Emer Roberts is a sculptor and jewellery designer who recently won the title of Best Jeweller at Showcase in Dublin’s RDS. Emer will officially launch her new jewellery collection alongside the designs of her sister Sinead Roberts of The Costume Room on April 6th at The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery. www.emerroberts.com/jewellery.
Where do you shop?
The aim is to buy Irish and fresh but when life is coming fast convenience wins over so much of the time it is in Tesco and Aldi.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
Linda McCartney sausages
Linda McCartney mince
Describe your typical breakfast
Porridge with honey and banana or avocado on toast. I have good intentions with lemon and hot water in the mornings but always come back to Lavazza coffee.
Describe your typical lunch
I’m always on the go ‒ physically and mentally. When I walk to town I’ll grab a sushi roll from Kokoro Sushi off Baggot Street. Working from home I’ll make a tuna, Emmental cheese, spring onion and mayo wrap or baby potatoes with as much spinach as I can fit in the pot with coconut oil, salt and the odd poached egg. Food is fuel for me so I like to cook food that isn’t time consuming. I do love greens.
Rice and vegetable stir fry, vegetarian spaghetti bolognese or fish pie. I don’t cook with cream or butter. For mash I use olive butter or olive oil with pasta ‒ spaghetti being my favourite.
When I know I have a day off, I take my time and enjoyably put in the effort. But my partner is great in the kitchen ‒ he is pretty spectacular with pasta dishes ‒ so a lot of the time he cooks.
Mixed nuts, avocados and bananas. Sometimes a fruit salad with soy yoghurt. I’m not a fussy eater or a calorie counter. I’m a fiend for water. I love 70 percent dark chocolate ‒ guiltless pleasure and full of magnesium they say!
Is there anything you won’t eat?
What would you cook to impress someone?
An Indian thali with lemon rice, dhal, saag paneer, aubergine and tomato curry. I love cauliflower with Indian spices.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Seafood chowder ‒ so much cream. The only place I’ve ever come across tomato-based chowder was years ago in Kilronan, Inis Mór on the Aran Islands. My favourite place and a memorable chowder.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
When I think of comfort food I think of hangovers and I haven’t had a hangover in over a year and a half thanks to the birth of my daughter Sadie who is now seven months old. Usually my go-to dish is mange tout, small broccoli florets and mushrooms thrown into a pan with spaghetti, olive oil, salt, lots of pepper and a sprinkle of cheese. This always sorts out a hangover. That and a glass of wine. Or three.
What is your favourite takeaway?
Kerala Kitchen ‒ authentic Indian food.
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
With a small baby comes the hurdle of the new body shape. Generally dieting or strenuous exercise have never been on my to-do list. I used to cycle a lot but now I enjoy walking. Working in jewellery has me sitting most of the time whereas with sculpture I’m up and actively moving around the studio.
What would be your Last Supper?
A dirty martini.
It’s really good to hear that Emer aims to buy fresh Irish produce as much as possible, but it’s understandable that convenience sometimes wins as many people are in the same position. Most Irish supermarkets sell a good range of fresh produce and many make organic fruit and vegetables available too. Generally, it’s better to buy seasonable produce as much as possible, as there tend to be fewer air miles involved.
Emer really seems to focus on eating a wholesome, largely plant-based diet and her shopping list features a wonderful range of colourful fruits and veggies, including plenty of greens. As most of us are aware by now, it’s really important to aim to eat a wide range of colourful foods each day as they contain a spectrum of protective antioxidants.
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidative damage to our cells by scavenging free radicals. Such damage is linked to accelerated ageing to our cells and organs. It is the same natural oxidative process that turns a chopped apple brown when left in the air.
Each type of antioxidant is thought to either prevent the chain reaction or stop it after it’s started. Mother Nature has cleverly provided thousands of different antioxidants in various amounts in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and legumes. The primary vitamin antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C. As the body cannot make these, it’s really important that they’re regularly supplied in the diet through a wide range of foods.
Emer’s breakfast is a filling and nutritious start to the day, containing energy-boosting carbs and plenty of fibre to help her stay full right up until lunchtime. Avocado on toast is an excellent choice as the healthy fats found in avocado take longer to digest and are incredibly satiating, as well as supporting brain, heart, joint, eye and skin health. If she’s eating porridge, I would suggest Emer adds a couple of tablespoons of chia, flax or hemp seeds for their essential omega-3 fats and amino acids.
For lunch, Emer opts for a healthy wrap, sushi or plenty of greens. I love to hear that she fills her body with so many whole plant foods, as current research suggests that a plant-rich diet can be effective for maintaining long-term health. Leafy greens are a really natural way to support your energy levels and I love to eat them with every meal for the most benefits.
Emer’s evening meal is another healthy and plant-packed dish, featuring veggies and a source of carbohydrate. If she’s having rice or pasta, my advice is to opt for brown or wholegrain versions to benefit from their higher levels of fibre and certain vitamins. Some people also find spelt or corn pasta lighter and easier to digest.
Emer’s diet is low in refined sugar, and I’m delighted to hear that she enjoys a high cocoa content dark chocolate, as it’s lower in sugar than milk and white versions. Her other favourite snacks include nuts, avocados and bananas. While good options, it’s important to watch portion sizes with even healthy sources of fat, as calories still add up if you’re trying to maintain a normal, healthy body weight. A handful of nuts or half an avocado a day are usually enough for a moderately active adult.
Emer has a really healthy attitude to meals and snacks, and enjoys the odd indulgence too. Her diet is packed with nutritious foods and is well balanced to support her energy levels and her body’s everyday nutrient requirements. Well done Emer.