Very much a case of be careful what you wish for. I wasn’t afraid of the big cream beast that took pride of place in the middle of my kitchen within the fireplace. After all, I had used many ovens over the years catering in private homes, what difficulties could the humble AGA produce?
This AGA dated from 1954 and originally was powered by solid fuel, subsequently converted to oil. Blow all that sweeping out the burner every morning and lugging buckets of fuel about – something a friend of mine still does to this day with her AGA. Life’s too short for all that malarkey.
Huh – if I knew then, what I know now.
My first attempt was to cook a roast chicken. My Brother In Law had said not to cook for as long as normal, as the AGA would cook faster and that it would not brown as well as ‘normal’ ovens.
In went the chicken – just a medium size. After an hour I checked it – it looked insipid and not cooked. Okay, let’s give it another hour – I checked again, still not looking cooked, so it got another hour – needless to say it was dry as and inedible! I am sure the AGA was smirking at me – they do look like a sort of primitive face, after all.
The cream beast became known as ‘Hissing Sid’.
AGA 1 – Me 0
Never one to give up, I found an AGA shop not too many miles away from my then office – off I went to procure some books.
All was revealed. Once you understand how the thing works, it is really easy.
Simply put the top oven’s floor is akin to a hob, where you can sear or fry. The top of the oven is similar to a grill and the bits in the middle are the roasting bits.
The bottom oven is a joy to own, in that you can sear some meat in the top oven, transfer it to the bottom oven and leave it there whilst you are at work and you come home to a ready prepared meal.
Christmas turkeys are a doddle with the bottom oven – whack it in Christmas Eve evening and forget about it. Next day you will have a perfectly cooked turkey that is moist and lush.
Nowadays you can have your AGA converted to electricity which makes them extremely efficient to run and are cleaner too.
I miss you Sid – I will own another AGA and really cannot wait. A nice dark blue one I think.