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For living, more than existing

It's cold outside today, colder than it should be in (nearly) May. I cooked my little family a Sunday lunch today though with shirt sleeves rolled up. The window was propped wide open, a drizzly dirty breeze blowing through the kitchen, but it didn't matter. My Aga was hot, the kitchen was warm, the wine (from sunny Puglia) was delicious and the music was Boccherini.

It was not particularly efficient or rational. It may even have been a touch profligate. 

I used a great chunk of electricity, created huge amounts of washing up, dropped a fair few Yorkshire puddings on the floor and managed to do it all with a large Golden retriever, too old and possessed now of too much pathos to be forcibly evicted, under my feet. I loved every minute of it.

I talk a lot about efficiency and running costs on this blog, and on the phone during the many calls we get every week. I wrote recently about how much less our electric cookers cost to run than oil and gas cookers. Lurking afterward on an internet forum though I spotted a comment.

"Of course those Blake & Bull electric cookers are cheaper to run. They're never bloody on."

It made me laugh, and its not entirely untrue! Electric cookers are more efficient than gas or oil (no hot flue gases escaping pointlessly) but the bulk of the annual savings does comes from not using some or all of the cooker when you don't need to. Going electric with your Aga cooker though is not about owning a cold, lifeless, perfectly efficient cooker. It's about embracing flexibility.

On a damp Sunday in April your Blake & Bull Aga cooker (converted or installed) will be all on; as mine was today. By late evening as I write this though we have just the one oven on to warm some left overs for supper. It's chilly so the oven will stay on overnight for a cosy kitchen when I make my coffee first thing. If the sun comes out tomorrow maybe even that oven will go off for a time. This is not perfect efficiency (buy a microwave if you want that!), its just a more efficient way of running an Aga cooker. Electric Aga cookers then are for living more than existing, just like every other Aga cooker. 

(That is my new kitchen below, a very poor iPhone snap. More details below)

My cooker is a 2 oven modern style Aga, remanufactured by Blake & Bull of course, in Drop Cloth. It has the eControl system, the Instaheat hob option and in oven hotplate/pizza plate too. Both ovens were set to roasting temp (210-220 works for me) and both hobs were set to maximum earlier today.
I've got some lovely new textiles in our 'ticking' stripe design and you'll spot my gorgeous copper kettle there too. I've never polished it, tarnish is fine, let it live. 
Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates

Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with these fabulous cookers in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!