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Mr Brains are probably the longest established Faggot maker in the UK (if not the only ones)! So now that I am a dedicated eater of Meat faggots I feel I am now able to offer my opinion on this food item that you will probably either love or hate. Mr Brain’s faggots are made by Hibernia Brands Ltd, who has recently bought out the Sara Lee empire (so I’m led top understand).
~~~ What are faggots? ~~~
Pork Faggots are a meatball, which is made up basically from Pork liver and onion. Mr Brain’s faggots add a few more things such as rusks, wheat flour etc, and soak them in a rich west country sauce, before freezing them for your convenience.
~~~ How do you cook them? ~~~
For best results you should cook from frozen, at the following temperatures and times: 230*c/ 450*f/Gas Mark 8 for 30 to 40 minutes: Alternatively, you can cook them in a microwave for around a total of about 13 minutes stirring half way. Though cooking by this method requires the placement of the faggots from their container to a microwave-able dish.
~~~ What to eat them with? ~~~
As they are served with gravy, we enjoy them with mashed potatoes and peas (just like it shows on the pack). However people tastes vary, so eat them with whatever you want – chips (I’ve just got into chips with gravy!), jackets whatever turns you on – as to speak.
~~~ Are they fattening? ~~~
A highly important question if you are watching your weight, or need to eat healthily for health reasons. The faggots are high in fat (12.5g cooked), but for your information here are a few values: Calories –242: Carbohydrates 22.5g (sugars 4.3g): Saturated fat 5.9g: sodium 0.9g. All values are for the cooked version of the product and per 100g.
~~~ So what do they taste like? ~~~
These Pork faggots are rather Moorish, and although not addictive are excellent for a difference. The easiest way I can sum them up is that they taste a wee bit like Haggis. They are simply meatballs made with pigs liver and onion, and can be made at home (see recipe below). I am the sort of person who is typically British in their eating, with the occasional Chinese pancake roll or chow mein…and these pork faggots suffice the requirements of my somewhat picky diet.
~~~ Overall ~~~
Mr Brains Pork Faggots are to be enjoyed, maybe not on a regular basis but nonetheless they are worthy of some praise. I believe faggots originate from Wales (please correct me if I am wrong), and served with mashed potato, peas and the rich West Country sauce it comes with and what more could you want? In favour of the faggots are – taste, price, ease of cooking (just loosen the lid and bung in oven). Against- some of the faggots stick to the dish, not big enough pack for more than one person, the lids can be a little difficult to remove when hot.
~~~ Other information: ~~~
Mr Brains Pork faggots come in packs of four (I am not sure whether other sizes are available-but I have noit seen them if they are) and cost £1.39 per pack. At time of writing (13/6/02) Iceland have faggots on offer –buy two packs for £2.00. They are made by Hibernia Brands ltd of Bristol. You can store in a freezer for up to 1 month in a two star freezer or follow the best by date for higher models. Alternatively you can store them for up to twelve hours in a fridge. The pack does warn that you should handle the container and lid carefully when cooked as they do get hot, and I can vouch for that.
Mince the liver and onions finely and place in mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to form dough. Shape into small balls and place on greased baking tray. Cook for about 30-40 minutes at about 200 C/400 F/ Gas mark 7 (approx) (ensure product is piping hot throughout). Make gravy (if chosen) and serve as desired