It’s time for spicy soup, slow-cooked chicken and hot chocolate sauce, write Kasey and Karena Bird.

Brr, even down here in our little slice of paradise it is getting frosty. Our fire has been roaring and our onesies are being put to full use. There is nothing more comforting than staying in, curled up in a blanket with something warm to tuck into. We have been doing a lot of travelling up and down the country and coming home to Maketu rejuvenates us, especially when we can get back in the kitchen to do some cooking.

Sunday night is when we are generally all home, comfort food is usually on the menu and these dishes we are sharing with you today will hopefully have your family feeling all warm and fuzzy, too. Because of our busy schedules we have been tending towards recipes that are relatively quick but still satisfy.

When you can see your breath in the air it is about time for a good soup. We absolutely love leek and potato soup - our version has a little kick to it with mustard and chilli added - which brings a nice subtle warmth to the soup.

There is also the option of stirring through crumbled feta to add a delicious salty richness; you can of course leave this out if you want to keep it dairy-free. Feel free to play around if you are feeling confident, add more chilli, crumble some crispy bacon at the end, have fun with it.


Growing up, one of our favourite dinners Mum made was Chicken Chasseur, of the Maggi variety (no judgment please). In our version of this dish we use chicken thighs and our old friend the anchovy, about whom we have written before, to add his salty richness.

This is such a comforting dish and always makes us feel like we are at home. We eat it with a crusty baguette or creamy mash and a big leafy salad.

Last, but definitely not least, is our chocolate and plum self-saucing pudding. Our family loves a good pudding and this one has it all, the richness of the chocolate sponge, the tartness of the plums and the decadent sauce that brings it all together.

Serve it with some fresh pouring cream and you are in business.

Winter at the Birds'

When you walk in through the door of our parents' house the heat from the fire feels like warm butter melting on your face as it supplants the rain and cold. Wet shoes are replaced by slippers and our younger sister is usually on the couch tucked up in a blanket. If we are lucky, Mum has made some rewana bread and there is a big pot of soup on the stove. Mum's collection of flannelette pyjamas is rivalled by none and is Karena's uniform for the cold months. Dad loves winter because it means we are all likely to be at home under the same roof, more often than not. It is all about perspective, instead of feeling trapped inside, make the most of the cold months by enjoying the grey skies and taking pleasure in each other's company.


Try out Karena and Kasey Bird's delicious recipes at - links below

Photo / Doug Sherring

Warming Leek soup with Feta and Chilli
Hunter's Chicken with Mushroom and Tomato
Self-Saucing Chocolate and Black Doris Plum Pudding