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Carter's Dusky Flathead With Borachio's Chardonnay

Carter Kitchen Hero Image Landscape
Mother, chef, and baker, Carter Were is best known for sharing her quiet and humble life up in the Northern Rivers through calming, idyllic visuals of her family and the food they make. With this summer dish of baked fish with tomatoes and sultanas, Carter reminds us that food is not just about the ingredients or how well you can plate it - it's about the power of food, even in its simplest form, in bringing friends and family together.

Coming from a family where food wasn’t a big part of life, Carter’s first interest in food piqued when she traveled to Greece for the first time 10 years ago realising that “that simple food is the best and only needs a few good quality ingredients.” After working at a cafe and opening her own in New Zealand, Carter is now a full-time mum to two daughters up in the Northern Rivers and is currently writing her second cookbook, which is planned to release early next year.

We’re fortunate to have Carter share with us this delicate, tender and subtle treat, using the 2020 Borachio Chardonnay for those long, dreamy summer days ahead.

My name is Carter and I’m 31 years old. I live in Lismore (which is up near Byron Bay) with my partner Jack and our two daughters Patience and Dorothy. I became interested in food and cooking when I traveled to Greece for the first time 10 years ago. I realised that simple food is the best and only needs a few good quality ingredients. Growing up my siblings and I always had big appetites, but my parents don’t enjoy cooking so food wasn’t a huge part of our life.

Were Bros started in my mid-20s when I moved back to New Zealand from Sydney and began making bread for a cafe I worked at. They would sell it by the slice and the loaf. Then my best friend Sophie, who is a florist, moved to New Zealand got the lease of a space. She asked me to share it with her so I got a small loan from the bank and opened up a cafe of my own. I sold toast or open sandwiches, loaves, cookies, coffee, and juice.

I dream of one day having a space of my own again, but for now, I am a full-time mum to my girls who are 3 and nearly 2 and I nearly forgot I am working on my second cookbook, which is a project I work on with my twin sister Harry. Harry is a lot of things but she’s also a photographer and we always wanted to work on something together. We wanted something that was tangible and that others could enjoy and use, and when we are old we can still flick through them and it’ll bring back memories.

The cookbook is achievable with two kids and I work on that when one of them sleeps. Having two babies has definitely changed my perspective on cooking as I have a lot less time for everything, but I do still enjoy it. Especially when I don’t have either of them pulling at my legs. They both like to help in the kitchen, which I encourage. I really enjoy eating with people, so sitting at the table to eat dinner together is an important part of our daily routine. Even though they don’t always eat and lots of it ends up on the floor.

My favourite wine is all of the wines by Manon. I love them and I drink them like juice, but all the ones from Notwasted I am loving too. I am easy to please and I actually enjoy drinking wine more when I am cooking dinner rather than drinking it with a meal.


Dusky flathead, 4 fillets deboned

White wine, 1 cup

Onion, 2

Olive oil, ¼ cup

Tomatoes, 2 cups fresh de-skinned and chopped or canned

Sultanas, ½ cup soaked in water for a few hours until plump

Salt, to taste

Mint, small bunch fresh


Soak the fish in half the wine and reserve the rest for later. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180C. Slice onions into thin semi-circles and cook on low heat with olive oil and a pinch of salt until they are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, sultanas, remaining wine, and another pinch of salt and leave to simmer for about 10 mins or until it has thickened slightly.

Place the fish in an oven-proof dish, then pour the sauce over the fish. You need enough liquid to cover the fish, if you don’t then add a little water.

Bake for about 20 mins or until the fish is cooked.

Chop the mint and sprinkle on top. Place the fish on the plate and spoon the sauce over. Serve with rice and greens. I served mine with Chard but cooked them like Horta which is wild greens in Greece. I boiled the chard until tender then strained and dressed it with lots of olive oil, lemon, and salt.

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