Your kitchen’s secret weapon
Yep, it’s the freezer. If all you have in there is a box of fish fingers, you’re missing a trick. Use it right to eat healthier, waste less and cook faster.
Food writer and author of Freeze (Orion Publishing; R548), Justine Pattison, shares her top four food shortcuts to make your food last and your daily hassles disappear.
1SUPER- QUICK STRIPS
“Instead of freezing whole chicken breasts or steaks – which take time to defrost – cut meat into 1.5cm strips and toss in a little sunflower oil and seasoning before freezing. They’ll last for about four months and you can cook the strips straight from the freezer.”
“Carrots, onions and celery are the holy trinity of vegetables that form the base of most sauces. Prepare a big batch, sauté with a little oil until they start to soften, then cool, bag and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to use your veg, simply snap off what you need and cook from frozen.”
“It’s hard to use a whole bag of herbs before it goes limp. Roughly chop what you have left over, divide into an ice cube tray, then cover with a little olive oil to stop the herbs going brown. They’ll keep for four months – add to your cooking while frozen.”
“Instead of throwing away overripe bananas, I slice them and keep them frozen – for up to six months – to put straight into smoothies. No need to defrost: once blended, it adds a lovely creamy texture.”
Yes, you can freeze…
Eggs Crack an egg into a plastic container, lightly mix the yolk and white together, and add a pinch of salt or sugar per egg (depending on whether you’ll be using them for sweet or savoury dishes). Avocado Remove the skin and stone. Mash in a plastic container with one tablespoon of lemon juice per avocado. Cheese This works with hard cheeses only. Grate first, so it doesn’t go crumbly. Rice Cool freshly cooked rice quickly, ideally within an hour. Freeze in individual portions to avoid a block of frozen rice. Butter High fat content = perfect product to freeze. Keep in the original packaging – it works for margarine, too. Nuts Instead of letting them go soft, keep them in a Ziploc bag (either shelled or unshelled) in the freezer. Flour It does go off (wholewheat flour especially has a shorter shelf life) and can harbour mites if not stored properly. Transfer from the paper bag (which is too porous) into a Tupperware container or a Ziploc bag first, then freeze.
Beautiful young stars might be expected to come with glamorous trappings and elaborate demands, but Emma Roberts, 25, isn’t one of them. Standing at just 158cm, Emma is delicate, with wide brown eyes and thick brows. She laughs easily, talks fondly about her family and friends, and is surprisingly honest and vulnerable.
“Being an actress with the whole world commenting is hard at times. It starts to feel like nothing is yours and nothing is private,” she says, and although this observation is not rare in her world, she expands on it. “I love therapy,” she adds. “It’s great to have someone you can talk to who’s not your friend or family, and not worry about what they think about you.”
But if worrying about how she was perceived was once a big preoccupation, things are different now: “I’ve never felt more comfortable with myself since I turned 25. I feel like I’ve crossed the bridge into being a woman,” Emma says.
It was her aunt, Julia Roberts, who set Emma on her life’s journey – as a young child, she would sit spellbound on the set of Erin Brockovich, “and I would run and hide,” she recalls. “I’d hide in her makeup trailer and hear, ‘Where’s Emma? She has to go home!’ It felt like camp – just that feeling of creativity.”
She begged to be allowed to audition, and won a part in the 2001 movie Blow as the daughter of a drug smuggler’s wife, played by Penélope Cruz. At 13, she starred in Unfabulous, a series about a tween with a crush on a classmate.
At every step of her early career, Emma’s mother, Kelly Cunningham, warned her about the risks of choosing a career in acting too soon, and asked her to delay her ambitions.
Kelly was, for a time, the live-in girlfriend of actor Eric Roberts (Julia’s brother), who has had drug-abuse issues and run-ins with the law, and their bitter split included a custody battle for young Emma that Eric lost. And so, acting was more than a love; it was an escape, even if it didn’t always yield rewards. “I was devastated when I didn’t get the part of Wendy in Peter Pan. My mom said, ‘Maybe you should stop, be in school and focus on being a kid.’ And I said, ‘No! I want a shot at glory!’” Emma says.
She was serious about that. And also fortunate, as it was Kelly, she says, who “made sure that I had the most normal life possible” and who drove her “to any friend’s house I wanted to go”.
At 16, she starred in the movie Nancy Drew, and her career resumed its upward glide. Several small movies, including It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Palo Alto followed. But it was her splashy role as a witch-in-training in American Horror Story: Coven that brought a new level of fame. When the call came, she recalls that she was at home, “silently jumping around on the couches”.
Then, the media scrutiny began. In July 2013, the actress, who had become romantically attached to her American Horror Story co-star Evan Peters, was arrested for a domestic violence incident after someone in the hotel where she and Evan were staying called the police to inform them of a fight. Evan didn’t press charges, they released a statement calling it a “misunderstanding”, and the relationship resumed. Within months, Emma was wearing an engagement ring from Evan. Then, last June, they confirmed that they’d called it off.
When asked if he’s gone from her life, her response is brief, her expression wounded and withdrawn: “I don’t want to talk about that.” What she will say is this: that she replaced that diamond engagement ring with three other rings on her left hand that she bought for herself after “a breakup”. Buying them was an expression of something that her mother told her: “Always love yourself, and always know what you’re worth.”
Emma goes out of her way to defy the stereotype of the beautiful girl as mean girl, and she champions the defenceless. In real life, she’s the polar opposite of the deliciously nasty characters she’s played on Scream Queens and American Horror Story. Most heartfelt of all, she says, is her protectiveness of her 15-year-old sister Grace, who has never sought publicity, but has been scrutinised nonetheless. “I love her more than
“I’ve never felt more comfortable with myself since I turned 25. I feel like I’ve crossed the bridge into being a woman.”
“Always love yourself and always know what you’re worth.”
anything or anyone in the world,” she says. Then she explains how she was posting photos of the two of them celebrating during last year’s holiday season, when Grace stopped her cold. “She said, ‘Please don’t post that; people are calling me ugly on your Instagram.’”
Emma grows solemn thinking of this cruelty. “I’ve met some of the most beautiful people in the world, who have been some of the most awful people,” she says. It was this realisation, the idea that a young girl she loved was being judged on her looks, that contributed to her decision to appear in an ad campaign for the lingerie brand Aerie. Specifically, she posed for unretouched photographs wearing T-shirts, panties and bras.
“You can put yourself out there and not Photoshop or Facetune yourself,” she says. “It’s fine to say, ‘Oh, I looked bad in that picture, but the day was such a fun day.’ I also wanted to show people: yes, there is an Emma Roberts, but there is also an Emma!” Meaning: “Not red carpet, hair down, basically no makeup.”
Her breasts in the Aerie lingerie shots are the size nature made them. “I’m a small B,” she says. “I’m standing up for all of the small-busted girls!”
When asked what the future holds for her career, Emma lists options mixed with certainties. Later this year, she’ll appear with Dave Franco in Nerve, a film about social media and its fearsome manipulation of an innocent high school girl by an anonymous community of online watchers. She’s also talking about possibilities with director Gia Coppola.
But Emma’s ambition extends beyond acting. “I think as I get older, there might come a time when I want to be more behind the scenes; I would love to produce and maybe write,” she says. Creativity and behind-the-scenes power are worthy goals for anyone, particularly young women in Hollywood. Still, there’s poignancy in Emma’s reasoning.
“I thought about it a lot during Scream Queens, with the full makeup and hair and heels and minidresses every morning,” she says. “I thought, ‘I want to show up to work one day and not care what I look like.’ It would be nice to just slip away for a little bit.”
But slipping away isn’t her style. And it’s also not likely on the cards. Emma Roberts, even just Emma, as she puts it, is going to be with us for a long time.
“You can put yourself out there and not Photoshop or Facetune yourself.”