Couscous is a wonderful alternative to plain rice or pasta - it's actually made of tiny little granules of steamed and dried durum wheat. Cooking it is very simple - you just need to cover with hot water or stock, either plain or mixed with herbs and spices, then leave it to sit until fluffy. To serve, you just need to fluff it up using a fork. Couscous is like a sponge - it's a little bland as it is, so usually it's served with a well-flavoured sauce, stew or curry or flavoured with a tangy dressing or crunchy veggies. We've got plenty of ways to jazz up couscous below, including a sweet couscous breakfast recipe and a recipe for couscous patties.

Couscous is very, very versatile. You can serve it in exactly the same way as you'd serve pasta, rice or potatoes, and you can use it to thicken sauces, stews and soups. It's low in fat and calories and it's very filling, too, making it a fantastic choice for dieters.

You can add flavour to couscous in two ways - add it to the stock you use to cover the couscous in, or once cooked, add it to a dressing to toss the couscous in. To cook couscous, make sure you cover it with at least an inch of hot stock or water, then cover the bowl with cling or a plate and then leave to sit until fluffy.