I worry about what has happened to our beloved Bondi.

This iconic curve of Sydney sand has changed since we’ve been gone. Some for the better; the most recent advent of Gelato Messina and Sensory Lab coffee down the previously dead end of Hall Street is a boon.

But the hipsters. Oh; the hipsters, I lament. You can’t meander down to the water’s edge without winding and wedging your way past throngs of  mid-twenty-year-old bemoaning how hard it is to afford rent on neighbouring Blair street on the stipend they get from their stockbroker parents- all the while cleaning their thick rimmed glasses, wiping the residue of last night’s party from the tip of their nose and sipping on a $11 juice of kale, chia and coconut water.

The Bondi Hipsters satire, made a few years ago now is no longer cutting edge and mildly cruel. It’s just… common.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR4n6OVoyYQ&feature=player_detailpage

This most stunning part of Sydney has always been the domain of the young and the beautiful. Of the privileged and the occasionally painful. It’s just that now as well as sipping novelty hued cocktails, they consume a lot of kale and quinoa and talk, ad nauseum about their relative merits.

These kids may be trying to be around; but they’re also onto something.

After an afternoon tumbling around in the salty sea; this  braise- inspired by the very hipsters that have begun to grate- is exactly the kind of warming fug of a dish you want to curl up with back at home. It takes all of the nurturing aspects of the roast chicken dinner your mum once made you, but you’re now too busy to go and eat on a Sunday and nestles them in a bowl. There’s the back notes of herbs- rosemary, thyme and bay and the soft salinity of chicken stock. The shredded kale cooks in a few seconds, adding a vibrant, kelpish quality. The lemon zest keeps it clean and the quinoa adds bulk without bloat (though do rinse your quinoa first before adding it to the stock).

You could easily poach your chicken breasts in the stock with the quinoa- but if you’re feeling lazy then just shred 250 grams of cooked chicken (organic- of course…)  and fold it through at the end to warm through.

It’s sustaining and satisfying.  It’s annoyingly good. I like to serve it with a good grinding of black pepper, a wedge of lemon and a hearty dose of irony.

Chicken, Kale and Quinoa Braise (aka a Hipster Stew)

Serves 2 very hungry ones

Shopping/foraging

1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp picked rosemary leaves
1 tbsp picked thyme leaves
1 tbsp picked oregano leaves
1 lemon, half zested, the other half cut into wedges
1 red onion, peeled and cut into rough chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 cups of chicken stock
1 small bunch of kale, shredded (100 g)
250 g of cooked chicken, shredded
Black pepper to taste
handful of pepitas/pumpkin seeds to serve

Here’s how we roll

1) To make the flavour base whizz together the picked herbs and lemon zest in a small blender.

2) Add the garlic clove and the chunks of red onion. Pulse until you have a smooth, herby slurry.

3) Add the tbsp of olive oil to the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add the herby slurry and sautee for 2-3 minutes, to help remove the raw onion taste.

4) Add the bay leaf, quinoa and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes with the lid on, until the quinoa has cooked through.

5) Fold through the shredded kale and chicken and continue stirring over a medium heat to soften the kale and warm the chicken. You should have a droopy braise- though if you want more of a soup, feel free to add some more hot chicken stock.

6) Portion into bowls and serve with pumpkin seeds for crunch, an aggressive amount of black pepper  and a wedge of lemon.