Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus, making the saffron liquid
Cooking time: 30 minutes
60g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
40g dried cranberries
3 handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 handful coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 handful tarragon leaves, finely chopped
2 handful of dill leaves, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
40g walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
2 tbsps pomegranate molasses
2 tbsps saffron liquid
1.5kg salmon scaled, butterflied and skin scored
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon or lime wedges, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and grease a baking pan with some butter.
2. Put the cranberries in a bowl and cover with water, then leave to soak for five minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
3. In a bowl, mix the herbs, garlic, drained barberries, walnuts, saffron liquid, 30g of butter and the pomegranate molasses to create a paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Rub the interior and exterior of the fish with some salt and stuff the fish with the butter and herb paste. Sew up the fish cavity using a needle and thread or secure with three or four wooden cocktail sticks.
5. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
6. Baste the fish with the butter and season with pepper.
7. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm measured at the thickest part of the fish), until the fish is tender, cooked through, crisp and golden.
8. Remove the fish from the oven and transfer it to a platter.
9. Drizzle with the cooking juices and serve with lemon wedges.
Makes 1 tbsp
10 saffron threads
1. Toast the saffron threads in a heavy pan over medium heat for 30 seconds until fragrant, shaking the pan often.
2. Transfer the saffron to a mortar and leave to cool for 1 to 2 minutes, before grinding to a powder.
3. Mix the ground saffron with 1 tbsp boiling water and set aside to infuse for at least an hour (until a rich orange hue appears). The colour and flavour will continue to develop for about 12 hours.
DID YOU KNOW? Pomegranates are seen as a symbol of fertility and research shows drinking its juice during pregnancy may prevent brain damage in babies.
Prep time: 45 minutes
80g flat-leaf parsley leaves (roughly 4 handfuls)
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
300g plum tomatoes, cut into 5mm cubes
2 small spring onions/scallions, very finely chopped
2 tsps fine bulgur wheat, (optional)
Crisp cos/romaine lettuce
1 head of cabbage
4 fresh vine leaves (optional)
1 tsp ground allspice
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsps high-quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pick out and discard any discoloured or imperfect parsley leaves, and discard any stalks, which would make the salad bitter. Wash the parsley well, then place in a salad spinner and spin several times until the leaves are completely dry. Alternatively, pat dry thoroughly on paper towels.
2. Bunch up small amounts of the parsley leaves at a time, keeping an extremely tight grip on them, then slice them very thinly (no thicker than 2mm) using a very sharp knife. Put in a salad bowl along with the mint, tomatoes and spring onions/scallions. If preparing for later, cover at this stage and set aside in the refrigerator.
3. Rinse the bulgur, if using, and drain well.
4. Separate the lettuce leaves and the cabbage leaves, and remove their central veins.
5. Arrange the lettuce, cabbage and vine leaves, if using, on a plate. When ready to serve, sprinkle the tabbouleh with the bulgur wheat, if using. Add the allspice, lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Use the various leaves to scoop up portions of the tabbouleh.
DID YOU KNOW? A Mediterranean diet is widely recommended for optimal fertility, as it’s rich in vegetable proteins. Bulgur wheat makes the perfect addition as it’s highly nutritious which is required when you’re trying to make a baby.
Wild Orchid Ice Cream in Filo Cups
Prep time: 40 minutes, plus freezing
Cooking time: 15 minutes
700ml whole milk
2 tsps cornflour/cornstarch
1 tsp mastic powder or about 2 small mastic tears ground using a pestle and mortar, or xanthan gum
175g caster sugar
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsps shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped, plus, extra for sprinkling
3 sheets of filo pastry
Dried edible rose petals, to decorate (optional)
1. Pour 350ml of the milk into a small mixing bowl, add the salep flour and mastic powder and stir to dissolve.
2. Place a large pan over a medium heat, add the remaining milk and the sugar and whisk well to dissolve. Bring the mixture to the boil, then gradually pour the salep and milk mixture into the hot milk as you continue to whisk vigorously, gently simmering the mixture over a low heat for five minutes. Make sure the mixture does not rise up in the pan and overflow.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the rosewater and pistachios. Transfer to a freezer-safe mixing bowl and leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.
4. Once the mixture has chilled, transfer to the freezer for 45 minutes, then remove and whisk well to break up all the ice crystals while incorporating as much air as possible to yield a creamier, fluffier end result. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove and repeat the process again, breaking up all the ice crystals that have developed.
5. Repeat two or three more times until completely frozen - this should take about 8 hours. You may find that your whisk can no longer do the job as the ice cream hardens, in which case a spatula is a good substitute.
6. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Remove the sheets of pastry from their packaging and cover with a damp dish towel.
7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and lightly brush six cups of a muffin pan with some of it. Brush one pastry sheet with more melted butter, add another layer on top, brush that one with butter and then repeat with the final layer. Slice the stack into six 15 x 13cm rectangles, then gently press these rectangles into the greased muffin pan, so that they form cup shapes.
8. Bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Lift the pastry cups out of the pan and leave to cool. Fill each cup with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios and dried rose petals, if you like.
DID YOU KNOW? Salep flour, which gives this ice cream its light and elastic consistency, is milled from the dried tubers of a species of wild orchid found in the Anatolian plateau. These tubers apparently resemble the testicles of a fox, and this gave the flour its name. It’s widely thought to be an aphrodisiac.