One of the aspects of modern life I find the most tedious is the occupation of ‘hipster-bashing’. It seems to be a bit of a lazy stick used by white, middle class people to beat other white, middle class people with; and sadly few really ever consider the term. The list of criteria that categorises a hipster varies from person to person, rendering it a fairly useless moniker. One of my friends called one of her friends a hipster because he had a beard and enjoyed craft beer. The mind reels at this outpouring of judgement based on such inconsequential details of a person’s life.
And it has gotten a little out of control. Take the recent anti-austerity protests, for example, where an angry mob targeted not Starbucks, McDonalds or, even, a Versace shop that had just opened around the corner as the object of their anti-capitalist rage; but an independent cafe selling cereal. Yes, everybody has a view on Cereal Killer. It is, perhaps to some, faintly ridiculous that there is a cafe selling bowls of cereal at £3.50 a pop when you can buy a whole box for half that price but, and I hate to be the one to break this, but that’s how restaurants work. Hence why a £6 bottle of wine from Sainsbury’s will set you back twenty quid in a restaurant. Regardless of this, it seems somewhat idiotic to target such a place when there are far worse offenders out there: ironic beards or no ironic beards. I’ve been there a couple of times and don’t remember feeling particularly offended by anything I found there.
Certain foods have also got caught up in this mania. Kale, much like avocado, has been tarnished with the hipster tag for some time; inspiring several memes where eaters are encouraged to ‘get over themselves’ in favour of something less fashionable; a bag of chips, for example. Whilst it is funny to watch foodies fall over themselves to praise the latest trend in gastronomy, it doesn’t need to necessarily be derided by the masses. Kale has been around for ages. Hailing from an Anglo-Irish background, I was energetically lectured about ‘how good it is for you,’ and have subsequently eaten a lot as an adult as a way to try and fend off colds, not die etc. This resurgence in its popularity means that there are new and inventive ways of enjoying it, and new recipes to try out, which my Irish grandmother, boiling it for half an hour in water, did not have access to. That can only be a good thing.
Ironically, she probably would have made potato cakes similar to these, but in the form of bubble and squeak. Again, I’ve enjoyed bubble and squeak all my life, but it was only when I moved to London ten years ago that I ever had it for breakfast. The crispy edges are the perfect contrast to soft egg yolk, and the creamy innards work so well smeared across a bit of sausage or crispy bacon.
This recipe uses a mixture of kale and spinach, but you can use any leafy greens you have. This is a perfect time of year to make them, as there are so many robust varieties available in the farmers markets. Serve them up with anything you like. At the risk of being labelled hipsters, we had ours with a couple of poached eggs and a hefty slick of Sriracha. Then posted them on Instagram.
Kale, Spinach and Spring Onion Potato Cakes
6 spring onions
A large handful of a mixture of kale and spinach, or whatever leafy greens you have
Sea salt and black pepper
375g leftover mashed potato
Cook the spring onions in boiling water until soft, about five minutes, then chop finely. In a medium bowl, combine the spring onions, leafy greens, eggs, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and mashed potato and mix until fully combined.
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Scoop balls of the potato mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula (I use the equivalent of about two tablespoons.) Cook for a couple of minutes until browned, then flip over to the other side.
Serve on a plate with poached eggs and hot sauce.
Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen