Cooking With An Aga

How do Agas work?

“Until I owned an Aga I never quite understood how Aga owners could be so ecstatic about a cooker. Now I totally understand and am devoted to mine.”

Well said Mary Berry.

It’s true. You really have to live with an Aga for a bit to appreciate how good they are.

I was bereft of an Aga for 4 years at university (why is there not a tick-box for this on the accommodation application form??) and the struggle was real without one.

In case you didn’t know, an Aga is a way of life an oven, which is left on throughout the day and night, so it’s constantly giving out warm heat, making it a good place to lean against, blog next to and air sheets on top of… etc. And of course, cook!

How does it work? It’s easy. You lift up the silver lid on the left hand side and a very hot hob (or ‘Boiling Plate’) is revealed, ideal for boiling potatoes and quickly cooking pasta. And under the right hand lid is a slightly cooler hob (or ‘Simmering Plate’), which is great for cooking soups, making porridge and melting chocolate. For dishes like a rich tomato ragu for spaghetti bolognaise you can flit between the two plates: start off frying the onion and minced beef on the boiling plate, switch over to the simmering plate as you add the other ingredients and it lovingly cooks the meat slowly until it’s tender. Bliss!

It’s also very forgiving for those who like to cook big meals with lots of different components, but aren’t so hot on precision timing, as you can keep everything warm in the very bottom of the oven until the rest of the food is done, and volià! Beautiful roast beef is dished up with crispy potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and carrots – that somehow cooked in half their usual time and have consequently spent the last fifteen minutes in a bowl in the Aga – and no one knows otherwise. Bread proves to impressive heights in the bottom of the Aga.

As mentioned above, an Aga makes an excellent dryer for sheets and actually reduces ironing time. When baking you can soften butter in a bowl on top of the Aga while you measure out the other ingredients for a cake. In the Autumn / Winter the central heating is switched on about a month later than everyone else as the Aga keeps the house so warm.

Cooking with an Aga

I could continue ad infinitum. But I’d have to be by the Aga for that.

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