Greatest hits

Neil Perry's Buffalo mozzarella lasagne.
Neil Perry's Buffalo mozzarella lasagne. Photo: William Meppem

Ultimate family dinner

Neil Perry's Buffalo mozzarella lasagne

We say: ''When any of my three girls (5, 7 and 9 years old) has a birthday, they are given the option - eat out somewhere or cook a meal at home. They always choose to eat at home and they always choose this lasagne. It's the combination of veal and pork mince and the dash of balsamic vinegar that makes it a knockout.''

Neil says: ''This is an awesome lasagne. Don't be daunted by the list of ingredients - they're all readily available, and the dish is so easy to put together.''

9 instant lasagne sheets

Jill Dupleix's Crash-hot potatoes.
Jill Dupleix's Crash-hot potatoes. 

500g fresh buffalo or cow's-milk mozzarella

100g freshly grated parmesan

Meat sauce

Jane and Jeremy Strode's Steamed lemon curd pudding.
Jane and Jeremy Strode's Steamed lemon curd pudding. Photo: Quentin Jones

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped


300g pork mince

300g veal mince

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Luke Mangan's Never-fail hot raspberry souffle.
Luke Mangan's Never-fail hot raspberry souffle. 

2 tsp plain flour

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

A pinch of castor sugar

Karen Martini's Slow roasted lamb shoulder with pears and cumin.
Karen Martini's Slow roasted lamb shoulder with pears and cumin. Photo: Marina Oliphant

700ml tomato passata

400g canned diced tomatoes

2 large handfuls basil leaves

Yotam Ottolenghi's Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon.
Yotam Ottolenghi's Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon. Photo: Jonathan Lovekin

Bechamel sauce

50g unsalted butter

2 tbsp plain flour

600ml milk

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Adjust the oven racks so the dish can sit in the middle.

2. To make the meat sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the meats and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for four minutes or until it loses its raw colour but is not browned. Add flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has almost evaporated. Add sugar, passata and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning, stir in the basil and set the sauce aside.

3. To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one to two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk all at once, whisking constantly, to avoid any lumps. Return the pan to the heat and keep whisking, until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and season.

4. To assemble the lasagne, spread a quarter of the meat sauce in the base of a 29cm x 23cm x 7cm lasagne dish. Place three of the lasagne sheets over the sauce. Spread another quarter of the sauce over the pasta, then a third of the mozzarella, torn into pieces. Continue layering the pasta, meat sauce and mozzarella two more times. Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the final layer of mozzarella, then sprinkle with the parmesan.

5. Cook the lasagne for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and the sauce is bubbling. Let the lasagne stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Midweek treat

Jane and Jeremy Strode's Steamed lemon curd pudding

We say: ''This is a great, comforting winter pudding with a real tangy kick from the lemon. It's simple, and the lemon curd gives it a pleasant sour tang.''

Jane and Jeremy say: ''Lemon curd is a lovely thing to have on hand. Serve it on toast or muffins as an accompaniment to coffee.''

285g butter

175ml lemon juice

335g castor sugar

7 eggs

165g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1. Melt 120g butter in a saucepan. Add lemon juice, 170g sugar and four eggs. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until lemon curd has thickened, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overheat as the eggs will scramble.

2. Grease six 180ml-capacity ramekins and line bottoms with greaseproof paper circles. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of lemon curd into each ramekin and flatten.

3. Cream remaining butter and sugar. Add remaining eggs, mix, then fold through flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Spoon on top of lemon curd. Cover each ramekin with foil and steam for 30 minutes. Remove from steamer and stand for a few minutes.

4. Run a knife around the outside of each pudding before turning out.

Serves 6

Totally addictive

Jill Dupleix's Crash-hot potatoes

We say: ''They may not win first prize in a beauty contest, but these potatoes are everything you want in a baked potato: a crisp and crusty exterior and a yielding, fluffy centre.''

Jill says: ''One day I had leftover boiled potatoes in the fridge, but I really wanted roast potatoes, so I smashed them and roasted them until terminally crisp. The recipe first appeared in Good Living and Epicure in the '90s, and has now gone around the world and back again. It was last seen on the big American recipe website''

16 smallish round potatoes

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and coarse black pepper

1 tbsp thyme and rosemary sprigs

1. Don't peel the potatoes, just cook whole in simmering salted water for about 15 minutes until cooked, without being overly soft.

2. Heat the oven to super-hot, about 240C. Drain the potatoes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Use a potato masher to squash each potato flat, until it looks as if it was run over by a bus. Brush the tops with olive oil and scatter generously with sea salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until incredibly crisp, a little bit scorched on the edges, and golden. Serve hot.

Serves 4

Wow-factor dessert

Luke Mangan's Never-fail hot raspberry souffle

We say: ''I have been making this dish for 10 years and it actually never fails.''

Luke says: ''People have funny ideas about souffles - that they are hard to make or that you have to creep around the house quietly while you are cooking them. A load of rubbish in my book. Souffles are fun, creative and easy.''

500g fresh (or 300g frozen) raspberries

1 cup castor sugar

6 free-range egg whites

Pinch of salt

100g castor sugar, extra

Butter (for greasing)

2 tbsp icing sugar

Fresh raspberries (to serve)

1. Puree the raspberries and pass through a sieve. (You should have about 200ml). Pour into a small saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until it forms a jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C.

3. Beat the egg whites with the salt, gradually adding the extra sugar until shiny, stiff peaks form. With the beaters running, spoon in a few tablespoons of raspberry mixture. Stop beating and gently fold through two to three more tablespoons of raspberry - it should just colour the egg whites and give a delicate raspberry flavour. Taste the meringue and add more if you think the flavour is too subtle.

4. Grease six souffle moulds (10cm x 7cm deep) with butter and dust with icing sugar, tipping out the excess. Spoon the souffle mixture into the moulds. Bake for about eight minutes, then turn the heat to 180C and bake for three to five minutes, or until the souffles have risen well above the rim of the moulds and are lightly browned on top.

5. Serve immediately with fresh raspberries.

Serves 6

Perfect dinner with friends

Karen Martini's Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with pears and cumin

We say: ''I was sceptical when I first saw the mountains of spices in this dish, but massaging them into the hulking shoulder, I began to sense something special was about to happen with the marriage of pear, pepper and cumin. The flavours are spectacular, and though I always expect leftovers, there never are. Everyone wants the recipe. I always promise to send it, but never do.''

Karen says: ''The long, slow cooking on the bone produces beautifully succulent meat like no other roast.''

2 brown onions, skin on and sliced into rounds

1 lamb shoulder (bone in), semi-cut into portions (ask your butcher to do this)

2 tbsp cumin seed

2 tbsp black peppercorns

5 cloves garlic

2 tbsp flaked salt

1 tbsp olive oil

7 sprigs thyme, leaves only

4 beurre bosc pears, skin on and cut in half (if available, you can also use 3 quinces, peeled and cut into cheeks)

3 tbsp raw sugar

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).

2. Place onion in base of a heavy ovenproof dish.

3. Trim and slightly score top of lamb.

4. Crush cumin and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, then add garlic and salt. Crush to a paste and add oil. Smother paste over lamb, rubbing between bones as well. Place lamb on top of onions, scatter with thyme and add pear halves. Sprinkle with sugar and vinegar and pour in 80 millimetres of water.

5. Cover dish in a double layer of foil and roast for four hours, then remove foil and skim some of the fat. Return lamb to oven and raise temperature to 180C fan-forced. Baste lamb a little and cook for another 35 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Serve with braised silverbeet and couscous.

Serves 4-6

Good enough for Saturday night

Yotam Ottolenghi's Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon

We say: ''If you've ever wondered what to do with Jerusalem artichokes, the answer is here. Dare we say it? One of the most beautiful chicken dishes. Ever. Yes, we know this is not from our collection, but we think Yotam Ottolenghi is producing some of the best food on the planet right now, so we had to include this.''

Yotam says: ''The combination of saffron and whole lemon slices not only makes for a beautiful-looking dish, it goes exceptionally well with the nutty earthiness of the artichokes. This is easy to prepare. You just need to plan ahead and leave it to marinate properly.''

450g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into six, lengthways (1½ cm-thick wedges)

3 tbsp lemon juice

8 chicken thighs, on the bone with the skin on, or a medium whole chicken, divided into four

12 banana shallots, peeled and halved lengthways

12 large garlic cloves, sliced

1 medium lemon, cut in half lengthways and then into very thin slices

1 tsp saffron threads

50ml olive oil

150ml cold water

1½ tbsp pink peppercorns, slightly crushed

10g fresh thyme leaves

2 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

40g tarragon leaves, chopped

1. Put the Jerusalem artichokes in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water and add half the lemon juice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until tender but not soft. Drain and leave to cool.

2. Place the Jerusalem artichokes and all the remaining ingredients, excluding the remaining lemon juice and half of the tarragon, in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, or for at least two hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan-forced (gas mark 9).

4. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin-side up, in the centre of a roasting tin and spread the remaining ingredients around the chicken. Roast for 30 minutes. Cover tin with foil and cook for 15 minutes. At this point, the chicken should be completely cooked.

5. Remove from the oven and add the reserved tarragon and lemon juice. Stir well, taste and add more salt if needed.

6. Serve at once.

Serves 4

From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, $49.95.