The Aga Holiday that Shaped Our Lives

About eleven years ago we rented a large house in Aldeburgh, Suffolk for a week’s family holiday. The weather was wonderful and we had the thrill of a beautiful cream 5 oven Aga in a divine kitchen. There were ten of us – all Aga virgins and we managed to cook with relative ease for the duration of our holiday! It made our stay special and a real treat for us all being a foodie family. We came away thinking ‘one day ….’

A few years later we actually bought the house next door to the Aga holiday house and we seem to have come full circle and are now proud owners of our pistachio, 3 oven, gas Aga. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think how lucky I am to have such a well used beauty. My family, border terriers, whippet and cats all have an enriched life as a result.

Whilst visiting, my daughter was having a cheeky look at a nearby mobile holiday home and was confronted with a rather pushy salesman. My grandson, then 8, politely said to the man “We are very sorry not to be able to buy one of these homes but there just isn’t room for an Aga!!”

Our holiday experience that first started in Aldeburgh has truly shaped our lives!

Martine Hallybone

Martine, your grandson has such taste. He will go far!

Aldeburgh Image by Helen Hotson

A new Aga at Chideock Cottage…. or is it?

It wasn’t until we stumbled upon ‘The AGA Exchange Shop’ in Dorset one wet, Friday afternoon in early February that we had even considered Flo needing ‘surgery’. Flo is our sturdy blue Aga and has lived at Chideock Holiday Cottage for over 40 years. She has served up lots of hearty meals and always provided a warm, cosy home for her visiting guests, many of whom have returned to spend time with her again and again.

We’d visited nearby AGA shops and always purred over the new, gleaming AGAs in the showrooms knowing that our Flo perhaps didn’t quite have the same beautiful figure to match but, nonetheless, we were proud of her, she always performed well and we wouldn’t ever want to replace her.

So, it was a revelation to find that we could just give her a bit of a makeover by fixing her top and tired, saggy lids for reconditioned new ones. The ‘procedure’ was completed yesterday and she has made a full and complete recovery following overnight observation to ensure her temperature restores to normal levels.

Here are her ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ pics.

Aga Cooked Steak with Chippy Chips for a Holiday Treat

Alice, of Brambleberry Jams, has shared with us one of her favourite treats that she and her family always enjoy when on holiday. It’s a very simple and easy Aga method dinner and is perfect for when you want a quick, but tasty ‘evening in’ holiday treat.

What You Will Need:

  • An Aga!
  • Cast iron frying pan
  • Steaks (whatever your favourite cut is)
  • Chippy Chips
  • A bottle of your favourite red wine

Whilst You are Out Enjoying Your Day:

During your afternoon exploring, pop into the local butcher and pick up some succulent steaks – whatever cut you fancy but ask his advice on what’s the best deal of the day. Later, on your way home, pop into the local chippy as the last thing you do before you head back to your warm cottage. Don’t feel guilty, you are on holiday and chippy chips always taste nicer when you are away!

When you get back to the cottage, keep the chips wrapped up in their paper and pop them into the bottom oven with the dinner plates (this is the warming oven and on most Agas it is on the bottom right).


Heat the cast iron frying pan up in the roasting oven (that’s the top one, usually on the right) for 20 mins so it’s really hot. Don’t worry, it won’t melt and the Aga won’t catch fire! Meanwhile, unwrap the steaks and put them on a dinner plate and place on top of the simmering hot plate lid to warm up to room temperature (that’s the right hand plate – leave it down so you just put on top of the silver cover). Also, don’t forget to get the red wine opened and put right at back of the Aga on the black flat surface to enable gentle warming.

Next, massage a little cooking oil and seasoning into the warming meat. Then remove the hot, dry, frying pan from the oven and it on the boiling plate (that’s the hot hob plate on the left) and drop the oiled meat in. Be careful not to grab the hot handle with your bare hand! Keep turning the steak every minute for a maximum of 10 mins to be medium done. Leave the cooked meat to rest while you get the chips out of the warming oven and onto your warm plates and then pour your wine.

Alice Says:
The secret of this lovely treat is in the warming of the steaks and pre-heating the pan. It really is the prefect holiday dinner that could only be made on an Aga in 30 mins …. and with only 1 frying pan to wash up!

We Say:
Congratulations, you have just learned all about the Aga ovens and hot plates. Now, wasn’t that easy?