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Cooking on your Aga

I still remember being rather afraid of my first Aga. I hadn't been brought up with an Aga and when it was first installed it looked so grand and so different from any cooker I had previously used.

Now I couldn't imagine my kitchen without an Aga. It is much more than the focal point of our kitchen, not only does it cook the family meals, it dries the washing and warms the grand children's pj's. It is always warm and comforting, ready to boil the kettle day and night for that special “cuppa” and because your Aga is always ready to use there is no need to wait for the oven to heat up, perfect for cooking “fast food” even faster.

Whether you own a 2 or a 4 oven Aga the most important thing to remember is that at least 80 per cent of cooking should be done in the ovens. If the lids are up the heat is escaping. My own golden rule is if it takes more than 10 minutes to cook on the top of the Aga then it should be in an oven.

It took some believing on my part, that boiled potatoes, or any root vegetable, should be cooked in an oven. Now I couldn't imagine cooking them any other way. Just peel or scrub the potatoes put them in a pan, cover with water, bring up to the boil on the boiling plate, transfer to the simmering plate and cook with the lid on for 4 – 5 minutes. Drain off all the water and then place on the floor of the simmering oven for 25 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. No need to time to the minute as they will keep unspoiled for a couple of hours, hard to believe but true.

Toast always tastes better when cooked on the top of the Aga, crispy on the outside but still soft in the middle. Just remember to heat your Aga toaster first on the boiling plate to stop the bread sticking to the wire toaster. Toasted sandwiches can be made directly on the simmering plate by using Bake-O-Glide to cover the simmer plate. Butter your bread on the outside for a lovely crispy golden finish.

That Aga breakfast is so easy, grill your bacon near the top of your roasting oven using the Aga roasting tin, with the grill rack insert. No need to use a shelf as the Aga roasting trays fit directly onto the runners of the oven. If you are also cooking sausages for breakfast use 2 small roasting trays, they will fit one in front of the other on the oven runners, maximising your oven space.
Frying your eggs can be done either in an ovenproof pan on the floor of your roasting oven or for low fat “fried eggs” cook your eggs on Bake-O-Glide directly on the simmer plate.

Anything you can cook on the top of your oven can be cooked on the floor of your roasting oven. You can fry onions or brown your meat here.

Rice and risotto cook beautifully in the Aga either start on the boiling plate or on the floor of your roasting oven, bring to the boil and then transfer to the simmering oven for about 20 minutes.

Your Aga will accommodate an extra large Turkey, up to 12.5kgs, for that big family Christmas. Leave the turkey slow roasting over night in the simmering oven, no need to baste, leaving the roasting oven free to cook all the trimmings.

Baking bread is easy as the roasting oven is similar to a bakers oven and baking cakes is simple once you have mastered the use of your cold shelf. Remember to keep the cold shelf out of the Aga and not inside one of the ovens because as it name suggests it should be cold to reduce the heat of your oven to a moderate temperature suitable for baking.

I know you will enjoy cooking on your Aga and it really does make everything taste better.