The British Connection

British Food & Gift Shop

Website Currently Under Construction

under constructionThank You for visiting our website! Unfortunately, we are in the process of updating our website to better serve those who visit. We encourage you to comment your suggestions for what you would like us to offer on our website.

During this process, we recommend visiting our Facebook page and signing up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date with The British Connection! By becoming our friend on Facebook, or by signing up for our newsletter, you will have access to all the information you need, like our discount sales, new products, events, special offers and what’s currently in stock!

You can also give us a call, or stop in, to see what’s new or what’s in store!

It’s the Final Countdown: Royal Baby Edition

photo-57The wait will soon be over. Will and Kate’s bundle of joy will be making its debut in a matter of weeks.

Any continuation of the monarchy’s lineage is deemed cause for celebration by many, but this new arrival holds even greater historical significance than previous royal babies: he or she shall be first in line to the throne following Prince William, no matter the gender of future siblings.

The royal baby’s gender may no longer affect its place in the monarchy, but it will certainly affect the pockets of many in the United Kingdom who have money placed on both gender and name.

Bets in shops such as Ladbrokes reveal that the names Alexandra and Charlotte are strong contestants should the baby be a girl. If it’s a boy, James and George appear to be amongst the top names for a prince.

No matter what the name or gender, though, celebrations are sure to erupt come that July due date.

If you’re eager to purchase some royal baby memorabilia, stay tuned for notice of collectibles at The British Connection! We will be in contact with our suppliers to assess what is available for shipment. You can keep up to date with all things British Connection related through our Facebook and Twitter pages, along with our e-newsletters. 

How do you take your fish and chips?

Whether you prefer cod or haddock, regular or mushy peas, curry sauce or vinegar, The British Connection can help you prepare your favourite fish and chips dinner.

Brits have long struggled to find proper fish and chips at American restaurants. While some manage to come close to the real deal, nothing beats a takeout from the local chippy by the seaside.

Since we can’t always get to the UK for fish and chips, The British Connection has brought some British fish and chips must-haves to the US.

At our store in Gig Harbor you will find chip-shop batter mix, Sarson’s malt vinegar, Batchelors marrowfat peas, and Colman’s curry sauce mix. Once you have these, all you need to do is pick out your fish and potatoes for chunky chips.

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Jelly Babies: From World War I and Doctor Who fame to American contraband?

photo-17Jelly Babies have long been a favorite sweet in households in the United Kingdom. Even though they have been compared to gummy bears and jellybeans, there is really nothing quite like them. They are unique in shape (think about it, you’re eating babies) and history, and due to their role in the popular Doctor Who TV series they have become better known in the United States.

Jelly Babies date back to World War I when they were originally called “Peace Babies” to mark the end of the war. Production was halted during World War II due to wartime shortages, but in 1953 Bassett re-launched the product as “Jelly Babies.”

Each jelly baby has a name and a specific flavor (for example, Bubbles tastes of lemon), and as of 2007, Jelly Babies changed to include only natural ingredients. While they can be considered gummy sweets, their texture is rather unique. The outside of a jelly baby is hard, but the inside is soft (not rubbery). Jelly Babies are also traditionally packaged while still dusted in starch left from the manufacturing process.

In popular culture, Jelly Babies have been linked to both The Beatles and Doctor Who.

After it was reported that George Harrison liked Jelly Babies, fans of the Beatles pelted the band with the sweets at concerts. Jelly Babies became associated with Doctor Who due to their frequent appearance with the show’s fourth doctor, Tom Baker, in the 1970s. They continue to be mentioned on the show to this day.

Although they have risen in popularity in the US due to Doctor Who, Bassett Jelly Babies have also become increasingly harder to import. Luckily, The British Connection has a stash ready for you Jelly Baby fans, so get them before they’re gone!

Have your Guinness and eat it too

photo-16Guinness is not just for drinking. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching rapidly, why not experiment with both savory and sweet dishes that use Guinness as an ingredient?

If you look for recipes online, you could actually plan a three course St. Patty’s Day party feast. Here are a few ideas if you are having guests over to celebrate:

1) Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue: Fondue is a great appetizer to share at parties. Once you’ve made your cheese fondue, set it up on a table along with a selection of bread and veggies for dipping and let your guests serve themselves! This particular recipe calls for a few ingredients sold by The British Connection: Aged cheddar (we carry Kerrygold Irish cheddar, which has a great bite to it), Guinness, and Worcestershire sauce. And don’t worry if you don’t own a fondue pot, you can also use a medium sized saucepan.

2) Beef stew with Guinness: A stew makes for an easy party meal if you’re having friends and family over to celebrate St. Patty’s because you can prepare the stew before your guests arrive. Get all the dirty work out of the way before your party starts then let the stew simmer while you join in on the fun. Simply serve up when it’s ready!

3) Guinness brownies: No dinner party would be complete without dessert, so for St. Patty’s Day try combining Guinness and chocolate. Guinness brownies give an ordinary dessert a St. Patrick’s Day edge, but they will also be quite rich. You may want to cut them into mini brownies and let your guests snack on as little/as much as they can handle. Once again, perfect party food!

4) Irish Manhattans and Guinness Cream Soda: If you really want to go all out and include Irish themed drinks on your party menu, Irish Manhattans and Guinness Cream Soda make a fun alternative to drinking straight Guinness. These drinks will certainly have a kick to them!

Gig Harbor’s The British Connection also sells St. Patrick’s Day themed necklaces, bracelets, and hats, along with Irish soda bread mix, scone mix, tea towels, flags, bags, chocolate, and more! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Fancy a fry-up?

If you’ve been craving a full English breakfast with all the traditional fixings, look no further than The British Connection.

Brits and true Anglophiles will know that it takes more than streaky American bacon and some eggs to hit the spot, so The British Connection is here to supply you with the proper ingredients that you won’t find in your typical American supermarket.

You may already have eggs and bread for toast in your kitchen, but stop by our store and we’ll fill your fridge with pork back bacon, bangers, and black pudding.

And it doesn’t stop there. Yes, we sell Heinz Baked Beans in the traditional 13oz can, but if you plan on cooking breakfast for lots of friends or family, why not purchase our giant 2.62kg can of beans? It contains the equivalent of 6.7 normal sized cans and, at $12.99, is better value for money (six small cans will cost you $13.50).

The British Connection also sells white pudding and canned haggis (no judgement).

So gather your friends and family around the kitchen table one morning and tuck into a good ol’ fry-up!

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If you want to know more about making a full English, visit the following sites for more information:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/apr/11/how-to-eat-full-english-breakfast

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/the-full-english

http://britishfood.about.com/od/faq/f/breakfast.htm

 

Recipe of the day: Ploughman’s Lunch

The Puget Sound region has been experiencing some much-needed sunshine as of late. As usual, though, the sun doesn’t promise to stick around for long, so sitting outside a pub with friends, food, and a couple pints would be the perfect way to take advantage of our numbered days of good weather. You’d almost think you were back in the UK, relishing a break from the rain.

However, we’re not in Britain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat like we’re at a British pub. If you want to spend some time outside, either on your deck or in the park, why not prepare a traditional ploughman’s lunch to eat with friends or family?

Generally consisting of crusty bread, cheese, pickled onions, chutney, and occasionally fruit, the ploughman’s lunch is great for sharing. This meal was traditionally packed for ploughmen to take out into the field for their lunch and has been around for hundreds of years. While most people today enjoy this dish at their local pub rather than the field after a hard day’s labour, the ingredients have remained true to the original concept.

So pick up a thick loaf of bread and some apples from your local supermarket and The British Connection will take care of the rest (butter, cheese, pickled onions, and Branston pickle).

What you will need:

  • Crusty loaf of bread
  • Apples (sliced)
  • Butter (The British Connection carries Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter)
  • A selection of British cheese (Clawson’s blue stilton, Belton Farm’s red leicester, Kerrygold’s aged cheddar, and Cahill’s porter cheese)
  • Haywards traditional pickled onions
  • Branston pickle (chutney)

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Simply place everything on a large plate or chopping board with knives for cutting and spreading and let everyone pick and choose from the selection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe of the day: Victoria Sponge Cake

The British Connection has plenty of pre-made goodies for you to buy for loved ones for Valentine’s Day, but we also sell ingredients to help you make your own Valentine’s Victoria Sponge cake!

You may already have some of the basic ingredients, such as butter and eggs, but The British Connection has a traditional sponge mix, along with Hartley’s strawberry jam, to help make baking your cake a little easier!

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Here’s what you will need for the cake:

  • 2 x 18cm (7″) round sandwich/cake tins
  • One box of sponge mix
  • 100ml cold water
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 50g butter

For the filling (as suggested by BBC Good Food):

  • Strawberry jam
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 140g icing sugar, sifted
  • a drop of vanilla extract (optional)
  • icing sugar, to decorate

Directions:

  • Follow instructions on sponge mix box to make the cake mixture
  • Pour the mixture equally between your two cake tins
  • Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes until cakes have risen and are golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • For the filling, begin by beating the butter until creamy, then gradually beat in the sugar (and vanilla extract if you choose to use it)
  • Spread the butter cream over the bottom of one of your sponge cakes, top it with jam, and sandwich the second sponge cake on top of it.
  • Dust with icing sugar to finish it off

Perfect for sharing with friends or baking for a loved one. Enjoy!

 

Valentine’s Day

The British Connection's Valentine's Day gifts

The British Connection’s Valentine’s Day gift

Valentine’s Day is approaching rapidly, so don’t wait until the last minute to pick up a gift for your special someone.

If you’re looking for chocolates or knickknacks, The British Connection is here to help. We have a variety of gifts available, perfect for a husband/boyfriend, wife/girlfriend, parent, child, friend, or crush (if you want to go the secret admirer route).

Choose from our “keep calm” collection, fun mugs, chocolate truffle boxes, soaps, stuffed animals, and chocolate selection baskets to create the perfect gift for your loved one.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in translation

It’s no secret that the meaning of certain words and phrases is often lost during conversations between Americans and Brits, and  The British Connection is no stranger to this.

Seeing as we are located in America, many of our customers are American.

So if you’ve ever been in the store and wondered what the heck we are talking about, here are some basic translations of the most commonly misunderstood words:

Pudding = Any dessert

Pudding in America often refers to a dessert with the consistency of mousse or thick custard (ex. Jello pudding cups), but in Britain a pudding can refer to any sweet dessert. For example, items such as Sticky Toffee Pudding and Spotted Dick are essentially just moist sponge cakes and bear no resemblance to a “pudding cup.” Yorkshire puddings, however, are intended to be savory and served with a roast dinner.

Sweets = Candy

If we direct you to the shelves with the “sweets,” we’re just letting you know where you can find the chocolate, fruit chews, toffees, mints, etc.

Crisps = Chips 

When we say crisps we means chips. The most popular brand of crisps in the UK is “Walkers,” which comes in flavours that non-Brits might find peculiar (Roast chicken!? Prawn cocktail!?). And if we ever say chips we mean fries.

Biscuit = Cookie

You wont find any American biscuits in our store. While an American biscuit bears a close resemblance to a traditional English scone, a biscuit in Britain simply means a cookie. They’re often hard, rather than chewy, making them perfect for dunking in a cup of tea.

Gravy = Think turkey gravy, not “biscuits and gravy”

Our gravy is not as thick as the gravy that would accompany an American biscuit. We sell “gravy granules” (in chicken, beef, or veggie flavours) for you to mix with hot water and serve up with your Sunday roast. Easy!

Bangers = Sausages 

When you see “bangers” in our freezer section, you’ll see that they are just sausages. You’ve probably heard of the British dish “bangers and mash,” which simply refers to a meal of sausage, mashed potato, and gravy. Very traditional.

Tea towel = A nice dish cloth

Tea towels are kept in kitchens for drying dishes and hands. They are not intended for cleaning counters. Brits love their tea towels, which come in all sorts of patterns making them a decorative kitchen accessory. Linen is the most traditional material for a tea towel, and we sell plenty in different designs (in both linen and cotton)! Great for your home or a gift for someone else.

These are just some basic definitions of commonly misunderstood British words, but if you ever hear us say something else that you don’t understand, please don’t hesitate to ask us to translate!

 

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