Welcome to the beginning of a blog within a blog - I am about to join the Aga cult (as a customer recently called it) and achieve a long-held ambition to have an Aga in my kitchen. For the uninitiated the Aga is a stored heat slow combustion cooker which some cooks regard as the ultimate in cooking methods. Visit the Aga shop website http://www.theagashop.com.au/ to see these monsters in all their glory. Sadly my need for a new car took precedence over my desire for a new Aga (seriously, buying these things new costs the price of a small, quality hatchback ) and instead yesterday I purchased on ebay a coke-fired model which had been recently removed from a renovated old homestead in Berwick. I've done my homework and know that there is still a lot of work (and money) needed to get this up and running in my own house. First it has to be transported by a specialist (they weigh 450-500kg) then recommissioned. I have to decide if I am going to leave it as a coke-burner or have it converted to gas: while I've always had romantic notions of my kitchen warmed by a solid fuel cooker, gas is eminently more practical. Because the Aga is always on, it is not practical to use it over summer in Australia, so I have to decide what alternative cooking methods I'm going to use from December -March.
I am very excited at the prospect of finally owning an Aga, but suspect it's going to be like being pregnant with your first child - the reality never fits the dream. However I am hoping that, also like having children, the joy outweighs the heartache. So I've got a lot of learning ahead of me. I'm planning on picking the brains of a caterer friend who produces the most amazing food from her bright red Aga, but I welcome advice from out there: Have you got an Aga? Can you share your secrets? I particularly want to know the advantages of keeping this one on solid fuel vs having it converted to gas. Here's a picture of my cooker (before it was taken out of its kitchen - when I inspected it it was outside with the doors off). Stay tuned for future updates on my sAga (!) .