Just the name Aga conjures a fine chocolate-box picture of a cottage kitchen, butler’s sink, geraniums in pots, and a big ginger cat. Where would that cat be? Well, toasting his substantial fluffy paws by the aforementioned iconic stove.
An Aga not only looks good but it’s the stove of choice for many, and those who have owned one are curiously reluctant to swap for a more contemporary-looking means of cooking. An Aga, it seems, is the ultimate kitchen gadget.
Louise Walker is considered an authority on all things Agary and has penned this book on roasting in the Aga. What could be more traditional than a slow roast served to expectant guests who, one would imagine, have been warming themselves, along with the ginger cat, in the kitchen which will be filled with tantalising aromas of tender meat and caramelising vegetables.
The concept paints a typically British and cosy scene but the recipes cover a world of roasts that are all suitable for the Aga. The chapters offer meats, fish, vegetables, side dishes and even leftovers. If this book is to be a Christmas gift then I would suggest presenting this present a few days before, as one of the first recipes in the book is for roast turkey, which could come in very handy around December 25th. If you want to be truly traditional then consider Goose, which was the most popular Christmas roast for Victorians.
This author is realistic and she understands that not many families could afford to eat goose every day, nor would many want to. There are roast meats here which are both delicious and economic. Garlic Beef uses skirt steak and that does not cost a fortune. Garlic and balsamic add robust flavour.
Along with roast beef goes Yorkshire puddings but it has long been rumoured that even the best cook cannot make Yorkshire puddings in an Aga. Louise shows you how to produce a marvellous roast beef dinner which includes those elusive Yorkies. It’s just a matter of timing and a bit of fore-planning.
The Leftover chapter offers lots of temptations: Chicken and Roast Vegetable Lasagne, for example. This can be made with those veggies and bird that might linger after Sunday lunch. If you don’t have the already-roasted veggies then simply make some from scratch. The dish is so good that it’s worth buying a small chicken especially for the recipe.
Aga Roast is a stylish volume with beautiful photography from Mike Cooper. The recipes are simple but the advice for Aga owners is sound. It’s an essential cookbook for anyone who has an Aga or who is thinking of getting one.
Author: Louise Walker
Published by: Absolute Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018