Ten top tips from Adam Liaw's new cookbook Tonight's Dinner

When cutting rounds for scones, press straight down without twisting so they pop up as they cook.
When cutting rounds for scones, press straight down without twisting so they pop up as they cook. Photo: William Meppem

My favourite thing about my SBS show,The Cook Up, is learning from my guests. Sometimes it's a whole recipe, but sometimes it's just the smallest bit of advice that changes my cooking for the better. There's hardly been an episode when I haven't come away with some new tip, trick or perspective.

Here are some of the pearls of wisdom the guests on my show have taught me.

Adam Liaw wants us to fall in love with home cooking again.
Adam Liaw wants us to fall in love with home cooking again.  Photo: Steve Brown

Browning meats for stews is best done over a medium heat. High heat can burn the meat and fond (those little browned bits that often stick to the bottom of the pan) more easily, so a medium heat will give you more even browning and a better fond. Anna Ugarte-Carral, chef

For really crispy chicken wings, you don't need to coat them with flour at all. Just fry the wings naked and let the skin crisp naturally. Andrew Levins, writer and DJ

Mix a sconedough with a butter knife to stop yourself from over-mixing. And when cutting rounds for your scones, press straight down without twisting so that your scones pop straight up. Stephanie Stanhope, president NSW Country Women's Association

Adam Liaw's new cookbook.
Adam Liaw's new cookbook. Photo: Steve Brown

Most people focus on what goes on the inside, but a great way to level up a cheese toastie is to flavour the butter that goes on the outside of the bread. Remy Hii, actor

Put vinegar into a bowl with your favourite fresh herbs and just drop your hot roasted potatoes into the vinegar to dress them. Colin Fassnidge, chef

If you're nervous about deep-frying, you can make crisp tofu in the oven by rubbing the outside with oil and baking it at a high heat. Kumi Taguchi, journalist

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Keep a recipe simple and you can adapt the cooking method to whatever suits you. Something done in a wood oven can be done on a barbecue with the lid down, or in a cast-iron casserole. You don't need to be tied to a recipe. Martin Boetz, chef

You can have more than one speed with your cooking. When you're short on time and have to feed a family, just cook something simple. You can cook something more elaborate when you have a little extra time up your sleeve. Cooking is all about being practical. Nathan Lyons, Kooking With a Koori author

Add a little extra sugar to dishes like sukiyaki and oyakodon. They are dishes that are supposed to be on the sweeter end of the balance of tastes. Chase Kojima, chef

Salsa verde makes a great base sauce. Change it up with different herbs or green vegetables, and it can accompany meat, fish or vegetables. Jacqui Challinor, chef

This is an edited extract from Tonight's Dinner by Adam Liaw, published by Hardie Grant Books and SBS, RRP $45. Photography: Steve Brown. Set photography: Bruce Walters. Buy now