Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 2–3 minutes. Add the orange rind and juice and the cranberries and stir with a wooden spoon, taking care not to crush the fruit. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is translucent. Set aside.
Meanwhile cook the rice in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10–12 minutes until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the onion over a moderate heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat.
Stir the rice, herbs, spices and cranberry and orange mixture into the onions. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool before packing loosely into the neck of the turkey (see