Why Apricot and Almond Couscous?
My first memories of couscous were not promising. However it is these memories that made me realise that cooked with a little care and simple seasoning, couscous can be a fantastic cheap and tasty staple.
I remember being at camp in year 10, an all girls school out in the bush for 10 days having to fend for themselves.
Our staples were peanut butter (we had to have major ration patrol on this condiment), Vegemite, white bread, TVP (textured vegetable protein a tasteless creation to help maintain nutrients while fresh food is in lack of dehydrated vegetable protein), fresh vegetables, trail mix, water and couscous. Couscous became a regular menu item, often overcooked without any seasoning.
Typically I came to the rescue, cooking at this camp, as I refused to have anymore meals of wet, tasteless and mushy couscous.
With few options to choose from, cooking at camp was a little experimental. I mixed Vegemite with the tvp to give it depth and attempted satay vegetables by mixing dried herbs and spices with some of our treasured peanut butter.
I also learnt that with a little effort and delicate cooking, couscous could taste rather great.
This recipe is dead easy and is adapted from my school camping days.
1 1/2 cups dried couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g dried apricots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, squeezed
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted
Bring 1 1/2 cups salted water and olive oil to the boil. In a heatproof bowl mix together the couscous, apricots, onion and dried herbs.
Pour boiling water over couscous and toss with a fork. Cover with cling film and stand for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes use fork to mix and break up all of the grains.
Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and sprinkle with toasted almonds.