At 26, I was genuinely shocked to find that a friend of mine was turning 30 – I thought that was middle-aged. Imagine my horror just four years later, upon finding the same thing happening to me. Being one of those people who think, “It’s never going to happen to me'”, I never concern myself about sharks in the ocean at dusk or car accidents when it starts to drizzle, despite others slowing to an unnecessary crawl. I can remain blissfully removed, even as I witness horrific footage of natural disasters around the world.
In a stroke of luck, my ringtone was on when the first Civil Defence earthquake warning came through on the 14th November at 2.04 a.m. The message was clear; anyone in a coastal area should move inland immediately. At first, I was relieved my phone wasn’t on silent for the first time in history, rapidly followed by a moronic surprise at how scared I was. Not to mention unprepared; not a first aid kit or a bottle of water in sight.
Jumping in the car, all we had was my handbag, my computer (a.k.a my third limb), a jumper, a torch and two bananas my partner wisely grabbed on the way out the door. At that moment, I had good reason to wonder how I’d got this far through life. We had yet to reach the Kaimai ranges (or even the letterbox), when a friend called to say there had been another notification, excluding us from the ‘urgent’ zone. He’s a bright guy, so after questioning him carefully, I felt comfortable returning home with his last words as comfort; “If we have to evacuate, you’ll hear the sirens.” Discovering the next day that the council had yet to install sirens, gave me a good reason to wonder how my super-smart friend had made it this far.
You may assume that the moral of the story is ‘be prepared’. In fact, it made realise that no matter what, some things are beyond our control. Just consider the bottleneck over the bridge with 20,000 odd people trying to cross it, for starters – hen your number’s up, it’s up. The next day I invited my nearest and dearest for dinner, stocked up on delicious food and made a hefty donation to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. We talked of the enormity of what our Southern friends were going through and took some comfort in the fact that we weren’t terrified for our lives or huddling in a shelter unsure of the future. We drank the 2012 Pinot I’d been saving for something which suddenly felt unimportant and had an early Thanksgiving, New Zealand style.
Roast Turkey Breast with Mustard Pan Sauce
4 tablespoons honey mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 Canter Valley boneless turkey breast, net removed
Salt and Pepper
Preheat to 190°C. Whisk together 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons tarragon, and 1 tablespoon oil. Place turkey breast, skin side up, in an oiled roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread mustard mixture over skin. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of turkey registers 75°C. Calculate the cooking time allowing 20 mins per kg plus an extra 70 mins (a 5-6kg bird will take approx 3-31/2hrs). Whisk 2 tablespoons honey mustard into turkey juices in pan; season with salt and pepper. Spoon juice over turkey; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon tarragon, and serve with vegetables of your choice.