There is something about popcorn that brings a hunger out of people - not only a hunger to eat more but a hunger to get stuck in, make it and create new flavours for it. Me and R are just as enthusiastic and want to give you a pop-by-pop run down of how to make great popcorn yourself...
Pop-corn - I like to think of it as such because it is both pop-ular and because the famous (and I'm sure trademarked) saying 'once you pop you can't stop' adapts so well to this celebrated snack. I think the British obsession with homemade or gourmet popcorn stems from the fact we've been so used to stale cinema popcorn or artificially sweetened microwave popcorn. There is really no fuss or going back once you have made popcorn yourself, just remember something I (childishly) never do - that a little goes a long way.
You will need:
1 Tall pot with a tight fitting lid (ideally a stockpot or the biggest pot in your house)
500g Bag of popping corn (easily found at supermarket nowadays)
100ml Cooking oil
Seasonings of your choice
1. The first thing to do is to put your pot on high heat. You will want the pot to get super hot but not smoking, at which point you add the cooking oil.
2. Let the oil heat through for a few seconds and add 150g of popcorn kernels. This may not look a lot but trust me, it makes a lot of popcorn, R is forever chiding me for threatening to cook a whole bag at once - which I always do and to disastrous results.
3. After adding the kernels to the oil, quickly place the lid on top of the pan and with a dry, clean cloth to protect your hand, hold the lid firmly down over the pan. This keeps as much steam inside the pot - meaning faster heat generation for faster and more evenly popped corn.
4. Once you hear the first few pops - you cannot mistake them - turn the heat to medium and still holding the lid firmly over the pot, give the pot itself a little shake to mix the kernels up a bit. The lighter already popped kernels will always be less dense and rise to the top with a shake and so shaking a few times helps to pop all of the corn.
5. When the pops start to die down, take the pot of the heat and give a last shake to encourage any final kernels to pop. Remove the lid carefully avoiding the escaping steam and transfer the hot corn to a big enough container to shake it around in with your choice of seasonings.
If you have been keeping up with our blog we wrote a recipe for a great basic dry rub here which we love on our popcorn - that combination of salty, spicy and sweet. You could go for plain salt or salt and sugar, or even mix it up with your own crazy combos - writing this, I want to try thyme, rosemary and Parmesan corn!
Last kernel of information - We recently helped out at a supper club for Good Things Magazine (see above pics) where one of the canapés on the night was a smoked paprika popcorn as contributed by Spanish food company 'La Chinata'. We thought it was delicious and everyone we spoke to on the night was enthused to make their own popcorn at home and we suggest you do the same for your next movie night in! A.