I can't remember a time before we had an Aga. It was one of the reasons I was so drawn to this house. The kitchen is warm and cosy, where lots of memories have already been made. I've been asked if I'm not scared of it, cooking on something you can't change the heat up and down without immediate effect. Truth be known, I would never be without one now. I've always enjoyed cooking but since moving here, this has become a bit of a passion be it cooking, preserving, baking etc.
I've said many time before, the Aga is like a member of the family. We gravitate to it, dry clothes on it, air boots, defrost food (and ourselves after a winter walk), make toast, boil the kettle, cook tea, make one pots, keep food warm waiting to be served, warm plates, rise bread, keep your mug of tea warm and quickly dry out tea towels to name a few.
So when I came down this morning, on day 1 of my time off (yey, 2 weeks off work now!), I felt a shiver when I went in the kitchen to see the poor girl not very well. Despite it not being a cold morning, the kitchen was missing her heat and when I went to check, she felt cold and sad. Steven has taken a good look at her but despite our best efforts, she's going to need an engineer to come out to figure it out.
We decided to see a silver lining in all this and teach ourselves how to give her a really good clean. Now as many of you know, the Aga is always on, you can't clean inside and the best you can do on the top and front is wipe over it with a damp cloth. Well I haven't done a great job of this as when it was off the amount of build up behind the hot plate was immense.
I started by taking the doors off. The roasting oven puts up with a lot, we cook everything in there on one way or another. The door was dreadful but I didn't realise until I'd cleaned it.
I lightly scrubbed it with a Brillo soap filled pad and it came up great.
I did the same for the simmering oven but that was still very clean.
Then sitting infront of it, I cleaned where the doors hang on. I didn't do inside the door holes too well as there's grease in there to help them swing easily however the little washers that are supposed to be there too had corroded so I need to get the engineer to get some more.
It came up really well too. The odd tiny chip but you can't notice that when the doors on.
I then turned my attention to the front of the doors. There's only 2 that come off on my 2 oven model. They scrubbed up well and I just used a soft scrubber that you'd do the pots with, not very abrasive so no need to worry about the enamel.
The lids were removed to allow us to get right in and clean them. What a build up underneath. Not sure if it's all ours but they are sparkling now.
Before we started we had visited a local aga showroom at Gateshead. I say local, it's 35 mins away. We bought the proper enamel cleaner and cloths which isn't a purchase I take lightly as for me, a cloth is a cloth and cleaner a cleaner. However as the old girl is probably twice my age but still looking brand new, I want to give her the attention she deserves. The cleaner will last a good while and the cloths wash and are fully reusable.
The also tried to sell us a razor blade cleaner but I knew Ste would be able to knock one up so we declined that offer! You use them to scrape (not dig) along the surface to take off any build up. This takes it out of your fingers so we took turns. The white bit at the back is where I'd started using the cream cleaner and said to Ste to bring in the heavies as the cream cleaner wasn't going to cut it!
That left the front which didn't take long and the lids. Inside the simmering oven lid was worst but I'm not sure why as the spitting would come from the hot plate. Who knows. Anyway, that came up well using the Brillo soap filled pad too, gently though.
Before we put the lids back on, Ste lifted out the drum from the hot side and took a look in where we know the engineer cleans out. The wicks look like they've had it and they are dry as sticks so maybe the oil isn't getting through. We did clean out the little holes and hoovered using the soot Hoover but no luck when we tried to light it again (after waiting some time for new oil to flow through).
She looks beautiful again. After seeing all the new modern ones in the shop today, as great as they are, I'd take this girl over them every time.
Although this wasn't how i intended spending day 1, it's been productive and a good job done. Any tips from your experiences very welcome. Thank you for reading.