Aga Owners - I need your help and experience!

(58 Posts)
LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 18:29:40

On Monday I am almost certainly going to be putting in an offer on a house.

The main selling point for me was the kitchen, which has been done to a seriously high standard and is a great space.

Except. It has an Aga.

I know nothing about Agas. The lady was waxing lyrical about it and I was just making "mmhhmm" noises. I did pick up some points:

It's a 4 oven Aga
It is gas converted
The ovens are 250, 180, 120 degrees and warming
She leaves it on all the time.
She thinks I could sell it for 4K

I feel like I have a billion questions, all of which I really should have asked at the time blush.

Ok, so how easy/hard is it to use an Aga?
Leaves it on all the time? Won't that cost a fortune?
Would I have to buy all special pots and pans?
How do the two hot plate things work - can the heat be regulated? Why only two hot plates (I'm used to 6 burners)
What's the flat plate thing on the left?

That's just for starters! Now I could just get rid of it, but the lovely kitchen has pretty much been built around it, and my range cooker is about a foot smaller, so we'd either have a big gap either side of it, or have to call in the kitchen guy she used to fit it in properly.

The thought of an Aga kind of scares me, I'm all for convenience usually. But I think I'd be willing to have a go.

Can anyone persuade/dissuade me?

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:04:14

Is there anyone out there? grin

PyroclasticFlo Sat 11-Jan-14 20:08:26

Sorry can't give a long reply but we have a 2 oven gas Aga (converted from solid fuel, it's ancient!) and I absolutely love it, to the point that I miss it when we go away and where possible I now have to have holiday cottages that have an Aga as I can't live without it (to cook, to defrost, to dry out hats and gloves, to dry washing, to press washing, oh all sorts of things!)
They take a bit of getting used to but seriously, if we ever moved house I would have to have another Aga, it is like a member of the family now.
Oh and no you don't need special pots and pans or anything and yes it does cost a bit to keep it on all the time but we use it to dry washing (airer in front of it) so I figure it earns it's keep wink

Dunwhingin Sat 11-Jan-14 20:13:07

An aga is the most convenient thing ever.
I have a three oven electric, it is on all the time and heats my kitchen/diner.
The two rings can take several pans at once, the ovens are huge and you can cook anything on it.
Give it 6 months
There are loads of heat saving knacks, if you go to your local Aga shop they run classes on cooking with agas and can explain everything.
I wanted one for ever and I love it now I have one,
Everyone gravitates towards it, I dry almost all our clothes on it, it makes the best roast dinners in the world.
The big plate could be a warmer plate, I don't have one but I think it is just hand for keeping bits warm, hot dinner plates etc

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:20:53

I was in just his position a year ago, faced with a beast of a 4 oven oil aga and no other means of cooking! Now I lurves it.
Agas are always on all the time - that is the whole point of them. They store heat and are instantly ready to use. Try not to think of the ovens in temperature terms, they are roasting (top right), baking(bottom right), simmering (top left) and warming (bottom left). Cooking in an AGA is an art more than a science and I reckon it took me 2 or 3 months to really get the hang of it. Yes they do cost quite a lot, but they save massively on central heating, tumble drying etc.
The 2 plates are boiling on the left and simmering on the right - they do what they say, but the whole AGA principle is that you cook mainly in the ovens - even root veg and frying things. I bought some new pans but really for convenience. What you will want are the AGA trays and roasting tins which go on the oven runners and some AGA bake o glide (wonder non stick sheets - I use them for everything. The flat plate is a warming plat - great for warming plates, keeping the kettle warm and I use it to put things on when I get them out of the oven. I also cook fried eggs directly on the simmering plate without fat.
To get over your fear, book a demo session at your local AGA dealer and get "AGA know How, by Richard Maggs". I refer to that book most days even now.
Your vendor is deluded if she thinks you could get £4k. Their second hand value is relative peanuts.
I also recommend getting some really good long oven gloves as the ovens are very deep and you use them all the time to put pans in.
When learning how to use an AGA, you really do just have to go with it and not try and make it behave like a conventional cooker. It makes the most fab Yorkshire puds, out of this world meringues and you can do lots of things all at the same time!

Good luck. Ask away if you have more?'s

IndridCold Sat 11-Jan-14 20:23:45

Agree it's a fantastic and wonderful creature, so much more than juat a cooker. It is not hard to use at all, but there are always more skills and techniques you can learn which will improve performance.

Classes at the Aga shop (or website) are a great idea, I also recommend the Mary Berry Aga book. Amy Willcock books are good too.

You can try it out for 6 months, and still sell it for £4k if you don't get on with it...

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:40:31

Oh my god mateysmum, that is a fantastic answer. Thankyou.

(Going to read everything properly now and will come back)

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:41:16

Any time LtEve.

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 20:46:05

We love our! We have just run out of oil so it is off at the moment. We have PILES of washing that needs to be dried. Agas are fantastic for drying clothes!
Seriously dont know what i would do with out ours!

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:50:36

We have a 2 oven Aga ( was oil , converted to electric )
Yes , expensive to run , but ours does the hot water, warms the kitchen and dries the clothes as well as cook .
As mateysmum said above .
We considered taking ours out ( we moved in , the Aga was there )
BUT , we would have to replace it with something else and redo the kitchen .
There is NO resale value to an oil Aga , I doubt there's much value to a gas one . They're massive , heavy and how on earth difficult to move
Lovely to cook on . the best roast potatoes ever
Give it a go

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:55:36

Also ( this is good ) if everyone is out , and wanting dinner at different times ...
Cook the meal as you want , dish up .
Those that aren't there put cling film on and put in bottom oven .
When they are ready , peel off cling film and serve
Also , chuck out the microwave , you won't need it

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 20:55:47

OK so if I buy this house (when) then I will try to find a course. That's great, didn't know there was such a thing.

Have wish-listed the books!

When you all say drying on it - do you have airers in front or above it? She has a shelf about that I could change to a pole. I use our tumble dryer far too much, so that would be good.

Is anyone willing to tell me how much extra my gas bill is likely to be (so sorry to be so nosy). If it helps, we currently pay £115 per month gas and electric, and we live in a very cold house.

I am actually starting to get quite excited here, whereas before I went to the house I was all "I'm not lighting a fire every time I want to cook something". When she said it was gas converted I was happier, and now can see how this might work.

I need to bookmark an Aga website!

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 11-Jan-14 20:59:02

I have inherited one in our house - I have very mixed feelings about it.

Ours is on all the time as provides our hot water and I have no other oven. This is not ideal.

Its running costs (gas) are high. Its not great for a lot of cooking - steaks/stir frys and christmas lunch is a pain as the gas pressure and temperature plummet.

I will probably replace when we do the kitchen.

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:59:47

Hang towels on the pole on the front of the Aga
Put undies on the simmering plate .
Stand a clothes airier in front of it overnight / all day if you're out
We had a Sheila Maid above it , but it got on my nerves , so it's gone
Finish in tumble dryer
Not on mains gas , so can't help with bills

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 21:00:35

Oh god, I just discovered AgaLiving.com
grin

Chlorinella Sat 11-Jan-14 21:03:05

www.aga-ranges.com/aga-living/aga-cooking-demos.aspx I was just about to show you !
Mary Berry has an Aga cook book too

JapaneseMargaret Sat 11-Jan-14 21:10:26

We lived in a house with a two-oven one very briefly - I was overly excited and even bought a book.

I didn't get on with it, but I suspect because I just didn't have enough time with it, to get used to its foibles, etc. We were only there for about 2-3 months, pre-emigrating. We also had to get the technician out to re-light it which was, frankly, a hassle.

I still romanticise about living in a home with a huge, comfortable kitchen complete with aga, though.

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:06

Aga ironing - you never need iron a duvet cover again! Fold it nicely when wet, put it on the li of the simmering plate and one ironed duvet cover (or anything else).

I love love love mine, but it is expensive.

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:37

lid

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 11-Jan-14 21:24:50

We have an electric Aga and I love it. You've had good info on this thread so all I will say is that for some reason food from the Aga just tastes nicer than any other food I've cooked (DH made a steak and Guinness pie to die for tonight).

Good luck with the house purchase smile

mateysmum Sat 11-Jan-14 21:29:41

MrsCampbell - are you using your AGA at its most efficient? I heat a cast iron grill pan in the roasting oven before cooking the steaks on the boiling plate and it works really well. You can stop the temp plummeting at Xmas dinner by staggering when you cook things and not using the simmering plate.

OP - shop around for any kit for the AGA as you can often get it cheaper. Try avec cookers, betty twyford, cookoo (all websites) as you will soon find yourself a couple of hundred quid out of pocket. Try and get the vendor to leave you as many bits and pieces as you can.

How old is the AGA you are inheriting? Ancient ones may not be quite as efficient as newer ones.

Like others have said, you can dry clothes on the rails/the warming plate or on the simmering plate lid. I don't have enough ceiling height to have a sheila maid above the AGA but I have one in the nearby utility room and the heat drifts through. If I'm not going to be around, I leave an airer in front of the AGA all day.It's also great for drying soggy trainers - essentially anything that needs a gentle constant heat.

No idea how much gas you'll use. Ask the AGA dealer and they will give you an idea.

Ask the vendor when the AGA was last serviced. You'll need it servicing once a year and it will cost about £75-100 (may be less for gas - mine's oil).

Pusspuss1 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:35:20

I grew up with one and they are the business. Keep it and don't worry, you'll get the hang of how if all works. It's mostly for heating really, with a bit of cooking thrown in. It's such a lovely thing to have!

LtEveDallas Sat 11-Jan-14 21:52:25

Umm, tallgiraffe, I've never ironed a duvet cover in my life! <<slattern>> grin

Well, I've discovered that there is an Aga Shop less than 5 miles from the possible new house. Could be dangerous. They've got a 'beginners' course next week, but I think that would be jumping the gun a bit.

This house feels very right. I am busy turning around my 'negatives', the main one was the Aga and the wasted £££s on the range. I get that the Aga is going to cost more to start off, but I am happier about the whole idea.

Oh God. Think I'm buying a house then.

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 21:54:40

we actually pile our washing on the aga! it is VERY clean! we fold up jumpers or trousers and lie them on top of the aga. or hang then over the bar at the front. We also have a rack over the top when we hang hangers also!

springadorspringybum Sat 11-Jan-14 22:07:18

although do be careful, DH managed to lose the color from a woolen top after leaving it on top of the aga!

TallGiraffe Sat 11-Jan-14 22:12:23

Good luck with your house buying then!

Roussette Sat 11-Jan-14 22:15:33

There is nothing in the world so delicious as roast or jacket potatoes cooked in an Aga. Yum! (I grew up with one)

Belize Sat 11-Jan-14 22:17:04

Do not sell the AGA!!!!! You will learn to love it!

Good luck with the house smile

Fresh01 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:20:40

We have a 3 oven gas AGA and love it. I did one of the AGA evening cookery demos when we got it which was great in learning how to move things between the plates and ovens. We use it for toast and the kettle as well as drying clothes. DS's preschool teacher was very amused when he recently got his top wet and he told the student teacher he would need to put it on the AGA - the student teacher didn't know what one was : )

I asked the demonstrator how long it would take me to learn how to use, he said a month if cooking for a family. Then every so often you go back and try new things.

With 4 kids and a husband all eating at different times, I can cook bolognaise sauce or a stew at lunchtime put in the bottom oven and it is perfect for the kids at 5pm and still perfect for DH at 8pm.

MrsC, do you cook your turkey overnight into Xmas day? We cooked for 21 this year. I put turkey on at half past midnight and took out at 1pm and covered in tin foil and towels and it was perfect at 3pm. It also meant I had all ovens free to cook the roasties and everything else.

jonicomelately Sat 11-Jan-14 22:21:26

They are actually easy to cook on (I have no problem stir frying or cooking steak using my boiling plate), they warm the kitchen so no need for a radiator and I also dry and iron washing on it.

Three oven oil aga here and we wouldn't be without it. Cakes and oven bakes taste fab as does turkey which we slow cook for about twenty hours.

We also have an electric range though with a gas hob for things that need more temperature control on a hob, but to be honest I would say we only use it 2-3 times a year as the aga is so versatile.

LtEveDallas Sun 12-Jan-14 08:21:43

Its not great for a lot of cooking - steaks/stir frys and christmas lunch is a pain as the gas pressure and temperature plummet

Why would gas pressure and temp plummet? That sounds irritating.

Wow to some of the prices on the Aga website. Think I may chat to house owner about buying some of her stuff. Maybe I'll be asking for 'double roasters' instead of jewellery this birthday!

mateysmum Sun 12-Jan-14 08:40:23

Temp can plummet because the AGA is a heat storage device, so if it loses/uses heat it takes time to regenerate.

Having said that, if it is working properly and you use it properly you shouldn't have problems. I never have. When I put the turkey into the roasting oven for 30min to brown, the temp dropped, but came back really quickly.

All part of the magic art of AGA cooking.

Yeah AGA cookware prices are scary. Put aga in front of any name and inflate the price. If you look around, you can save a bit. I sneak an item of cookware onto the credit card when DH isn't looking.

willyoulistentome Sun 12-Jan-14 08:48:13

Ooooh. All very interesting. I am also vaguely house hunting and have also been put off Agas, but mainly due to running costs. My brother and SIL have a large electric one and I agree that it's lovey to stand by. Cos beautifully, Keeps them warm etc. I don't think it runs their v water or heats anything other than their kitchen though.it stays on all the time. My bro (minted) tells me his electric bills are over £ 10 k a year. I notice nobody has put a figure on their bills. Ball park figures please folks?

Dunwhingin Sun 12-Jan-14 08:51:37

will £10k!? Really?
I have the same aga and we don't have gas or oil so everything is on the bill. We have a 4 bed house and our bill is just over £3k

willyoulistentome Sun 12-Jan-14 08:55:16

Phew. £3k sounds a lot more reasonable. I think bro and SIL are a bit spendthrift and leave everything on all the time. Have a huge house too. Thanks for that info. Not so put off now.

Mamab33 Sun 12-Jan-14 09:42:46

Ironing on the Aga confused please tell us how that works. Intrigued.

Atavistic Sun 12-Jan-14 10:15:39

I've a 2 door aga, and a DH and 4 DC. I have a pulley for drying, over the AGa (11 foot ceiling), and another pulley in the adjoining utility. I have a clothes horse for infront of the aga, for overnight drying.
I dry all the washing there. All jeans, t shirts, school uniform, all kids clothes, duvet covers, pillow cases etc are folded well, and stacked on the 2 lids. I rotate the piles, and this is what is known as Aga ironing. Only DH's shirts, and the odd item, are actually ironed.
We are in a 3 story, 5 bed, 1880s, high ceilinged house, and pay a gas standing order of £300 a month. You can order all lengths of pulley online.
I very rarely use my tumble dryer, I boil the kettle on it, and make toast on it. The bake o glide stuff is brilliant. I use Le Crueset casseroles- It is handy to have all metal pots- no plastic handles etc, so they can be used in the ovens. Yes, the equipment is expensive, but the slow cooking abilities give you delicious results, with inexpensive cuts of meat.

It took me a good 6 months to learn to love my Aga, - It was in a rented house, and was the only cooking method available. We then bought a house with an Aga but the kitchen also has a 4 ring hob and electic oven to fall back on- I don't bake in the Aga- your 4 door would be better for that.

If I moved, I would want an Aga again- I never want to go back to hang out washing, and ironing again!

Northernmonkeys Sun 12-Jan-14 10:30:07

I'd say keep the Aga!
We inherited an Aga with the house we bought nearly 5yrs ago and I'd never get rid of it...well, only for another Aga!
Ours is a 4oven gas with an 2plate electric hob incase you turn it off in the summer -we never have-haven't another cooker and don't need one really.

Loved it from the day we moved in. Put some jacket potatoes in, popped out for some essentials and when we cr back they were cooked to perfection!

I'd recommend subscribing to Aga living magazine. I have the Aga Book by Mary Berry and a few little book of Aga tips by Richard Maggs. Very useful. Never went on a course and have had hardly any issues with cooking on it. We use ours for toast, boil the kettle on it etc so no need for extra appliances unless you want to. Keeps the kitchen cosy so we hardly need any other heating unless its very cold.
Very useful for drying washing as others have said.

I have noticed the dropping temp when doing Christmas dinner but you just need to put roast bird or meat in early and use the simmering oven for cooking veg etc. the more you use the hot plates the more heat you loose. Ok when cooking a normal meal but just needs extra care for big meals with a few dishes. I'm sure I'll get it just right next year!

If you love the house I'd go for it. I'd be surprised if you don't like it.
G

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:10:31

I know some people love agas and god if I'd spent £10k on one - I'd force myself to love it.

But you know if you inherit one - you get to try it and if its not for you trade it in for another in the aga range - I may go for the S series.

Thing is - as soon as you lift the lid on the boiling plate the temp starts to go down so for me stir frying isn't brilliant.

Re. gas pressure - everyone on Christmas day does lunch at a similar time or thereabouts so for me I find the temp goes down despite me following saint mary of the berry to the letter. Oh the hours I've spent angsting over my roast potatoes.

But then on the plus side it reminds me of my granny and her aga (I'm not a novice aga cook) and it does make the kitchen lovely and cosy. And I hardly use my tumble drier because I use the aga.

I don't know - I will think long and hard about what to replace mine with.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:15:08

I also wouldn't choose to have it run your hot water. We now need to stop ours doing this and its another massive hassle/expense.

Also check how old the aga is - ours is 30+ years old so I had to have a new burner as soon as we moved in which was about £550 before aga would let it go onto their service/repair plan.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:17:41

Sorry me again - the previous owner of our house left the aga roasting trays and toast cooker thingy [technical term]

I've then bought some of the aga saucepans in the sales.

Thing is once you've had an aga you go and look at falcons/lacanche etc and they feel really flimsy and not very big.

See, I'm talking myself back into keeping mine wink Its such an emotional cooker - not sure you could say the same about any other range.

LtEveDallas Mon 13-Jan-14 11:20:48

Thanks smile

Well I've put an offer in on the house shock so I may be an Aga owner yet.....

hinkyhonk Mon 13-Jan-14 11:37:49

i inherited an oil one this summer when we moved in and tbh it is going.

it is lovely right now and is keeping the kitchen lovely and warm but it is a pain in the arse to cook on as whenever we put anything into it the temperature drops, it is filthy as the previous owners clearly thought they had fairies to clean and so it has 10 years worth of burnt on crap onto it and it is bright yellow. and we had to light it this summer in 30 deg heat so it was literally unpleasant to sit in our kitchen anywhere near the thing. the oil bills are frightening and i'm really annoyed at the lack of precision with the temperature of the ovens/hobs.

i know its not a popular opinion and i see everyone else above disagrees with me but ours is going this spring

WhiteHairReally Tue 14-Jan-14 21:55:09

Hinky and MrsC. Thank you for your words of caution. I too am about to move into a house with an Aga. But, it's only a two door version and I am expecting to do 'dos' - dinner parties for 12, buffets for 30. There is no back up electric cooker and I am not an instinctive cook. I currently have two Neff fan ovens, side by side and a five ring hob. The children are in the process of leaving the nest, the new house's kitchen is not a farm house style kitchen at all - but smallish and L shaped. The house actually comes with DH's new job and they have offered to take Aga out. if that happened, I could have a new kitchen.... So, keep 2 door Aga and previous kitchen, or ditch Aga and get new kitchen? ..... What would you do? Same but different query from OP, sorry for piggybacking.

MoreBeta Tue 14-Jan-14 22:00:35

I had a small AGA in the house I bought last year.

I got £100 scrap for it from a main AGA dealer but only if I bought a Falcon induction cooker. They are not worth much second hand unless totally refurbished. Mine was badly scratched and needed a total refurb that would have cost thousands.

The AGA made the kitchen very very hot. I know people like them in big farmhouse kitchens (may parensst have one) and some people like cooking on them but frankly it had to go.

LtEveDallas Wed 15-Jan-14 06:26:55

I now own an Aga! Offer was accepted, so I'd better learn to use the bloody thing!

DH has agreed that we are going to keep the Range in his shed (he wants a really big shed) for 6 months or so in case I just can't get on with it. I think DH is worried about using it too, and I know we'll be looking at fuel costs closely.

The kitchen in huge, and I don't remember seeing a radiator in it, so that's probably part of the reason she has one. It's new though, rather than refurbished.

TallGiraffe Wed 15-Jan-14 07:21:17

Congratulations flowers

In 6 months you'll have forgotten how to cook on a normal cooker! Good luck with the move.

willyoulistentome Wed 15-Jan-14 07:28:05

Ooooh. Curious now. I want to see the house. Sounds nice.

LtEveDallas Wed 15-Jan-14 13:25:36

Thank you. DH keeps saying that we have bought a kitchen with a house attached - he's probably right smile.

Don't want to jinx it yet, but once contracts are exchanged I might post some pics.

I'm excited/nervous and can't wait.

hopskipandthump Wed 15-Jan-14 13:44:12

I moved into a house with a 4-oven gas Aga 4 years ago. I LOOOOOVE it.
I am sure you will too.

Best way is to embrace it fully. I bought some books (Richard Maggs is great) and I also went to a couple of demos at the Aga shop. Learn how to cook things the AGA way (i.e. cooking things mostly in the ovens rather than on the hobs)

- Aga roast potatoes are the best thing in the world.
- Cooking rice in the simmering oven by the absorption method is fab. I add some chopped up raw carrot and some raisins, and it is yummy.
- Baking in the Aga is brilliant.
- Aga meringues are fab and so easy
- Slow-cooked stews are great. In the winter, I often chop up a load of veg/meat at breakfast time, chuck it all in the simmering oven with some stock (bring it to a simmer on the boiling plate first) and then go out for the day - come back at tea-time to the most amazing smell and tasty dinner.

- You can buy special Aga clothes airers. I have one that stands above the hot plates, and a standing rack that hooks on to the rail in front of the Aga. I do a wash while we're having dinner, hang it out after dinner, and it's all dry when we get up in the morning. That way it's not hanging around in the day.

Don't know if your Aga has had 'AIMS' fitted? It is an electric device that allows you to set your Aga on a timer. We had it done when we moved in - cost about £1,500. Now we set it so that the Aga goes down very low overnight (clothes still dry, though) and only comes up to full strength at 4pm on weekdays ready for cooking dinner. There is still enough heat to boil the kettle, make toast, cook quite a few things (put them a 'higher' oven than they would normally go in), but you're using less energy. Also, you can set it to go off while you're on holiday but turn itself on a few hours before you come back so you come home to a toasty oven ready to cook with. It is supposed to reduce running costs about 30%, so payback in 3 years or so. It worked for us.

When we were visiting my DM last year, she was very amused when my 3yo came in from a walk and rushed into the kitchen to hang his wet socks to dry in front of her ordinary, cold oven. DS was most confused that they didn't get dry smile

MillyONaire Wed 15-Jan-14 13:50:13

I have an aga and I love love love it. Mine runs on oil though and is very expensive to run however it heats the kitchen, does the ironing (fold damp clothes/sheets on it and they'll be ironed!) and dries socks and fiddly stuff (my compromise to having an aga is I don't have a tumble dryer. Recently we turn it off from April to September and I miss it terribly when I do that. The thinking behind aga cooking is 80% in the over/20% on top. So if you are cooking rice or potatoes you bring them to the boil and then pop a lid on and put it into the top oven (I only have a 2 oven one). I bake a lot because of the aga (I don't bake at all when it's off) and both my mother and MIL have aga's and are equally enamoured with theirs. Do go to the Aga shop demonstrations - and buy the books. Mary Berry is a user and gives great advice.

ladydepp Wed 15-Jan-14 13:57:04

In my house the order of priority for me goes:

1. Aga
2. Kids
3. Dog
4. DH

BTW - with an AGA you never need worry about leaving the cooker on.......

grin

enriquetheringbearinglizard Wed 15-Jan-14 13:57:31

Congratulations LED.
I'll add my own experience for you to think about, even though it's long out of date.

We had a large, three storey new build house and we chose to put in a mains gas fired, 2 oven Aga which also did the hot water. Having it heat the water meant that we could claim the VAT back in with all the other new build claim, but we wouldn't have been able to do that if it was cooking only.
We did also have a combi microwave. With hindsight we'd have been better forgetting the microwave bit and gone for a separate small cooker so that we had a separate hob for use during the hot summer months, or when we came back from longer absences. We had an immersion heater fitted to the hot water tank, so we had options.

I'd never used an Aga or other range before, but DH particularly wanted one and I didn't mind. We both loved it, although not so much as we moved in Christmas week and it blew out on Christmas morning - one side effect of cooking everything in the ovens is that you rarely get any cooking smells (it's vented directly outside) so it was as well we were checking. Also a good kitchen timer is absolutely essential incase you forget what you've put in there and by the time you remember it's charcoal.

We bought original Aga pans and kettle and le Crueset heavy cast iron casseroles and they're all still in daily use 18 years later. The moral of that being the stuff's expensive but you certainly get your money's worth.

The 'ironing' is fantastic, more 'pressing' really, but just beware of your folded items draping over the lids, or things over the rail getting too close.
DD's dark blue jumper once developed some unexpected orange stripes blush

Make sure your vendor leaves the cooling plate (used to lower oven temperature) and any pans or the toast grid that she's happy to let you have. And yes, do get some really good quality oven gauntlets to protect your arms.

When we had ours the doors simply lifted up from the 'hinges' for cleaning and the inside of the oven you just sweep out with a wire brush.

We really enjoyed the food we cooked in the Aga, there are untold amounts of resources in books and online, which will help you get the hang of things, just set in your mind what the technique is and you'll be fine. The food does seem to stay more moist as well, which is a bonus and it's great of course for cooking in advance to freeze things.
I think you get a lot more creative in your use of what is more than an oven, because it's on anyway, you find all kinds of things to utilize its warmth and it will help with the large kitchen.

We don't have an Aga where we are now, but have gone for a different manufacturer, Everhot, which is a programmable range where you can set temperatures and it turns lower overnight. It also has a grill element, which our old Aga didn't have. Our electricity monthly payment is £133 for a very large house. The oil bill doesn't even bear thinking about, but that's heating only - not the range. We've been lucky most of this winter that warmth from the range has meant we haven't needed the central heating on quite as much, so it is a bit swings and roundabouts for us with the bills.

Hope your purchase goes smoothly and that the above might be of some help.

PS if you do much decorating, the Aga lids with a cloth on are fab for drying out your cleaned brushes.

WhatWouldFreddieDo Wed 15-Jan-14 14:43:35

LtEve, I also have a 4-door, inherited.

I - and therefore we - could not live without it.

In our case it saves us money, because one room is always warm, so we don't have the heating on during the day. However this is a big old house in a very cold part of the country, so that may not apply to you.

My only caveat is yes, stir-frying isn't really possible so my long-term plan is to get a gas hob next to it for the odd occasion I need that.

LabradorMama Wed 15-Jan-14 16:44:56

I can't offer any experience as I'm a new Aga owner but I just wanted to add what I can

I have a four oven Aga (13amp electric) and I would highly recommend buying Aga cookware - yes it's bloody expensive but it is designed for the job and the perfectly flat bases mean that the pans are much more efficient when used on the hot plates. If te owner takes all her cookware with her (and she will if she plans on having an Aga again!) you can buy a 'starter kit' from your local Aga store or from agacookshop.co.uk which has all the basics. Also invest in a couple of books as previously recommended.

I'm three months in with mine and whilst I haven't yet become evangelical about it, I'm getting used to it. Christmas dinner was difficult but I cooked LOADS and should have cooked the turkey overnight to avoid losing heat from the roasting oven. Oh well, lesson learned!

Yes it's on all the time and I'm expecting huge electric bills but Aga do tell you that you can save money because you no longer need a toaster, microwave, tumble drier etc ... and it's true that mine does spend every night covered with drying washing!

Cooking wise, I spent the first two weeks using it to heat up ready meals and frozen pizzas! I've now graduated to using it as a huge slow cooker and do a roast once a week. Haven't quite got the hang of anything that needs boiling yet eg rice or potatoes - you are supposed to start on the boiling plate then transfer to the simmering oven. I'm still working on that. Pot roasts are fab, as are Yorkshire puds (use the Mary Berry recipe) and last night I did my first risotto, which was delicious

On the whole I'd say embrace it, yes it's a whole new way of cooking but it's good fun and let's face it, they are a thing of beauty to look at !!

hopskipandthump Thu 16-Jan-14 11:07:54

Rice is super-easy, Labrador. I use a small Aga casserole dish, but you could use any lidded dish that can go on the hob and in the oven (e.g. Aga saucepan with removable handle).

1 mugful of rice
2 mugfuls of water (or stock if preferred)
2 peeled and diced carrots (optional)
1/2 mugful of raisins (optional)

- Put it all in the casserole dish, put lid on (leave open a crack so doesn't boil over) and stand on the boiling plate.
- Once the water is bubbling, put the lid firmly on and put dish in the simmering oven.

Leave for about 30 mins (depends on type of rice). Doesn't matter if you leave it too long - it'll be fine for quite a while after it's cooked. When you're ready, take it out, and you've got lovely tender rice, plump raisins and steamed carrots.

For steamed potatoes, also lovely and super-easy.

- Peel as many potatoes as you want, cut them to the size you want. Put them all in the casserole dish. Fill with water, put lid on and put on boiling plate.
- Once the water is bubbling, pour all the water out (reserve to make gravy/sauce if you're doing that) and quickly put the lid on the casserole dish (which now just has potatoes in it)

- Put in the simmering oven and leave for about 30 - 40 mins (depends on size of dish / amount of potatoes. Again, it'll be fine in the oven for quite a while after it's cooked so no need to be precise on timings.

When you're ready, take it out. Lovely steamed potatoes, you can eat them like that or mash them. Much healthier steamed than boiled.

Both are much easier cooking this way than on the hob of a normal oven where you've got to keep an eye on things not boiling over/sticking to the bottom.

AgaMum Wed 09-Jul-14 14:37:50

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