For basic couscous, place equal amounts of couscous and boiling water or stock in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes. Loosen the grains with a fork, season to taste and serve hot. For buttered couscous, add melted butter and 1 finely chopped, sautéed garlic clove. For herbed couscous, add a splash of olive oil, 1 chopped garlic clove and a handful each of freshly chopped coriander and fresh flat-leaf parsley. For Mediterranean couscous, add a handful of pitted and roughly chopped black olives, sundried tomatoes, shelled pistachios and a little olive oil.