Monday, January 4, 2010

The Cookbook Challenge - Week 7 - Soft - Lamb Shanks, Perfect Pannacotta and a Giveaway!

Sorry I'm late with my cookbook challenge this week. I lost my camera cable and couldn't post without pics. It was "tidied" and I've only just re-located it.

This week's challenge recipes are fresh from the first dinner with the in-laws in our new house. The meal received rave reviews, and both recipes are definitely going on the repeat recipe rotation. Australian Women's Weekly, what would we do without you?

I've been wanting to make Lamb Shanks in five-spice, tamarind and ginger from AWW 501 Low Carb Recipes for ages - it was the reason I bought the book in the first place, but 6 months later I still hadn't done it. The Cookbook Challenge's Soft theme is the perfect week for melt in your mouth, falling off the bone, slow cooked lamb shanks. It takes a while in the oven, but is really simple.

I also needed to produce a dessert that was light and fresh, and able to tone down the chilli flavours from the lamb, while still holding it's own in flavour. You may remember that Martin from Bondi Chai sent me some of their product to have a play with (and giveaway, so make sure you read to the end!), and I thought the Vanilla Honey Chai would be a perfect pannacotta flavouring, so I combined it with this week's Soft theme, pulling out 1000 Best Ever Recipes from AWW which was a much appreciated Christmas gift.

I'll post these recipes in the order I served them, rather than the order I made them.

Asparagus wrapped in proscuitto

Self explanatory really. Steam your asparagus sparingly - no more than 5 minutes.

Lamb shanks in five-spice, tamarind and ginger

2 tsp five-spice powder
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine (I couldn't get any, and used dry sherry)
2 tbsp tamarind puree
2 tbsp brown sugar
40g grated ginger (I was desperate to use my new microplane that I got for Christmas, but the supermarket was out of fresh ginger, so I used the tube stuff)
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups water
8 (1.6kg) french trimmed lamb shanks (AWW says this serves 4, but take into account who you're serving - I served 6 shanks to 2 gentlemen and 2 ladies and it was perfect)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Combine soy sauce, rice wine, tamarind, sugar, ginger, garlic and water in a medium jug.

Dry-fry five-spice, chilli, cinnamon and star anise, stirring constantly until fragrant.

Add spices to the jug of liquids, and whisk to combine.

Place shanks in a large shallow baking dish (preferably with a lid) in a single layer and pour the spice mixture on.

Cover and bake for 2 hours, turning occasionally (I did it every 1/2 hour).

Once cooked, remove shanks from dish and cover to keep warm. Strain remaining sauce into a small saucepan and boil, then pour over lamb and vegetables of your choice.

I served mine with mashed potato (not in the spirit of the low-carb recipe) and steamed choy sum and broccolini.

Vanilla Honey Chai Pannacotta

300ml thickened cream
250ml milk
1 vanilla bean (I substituted this for 8 teaspoons of Bondi Chai Vanilla Honey Creamy Tea Latte Powder)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatine powder
1 strip lemon rind (trust me, it's better with 2!)

Stir all the ingredients in a pan over low heat until warm.

Stand until cool.

Strain mixture through a fine strainer into medium jug, and pour into 4 1/2 cup moulds, or martini glasses. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Turn pannacotta from moulds onto serving plates, or leave in glasses.

I served mine with a rosewater strawberry syrup, made by boiling 1/4 cup caster sugar with 1/2 punnet chopped strawberries, 1/4 cup water and a few drops of rosewater essence.

And I promised a giveaway!

While my pannacotta was absolutely delicious, and was eaten even by the person who at first responded to it with cries of "why isn't this chocolate mousse?!?" I haven't been overly creative with my use of the Bondi Chai powder.  I bet you can do better! I have 1 Club Cinnamon Bondi Chai, and 1 Vanilla Honey Bondi Chai to give away courtesy of Martin from Bondi Chai.

Leave me a comment telling me how you would use Bondi Chai powder in your cooking, and the 2 most creative ways will win a packet to create their vision. Whilst I welcome comments from international visitors, I can only post these prizes within Australia, and I will make the final decision based on comments received before 18th January 2010.  You may want to check out the Bondi Chai website for some inspiration, or try their Facebook page.

There you go. That's something by Kate.


  1. mmm lamb shanks! good job! that definately fits in with the soft theme!

    Hmm creative way for using chai... perhaps a vanilla honey chai cupcake, with a honey buttercream icing?

  2. Those lamb shanks sound so good! Though I'm not sure they are suitable for this hot weather we are having at the moment in Melbourne! Shall be looking forward to trying it in winter!

    I'll pass on the chai giveaway - I'm not a fan of chai!

  3. Sounds like a wonderfully successful dinner party, I especially love the sound of the chai panna cotta, I love chai flavours & have always wanted to make a panna cotta, maybe this is the one for me to start out on

  4. It all sounds lovely - and I particularly like the photo of the spices!

    Umm I would use the chai in a sweet baked ravoli with a chai & ricotta filling, like this: (Gosh, thinking of something interesting made my head hurt!)

  5. Love the combination of flavours with the shanks - can see why it enticed you to buy it. Great work - the pannacottas look great too.

  6. Oh, what gooorgeous looking lamb shanks! Who needs carbs? :)

    Please don't enter me in the chai contest (I don't drink it, but use tiny bits in cooking, so I already have heaps), but what I do with it is make shortbread cookie dough, and then dip the sliced cookies in a mix of demerara sugar and chai mix before baking. Subtle and delicious!

  7. In perusing my cookbooks for the Challenge, I've found the lamb shanks recipe in AWW Cook as well. I bought the Low-Carb book specifically for a recipe I already have!

    Ange, this was my first attempt at panna cotta too, and I was surprised by how well it turned out. I'm not sure how well it would have worked if I'd used molds and had to up-end them. I'm notoriously clumsy, but I look forward to seeing how it works out for you.

    Welcome to the cookbook challenge Jeff!

    Celia, anything dipped in demerara sugar is always good!

    Agnes, I've never heard of a sweet ravioli! Your head may hurt, but you were definitely creative.


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