Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Change of Post... or the Many uses of an Aga...

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Today I was going to post about mornings here on the farm. Giving you the rundown of a typical morning, and I got sidetracked by the Aga.
So the above is not a pretty posed picture, but a true representation of a slice of a working farm kitchen. No pretty CK teatowels hanging on the rail (although I do have them), no pretty jug of flowers set out beside the Aga, that you just know would wilt in minutes if you left them there longer than it took to take a photo, just the general day to day usage of a good farm beast!
Photographing the flour warming for my bread making later this morning I suddenly realised just how many things this hulking great mass of cast iron was doing for me, without me even thinking about it.
#
Hanging above it is the latest batch of lavender picked fresh yesterday, on the front are my combat trousers, drying after picking up way too much moisture from the grass this morning on my chicken/piggy feeding rounds. On the top are my socks similarly drying out, and my gardening gloves soaked by an errant hosepipe as I filled the pigs water trough.
The flour is warming, and looks prettily posed but that's just how I do it every time I make bread, if you warm all your bits and pieces it just turns out better and is easier to work. So the mixing bowl is always tipped of its bunches of bananas that usually live in it (for us and the pigs) and washed and left to warm up on top, and the flour is weighed and left to warm at the side, the yeast isn't usually there, but I must have had it in my hand when inspiration struck!
In the kettle the water is kept warm ready for the next reviving cup of coffee, some say you shouldn't keep the water warm this way as it makes your kettle fur up inside, but in this hard water area we fur up anyway, so the kettle is descaled regularly and this isn't really a problem,. I would rather have a quicker cup of coffee.
Aggy the Aga.......a two oven model.
Tucked away in the depths of the bottom oven (the cooler one) I have some chicken bones simmering away to make a stock to add to the casserole I am planning for tea. This I must remember, Agas don't release any cooking smells so things can get forgotten VERY easily. The number of meringues I have lost because they've been left cooking away for 2 days or more I am embarrassed to relate, (luckily the house could never catch fire with food burning as things are sealed in the ovens).
The top oven is empty at the moment and awaiting the bread later, this is the hottest part of the Aga and again it's imperative to remember what you've put in there, I try to remember to use a timer when I'm cooking things that take a while. Next to the Aga is the tray of onions I am drying out ready to string, they sit in the sunshine during the day and on the worktop over night. I shall have to be brave and have a go at the stringing together today, I may show you the results or I may just hang it away from laughing eyes if it all goes embarrassingly wrong. Either way we'll have homegrown onions to eat for the next couple of months.

See......I told you I had some CK.....haha! A photo from last year when we had just tiled the kitchen. Slightly more posed, I had more time then, now you just get slices of life as it happens!

I'm not an Aga expert, just an Aga convert. It was something I dreaded having to use before we moved in, but it all came so naturally. It is a good simple way of cooking your food, it brings out the more spontaneous cook in me and I love it. Something she ticks away doing all the time as well as all the above jobs is to warm our water. We have two huge water tanks full of piping hot water ready to use at all times. Agas don't always do this but ours has been adapted.

The only down side...the heat she throws off all the time.....in Winter so welcome, in Summer....phew!! (We can't turn her off she is oil fueled and to turn her off means a complete service everytime).

I hope you enjoyed your tour around my Aga, now I'm off to start the bread, (and put my trousers on). Have a lovely day.

Sue xx

7 comments:

  1. I'm sure Youtube have a good tutorial, something hubby used to string his, it may help

    lynn x

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  2. Brilliant, thank you Lynn, I'm off to take a look!

    Sue xx

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  3. I am rather a dab hand at strining onions Sue - well,t hat is I can string them so they fall out every time you want one! I love Agas and Rayburns so much and really wish we had one in this house x

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  4. Great fun - we had an aga when I was very young & I remember the clothes drying on the rack over it

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  5. the trousers will be all warm and snuggly too!!!

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  6. Just as I thought your life couldn't get anymore amazing - you reveal the Aga!! x

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  7. Oh yes, I'm with you ... I adore my Aga too. I was scared of it at first but now hope I'll never be without one! In the spring I germinate my seeds in sealed containers next to it, sterilise jars and bottles in it, dry tomatoes in the bottom oven and undies on the rail!

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