until hot all the way through and brown on top. (Cover with a sheet of foil or baking parchment if necessary, if the topping is browning too quickly).

Fight the ‘flu!

It’s more or less impossible to avoid getting a cold during the winter, but there are some steps that you can take to minimise your risk of catching its more serious cousin, the flu.

sneeze

Eat well

The better your general health is, the more capable your body will be off fighting off infection. As well as making sure you’re generally well-nourished and eating lots of vitamin-rich fruit and veg, there are some more specific ways to boost your immunity.

A study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine suggests that vitamin D supplements may help immune cells identify and destroy bacteria and viruses that make us poorly.

Good hygiene

It might seem obvious, but practising good hygiene is essential if you want to avoid winter bugs. To keep your environment clean you should be covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze as well as washing your hands regularly with soap and water.

By wiping down surfaces you use regularly like phones, keyboards and door-handles, you can also reduce the risk of germs spreading.

Flu jab

For people who fall into certain groups, the flu jab is available free on the NHS from your GP. It’s an important way to protect yourself from the most common strains of the virus, although it isn’t suitable for everyone.

If you aren’t entitled to a free immunisation, Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacies offer it for just £9.95.

For more advice on staying fit and healthy, why not pop into one of our pharmacies for a chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable colleagues?

Halloween Oreo owl truffles

With Halloween on Friday why not get into the kitchen this half term and cook up this simple recipe with the kids? The truffles are to ‘die for’ and lots of fun to make, so get the little ghouls assembled and spook your Halloween party goers with a tasty treat…

Halloween-2014,-owl-oreo-truffles

If you don’t have time to make the treats for your Halloween celebrations, check out what we’ve got on offer in store here.

Top 5 reasons to become a Lincolnshire Co-op member

It all starts by shopping with us…

You may or may not know that co-operatives are different, unlike other businesses we’re not run by a few wealthy shareholders. We’re owned and run by our members, local dividend card holders and every penny of our profits goes back to them and their local communities. It’s free to join us and there’s lots of benefits to being a member, here’s our top five.

CV108_LongSutton_140415Reason one – earn as you shop
Every member holds a dividend card and each time they shop with us, they earn a percentage of what they spend back, which they can spend in our stores.

 

 

treats-diviReason two – a bonus just in time for Christmas
Towards the end of each year we pay out a bonus to all members from our profits. It’s a percentage of the total amount of dividend members have earned over the year, so the more you’ve spent the bigger your bonus will be. You can save it up and spend it whenever you like. We have food stores, travel branches, a florist and more, plenty to treat yourself.

 

Reason three – doing good in your communitySWP-12-0167_24
We run a scheme called Community Champions where every members dividend card is linked to good causes close to where they live. The more our members shop and use their dividend card, the more money we give to their champion. It’s an easy way for you to make a difference in your community.

 

What's New Blood Pressure ChecksReason four – keeping healthy
We offer free health checks at our pharmacies. They only take around 15 minutes and can ease the pressure on GPs and give you an early indication of serious conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

 

Reason five – be part of something specialDividend-card-people
We’re really proud of the uniqueness of our co-op. We’re independent and successful; everything we do is for our members and the communities we work in. By shopping with us you can be safe in the knowledge that we’re committed to ethical principles important to you such as Fairtrade, sourcing produce locally and supporting local people, this is what we call the co-operative difference.

With so many reasons to be a member, we can’t think of a good reason not to join us. Pop into your local Lincolnshire Co-op outlet today and ask for an application form or download one from our join us page here.

Fairtrade Batemans Mocha Amaretto chocolate cake

In the spirit of the Great British Fairness Debate and the Great British Bake Off final, we thought it was only fitting to whip up a recipe that would satisfy our cake cravings now that the nights are drawing in. This rich cake uses both locally sourced and Fairtrade ingredients and is the perfect recipe for an after dinner treat.

Batemans-mocha-choc-cake

Ingredientsbatemans-mocha-beer

For the cake
250ml Batemans Mocha Amaretto beer
250g The Co-operative unsalted creamery butter
75g Fairtrade cocoa powder
400g Fairtrade caster sugar
142ml The Co-operative Loved By Us British soured cream
2 large eggs (Fairburns or Lincolnshire Farm)
1 tbsp The Co-operative Loved By Us Madagascan vanilla extract
275g The Co-operative plain flour
2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting
125g The Co-operative full fat soft cheese
300g Fairtrade icing sugar
50g The Co-operative unsalted creamery butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas mark 4, butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Pour the beer into a saucepan, add the butter and warm on a medium to low heat until melted, then whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. In a separate jug or bowl, beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla extract and pour into the pan, whisking in to combine.
  4. Finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, the batter is very runny, don’t worry this is how it should be.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.
  7. When completely cool, remove from the tin and sit on a flat platter or cake stand.
  8. The frosting is best made with an electric whisk but it is possible with your strongest whisking arm. Mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps and it’s combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture.
  9. Add the cream cheese and mix in slowly to start combining, then increase the speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  10. Smother all over the cake, sides and all.
  11. Dust the top with a little cocoa for an extra bit of finesse if you like.

Batemans-mocha-choc-cake_slice

Tip… when frosting, start by covering the cake in a very thin layer all over before adding the rest. This is called a crumb layer, it stops any pesky cake crumbs spoiling your perfect frosting.

We’ve been stocking Fairtrade products since 1992 and this year the Great British Fairness Debate is taking place from 29th September – 12th October. As part of the Fairtrade Foundation’s commitment in working to be fairer they’re asking the nation, ‘are we really as fair as we think we are?’. Take the test here: #BeFair

Cruising is the new cool

Aquapark sml

Cast off your preconceptions about cruising, it’s a holiday with something for everyone and this week in Lincolnshire Co-op travel branches we’re celebrating Cruise Week!

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is a ship that’s breaking all the rules, blending high-tech convenience with fun, luxury and glamour. The fastest internet speeds on the sea will be complemented by robotic bartenders and speedy electronic boarding.

The wide selection of activities on offer makes it a great choice for family holidays, whilst couples will love the 18-strong choice of restaurants on board. This state of the art ship launches on 2nd November with its maiden voyage taking it from Southampton to the eastern coast of the USA.

A more intimate experience can be had on Cosmos’ eight day itinerary around the Canary Islands, departing from Tenerife and stopping at five destinations around the island chain.

The smaller ships offer comfort and style, as well as the opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers better and soak up some winter sun.

For something a bit different, Cosmos also offers Russian river cruises, travelling between St Petersburg and Moscow.  As well as taking in the area’s colourful history, you’ll be able to book on to optional excursions including the stunning Moscow by night tour.

You’ll be wowed by the imposing red-brick structure of the famous Kremlin and the onion-shaped domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, while the food and entertainment on board is second to none.

We’ll be offering 3x dividend to members booking a cruise in branch between September 21st and October 5th 2014, plus a free box of chocolates and a bottle of wine to celebrate.

If that sounds too good to be true, nip in to your nearest Lincolnshire Co-op travel branch today and get on board with the trip of a lifetime.

Five cruising myths debunked!

Still not sure cruising is for you? We asked Stella Wilson, one of our friendly cruise specialists, to debunk some of the most common myths surrounding it.

cruise week boat sml

  • “Cruising just isn’t for me.”

“Anyone who doesn’t think cruising is for them just hasn’t found their perfect cruise yet,” Stella says. “From huge liners to small river cruisers and the Mediterranean to the Norwegian Fjords, there’s something to suit all tastes. Some cruise liners have formal dress codes, others are more relaxed; on some you can watch musicals and on others there are informative lectures available.”

 

  • “I’ll feel trapped.”

“If you like to roam, just book onto one of the larger ships available, and make sure your itinerary includes lots of excursions. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you can have as much fun off the ship as you do on it during a cruising holiday.”

 

  • “I won’t see anything off the beaten track.”

“There’s a popular misconception that cruises only stop off in the most touristy spots, but that isn’t true. There are extensive excursion packages available, from cultural tours to shopping trips and everything else in between!”

 

  • “I get bored too easily, there won’t be enough to keep me entertained on-board.”

“On board cruise ships these days you’ll find facilities including bumper cars, pools, spas, full size gyms, rock climbing walls, waterslides, internet lounges and libraries, to name but a few,” says Stella. “You’re more likely to be left wondering just how to fit it all in.”

 

  • “What if I get seasick?”

“This is one of the most common concerns we hear,” Stella says. “Luckily, even if it’s something you’re prone to, most modern cruise liners have stabilisers fitted, to keep the ride smooth. With careful consideration to the location of your cabin, making sure it’s located mid ship and mid deck should help to alleviate the problem.”

If you book a cruise at one of our travel branches by Saturday October 5th 2014, not only will you get 3x dividend on your booking, but you’ll also get a free box of chocolates and a bottle of wine. What’s not to love?

Why are we called yellowbellies?

Well, in short, we don’t know. But we have rounded up some of the most popular explanations – which do you think is most likely?

Yellow waistcoats

The most likely explanation we’ve heard here in Lincolnshire Co-op HQ is related to the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia, which was originally housed in the barracks that became the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

This clever bunch wore yellow waistcoats as part of their uniform, a decision we suspect may not have aided them on the battlefield – it isn’t exactly great camouflage! Because of their bright waistcoats, they were nicknamed the Lincolnshire Yellowbellies, and the nickname stuck.

forg

Isaac Newt-on

He’s a famous yellowbelly, but the moniker might have been inspired by his namesake, the humble newt. Some sources suggest that a breed of newt common to the damp fens which has a yellow stomach could be the source, whilst others suggest frogs, or even eels.

Feeling queasy?

Malaria was prevalent in the fens in earlier centuries and fen-dwellers are reported to have self-medicated with opium, a drug closely related to morphine. This interesting alternative medicine is reported to have tinged users’ skin yellow, possibly inspiring the label.

captain jack

Land ahoy!

Some stories hold a criminal element in Cleethorpes to blame – they are said to have lured ships into shallow water using torches on the beach, in order to pillage the cargo. On one occasion, these wannabe pirates cracked open the hold, only to find a large quantity of yellow fabric.

Aware that wearing or selling the cloth would out them as the rascals they were, these ingenious delinquents put it to work as undergarments. This included yellow flannel vests, earning them the nickname Yellowbelly.

Whichever one you believe, we hope you have a fantastic Lincolnshire Day – why not check out some of our recipes, which feature our award-winning local products?

Members get more…
To help with the festivities, members will receive 10x dividend, from 28th September to 4th October, on all products in the Love Local range including Lincolnshire Quality meat andGadsby’s.