Isn’t it typical that something that hardly ever happens occurs on Christmas Day at a moment of high stress when you’re doing all those last minute turkey-related things. And I can’t pretend that the last hour or so before a roast dinner is served isn’t especially tricky with an Aga.
On Christmas Day a few weeks ago, when my turkey was ready and resting, the table was laid and the potatoes were roasting, I set about making the gravy. I poured all those delicious juices and bits from the roasting tin into a saucepan, added wine and giblet stock and waited for it to start simmering. And this is where I went wrong: having moved the pan to the boiling plate because it simply wasn’t coming to the boil quickly enough for my liking, I allowed myself to be distracted by some other task like finding a suitable bowl for the cranberry relish. The next thing I knew, the gravy was boiling over and covering the boiling plate and beyond. The kitchen filled with with smoke and a pungent smell of burning gravy. By this time I’d moved the pan to the simmering plate and it settled down quickly to a gentle simmer, but there was a lot of mopping up to do and the smell lingered well into Boxing Day. Lest I hadn’t noticed this, my husband, who has a very strong sense of smell, kept reminding me of it!
So let that be a lesson to you. That boiling plate is hotter than you think, even on Christmas Day when the Aga has lost heat after roasting a huge turkey and mountains of potatoes.