Old fashioned thrift

Hello everyone!

I’m having a big cook up today and I’ll blog it as I go along.

I haven’t made faggots in ages and they are another recipe that sends Dearly Beloved weak at the knees along with apple crumble and steak and kidney pudding. Both of us have parents who were children in war time and grew up in rationing and then brought us up in similarly hard financial times. Hence, the old fashioned recipes that we really love. Faggots are a kind of meat balls which make the most of the very cheapest cuts – offal. Mine have lambs liver and some recipes use heart, but it’s actually quite expensive so I leave it out.

How to? – all ingredients are minced on ‘pulse’ in my food processor. Consequently, this takes no longer to make that it takes the oven to heat up. Start off by putting two roasting dishes in the oven with a covering of oil, dripping or lard in the bottom. Use what ever you have. I put some fat in so they don’t stick.

Currently on offer in Tesco for £1 for 4 – but they have a very low meat content, but still a good  price. 

Here’s the ingredients –

Half a loaf of wholemeal or any bread – whizzed up into bread crumbs in my food processor – tip them into your very biggest mixing bowl.30p

One whole pack of onions – 69p – half goes into a  saucepan to make the onion gravy and half into the big mixing bowl

One whole pack of lambs liver – almost three quarters of a kilo of £1.27

Four slices of belly pork – I cut the rind off, cut into the slices into cubes and then ‘pulsed’ until pork mince. Check!!!! If pork mince is cheaper, or on offer, then use that instead! Today, belly pork slices were cheaper – £2.22.

One pack of cooking bacon. I use the Tesco value at 99p – this is 500g.

I then add a heap of seasoning. Paprika, sage, garlic. I minced fresh in with the onions but I’ve used garlic powder or granules when that’s all I have, plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you have herbs in the garden, in the warmer months, finely chop those and add them. I’ve used chopped parsley before.

When you have all the minced ingredients in the bowl, I use my hands to keep mixing it well together. I then use a spoon to measure out similar size balls, in this case about the size of a tennis ball. I then gently rolled them in flour to help them stick together when roasting. I cooked them on a high heat for 30 minutes, turning them over half way.

Whilst they were cooking, I made the gravy. Heat some fat (any will do) in a saucepan and then gently fry the onions until almost see through. You can cook them until brown if you like that flavour. I added a tin of sliced mushrooms, just because I had some spare. I then added some instant gravy mix and poured boiling water on top. Instead of Worcestershire sauce, I simply use Tesco Value brown sauce and an equal splash of Tesco value ketchup. There you are, gravy!!!

Take the cooked faggots out of the oven and pour half the gravy over each roasting tin and then put back in the oven on a lower heat for another 20 – 30 minutes until all the gravy has taken on the flavour of the faggots.

All over the country ‘gastro-pubs’ are embracing the wonderful regional and seasonal dishes we have and that includes faggots. They are best served with mashed potato and peas. We usually have dark savoy cabbage with ours and they are equally delicious with oven chips and a tin of mushy peas (or make your own). In a local pub or restaurant, they usually charge about £12 for this simple lunch. I made 28 faggots for about £5.50 + 50p for the cooking, so £6 altogether. We’ll eat two each. By my simple maths, that 42p a portion, plus a few spuds and peas brings this meal well under a £1 a portion. It’s proper old fashioned thrift if you have a large family. It’s also very easy to freeze. When cooled, I will spoon four faggots and gravy into a freezer bag and simply pop that into my freezer. Today, I made and froze seven meals for the future. Plus, I’ll melt DB’s heart every time I serve them to him!

Love Froogs xxxxx


30 thoughts on “Old fashioned thrift

  1. You use a lot of different ingredients that I am not familiar with,but this dish sounds a lot like a variation of our sausage balls.You sure go through a lot of trouble when you cook. Sounds like cooking must be one of your passions.Since I have retired from the School Food Service, I cook very little, and it's usually something quick and simple.We don't need the calories, plus everything is so rediculously expensive nowadays.


  2. I love faggots but have never made my own, our local butcher makes some fine ones for 50p each which taste great, I am the only one in our family who eats them so no point in cooking them in bulk for me. I am going to batch some pies and pasty's to stock the freezer with. yum.


  3. Mmmmmm! This brings back memories from when I watched my great Grandma making them whilst I was a child. Faggots are a weakness of mine, but cannot be found anywhere fresh in Cornwall, and this means good old Brains frozen, as you mentioned. I'm not sure I could make them myself and do my Nans justice, but your post has bought back some wonderful memories. Thank you x


  4. I used to love faggots as a child, mum used to buy them. Hubby won't give them a try, I think the brand name 'Brains' just puts him off and he doesn't like offal. So I'm definitely going to make these and make out they're meatballs!


  5. I dont know if I could eat two the size of a tennis ball.
    Would nt one be better as a serving and add some buttered carrots. Makes everything go twice as far.I grew up in the u.k., in London but have never eaten them – they sound like something that is far better made at home than store bought. Must try them next week.


  6. mmm!i have some belly pork and lambs liver in the freezer, i am going to have a go at these!my nan used to make them when we were kids..a “trick” way of getting us to eat liver..i have to say , they look delicious!Thanks for all your brilliant ideas..i love reading your blog!


  7. Oh yes, faggots! One of our sons who doesn't “like” any kind of offal will actually eat faggots. The last ones I made (did include heart) were a little dry and crumbly so more fat next time …….. thanks for sharing!


  8. Hello, I have just recently found your blog and have been enjoying having a look through your previous posts. I am having to be super economical this year so I am looking forward to picking up some tips. I like that your DH collects the newspapers, my DD gets the bus to school and there is a free paper available everyday on the bus. I ask her to try and remember to pick some up for me to use when lighting the fire.
    Happy New Year,
    Sarah x


  9. I am now craving faggots. we had the family round for dinner yesterday so had lovely roast pork. We all had pork last night, pork sandwiches for lunch and now for dinner I made pasta with reheated chunks of pork, mint sauce, spinach and tomato with cheese to make a sort of pasta alforno. Tomorrow we are back at work with more sliced pork in the sandwiches but with a lovely lemon relish.

    I thought long about whether i could manage a year without shopping. I don't think I can I enjoy shopping and although I am not a shopaholic the thought of not buying wedding and birthday presents would be too hard. I look forward to seeing how you do. Good luck.


  10. i have never had a Faggot in my life,not a well known dish here in Australia!but i could never bring myself to eat Liver either,sorry!just the thought makes me shudder!i know that Liver is very good for you,full of iron!but it's a no,no,for me!but great photo's,thank's for sharing this,and you go to so much trouble,xx


  11. my cheap dinner and then use for lunch is french lentils cooked in ham stock. and the ham used for some other dinner with a few bits mixed in the lentils. cold with vinegrette or hot with out.

    yum. and cheap


  12. This post made me chuckle because faggots have been mentioned twice in my life now in the space of twelve hours. We're visitng my family in Spain and yesterday we were fed some large pork meatballs. My (Cornish) partner eyed them up suspiciously and asked if they were faggots. I said 'no' without really knowing what faggots were. Now I know – unfortunately, due to his reticence I also know I won't be able to make them at home!

    Still, good to learn what they are at last, and, as usual, I am impressed by the amount of hard work you put into your cooking, and into being frugal in general. That is always an inspiration to me.

    M. X


  13. Hey Froogs.

    Thanks, that's tonight's dinner (and a few more) Few more sorted.

    I've just been out and bought some ingredients. I've had to differ a little due to best value and time and all of that.

    I'll let you know how I get on.


  14. I love faggots but have never made them because I thought you had to put them in crawl, although it is sold here in the offal part of Super U freezer I just didn’t fancy it but I see you haven’t used it so might give them a try, thanks for the recipe


  15. Seeing your recipe for faggots has reminded me that actually I quite like them! Thanks for the reminder! Just found a recipe on the Good Food Magazine website which uses a pack of Sage and Onion stuffing. Now there’s a thought to make the recipe easier… I think I will be trying it…


  16. Pingback: British Classic Winter Warmer -Faggots, Mash and Peas – Ginger cake & flapjacks – Empty Nest – Full Tum

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