Chicken Livers in Plum Compote

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  January 29, 2015

Last we spoke I was treading the well-worn cobblestones of Berlin, Germany in freezing temperatures. Now I am writing to you from Buenos Aires, Argentina in 30°C/86°F schwitzing my little tuckus off.

Buenos Aires is the town to be in if you’re into Tango, antiques and all-night partying. Thankfully for me, there is a strong emergence of organic and vegetarian gastronomy headed by some very passionate people. There are several restaurants I noted that have rave reviews online, including one I absolutely fell in love with, called ‘Bio Solo Organico’ nestled on a corner in trendy Palermo. There I have had some of the best organic vegetarian food I have ever eaten, with the owner Alejandra very generously catering to my picky SCD habits without raising an eyebrow.

Getting organic ingredients is not easy here, and unless you are willing to go to Alejandra’s farm (only 800 km away) then you have to make do with the local but prolific fruit and vegetable markets. You can forget about obtaining coconut in any form, so I’m glad my trusty package of coconut flour has come with me all the way from icy Berlin (as said previously one simply cannot do without pancakes in the mornings).

Here is a list of dry ingredients I take all over the world with me:

  • Natural Gelatin
  • Coconut Flour
  • Packaged Creamed Coconut
  • I also package up a set of spices so I don’t have to buy them each time
    • Turmeric
    • Cinnamon
    • Cloves
    • Sea Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Bay Leaves
    • Everything else, like ginger, garlic etc I generally can find in any country fresh.

And because I’m obsessed with making lists, here is my love/not-so-love list of Buenos Aires:

  • Love the vegetarian restaurants, especially Bio Solo Organico.
  • Love the Mercado (Markets) de San Telmo – Antiques, fruit & veg, vintage fashion.
  • Love the curvy women in their leggings and platform shoes.
  • Love the mixture of Parisian architecture supplemented by the Spanish wall gardens.
  • Love the roof top garden patios and the luscious tree lined streets.
  • Love the all-night Tango, which starts at 10 pm and doesn’t finish until the last heroic couple stumbles off the dance floor around 6 a.m.
  • Love the concern of the Buenosarian’s for our naive touristic welfare (to put your camera away otherwise it will get stolen, etc).

Don’t really hate anything too much; it is after all a country of vivid contrasts.

  • However I’m not so in love with nearly being robbed, but unfortunately it happens frequently (we managed to get away because an Argentinean couple watched over us). Big tip, if possible don’t act and look like a tourist, i.e. talking loudly in your native language, carrying cameras around your neck, sporting big dorky backpacks and don’t wear jewelry.
  • Don’t like the dog poop on the streets; yes managed to step knee deep into the mother load.

And in tune with those wonderful architectural, cultural and gastronomic contrasts I will give you a recipe inspired by the Argentineans love for anything organ meats, teamed with the best plums in the world.

Chicken Livers in Plum Compote

500 g organic chicken livers – deveined

2 tbsp olive oil/ghee

1 medium red onion – halved and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic - grated

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

6  plums – stone removed and halved and quartered

150 ml fresh orange juice

1 tbsp honey

1 bay leaf

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp chili

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of oil with the onions, garlic and ginger into a medium heavy bottomed pot and sauté until onions have become soft and translucent.
  2. Add the plums and sauté for 5 minutes until plums begin to soften.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on a light simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes until the compote has thickened.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Pour the left over oil/ghee into a frying pan on heat on high.
  6. Sear the chicken livers for 3-5 minutes until they have browned.
  7. Add the plum compote and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately with mash.

Citrus infused Lima Bean & Carrot Mash

Serves 4

1 cup lima beans – soaked overnight

2 cup carrots – peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves - grated

3 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon – juice & rind

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place lima beans into a pot and cover with water and cook for up to 2 hours until they have softened.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Place carrots into a pot and cover with water and cook until soft.
  4. Drain and add to the lima beans with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Either mash by hand or place into a food processor and press until creamy and smooth.
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