Everyday realities (such as having a job, running a business or writing a thesis) make it impossible for the average family to make every dinner party it hosts an elaborate one. There are occasions when all we’d like to do is spend some quality time catching up with friends we haven’t seen for awhile. And it’s so much nicer to do it at home, over a slow, simple meal and a nice bottle of wine. This week, I really wanted to squeeze in dinner with our friends V and BG because V is expecting and she’s due to have her baby anytime now. I hadn’t seen them both for ages and wanted to reconnect just before the whirlwind of activity the new addition to the family is certain set off.
For meals like this one, I tend to serve a roast or a stew as the main course simply because the former requires little effort and the latter can be prepared the weekend before and frozen. My favourite roast of the moment has to be the pork roulade available at Swiss Butchery. (No, they didn’t pay me to write this.) A slab of pork belly is butterflied, seasoned, stuffed with sausage meat, rolled up and tied. All I had to do was to place it in an oven preheated to 140 degrees Celsius and roast it for 2 hours. (Naturally, weeknight dinners have to start late. Pop the roast into your oven the moment you get in from work and plan for pre-dinner drinks and an appetizer.) I’ve made this twice and it turned out beautifully on both occasions. The pork is deliciously savoury and succulent without being overly fatty (this particular one had a spicy sausage stuffing). Leftovers are fabulous in a sandwich or served with baked beans and a fried egg the following day. Just call two days ahead and the charming chaps at Swiss Butchery will have a roulade prepared for you. If your order costs $75 or more, they’ll even deliver your meat to you (for regular home delivery, just call one day ahead). A 1.5kg roulade was perfect for four of us (we had a small pasta to start with and dessert, which our dear friend L bought from PS. Cafe).
I was inspired by a yummy coleslaw I’d tasted at a café earlier in the week and opted to pair the roulade with minted coleslaw. Since coleslaw actually develops better flavour over time, it’s something that can be made first thing in the morning and left in the refrigerator until dinnertime. The cold, crunchy coleslaw was a fabulous contrast to the roulade. I particularly enjoyed its sweet and tart flavours, and refreshing, minty top-notes.
30 Greenwood Avenue
Tel: +65 6468 7588
Adapted from a recipe in Real American Food by Burt Wolf and Andrew F. Smith
Makes 8 servings (but we wolfed down most of it between the four of us)
1 small head cabbage, outer leaves discarded
1½ cups grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (I prefer to use Italian flatleaf)
¼ cup white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Quarter the cabbage and trim off the core. Finely shred the cabbage (this can be done with a mandoline or food processor) and place it in a non-reactive bowl. Combine with the carrots, raisins, mint and parsley. I tossed the vegetables at this point to ensure that they were evenly mixed before the addition of the dressing.
Combine the vinegar, sugar and oil in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well and season to taste. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss the slaw until it is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.