Take a trip to Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsular to visit the Lempriere’s holiday home, a picturesque farmhouse with unbelievable, peaceful scenic views and a stunning olive-green kitchen with AGA Total Control cooker.
“Being able to pull beautiful food out of the AGA and feed the family and sit down all together, as a mum, it’s what it’s all about.”
One of the best aspects of working at AGA is our incredible customers; getting to visit their amazing homes and seeing their beautiful AGA cookers in different styles of kitchens, whether it be country or modern, is always a major source of inspiration and envy. I took a drive to Red Hill, on the Mornington Peninsular, to visit the Lempriere holiday home. It truly is a home you see in the movies. When I arrive at the Lemprieres home, the exterior has a European vibe to it, which I wasn’t expecting but I am pleasantly surprised. The interior is exceptionally fitted with wooden beams and shelves, with all white walls. It’s minimalistic, but feels lived in, warm and inviting. It’s perfectly styled.
“I’ve got a few easy dishes to feed the masses, and my AGA knows how to cope with it all.”
We sit down in Kristine’s kitchen; she makes me a peppermint tea with fresh mint from her herb garden and lets me taste her new cherry tomatoes she’s been growing. I soon learn the Lemprieres are a family of 6; Kristine and her husband, plus four children who are all at school - three boys and one girl. The boys are in Year 12, Year 11, Year 8, and her daughter, the youngest, in Grade 4. This farm-house was built in 2001 by the previous owners. “We bought this home two and a half years ago, and very lightly renovated it. We didn’t change a lot, we didn’t knock anything down. It was already so beautiful, we treaded very lightly and only changed a few things. The main necessity was the need to put in an AGA, which prompted a little kitchen renovation. I had lived with an AGA in our Melbourne home for four years and really wanted one here. We went with a colour palette that would be very sympathetic to what was already here and match the colours of the surrounding landscape. All the beautiful details like wooden doors and floorboards were already here when we moved in, it was all sourced by the previous owners. They worked with a timber specialist and used a lot of reclaimed timber. All the beams inside and outside are all re-purposed from old wharves and bridges. The floorboards are from an old church in NSW.”
“One of the first things I do when I come down to this house on the weekend is switch the AGA cooker on and fire it up.”
Kristine’s farmhouse is known around the AGA office as the “house with the gorgeous green kitchen”. A sentence I couldn’t quite wrap my head around at first. A green kitchen? I imagined a retro, bright green interior, something from the late 60’s. I was intrigued by how a brand-new AGA Total Control would fit in to that description, and more importantly, how it would photograph. However, when I walked into the kitchen it all made sense. It’s a unique and compelling olive green colour; completely taking all my attention and the Pewter 3-oven AGA is right at home. It works so well together. The Pewter AGA picks up olive green colour from the walls and trees outside, which change the tone from day to night. Depending on the time of day, you’ll have a different colour AGA. It’s a baby AGA, only two years old. “The Total Control AGA cooker works perfectly for a house that we only live in 1-2 nights a week on average. One of the first things I do when I come down to this house on the weekend is switch the cooker on. If it’s summer, I perhaps turn the Roasting Oven off at night and turn it back on when I know I’m going to cook something. If the rest of the ovens and hotplates are on, it doesn’t take the Roasting oven too long to heat up. It’s brilliant and perfect for a weekend house. The Pewter has a slight olive-green tinge to it and that was another reason why we went with the green theme. I thought it would fit in perfectly.”
“ I’d only known amazing cooks that had AGA’s, and speaking to friends more my age, hearing them talk about how easy they are to cook with, I knew I had to have one.”
Spending the morning with Kristine illustrated how passionate about AGAs and cooking she is; the way she speaks about food it’s evident she has respect for not only the produce and ingredients she’s using, but also for her guests and the AGA. She wants the ingredients to shine, mainly all thanks to the sheer gentleness of the cooker. Dishes are plentiful, as Kristine regularly hosts dinner parties, Christmas lunches and dinners, and are always treated well. “The family favourite dish is Ottolenghi Chicken with Jerusalem artichokes and lemon slices. You put everything together in the AGA Baking tray, slide it into the Roasting oven and let it cook for 45 minutes. It’s a great dish to do if you’ve got people coming over because it sits in the AGA and cooks away, not begging for any attention. When it’s ready, you take it out and serve it with some beans; it’s beautifully cooked every time. We entertain families here quite often, we’ll have two or three families over for lunch, so you’re serving 16-20 people. I’ll do an eye fillet, with lots of different salads. Like a slow-roasted capsicum salad. I make a bearnaise sauce using tarragon from the garden, and that uses only egg yolks. So, I’ll use the leftover egg whites to make a pavlova, baked in the Simmering oven with fresh strawberries from the strawberry farm down the road. I’ve got a few easy dishes to feed the masses, and my AGA knows how to cope with it all.”
“It’s a great dish to do if you’ve got people coming over because it just sits in the AGA and cooks away, not begging for any attention.”
The AGA is perfect at slow cooking, and it’s very well suited to types of dishes like slow baked shoulders of lamb, such dishes that have encouraged Kristine to fully encompass the slow cooking technique, which she does more so now than before she had her AGA. However, the Simmering oven serves more purpose than just slow cooking meat. “I use the Simmering oven for to make my own seed crackers. Even when I make chicken stock or bone broth, I’ll leave that overnight in the Simmering oven just to really get all the goodness out of the bones; you get a nice, gelatinous bone broth.”
“When the AGA isn’t on, the house doesn’t feel welcoming; it really is the heart of the home.”
The constant heat source is Kristine’s favourite thing about her AGA. “When the AGA isn’t on, the house doesn’t feel welcoming; it really is the heart of the home. I feel the cold, so I’m just drawn to that heat source. It’s like having a sleeping dog at your feet, there’s something quite comforting about the AGA. At our house in town I can sit with my back to the AGA looking into my garden, and its my favourite spot to sit in the house. Plus, being able to pull beautiful food out of it and feed the family and sit down all together, as a mum, it’s what it’s all about.”
“It’s like having a sleeping dog at your feet, there’s something quite comforting about the AGA.”
Images and words by Paula Vinci.