Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Hello Everyone! I know, I say this every time we come to an end of a blog series – but sometimes it actually does come to quite a bit of a shock when the realisation hits you that another month has passed by and we are that much closer to Christmas and the New Year! It really does at times make me wonder, where did the year go? How was it that it felt like only a few months ago that I was complaining about it being a long way to go before the end of the year, and suddenly in the blink of an eye it will be November soon. I also have that same feeling when it comes to the day after my birthday – where I think about how I have to wait another 364 days until I have a reason to celebrate another year of life – and now look! I’ll be 25 in exactly two weeks!

Anyway, tangent aside, tonight’s recipe has been one that I have been wanting to make for a very long time. I can’t stress enough how much it saddens me when I have such high expectations for a lamb shank dish whenever I order it off a menu. Don’t get me wrong, flavours were nice, and definitely fall-off-the-bone tender, but, my expectations dissipate when a tiny piece of lamb shank hits the table, knowing that it’s definitely not worth the price. So how do I fix this? Well, why not I buy a worthy enough size of a lamb shank that will only cost me $8.00 max. and cook it myself? Not to mention, I can throw in a whole bottle of red wine too to really bring out the flavour *cheeky grin* For my readers who aren’t from Brunei, or aren’t Muslim, you can’t find lamb shanks that have been braised in red wine here in Brunei as if not all, but most Western Restaurants here are Halal. Actually – don’t pour in the whole bottle of wine for your shanks, reserve some for a glass or two to drink while devouring the lamb!

Before I move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Taste Australia.

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks Ingredients



  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans Italian diced tomatoes
  • 3 lamb shanks, french trimmed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 brown onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste.


  1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Heat the olive oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish over medium-high. Season your shanks with salt and pepper. Depending on how big your casserole dish is, cook your lamb shanks if batches if needed, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining shanks. Set aside.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onions soften. Return the lamb shanks to the dish and pour over the red wine, deglazing the brown residue at the bottom of the pan for extra flavour. Bring to a boil, cooking for 4-5 minutes, or until wine reduces by half.
  3. Remove from heat and add the canned tomatoes and rosemary sprigs to the dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake, covered, for 1 & 1/2 hours or until lamb is almost falling off the bone.
  4. Serve the lamb shanks on a generous bed of rosemary & roasted garlic chunky mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus. Enjoy!

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks


– Ally xx

Pappardelle al Ragù

Pappardelle al Ragù

Hello Everyone! So today’s recipe is sort of a carry on from Monday’s special. If you’re like me, living by yourself, having a whole roast leg of lamb to yourself, you’re bound to have leftovers. What do you do? Lamb Ragù! Well, I’m pretty sure you can come up with other dishes to use your leftovers, if you have any that is, or you could always go out and buy lamb shanks or any other cuts that work for this dish.

I decided to go for a lamb ragù because not too long ago, exactly two weeks ago actually now that I think of it, a friend of mine planned for a little celebration for completing our degrees! We had dinner at the Westfield in Pitt Street, at a place called Janus Italian, and apparently she tried to book Jamie’s Italian but they are all booked out for groups until April! But nonetheless, Janus Italian was a nice dining place too – not to mention spacious as we had the whole back area to ourselves, well illuminated, and we could basically hear each other talk without having to shout across the table – all of which we probably wouldn’t have had/been able to do at Jamie’s. Seriously, though the food at Jamie’s is superb, it’s cramped, dark, and loud. Anyway, where I am getting at with this is that I had the Pappardelle al Ragù with slow cooked lamb. It was the best thing I’ve ever had! I even had the entrée sized dish and I was full about three quarters of the way into my dish. It was so good that when I knew I’d be making a roast leg of lamb, I would be able to make this too! Original recipe for slow-cooked lamb ragù can be found on Taste.

Pappardelle al Ragù Ingredients



  • 1kg roast leg of lamb meat
  • 500g pappardelle pasta
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and then minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 large spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat  oven to 220C.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, frying pan over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic, chillies, and fresh herbs. Sauté until fragrant and then add the onions in. Cook until the onions are soft before adding the carrots and celery in. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for a further 10 to 12 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, add the lamb meat as well as the bones to a casserole dish (in my case I just used my rectangle pyrex dish).
  4. Add the red wine and leave to cook for about a minute or two before adding the the diced tomatoes, stock cubes, tomato paste, and about 2 cups of cold water. Stir to combine and then bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiled, remove from the heat are carefully scoop out the vegetables transfer them to the pyrex dish with the lamb meat. Then pour the liquid into the dish. Cover using aluminium foil, or with the lid if using a casserole dish with a lid, and place in oven to cook for about 3 hours or until tender.
  6. Once the lamb is done, get started on your pappardelle pasta. Bring a medium-sized saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a serving plate. Top with the lamb ragù and shaved parmesan. Serve!

Pappardelle al Ragù

Pappardelle al Ragù


– Ally xx

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

Hello Everyone and Happy Australia Day! Or as they say it here in the land down under, Happy ‘Straya Day! It is the official national day of Australia that is celebrated on the 26th of January. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, NSW, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. If there’s anything that I’ve learnt about Australia from living here for the past 4 years is that they really love their lamb. So for this special Monday post, I am bringing to you a classic leg of lamb roast. All you really need are garlic, olive oil, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper – you need not do anything fancy with this leg! These make for a flavourful and tasty leg of lamb.

Roast Leg of Lamb

So this is probably the fourth leg of lamb roast that I’ve made over the years of being in Australia. I was never in the country for Australia Day, except this year of course, so I remember that my previous flatmate and I would always serve one up during our annual Easter dinner. A simple roast with simple and humble ingredients to flavour it up; all you really need is some patience with it as it does require some time in the oven. But you can always do something else with your time rather than sit and watch it cook. Just remember to check on it every hour incase it starts to tan a bit too much.

Roast Leg of Lamb Ingredients



  • 2.5kg leg of lamb, washed and pat dried
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a deep baking tray with foil and place a wire rack above it.
  2. Place the leg on the rack and rub with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Make small incisions throughout the leg and insert garlic pieces and rosemary in each. Chop up any remaining garlic pieces and sprinkle over the top of the leg.
  3. Place in the oven and let it roast for about 2 to 2 and a half hours. Once done, transfer the leg to a deep dish (I used my rectangular pyrex) cover the leg with foil and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. While the lamb is resting, pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and let it simmer away. This is totally optional by the way! Once simmering, add about half a cup of white wine and bring back to a simmer. Then add in about a teaspoon of flour and mixture until the juices start to thicken. Serve with the leg of lamb!

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

The rest is up to you! You can have it with some steamed rice or mashed potatoes. Whatever tickles your fancy. If you have any leftovers, get creative and whip up another stellar dish – like perhaps my lamb ragù which will be up on the blog on Thursday!

Once again, happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussie friends!

Roast Leg of Lamb


– Ally xx

Rustic Pearl

Rustic Pearl

Hello Everyone! Here is another brunch turned late lunch review of this lovely café in Surry Hills that my housemate/friend recommended for a Sunday Brunch treat before the beginning of Semester 2 (last semester for me, but many more semesters for her). We’ve also been planning this brunch outing for a while now as our friend Daniel was on a month-long, or even more, holiday and we wanted to have our first brunch-turned-late-lunch get together. I also invited along my new housemate Lydia for our delicious eats.

I keep saying brunch-turned-late-lunch, and for those of you who have read my previous post, I am very particular about the timing when it comes to ‘brunch’ and ‘lunch’. Well hats off to Marissa for wanted to get to Rustic Pearl at 10am, at least she understood the concept of time when it comes to brunch, but what happened was that we ended up leaving a little bit later than planned. We only left home at about 10:45AM and probably reached the place at around 11:15AM. At least it wasn’t quite lunch yet, but nearly pushing it. The place was hectic though, we had to wait in line for a table and I was told by one of the waiters that it would be about a 45-minute to an hour wait. I was just like OH MY GOD, but we waited anyway.

They were pretty spot on with the predicted waiting time as I didn’t get a call for a free table until about an hour later. By the time we sat down and ordered it was probably already quarter to one, and food probably came out about another 15-20 minutes later. Man I was starving because as usual I skipped out on breakfast thinking that I would be having brunch. I think from the past two ‘brunch’ outings I have learnt my lesson – that I will NEVER be able to actually have brunch at the time I perceive it to be at, and that I should ALWAYS have breakfast before going out for a brunch-turned-late-lunch outing.

But enough babble, I shall get onto what I loved about Rustic Pearl. Now, I’m not one to order drinks at cafés just because it usually fills me up a bit even before the food arrives. But Marissa told me that they have some pretty awesome smoothies, and other drinks of course on their menu – and she was right! It was to die for! I had something called a Chocomolé which was basically Avocado and Chocolate, something I’ve never had before, combined that is, and I was just blown away by how amazing it tasted. The other smoothies were delicious as well (yes, we all doubled dipped and shared a sip from each drink that we ordered amongst the four of us).

Rustic Pearl - Avocado SmoothieAvocado Smoothie topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Banana Cinnamon SmoothieBanana Cinnamon Smoothie ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Chocomolé SmoothieChocomolé Smoothie with avocado, cocoa & honey, topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - 'Yum Yeshil' (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice‘Yum Yeshil’ (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice with spirulina, topped with seeds, goji berries & bee pollen ($7.00)

Daniel wasn’t too fond of this drink. I only had a little sip so I couldn’t really judge the taste of it based on that. But this was the only smoothie that was dairy-free which is why he ordered it.

Now onto the food, we of course decided to order something different so that we could all each have at least one bite from everyones plate. The food was amazing! I could not fault the dishes at all, and neither could my friends.

Rustic Pearl - Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette
Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast ($17.00)

Marissa’s dish; she absolutely loved about the omelette was silky smooth and juicy. She is not a big fan of cherry tomatoes, but with this dish in particular, she almost forgot that she ate them! It was that good. She said that it looked a little bit small on the plate (in comparison to our dishes) but it was filling enough for her.

Rustic Pearl - Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish)
Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish) with spinach, tomato concasse, capers, avocado, cucumber & witlof, dressed with apple vinaigrette ($19.50)

Daniel’s dish; he absolutely loved how his fish was cooked to perfection. Yummy and juicy. He also loved his greens so this was the perfect, healthy dish for him.

Rustic Pearl - LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger
LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant purée, fresh tomato, cos lettuce & yoghurt dressing ($18.00)

Lydia’s dish; another stellar dish that did not upset. The meat patty was cooked to perfection – moist and juicy.

Rustic Pearl - BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict
BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict, char grilled bay lobster flesh, crushed avocado & 2 poached organic eggs, topped with homemade hollandaise, fresh chives, coriander & chilli ($24.00)

In my opinion, the best dish of the 4 (just because it was mine and I got to eat most of it) no but seriously, this dish was just so delicious. Runny egg yolk with char grilled lobster, who would’ve thought? Another stellar dish to my list of mind-blowing eggs benny (my top one is still Devon’s Eggs Blini – I will do a review on them when I have the chance to go back with more friends that that I have an array of dishes to show and write about and not just the one).

Now this is one worth mentioning (but hopefully no one from the café will see this, just incase it was a mistake and they will get in trouble with this), however I assume that it was intentional and I will state why… So, when the bill came, it was folded in half, had the total amount written on the back of the order sheet, and had a ‘Thank You!’ note written just below it. Now of course because we all knew that we needed to split the bill according to what we ordered, I opened the bill to see that we were undercharged in two of the dishes. Each dish, except Daniel’s was $17. Which meant that Lydia’s Lamb Burger was undercharged by $1 and my lobster Eggs Benny was undercharged by $7… Now being a nice and honest person, I was actually going to ask them if they had made a mistake on the bill, because I find being undercharged $7 is quite significant.

But instead I didn’t – not because I wanted to cheat but because I analysed they way the bill was given to us. It was folded in half, the total was written on the back of the order sheet, and I’m pretty sure that if they had totalled it, they would’ve spotted the mistake on the bill. Also, the two dishes that were undercharged came from their regular menu so I’m pretty sure they have been serving the dishes for a while and they would’ve remembered how much it costed. So I just wondered… Why? I probably should’ve asked why we were undercharged so that I at least knew why… A part of me also thought that it might be because we waited just a little bit over an hour for a table? Just maybe.

Nonetheless, it was a great day of warmth and sunshine (off for it is the middle of ‘winter’ here down under), laughs shared between old and new friends accompanied by delicious drinks and lip-smacking food. A must visit café for those in the Sydney region!

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx

Bar Indigo - FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette

Bar Indigo

Hello Everyone! Today’s post won’t be a recipe, but instead I want to share with you this gem of a place that I recently visited with my ladies for what was supposed to be a nice Sunday brunch, but instead turned out to be a late lunch. In a nutshell, my friend Yvonne wanted to try this place out and recommended it to both Jialing and I. So Jialing and I planned our trip since we live in the same area, just a suburb away. We decided that we would get into the city at around 10am and meet Yvonne there to arrive at Double Bay by 10:30am and hoping to start eating by 11am. Yvonne then said it was too early and told us to come into the city around 11am, and I was like, what?!

Ally: But the whole point of brunch is that it is in between breakfast and lunch! Brunch for me is like 10am… 11am is already pushing it because it’s close to noon which is lunch for me!
Yvonne: When I said brunch, I actually meant lunch!

God bless her haha! Anyway, so we then decided to push it to meet up at 11am in the city, to be at Double Bay by 11:30am and have ‘lunch’ by noon. As usual, Jialing and I got to the city just 2 minutes past 11 and Yvonne was still at home. So we waited around for another 20 minutes for her and finally got on the bus to Double Bay. At this point I was super hungry also because I didn’t have anything to eat beforehand. We got to Double Bay at roughly around noon and when we got to Bar Indigo, man was it busy! We still had to wait for a table, another half hour. As we waited, we went through the menu and it was sounding so delicious – and a bit torturous being very hungry and all as we watched dishes go by. Finally we sat down and ordered and I can say that the wait was all worth it! The food was absolutely amazing (but then again I find EVERYTHING amazing, especially when I’m super hungry).

The food did not disappoint at all. The portions were massive! Actually their plates were massive as well that it could barely sit on the table we sat at! Also, their plates – loved them. I have a new sense of appreciation for plates ever since taking up an intro to ceramics class last semester – which by the way I got an overall High Distinction for (you know, those Lovelily plates I posted about probably weeks ago, yes those)!

The one thing I love about going out with my girls is that we all decide one one dish that we like most, and once the food arrives, we split our dishes into three, and share – which I think is the best thing to do if you want to be able to try more than one dish, especially if it’s your first visit. Simply amazing! I say this in particular because I do have other friends who don’t like to share dishes – that is if it is a dish that is not meant to be shared.

Bar Indigo - FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette
FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette
Oven-roasted salmon, bell peppers, spring onion, flame-grilled corn & coriander salsa, sweet potato, fresh aversana mozzarella & chimichurri sauce ($19.90)

This was the dish that I ordered, and for one very particular reason as well which was the description. It just screamed my name! Salmon, eggs, and chimichurri?! Why not!

Bar Indigo - FROM THE GARDEN: Grilled Lamb Salad
FROM THE GARDEN: Grilled Lamb Salad
Crispy flat bread, sweet yoghurt, baby carrots & couscous ($29.90)

A dish that Yvonne ordered. The description isn’t as fancy as the others only because I completely forgot to take a photo of the menu description for this! And it wasn’t on their website as well because they changed their menu I think for the season. Nonetheless, that lamb was cooked to perfection and the flavour combinations went really well together. Loved the presentation as well (you can’t really see it in the photograph above, but those crispy flatbreads standing tall from the plate looked so majestic)!

Bar Indigo - INDIGO LUNCH FAVOURITES: Free Range Victor Churchill Duck Sausage Risotto
INDIGO LUNCH FAVOURITES: Free Range Victor Churchill Duck Sausage Risotto
Chicken stock, thyme leaves, spring onion, white truffle oil, garlic, chives, mascarpone, sliced asparagus, parsley, aged parmesan & asparagus crisp ($28.90)

And finally the dish Jialing ordered (or more like I recommended since the description appealed a lot to me as well). The risotto was really rich and creamy, packed with lots of flavour and just… SO yummy. And those duck sausages, just WOW.

After our lunch, we still had space for a yummy warm dessert (since it was freezing cold out). It was probably one of the best decisions we made together as a group only because I know for a fact that we usually go for a walk first after a meal to clear our bloated tummies, and then get dessert elsewhere, but this time around we decided to go for some fluffy pancakes because they looked oh-so-good on various Instagram accounts.

Bar Indigo - INDIGO BREAKFAST FAVOURITES: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Maple syrup, caramel-glazed bananas & vanilla whipped mascarpone ($18.90)

The winner for me, hands down. I actually wanted these pancakes to begin with but I thought starting the day (in terms of the first meal of the day) with sweet pancakes just didn’t quite fit with me, needed something savoury. JUST LOOK AT ALL THAT FLUFF!

One of my favourite spots indefinitely. Great food, great company. The bill scared me a little bit, but otherwise affordable, just not a place to eat at every single week – for me that is. Be sure to check this place out if you haven’t already done so! Cheers!

Bar Indigo
15 Cross Street
Double Bay, New South Wales
Australia, 2028

– Ally xx