Oven Baked Dhufish with Lemon Cream Sauce

about to be oven baked dhufish

First off, I know… I’ve been slack. But this crazy season leading up to Christmas, coupled with a little change of timezone for Western Australia means I’ve been really busy. Not Y2K busy, but still taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that the world doesn’t end for any West Australians around 2am on December the 3rd…

So now the prerequisite excuses are out of the way… it’s time to talk fish… Dhufish to be specific. A beautiful flakey white fish that is delicate yet flavourful while not having the overly fishyness that puts many people off.

I picked up a whole fish, minus head, tail, and guts, from the nice people at Atlantic Seafood (which I’m hoping is not where they get it all from), on William St in Northbridge. Having no idea what to do with it, but realising I had no interest in filleting it and picking out all the bones. I figured baking it in the oven as cutlets and forewarning Sharon of the impending choking hazard was a good way to go.


Cut up the fish into nice thick cutlets, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, slice up a few lemons and good handful of coriander. Heat the oven to 180C and layer the sliced lemon in a baking dish. Put the fish cutlets on top, and then another layer of lemon and the coriander. I then splashed a bit of verjuice around the dish as well, not sure if it made any difference or not, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, and I’ve been mad keen on verjuice ever since using it recently for my chermoula snapper.

Into the oven for about 20 minutes or so, turned once, and we’re ready for the plate.

I served the fish with a warm kipfler potato salad that went quite well.

Once the potato salad and fish were plated, I took the baking dish, which was now covered with a layer of baked on bits of fish, lemon, and coriander. I deglazed the pan over heat with some white wine and fish stock, and the juice of all the lemon slices, then let it reduce slightly and then stirred through
some double cream.

Strain out the pips and dodgy bits through a sieve, and we’re good to go. Some of obligatory dodgy presentation and it’s a meal fit for a king… And what’s more… not one choking situation ! The lemon juice came through the sauce really well… so make sure you add plenty if you decide to give it a run. And do keep an eye on the fish, it will go from juicy melt in mouth to dry as the Kalahari in a very short space of time.

Just the kind of dish for a hot summer night, with a crisp glass of unwooded Chardonnay to take the edge off.

oven baked dhufish cutlets with lemon and coriander

Moroccan Chicken Pie with 3 Bean Salad

Moroccan Chicken Pie and 3 bean salad (with a Moroccan funk to it)

So I should admit from the outset that I am to Moroccan cuisine what “Hey Hey it’s Saturday” was to quality television. But just like Darryl and Ozzie and that crazy crew of pranksters with their wacky hijinx… I just refuse to quit. So this post is my homage to not being particularly good, but giving it a bloody good go anyway.

If you’re thinking that this should possibly be called bstilla, or bisteeya, or b’steeyilla, or cheryl… then you are right (unless you said cheryl). Bstilla is indeed the dish I had in mind when I started making this, but then i got half way through and towards the end I realised I had no almonds, no icing sugar, no ground ginger, and little desire to intricately layer 500 sheets of filo pastry on top of each other to make it properly… hence I give you… Moroccan Chicken Pie !

The dish was based loosely on a combination of versions made by Jules of Stone Soup and Melissa of Travellers Lunchbox. Both excellent sites and great recipes. Sadly, I had neither the time nor the patience to follow the directions set out by either of these ladies, and so the resultant dish is suitably less refined.

Moroccan Chicken Pie

  • Chicken (the ladies used thighs, I used 2 large breasts… no really)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon crushed
  • Tablespoon or two of fresh ginger, minced
  • 150g butter
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayene pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry

Moroccan Chicken Pie

How i fooled the Moroccans
Basically I cooked the onion and garlic together in the butter, until they were soft and breaking down. Then added the ginger and other spices. At this stage it could be the basis for an interesting Moroccan Risotto… but i’ll save that for another day. I added the chicken breasts whole, and when they were mostly browned all over, poured in the chicken stock and stirred it all around.

Once the chicken was completely cooked, I took it out of the mixture and let it cool, then shredded it into little bite sized chunks, before turning up the heat on the stock mixture and letting it reduce right down.

When the stock had reduced to about a third of its original volume, I added the eggs, which had been beaten together with the coriander and the lemon juice. This creates a kind of thick spicey egg slurry, that could quite easily turn into scrambled eggs if you wanted it to… but I keep stirring it over a low heat until it had just come together and then took it off the heat.

Now in a pie dish, butter up some sheets of pastry and lay one in the bottom of the dish. Add the shredded chicken first, and then spoon over the cooled egg mixture. Now add the other sheet on top, fold it all in nicely so it’s looking like a pie, and pop it in the oven on 180C for about 25 minutes or so.

If you were really making a bstilla, you would have used flat filo pastry instead of puff pastry, and layered many levels on the bottom along with blanched almonds and ground ginger… and then folded the pastry over the top of the mixture, and then decorated the top with more almonds and icing sugar… Of course we weren’t doing that, so the jury will disregard everything I just said…

Now onto the bean salad.

Three Bean Salad

  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 cup haricot beans
  • 1 cup broad beans
  • Lots of olive oil
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • handful or two of spinach
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons crushed cumin
  • salt and cracked pepper

A salad mostly consisting of 3 kinds of beans

How I overcame bean adversity

I have to admit that beans and me do not sit well together. I think it all stems from the fact that when I was growing up, my sisters were always given baked beans on toast, and my brothers and I were given spaghetti on toast. I think I honestly believed for a long time that girls were supposed to eat beans and boys were supposed to eat spaghetti… But gender alignment issues aside, I thought it was time to give them a go, and not from a can for once.

So having procured a few different varieties of dried beans, I had to find out how to prepare them. There were 3 options as I saw it.

      1) Soak the beans overnight in cold water in the fridge
      2) Boil the beans in hot water for 10 minutes and then leave to sit in hot water for a few hours
      3) Boil the beans in hot water for as long as they bloody well take to soften up, regardless of how much they split in the process

Clearly I chose option 3. Into a pot of salted water with enough to cover the beans by an inch or two, and then onto the low heat
for what was probably an hour or so in the end. I forget exactly but I was testing each type of bean every 10 minutes or so for softness, and eventually I got to the point where I really didn’t care if they were soft enough anymore. Which fortunately coincided with the exact right time to stop.

The rest was simple. Into a bowl goes the beans, the diced onion and spinach, a healthy glug or three of extra virgin olive oil, a few good pinches of sea salt and a couple of cracks of black pepper. The juice of half a lemon (or a whole one if you’re feeling feisty), and a couple of teaspoons of that quintessentially Moroccan essence, cumin.

Stir it all up and serve.

And there you go… Invite your friends around and impress them to no end with your faux-Moroccan cuisine. If that doesn’t work, just drop the word Ras El Hanout a few times, as long as you’re not pronouncing it Rass Al Hannut, then you’re on your way to instant North African popularity.

Fruit Salad

Aka the lazy man’s dessert.

This is really just a numbers boosting post and brought about by having some photos that turned out ok for once.

So…without further ado… Fruit salad !!

Simple fruit salad


Seedless Grapes
Pineapple (real pineapple)
Passion Fruit


Procure fruit, chop up fruit, throw fruit into bowl. Cut passion fruit open, scoop out the good stuff… Mix through.

Serve with ice cream for added cliche (I did, it was great).

The end.

Kipfler Potato Salad with Saffron & Kaffir Lime

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

This was a really easy salad to make. Well actually, the only reason I ever make salads is because I think they’ll be easy, and quick to throw together, and this was a perfect example.

Sister B was coming over for a look at the new place and a quick bbq (and to once again avail me of my technical expertise in all things internet).

I remembered I had some nice Queensland Kipfler potatoes slowly growing sprouts in the cupboard, and so the choice was simple. Kipfler potatoes are excellent in potato salads, they have a really lovely waxy texture that can stand up to all the other flavours in the salad and still hold its own. Not crumbling into little pieces like your pansy Nadines, or wussy Ruby Lous.

So a bit of a twist to the normal preparation. Sprinkle a few strands of grade A saffron into the pot while the nicely sliced chunks of kipfler potato are boiling away (with a little salt). When they are cooked to your desired level of softness (and nice and yellow coloured from the saffron), drain the water off and stir through a couple of tablespoons of nice whole egg mayonnaise. At this point you can go any direction you like with this. I was lucky enough to have procured a Kaffir Lime (apparently, and not suprisingly, the product of the Kaffir Lime tree, perhaps more famous for it’s leaves than anything else). So to my potatoes and mayonnaise I added, a few handfuls of shredded leek, the zest of a Kaffir lime, some cracked pepper, and handful of baby spinach. The end result was a lovely tangy creamy mixture, that went just nicely with a quickly seared minute steak and some garlic butter mushrooms.

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

If you’re looking for a list of ingredients and instructions you won’t find one, but read between the lines and all will be revealed.


Chicken Kofta with Roast Pumpkin Salad

Chicken on a stick

I was in a real hurry to go and play tennis with Steve (he’s been promising to thrash me for a while now). So this was basically the quickest thing i could think of to make that still required some creativeness (and didn’t involve opening any cans of processed food).

I had some chicken mince that i bought ages ago and can’t remember why, and half a pumpkin and half a bag of tomatoes that needed to be used.

So the recipe for the Koftas:


* Chicken mince
* Garlic (crushed)
* Onion, chopped finely
* Red chilli, chopped finely
* Bread Crumbs
* Coriander, Basil (basically any soft herbs you like) roughly chopped
* Tumeric
* 1 Egg

For the Salad

* Pumpkin (cut into bite sized pieces)
* Tomato (quartered)
* a few cloves of garlic
* Olive Oil
* Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
* Salt and Cracked Pepper


Basically just mix all the ingredients for the koftas together with your hands, until its a nice sticky consistency that holds together well. Soak some kebab sticks in cold water for a while and shape the chicken into little cylinders. Push the sticks through the chicken and make sure they’re good and sealed. Then heat your grilling pan or bbq or whatever you like to cook on, and fry/grill the koftas until they’re nice and crispy on the outside, but still moist on the inside.

With the salad, i just roasted the pumpkin by putting it on a tray and nestling a few cloves of garlic in amongst it. Then liberally poured olive oil over the top and seasoned with salt and pepper. This roasted for probably 20 minutes or so (my pumpkin was quite soft already). Then when the chicken is basically done, you pull the pumpkin out of the oven, combine it with the tomato (which has not been cooked) and the basil, add a bit more olive oil for good luck, and some more cracked pepper, and you’re done.

To serve them i found a few more things in the fridge i needed to use, namely some sour cream, ginger paste, a lime, and some more basil. I just combined all of these in a bowl (i would normally have processed it, but i had literally 10 minutes to eat before i needed to leave), and dolloped it on top.

This meal took me literally half an hour to prepare and make… So i was pretty happy with how it turned out. Plus i won the game of tennis, better luck next time Steve :)

Moroccan Lamb Rack with Spiced Kipfler Potato Salad

Morroccan Lamb with Spiced Kipfler Potato Salad

Sorry the photos are blurry and out of focus. It was late and I was getting hungry…

This meal consists of basically the same kind of potato salad as was used recently in my rack of pork recipe, but this time with the inclusion of some lebanese cucumber, cumin, and red cabbage, to give it a little Moroccan/Turkish/vaguely Middle Eastern or North African flavour.

The lamb rack was marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, and cumin before being grilled, sliced, and clumsily arranged on a plate…

Honey Braised Rack of Pork with Kipfler Potato Salad

I’m not the biggest fan of pork, but occasionally like to dabble with it. This is one of my more successful dabblings.
The only rule i’ve learnt is that honey and pork go well together (i got that mostly from the fact that most pork flavoured snacks also contain some form of honey flavouring). So it must be a match made in heaven… because this was delicious.

Recipe to follow… but for now, note the use of Kipfler potatoes in the salad… tres yummy.