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A few questions for Aga cooks ....

(12 Posts)
Millie1 Wed 04-Nov-09 21:03:48

Can someone please share with me their secrets for perfect potatoes in the Aga? I've tried them on the boiling plate but half cook and disintergrate whist the remainder are hard. I've followed Mary Berry's instructions to start them off on top then finish them on the floor of the bottom oven and they're just simply ugh! They don't get fluffy and mash just ends up solid no matter how much milk and butter I add. I do chop them up into even-ish sized pieces whilst peeling. Any tips please.

Now, Christmas. Turkey. Top oven or bottom oven? Which is best? Mary B gives timings for top oven but with what is, IMHO, ridiculously short timings per pound; she also gives recipe for overnight in bottom oven. Would love to know what people have found foolproof please ... it's my first Aga-Christmas! grin

Thanks!

FickleFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 09:41:58

Hi Millie,

I've had my Aga for 8 years now and to be honest I don't use it to it's full potential as I have a module attached (electric ovens?gas hob) I tend to use the gas hob a lot although use the Aga ovens for everything else. My main reason for this is that when you use the Aga plates it pulls a lot of heat from the ovens and whilst I know this is fine really, I just think the gas is there so might as well use that. A cop out I know.

Anyway with regards mash I always boil the potatoes on the hob until they are ready to be mashed then mash them with butter and salt and pepper then put them on a grid in the bottom oven for half an hour or so which we think really makes the difference. However, I know this doesn't really solve your problem of using the bottom oven to boil them.

Turkey - Here is what I always do. I always have about a 20lb turkey and I loosely cover it in foil and put it in the bottom oven on the grid shelf that sits on the floor at midnight on Christmas eve until about 10.30am the next morning. Then I move it to the top oven till about 11.30am -Midday then take the foil off and give it a further half an hour then take it out to rest ready for a 1pm (ish) lunch.

Hope this helps!

Millie1 Thu 05-Nov-09 10:26:05

Thanks Ficklefairy! I wonder would the turkey come to any harm doing a couple of hours longer in the bottom oven as we don't eat til around 2-3pm.

Potatoes ... I can't understand why they go like they do. They're not so bad when I mash them (although if I steam them cooked in the bottom oven they don't smell nice or have a nice texture hmm) but the time on the grid shelf of lower oven following mashing just seems to really dry them out and harden them. Hmmmm.

FickleFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 12:53:16

Millie I am sure it would be fine left in the bottom oven a little longer, I would just make sure it is well covered an maybe baste a bit more often. (I forgot to mention that although I obviously don't baste through the night I do it as soon as I come down in the morning and about every hour or so thereafter).

Really stumped on the potato issue, it's not something I've had a prob with. I use Maris Piper or Red Rooster potatoes if that has any bearing on it whatsoever hmm

Incidentally, do you bake many cakes in your Aga? I bake almost every day but use my electric oven 90% of the time as baking requires such precise temperatures it just seems easier blush I really want to use my Aga more for this but the only other person I know who has an Aga is my mother in law and she never bakes.

Inghouls2 Thu 05-Nov-09 13:02:13

Are you trying to make mash?
If so, boil them until soft on the hot plate, drain them then put them back in the pan with the lid on. Put on the cooler plate for just a couple of minutes (that gets rid of all the water) then add butter, salt and pepper and mash.
It sounds like your problem is actually the potatoes though.
I usually use red with no problems.
I've never cooked an entire turkey in the oven as I usually make a crown. How big is your turkey? A large chicken takes 1.5 - 2 hours in the top oven. Baste regularly.
I do bake regularly in the aga. Sponge cakes, little cakes, fruit cakes in the bottom, all sorts of things. I'm actually reasonably slap dash about timings but they are always delicious.
That's not loads of help but just try and see how you go.
My one tip is to put a cold baking sheet on the rack above your victoria sponge, stops it from burning.
HTH's

FickleFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 15:01:57

Thanks Inghouls I will try to be brave!

Millie1 Thu 05-Nov-09 16:19:58

Thanks ladies!

Potatoes first ... I use Maris Piper. Have tried them as you suggest Inghouls but of late they have been going like concrete in the bottom oven whilst keeping warm. Same goes for local potatoes and M&S which are usually great. Oh well, I'll keep plugging away.

Turkey ... will cook one around 14-16lbs, I think. Chickens are usually okay except the pull from our flue is so great that whatever is at the back of the top oven tends to brown much faster than what is at the front so I end up having to turn things round all the time. The engineer has been here umpteen times, taken it to pieces, put it together again, checked everything out and decided it's the pull from the flue. Kinda dreading the turkey cos there's no way I can turn that around every half hour or so!!

Ficklefairy ... I bake a lot and since I got the Aga have ignored the electric oven for backing ... except last week when I tried cookies in the fan oven to see if they were better than in the Aga ... they weren't! Like Inghouls, I use the cold sheet - have had to experiment a little (need to remember to write down what I did re timings etc) but except for a batch of burnt shortbread, it's been pretty much okay. Cakes have been fine ... honestly no difference to electric oven and it's great not having to wait for the oven to heat up grin. I've got an Aga Baking book - forget the author but she worked(s) with Mary Berry and tend to use her timings or MB's timings/temps/shelf guidance as a guide but just use usual recipes and go for it.

meltedmarsbars Thu 05-Nov-09 21:57:39

Hi, I only have an aga, no other cooker (not even a microwave) and cook my mashed spuds like this:

Peel etc, bring to boil on hot plate, boil 5 mins then tip out all but 2cms of water and leave with lid on in bottom oven for 45 mins till steamed and done, then tip out remaining water and mash with butter/milk as normal. If you're making gravy, keep the tipped out water for the gravy.

Turkey: never cooked one but have cooked HUGE joints of pork etc by doing 30 mins in top oven then overnight in bottom oven. Always meltingly good.

Cakes: follow Ingouls tip with the flat sheet to reduce the oven temp. I bake frequently, no problems, choc brownies, fairy cakes, biscuits, fruit loaf, etc, etc.

I have just made crab apple jelly on my aga tonight.

Good luck

thingamajig Thu 05-Nov-09 22:08:54

On the subject of baking in agas, does anyone else have a sort of tin within a tin thing for cakes? MIL does and I guess it does the same as a cold baking tray (how do you keep it cold? smile
Wow, just seen how much they cost

Millie1 Thu 05-Nov-09 22:16:24

Shall try that method thanks Meltedmarsbars ... floor of the bottom oven or grid shelf sitting on floor?

sphil Thu 05-Nov-09 22:22:12

I have one of those tins (bought back in the days when we had spare cash) - and I've only ever used it for stews, casseroles etc blush. Have made cakes in normal tins + cold plain shelf and they've turned out fine. So I would say save your money grin

meltedmarsbars Fri 06-Nov-09 12:57:23

Millie, floor of bottom oven/rack - I don't think it really matters, as long as they steam in their own steam for the 40 mins or so. This is very good for some spuds that collapse on boiling.

Tin within tin for cakes - I have never done this!!! Is it like doing a steam pudding but in the oven? Actually, I haven't tried doing a steam pud in a pan in an oven - have any of you? I usually do it on the cool plate.

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