Festive pilaf

Wash two cups of Basmati rice at least three times, or until water stays clear, drain. Gently fry in butter or vegetable oil while adding 2 pieces of cinnamon and 3 cloves, 4 pods of black cardamom (if not available, use green one), two bay leaves.  
Add sufficiently hot water or chicken stock, salt to taste, a generous quantity of saffron (the exact amount depends on its quality) and salt, bring to boil, stir once, cover and simmer until done. Loosen grains very carefully with fork and let stand covered a few minutes before serving.  
Garnish with cashew nut halves and/or almonds fried lightly in butter, chopped pistachio nuts, pomegranate seeds.