Step 1: The Main Components
The main ingredient is Bulgar wheat. This is cracked wheat which has been parboiled and re-dried. It has grains somewhere in size between couscous and rice and has a mild nutty taste. It's traditionally used in South-Eastern European and Middle Eastern cooking but can be bought in most supermarkets. In addition you will need a lemon, olive oil and apple juice; cloudy or clear is fine.
The 500g (1.1lb) bag shown makes enough to fill the large serving dish. Boil the Bulgar wheat in plenty of water with a vegetable stock cube and a little salt. I also add a touch of turmeric to give a bit more colour. Boil for around 10 minutes, but keep checking and drain as soon as the grains are soft. You don't want to overcook to a mulch.
Drain it well and leave to cool, then add apple juice and olive oil. Use about twice the amount of juice as oil, add a little at a time and mix in. Stop when the mixture just begins to bind slightly. Finely grate the rind off the lemon, then squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the wheat mixture.
Step 2: Flavour Bombs
There is no fixed recipe for this - It's one of those things where I add whatever I think is a good idea at the time. These should have different strong flavours - sweet, sour, hot and fruity. Each component should be cut into pieces, small enough to mix in easily but large enough for people to see and avoid if they want to.
This time I used pine nut kernels, sultanas, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, the grated lemon rind, hot pickled peppers, gherkin (dill pickle), root ginger, pumpkin seeds and caperberries. Previously I've used dates, chilli pepper, capers, dried apricots, cranberries and chorizo as well, but use your imagination here.
Ideally you should toast the pine nuts by putting a few at a time into a hot dry pan and continuously shaking them around until they're a light brown in places. This really brings out the nutty taste.
Step 3: Herbs For Extra Flavour
Herbs add even more flavour and variety to the mix. These were all picked fresh from the garden. I've used mint (normal and peppermint), chives, lemon balm, sage, rosemary, lavender, marjoram and coriander (cilantro). Two of those aren't usually thought of as kitchen herbs but they have a strong distinctive flavour and they're not poisonous, so why not! The herbs should be chopped roughly and mixed together.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
Mix the Bulgar wheat, the flavour bombs and the herbs together and ideally let it stand a couple of hours to cool fully and for the flavours meld together a bit. When the time comes to serve, put it into an attractive serving bowl and add a few leaves as a decoration.
Then all you have to do is . . . enjoy!