Couscous is extremely versatile and can be used for both savoury dishes and for sweet ones, such as this quickly made, delicious hot cereal. The couscous is mixed with dried fruit and soaked briefly in hot milk, then topped with fresh fruit, to create something a little different to start the day – a great alternative to porridge.
Instead of raisins and prunes, use other dried fruit such as ready-to-eat dried pears or peaches. * Use the finely grated zest of 1 small pink grapefruit or 1 lemon rather than orange zest. * Serve with extra semi-skimmed milk or low-fat plain yogurt rather than fromage frais. * Make sweet polenta, another delicious alternative to porridge. Heat 1 litre (1¾ pints) semi-skimmed milk in a saucepan until boiling. Gradually stir in 170 g (6 oz) instant polenta, then cook gently, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and all the milk has been absorbed. Fold in 85 g (3 oz) dried cranberries and 85 g (3 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots or figs. Sweeten the mixture with 2 tbsp clear honey and flavour with 1 tsp ground mixed spice or cinnamon. Serve hot, with sliced fresh oranges or with extra milk.
Fromage frais, a soft cheese originally from France, makes an excellent low-fat alternative to cream for topping this cereal. * Prunes have a lot to offer nutritionally, being a good source of fibre as well as providing several vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. They are known to have a laxative effect, so can be helpful in treating constipation.
B12 * B2, C, calcium, iron * A, B1, B6, niacin, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc