Breakfast couscous with nuts, seeds & blueberries

Breakfast couscous with nuts, seeds & blueberries

New Feast
Alan Benson

Couscous lends itself surprisingly well to breakfast and you can make this alternative ‘cereal’ – which is a bit like a soft granola, chock-full of seeds, nuts and dried fruit – ahead of time, as it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. We’d suggest sprinkling on the nut praline at the last minute, though, for maximum crunch.


Quantity Ingredient
150ml water
150ml orange juice
1 tablespoon caster sugar
200g couscous
1 orange or lemon, zested
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
35g dried apricots, chopped to raisin size
35g golden raisins
35g currants
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
splash orange flower water
200g blueberries
your choice of hot or cold milk or buttermilk, with yoghurt or cream, to serve

Mixed nut praline

Quantity Ingredient
50g caster sugar
50ml water
20g hazelnuts
10g pine nuts
10g almond slivers
10g pistachio slivers


  1. To make the mixed nut praline, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Tilt and gently shake the pan from time to time to help the sugar dissolve evenly.

    The nut praline can be made in advance and stored in the freezer. Take it out around an hour before you want to eat.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, increase the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage (see note), which is 110°C on a candy thermometer.
  3. Add the hazelnuts, pine nuts and almonds to the syrup and stir well. Lower the heat and cook, stirring continuously, for around 2 minutes until the sugar crystallizes. Don’t panic! Keep everything moving around in the pan and the sugar will slowly redissolve to a liquid and begin to colour. At this stage, add the pistachio nuts. Stir over the heat for a further 4–5 minutes until the sugar is caramelized to a lovely golden brown. Tip out onto a tray lined with baking paper and spread the mixture out roughly. Leave to cool then bash to coarse crumbs with a rolling pin. Store in the freezer.
  4. To prepare the couscous, combine the water and orange juice in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the couscous with the orange zest and oil, using your fingers to rub in the oil as evenly as you can. Add the dried fruit and cinnamon, then pour in the hot syrup and stir everything together. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes, stirring with a fork from time to time to prevent the couscous from clumping together.
  6. When the couscous is cool, use your fingers to break down any small clumps and to ensure it is all flowing freely. Stir in the seeds, transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge.
  7. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before breakfast and spoon into cereal bowls. For each serving, stir in a few drops of flower water (don’t over do it) and top with blueberries and a tablespoon of the nut praline. Serve with hot milk on the side, or zap in the microwave and serve with a dollop of cold buttermilk, yoghurt or thick cream.


  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, the ‘thread’ stage is reached when a drop of syrup falls from a spoon in a long, unbroken thread.
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