There’seven moreto love­about ourKiwi trea­sures

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Contents -

The Topp Twins have never been ones for care­fully plan­ning out their lives. Spon­tane­ity has al­ways been their thing – in real-life as well as on stage – and they’re all about mak­ing the most of op­por­tu­ni­ties as they come along. It’s an at­ti­tude that has taken them to in­ter­est­ing places, par­tic­u­larly this year.

Not only are the pair en­ter­tain­ers and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists, but now – move over, Annabel Lang­bein – Dames Jools and Lynda Topp are be­com­ing Kiwi food icons too!

This month, they are ex­cited to be launch­ing a gor­geous new cook­book, Top­pCoun­try:ACuli­nary


with­theTop­pTwins. Plus they’re also serv­ing up good Kiwi tucker in a café they have opened in Methven near Lynda’s South Is­land home.

Food has long been im­por­tant to the Topps. As kids grow­ing up on a Waikato farm, their mum Jean was the cook of the house­hold, dish­ing up home-grown meat and veges ev­ery night.

“She’s al­ways been a great baker and cook, very sim­ple, noth­ing spicy, and lots of sweet food,” ex­plains Jools. “She’d make An­zac bis­cuits, short­bread, yo-yos and gin­ger­nuts.

“Nana’s gin­ger­nuts – they’re in the book,” adds Lynda. “We ummed and aa­hed about giv­ing away the recipe, but they’re the best, so ev­ery­body has got to try one.”

The twins’ lov­ingly packed lunches were the envy of their school­mates. “Mum used to bake these in­di­vid­ual apri­cot pies we’d take to school,” re­calls Jools. “We had to hide those pies be­cause kids would try to trade their Vegemite sand­wiches for one.

“And she did this other thing that was amaz­ing. She’d get a lit­tle Agee jar with a screw lid, and put in fresh stewed tamar­il­los with crushed Weet-Bix and cream straight from the shed, so it was al­most like a crumble. It was sup­posed to be for lunch, but it never made it to then. We’d eat it on the bus or for morn­ing tea.”

While there are a hand­ful of fam­ily favourites in the new book, it is mostly based on food the Topps tasted while film­ing hit TV se­ries

Top­pCoun­try. They were dis­ap­pointed when the show was can­celled af­ter three se­ries, so a book seemed an ideal way to cel­e­brate the pas­sion­ate food pro­duc­ers and home cooks fea­tured by shar­ing their recipes. There’s clas­sics such as Lynda’s favourite bar­be­cued veni­son back­straps to Jools’ vege­tar­ian Delhi dahl and more ex­otic dishes like fried grasshop­pers with sa­tay sauce (de­li­cious, they prom­ise).

“It’s not just recipes,” says Lynda. “The book is filled with sto­ries of the peo­ple we met and beau­ti­ful pic­tures of the places we vis­ited. Ken and

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