myth-truth

8 AGA Myths Demystified

Here at AGA Cottages, we understand that if you’ve never had the joy of cooking with an AGA before, they can be rather intimidating at first. There she is, sitting silently in the kitchen, practically breathing fire like a mythical beast. Terrifying, right? Wrong! An AGA is a gentle giant, a warm and welcoming friend, and once you’ve shared a kitchen with one, you’ll never want to go back to a conventional oven and hob.

Let’s look at some of the most popular myths about AGAs and AGA cooking.

1. You can’t bake with an AGA

Yes you can! All 3 and 4 oven AGAs have a baking oven (see our Getting the Most out of your AGA Cottage Guide). If you have a 2 oven AGA in your AGA Cottage, you can easily turn the roasting oven into a baking oven by inserting the cold shelf at the top of the oven. This reduces the temperature of the roasting oven to make it perfect for baking.

2. You can’t grill with an AGA

Yes you can! The roasting oven is perfect for grilling. Simply place a grill rack inside a baking tin and slide it into the roasting oven on one of the top runners. You can even prepare a full English grilled breakfast in one tray in an AGA: place sliced tomatoes and mushrooms in the base of a baking tray on top of some Bake-O-Glide if you have it. Pop the grill rack over the vegetables and add your sausages. After ten minutes, turn the sausages and add some rashers of bacon to the rack and ten minutes later, voila! A one-tray full English breakfast. Serve with some AGA eggs cooked on the simmering plate and your membership of the Domestic Goddesses Society will be in the bag.

3. You can’t stir fry on an AGA

Yes you can! And you don’t even need a Wok. You can simply use a large, flat based pan. To get your stir fry sizzling, first heat the pan in the roasting over to get it nice and warm. Take it out of the oven and put straight on the boiling plate. Add your oil or cooking fat and when it starts to sizzle you’re ready to stir fry.

4. You have to live off stew for the entire holiday

No you don’t! See 1-3 above! The AGA is all things to all cooks. It makes perfect roasts, breakfasts, pasta, rice, pies, cakes, flans… and yes, it even stews! There is absolutely nothing that you can cook on a conventional oven and hob that you can’t cook on an AGA. And, it will probably taste better!!

5. AGAs are inflexible

No they’re not! See 1-4 above! As well as cooking, AGAs often heat water, radiators and they provide an excellent way of airing and even ironing laundry. Show me a conventional cooker that can do all that and I’ll show you inflexible!

6. AGAs are expensive to run

This might not really apply to you if you’re only using an AGA on your holiday because your costs are probably covered. But if you’re considering getting your very own AGA, don’t think of it as just a cooker. Depending on the type of AGA you’re thinking of getting, factor in the cost of constant hot water, heating, drying, ironing, toasting, boiling kettles as well as simply using it as an oven and hob. It’s true that some older AGAs are expensive to run but this is not always the case and newer models can be controlled all year round and can be run very efficiently and relatively inexpensively.

7. AGAs are dangerous

AGAs are no more dangerous than any other cooker. Yes, you need to exercise caution with young children around an AGA as you would do around a conventional cooker but AGAs are always hot and give off heat to warn fingers and hands.

8. You never know what the temperature of an AGA is

Wrong! The average temperatures of each oven is pretty standard. The roasting oven is always ready top roast (or grill), the baking oven is perfect for baking and the simmering oven… well, you get the idea. For more information on AGA oven temperatures, see our Getting the Most from your AGA Guide.

Happy AGA Cooking!

Article by Rebecca Russell

How to Cook Aga Toast

Aga-made toast is out of this world because it tastes …. well, like toast should taste! Toasting bread in an electric toaster or even under a grill in a conventional oven just isn’t the same.

Take toast to higher level with Simon Brown’s demonstration of how simple it is to do. All you need (apart from an Aga!) is a piece of equipment that looks like a large table tennis bat made out of mesh. We’d be surprised if your holiday cottage doesn’t have one but do check in advance as we’d hate you to miss out.

How to make the perfect AGA meringue

Alice McIlhagger, of Brambleberry Jams knows a thing or two about cooking on the AGA and here she shares her secrets on how to make the perfect meringue.

Alice grew up with an AGA in the kitchen but it wasn’t until she was in her 40’s that she felt she had the right sort of kitchen to accommodate one. She now has a lovely pillar box red AGA which is at the heart of her jam and sauce making business, brambleberryjames.com. All her jams and sauces are cooked in a large stainless steel jam pan, firstly on the low ring to slowly dissolve the sugar and then boiled on the boiling ring which stays at a steady temperature to ensure it never burns. Alice says “When I’m baking for a craft fair, I can bake 8 loaves of bread in the hot oven simultaneously, while making meringues in the bottom oven. I can honestly say I would not have my business Brambleberry Jams without the AGA.”

Stay and Learn!

aga-demos
Are you thinking of getting an AGA or Rayburn and would like to know more about them and the way they cook?

Why not attend a cooking demonstration at Darts Farm AGA Shop in Devon on Tuesday, 26th January. They are holding a cooking demonstration focusing on ‘Start the New Year, the healthy AGA way’. Make the most of your cast iron cooker and learn new techniques. It costs just £22 per person. David Pengelly, a local AGA accredited chef, will talk you through the ovens and hobs, creating delicious dishes in front of you, all for the tasting!

If you are not local to the area, stay in one of these nearby AGA holiday cottages and practice afterwards what you learn!:

Barn near Exeter
Chideock Cottage in nearby Dorset

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