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