Dinner is often seen as the hero meal and lunch cast in its shadow. Summer is the perfect opportunity to bring lunch into the limelight, whether it's a weekday lunch to show-off at work or an impressive weekend lunch when entertaining.

Try these five recipes at home.

1. The #9

“No matter where you are, sweet-chilli Philly always ends up the favourite dip at a party,” says Ben Vaughan, part-owner of Fitzroy bagel shop Mile End Bagels. “So when we started brainstorming the fillings for a new bagel, we began at sweet-chilli Philly and somehow ended up in kimchi territory. Whatever happened along the way, it’s definitely a combination that works.”

Vaughan has some pointers on how to perfect the whipped cream cheese.

“It’s all about getting the right texture,” he says. “We use commercial machinery, but I think a Kitchen Aid or something similar could be effective when whipping through the chilli sauce and chives. You want to get soft peaks similar to those when making meringue. It should be hanging off the beater, but still a little firm.”

The #9
Makes one bagel.

Ingredients:
1 bagel, sliced in half and toasted
200g PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
Two generous slices of rare roast beef
Generous serve of kimchi
Handful of fried shallots and crushed peanuts
Big squeeze of chilli sauce
Bunch of chives, roughly chopped

Method:
Put the chilli sauce, chives, and PHILADELPHIA cream cheese into a mixer and whip until the cream cheese softens. Schmear the mixture on both sides of your bagel. Add roast beef, kimchi, shallots and peanuts.

2. Smoked Salmon Lunch Roll

Roy Yu, owner of Sydney's Haven in Sydney, has a tip for making his Smoked Salmon Roll. “The trick is to remove the pan from the heat while the egg mixture is still a bit runny,” he says. “[It should be] about 80 per cent done. While it’s cooling down it’ll form that creamy texture."

Yu also says to make sure the bread you use is soft and spongy. He recommends a milk bun to complement the overall creaminess of the dish. “For a subtle oriental flavour you can also smoke your salmon using Chinese tea leaves," he says.

Haven’s Smoked Salmon Lunch Roll
Makes one serve

Ingredients:
2 eggs
20ml pouring cream
Salt and pepper
1 milk bun, halved
2 tbsp PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
4 smoked salmon slices
10 spinach leaves

Method:
Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Toast bun until golden. Spread PHILADELPHIA cream cheese on bun. Cook scrambled egg mix. To assemble the roll, add smoked salmon, eggs and spinach.

3. Crispy Croquettes

“Everyone loves croquettes,” says Cindy Huynh, manager of Melbourne cafe Touchwood. “They’re a no-brainer. Light, delicious and really satisfying as a lunch meal.”

Huynh recommends the classic wet-and-dry-hand method when it comes to the crumbing stage. Keep your left hand as your “dry” hand, and your right as your “wet” hand. Your dry hand will handle the breadcrumbs, and your wet hand the egg mixture.

Crispy Croquettes
Makes 8 croquettes.

Ingredients:
250g hot smoked salmon (flaked)
4 tbsp PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
6 Desiree potatoes (peeled)
50g onions (finely diced)
160g plain flour
140–150g corn flour
100g Panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs
¼ cup dill
¼ chopped parsley
70g melted butter
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method:
Season a saucepan of water with salt and oil. Boil peeled potatoes until they soften. Place potatoes into a mixing bowl and mash. Sauté onions in a hot pan until golden brown. Add onions to smashed potatoes. Add dill, mustard, corn flour, butter. Mix ingredients together.

Add PHILADELPHIA cream cheese and combine. Add flaked salmon and carefully mix through – it’s best if it’s kept in big pieces. Olive oil can be added to the mixture for extra flavour and smoothness. Weigh this mixture to 100g and roll into long rounded balls using hands.

Crumbing:
Incorporate parsley, salt, pepper and smoked paprika into the Panko bread crumbs. Beat three eggs and place into a mixing bowl. Coat the rounded croquette in plain flour. Make sure all areas are covered by flour. Coat floured croquette in the egg mixture and then into the seasoned bread crumbs mixture until all wet areas are fully covered by crumbs. Use the wet and dry hand method.

Frying:
Heat frying oil to 180 degrees and fry croquettes for two minutes and 45 seconds. Serve with a side salad of your choice. We love a kale, quinoa and radish salad with a citrus vinaigrette dressing.

4. Argo on the Parade’s Za’atar Bagel

“Don’t buy your za’atar from a supermarket,” says Daniel Milky, owner of Argo on the Parade in Adelaide. “Traditionally, za’atar is quite a strong flavour and the real stuff comes from Jerusalem. The ones from the supermarket are an inferior blend.”

Milky says good quality za'atar is crucial to his bagel recipe. “It's healthy," he says. With fresh cucumber and the lean protein in the egg to keep you full. And the smooth, creamy texture of the PHILADELPHIA cream cheese works well with the spiced za’atar.”

Argo on the Parade’s Za’atar Bagel
Serves one

Ingredients:
100g PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
1 tbsp za’atar
1 plain bagel, split in half
2 eggs
1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced

Method:
Combine PHILADELPHIA cream cheese and za’atar. Set aside. Place bagel halves in the toaster. While waiting, fry two eggs over medium heat.

To serve, spread bagel with PHILADELPHIA cream cheese mix, add a layer of cucumber and top with fried egg. For added kick, dust with paprika.

5. Republic’s Soft Shell Crab Sandwich

According to Joe Kitsana, owner of Darlinghurst’s Republic Sandwiches and Salads, deep-fried soft-shell crab belongs between two slices of bread.

“It’s not sacrilegious!” he says. “It’s beautiful. It’s delicious.”

The recipe calls for deep-frying the crab. If not an option at home, Kitsana recommends pan-frying the crab to maximum crispiness. “Just fill the pot a little bit,” he says. “Make sure the pieces are cooked both sides to get that nice and crispy golden brown.”

Republic’s Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
Serves one

Ingredients:
For sauce:
100g PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, whipped until soft
1 carrot, grated
50g cheddar, grated
1 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce

For sandwich and filling:
1 soft shell crab, quartered
½ tsp fish sauce
Tapioca flour for dusting
1 egg, whisked
Oil for frying
2 slices brown Vienna or ciabatta bread
1 tomato slice
2–3 lettuce leaves
Sprinkle of shallots, thinly sliced
2 coriander stalks, roughly chopped
2 pickled carrots
1 picked daikon radish
Herb mayo

Method:
For sauce:
Mix the PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, carrot, cheddar and Sriracha sauce until well combined. Set aside at room temperature.

For sandwich and filling:
Combine the crab and fish sauce in a bowl. Dust mixture with flour and dip in egg. Fry in shallow pan or fryer until golden brown.

To assemble the sandwich, spread mayo on each side of bread. Add lettuce, tomato and crab. Top with sauce, pickled vegetables, coriander and shallots.

This article is presented in partnership with PHILADELPHIA Spreadable Cream Cheese. Featuring the signature smooth creamy texture of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, we've worked with some of our favourite cafes to design this limited-edition lunch menu item.

PHILADELPHIA cream cheese is a trade mark of Mondelez International Group used under License