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Take Six (December 18, 2003)


Oh, my. The holidays are upon us. Father Time is running marathons – where does it go? We've got to do something special for the big dinner, but everything takes too long...

Wait, what's this? Six ingredients to make a spectacular dish? Oh, Santa Claus does exist, and his name is Conrad Gallagher. Not the North Pole, but Ireland has given us this Michelin-starred chef who continues to dazzle on both sides of the pond. His new cookbook, Take 6 Ingredients: Simple Ideas Make Delicious Meals, appeals to the time-challenged gourmet and everyone else who simply adores spectacular, fuss-free meals.

We love goose, but hey, it's an all-day procedure. So this year we're dong Gallagher's Roasted Goose Breast with Pineapple, Chilli and Buttermilk, and seasonal greens on the side.

Perhaps for New Year's Eve the Pan-Fried Beef Fillet with Fried Quail Egg and Foie Gras Butter with Truffle? And why not? It will surely match the best champagne, and we can move straight into the little Hot Chocolate Fondants.

Magic? No, just six ingredients in each of these recipes. Yes, some are costly, some a bit more exotic, but we promise that none of these dishes are overly complicated, and perhaps best, they're certainly not too time consuming.

Which means we're treating ourselves, not only to a couple of divine meals, but to a few extra hours all our own!

Happy Holidays to all.

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (59 KB)


Roasted Goose Breast with Pineapple, Chilli and Buttermilk

The depth of flavour in this dish is fantastic, especially when you consider that it only has six ingredients, period. Goose is a seasonal bird, but worth the wait. A 10-pound (4.5 kg) bird is a good size for this recipe, and think of the confit you can make with the rest of the fowl! Ho Ho Ho.

Serves 4

  • 4 goose breast fillets
  • 4 Tbsp wild honey (50 mL)
  • 1 small baby pineapple or 2 cups frozen (500 mL)
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (15 mL)
  • 1 (British) pint buttermilk (600 mL)

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Heat a large frying pan. Add the goose breasts, skin-side down and allow the fat to render down, draining any excess into a bowl. Continue this process for 3–5 minutes until the skin is golden brown.

Remove the goose breasts from the pan and transfer to a wire rack that is set in a roasting tin. Brush each breast with the honey, then roast for 5–7 minutes or until medium rare. Leave to rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes, then pour away all the excess fat from the roasting tin.

To prepare the pineapple, cut off the leaf crown and bottom so that it sits flat. Using a sharp knife, remove the skin by cutting down the length of the fruit, then cut the flesh into wedges lengthwise, remove the core and cut into thin slices.

Arrange the pineapple slices in a layer in the roasting tin with the sediment from the fat. Place the goose breasts ton top and sprinkle over the chilies and sage. Pour around the buttermilk, cover the tin with foil, making a small incision in the top to allow the steam to escape and bake for another 3–5 minutes or until the goose breasts are completely tender. Make sure you have removed all the goose fat from the tin, otherwise the buttermilk may split. Remove the foil and bring the dish straight to the table. Serve on warmed serving plates with plenty of creamed potatoes, if liked.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A medium- to full-bodied white wine with good fruit and some residual sweetness – Viognier from the Rhone or Pays d'Oc, Alsace Pinot Gris or Riesling Spätlese from the Rheingau.


Pan-fried Beef Fillet with Fried Quail Egg and Foie Gras Butter with Truffle

You know how much we love foie gras. It's the king of foods, period. Now add it to butter, serve the combo over the tenderest piece of fillet, and then gild this lily with a quail egg. Six ingredients? Only six? Yes, and the best is that aside from chilling the butter, it cooks in about that amount of time. This ain't just steak 'n eggs, folks!

Serves 4

  • 12 oz. foie gras (350 g)
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter at room temperature (50 g)
  • 1 oz. black truffle shavings (25 g)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (50 mL)
  • 4× 6 oz. beef fillet steaks (4×175 g)
  • 8 quail eggs

Trim the foil gras; you'll need about 1 oz (25 g) to flour the butter, then cut the rest into four even-sized slices. Place the foie gras trimmings in a bowl with the butter and half of the truffle shavings. Mix until well combined, then make into a cylinder shape that is about 2 inches (5 cm) long before rolling in the remaining truffle shavings. Place on a small plate, cover loosely with cling film and chill until ready to use.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan until hot. Add two tablespoons of the olive oil and then add the steaks. Cook gently for a couple of minutes on each side (a bit longer if you don't like your meat so rare). Remove from the heat and leave to rest in a warm place for a few minutes.

Heat a separate large frying pan. Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and carefully break in the quail eggs. Cook for 30 seconds or so, basting with the olive oil as you go. Season to taste.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Season the slices of foie gras. Add to the pan and sear for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side until just tender and caramelized.

Remove the butter form the fridge and cut it into four even-sized discs. Place a steak in the middle of each warmed wide-rimmed bowl and place a disc of the foie gras butter on top. Garnish with the fried quail eggs and serve immediately with chips and green beans, if liked.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A solid red with lots of fruit – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rôtie or California Zinfandel.


Hot Chocolate Fondants

Conrad told us that these can be made well in advance, as they improve if they have been allowed to rest for at least three hours before baking. Make an extra, as it's a good idea to "test" after cooking. The mixture should be still soft in the centre, but able to hold its own shape. If it begins to collapse at all, simply cook the remaining fondants for a few more minutes. Sigh...

Serves 6

  • 9 oz. unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (250 g)
  • 1¼ oz. cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting (30 g)
  • 9 oz. plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids) (250 g)
  • 4¾ oz plain flour (135 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 oz. castor sugar (200 g)

Grease 6×200 mL (7 fl. oz.) ovenproof moulds with a little butter and then dust with cocoa powder. Set aside. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Allow to melt and then gradually whisk in the butter. Set aside and allow to cool a little.

Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Whisk the eggs and sugar in another bowl until plate and fluffy, then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined. Finally, fold in the flour mixture and either pipe or spoon into the prepared moulds until each one is more than three-quarters full, gently tapping to remove any air bubbles. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours or up to five hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange the moulds on a baking sheet and bake for 12–14 minutes. Leave to rest for a minute or two, then invert each mould into the middle of a wide rimmed bowl and serve immediately with a spoonful of whipped cream and some warmed chocolate sauce, if liked.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
10 Year Old Tawny Port, LBV Port, Cream Sherry.


We wish to thank Whitecap Books for permission to publish material and photographs from Take 6 Ingredients: Simple Ideas Make Delicious Meals, by Conrad Gallagher. Text © Conrad Gallagher.

Photographs by Gus Filgate. Photographs © Gus Filgate.


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (59 KB)




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