British Food & Gift Shop

Tag: The British Connection

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.



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!


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


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)


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!










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


  • 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!


The Legend of Spotted Dick

For such a popular, well-known British pudding, the meaning behind its name is surprisingly mysterious.

The first documented recipe of “spotted dick” was found in Alexis Benoist Soyer’s 1849 book, The Modern Housewife or Ménagère, suggesting that Brits have been enjoying this dessert for hundreds of years.

Yet while the recipe has been passed down through generations, the origins of the name seem to have been lost.

Often igniting giggles from unsuspecting Americans who find the dessert in the “international” isle of supermarkets, Brits actually have a difficult time explaining and justifying the name.

According to the Huffington Post, here’s what we do know:

  • “Spotted” refers to the dried fruit (such as currants and raisins) in the pudding.
  • “Dick” may be “corruption of the last syllable of pudding,” a “corruption of dough,” or a reference to the German meaning of “dick” (thick or viscous).
  • In the 19th century, other than referring to its usual connotation, “dick” was also associated with abbreviations for dictionary, apron, policeman, and a riding whip.

So make what you will of spotted dick, because it appears there is no one agreed upon meaning for its name.

What we do know, though, is that it is a beloved British pudding. It has a place in popular culture, in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and a place in many homes in the UK.

So if you fancy trying the pudding for yourself, head over to The British Connection and pick up a can of Heinz or Aunty’s Spotted Dick. There’s only a limited amount left!

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try to make your own?

Ingredients vary depending on the recipe, but no matter which one you choose, we’ll help you get started with a few products: Shredded suet, currants, and brown sugar.

Both BBC Good Food and Epicurious have their own recipes.

Finally, whether you’re trying a pre-made or homemade version, it wouldn’t be complete without Bird’s Custard. Enjoy!

Heinz Spotted Dick

Heinz Spotted Dick


If you’re a serious spotted dick fan, we sell spotted dick t-shirts and badges! Perfect for gifts.







Recipe of the day: Flapjacks

Looking for an indoor activity for these gloomy Washington afternoons? Baking is a great way to stay occupied and fight the winter blues (not to mention it has a delicious outcome), so head over to The British Connection and pick up a couple ingredients!

Today’s suggested recipe is flapjacks (the British kind of course). They’re easy to make and serve as a great on-the-go snack or lunchbox treat for kids.

The British Connection has two products to get you started: Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Tate’s Demerara Sugar.

Lyle's Golden Syrup

Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Tate's Demerara Sugar

Tate’s Demerara Sugar

Here’s the full list of ingredients and the preparation method:


  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 175g/6oz golden syrup
  • 175g/6oz muscovado sugar (you can use demerara sugar as a substitute)
  • 350g/12oz porridge oats
  • half a lemon, finely grated zest
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and grease and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, lemon zest, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the over for 40 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.

This recipe is an adapted version of Lorraine Pascale’s.