The weather’s getting colder, so you’ll be packing away your summer clothes and searching for new snow boots by now. You’ll also be thinking about Christmas and how many people you’re expecting to be visiting over the festive period. Another dead cert is that you’ll be using a cheap home heating oil provider to keep your Aga purring away through the winter months – and to cook your Christmas dinner. Here’s how to ace this most stressful of occasions with your range.
Turn up the Aga early
Your Aga is actually a storage heater, it’s not like a regular oven, so if you’re planning to cook a big Christmas meal, or make lots of biscuits and cakes, then you need to star early with the heat. Turn it up on Christmas Eve so it’s good to go by the time the turkey’s prepped and stuffed. Speaking of which…
Take the turkey out of the fridge a couple of hours earlier
If you put a fridge-cold turkey into your Aga, a lot of that precious stored heat will be used in bringing it those extra degrees, so take it out of the fridge to warm up. Don’t overdo this, as you must be careful with raw meat and poultry, but just a few degrees for a short while is fine. The other great thing about using an Aga for a turkey is that it can fit up to a 28-pound bird!
Do as much in the oven as possible
There’s a couple of handy rules with an Aga. Try to do 80% of your cooking in the oven and just 20% on the hotplates. You can aim for even more in the oven if you really want to be efficient. The other good rule is that if something takes more than seven minutes on a hotplate, you should do it in the oven instead; this includes cooking vegetables.
Preparation is key
If you’re feeding a lot of people then being prepared in advance takes a lot of the stress away. You can peel and parboil your potatoes and parsnips in the morning (or even the evening before), then chill them, ready for roasting on the big day.
Your Aga isn’t just for food
It really is an all-singing, all-dancing piece of kit and it will form the centrepiece and heart of your kitchen and maybe even your home. You’ll find it really handy when guests are staying, especially in winter, as you can dry off the extra laundry on top of the hotplate lids, or warm up shoes and boots ready for the obligatory Christmas Day walk.
Make sure it’s up to the job
Ideally, you should have had your Aga serviced before winter sets in; if you have, great. If you’ve forgotten, then book an engineer now, just to make sure everything’s running as it should. The last thing you want is for your trusted friend to break down when it’s cold, or, even worse, on Christmas Day!