Jazzed-up cous cous
I don't know why people don't eat more cous cous. It's so brilliantly quick and easy to cook (cooking is an overstatement of the skill level involved here. If you can boil water, you can make cous cous. You have to love that in a dish) and it goes with so many things.
Yes, it's an obvious choice to suck up the juice from a tagine but it also works beautifully with spice-rubbed lamb cutlets or chicken breasts, even fish. Drizzle on some garlicky or harissa-laced yoghurt and your midweek dinner has suddenly been cranked up several notches.
Plain cous cous with butter is deliciously wheaty and comforting, especially if it's been cooked in stock, but there are so many great things you stir through your cooked cous cous - you're bound to have a couple in your pantry or in the fridge.
1 cup instant cous cous
1 cup water or chicken stock (preferable)
0.5 tsp salt
1-2 tbs olive oil or butter
Any or all of: chopped coriander, parsley or mint, finely chopped chilli, diced preserved lemon or grated lemon zest, toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts, shelled pistachios, ground spices (try a quarter of a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and cumin), finely sliced spring onion. dried currants or diced apricots.
Bring the stock or water to the boil in a saucepan with the salt and olive oil or butter. Stir through the cous cous and cover with a lid. Wait for 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork to get rid of any lumps.
Stir through whatever herbs, nuts, fruit, spices and flavourings you have to hand - pistachios, lemon zest, chilli and mint, apricots, toasted almonds, coriander and cinnamon, currants, pine nuts and parsley - whatever combination you come up with, it's going to look colourful and taste great.
Serve warm or at room temperature with tagines and grilled meats or throw in a few handfuls of salad greens and some diced feta or grilled haloumi and call it dinner.