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Lipsmacking Backpacking

22 23 Cous cous, Water, Knob of butter or splodge of oil if there is some Cous Cous can be cooked in lots of ways in the oven, steamed or soaked the backpacker s way is to soak it. Bring some water, milk or a mix of both maybe an inch or so to the boil in your pot and drop in the butter or oil of you have it. Add slightly less cous cous than there is water. Take the pot off the heat. Cover and leave for about 10 15 minutes. You don t need to drain it, the cous cous should absorb all the water. If it s still a bit too hard, add a bit more boiling water. To liven things up, first fry other ingredients such as nuts, fruit or spices and then pour the water that is to be boiled on top of them. Raw, finely chopped carrots, raw mushrooms, raw peppers, raw thinly sliced onions, any edible herbs can also be added to the cous cous once it s cooked. Sultanas can be added into the boiling water at the same time as the cous cous to great effect. You might also like to try adding some fennel or caraway seeds to the water and then squeezing a lime over the cous cous just before serving. In Britain, maize only tends to be eaten as corn on the cob , there s nothing wrong with that it s delicious. Bright and yellow, people often do not realise that it comes in white as well, and is eaten all over the world. Ground down yellow maize is known in Italy as polenta, and in Africa white maize is known by many names including Ugali, Milli, Posho and even polenta. The flour is dry and powdery so your job, if you want to eat it, is to get some water absorbed. Note If you re in Italy or elsewhere in Europe, you might come across Polenta in a packet. It might be instant or slow cooking so the best thing is to follow the instructions on the box. In most of other parts of the world, you ll just get the flour in a plastic bag from a street vendor or farmer. A dollop of polenta or posho on the side of a plate makes a perfect accompaniment to vegetables or meat. You can give yourself a more fashionable supper by cutting a slice of polenta and putting it on the barbecue the charring from the great looks magnificent. Put it on your plate with lots of black pepper and then put whatever sauce you want on the top. You can also make a tower by putting one layer of polenta, one of meat or veg, another layer of polenta and then more meat or veg, pouring sauce over the whole thing and around the side of the plate. Water, Salt, Oil or butter optional, Finely chopped vegetables optional Bring a pot of salted water, about full to the boil. At this point add some oil or butter if you have it, so that you have a globule in the middle of the pan. Add finely chopped vegetables if you want to. Let this bubble and fizz away for another couple of minutes then slowly add, stirring all the time, the flour. The basic point is to stir it so that there are no lumps. The thickness of the Polentaposho will depend on how much water is in your pot, and how much flour you have added. You know that you have added enough when it is thick slowly bubbling like an erupting hot yellow or white mud bath. Be exceptionally careful not to get scalded. You need to leave it for about half an hour on a lower heat. You have to keep stirring it, otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. It is done when it s gets very thick, and has started to come away from the side of the pot. Spoon it out and serve. In Uganda, it s normally served thick and dry. To get this effect, just leave it on the heat for another five or so minutes you ll have a hard job stirring it so just try to keep the heat quite low so that the bottom doesn t burn. If you ve got leftovers which is highly likely as no one ever seems able to finish a plate of this stuff, slice it into pieces and pop it on the bbq for a few minutes either side it ll char nicely.
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