What to do, if you hear in 6 o’clock that in one hour, 8 people come by for drinks and dinner. That’s what happened to me yesterday! Luckily I have some fast and easy recipes that can fill many stomachs and make happy guests. This is the couscous recipe that saved me; I served kofte and grilled cauliflower next to it. Since the dinner was such a success, I decided to share the recipes with you. —Janneke Verheij
Cut the apricots in the same size as the raisins. Put the raisins and apricots in warm water and let them well up.
Put the couscous in a shallow bowl. Warm the chicken stock and add a pinch of saffron, poor it over the couscous, making sure everything is covered. The vegetable stock should only just come over the couscous. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic and put aside for about 10 minutes. Taste the couscous to check if it has the right texture. It should be dry but soft, not crunchy and definitely not soggy.
When you have the right texture, work it with a fork until there are no lumps in it anymore. Add the spices, the herbs, the sun flower seeds, the apricots and the raisins and mix well. That's it, enjoy!
Ras el-hanout is a mix of spices that is used across the Middle East and North Africa. If you can't find it in the shops, you can mix it together yourself. It includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, mace, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric. There are many variations that include other less known spices, but with this mixture you should be alright.