When the kids or grandchildren are visited upon you (half-term is coming) it is sometimes taxing to think how to keep them amused. Popcorn is like magic and it gets them interested in cooking which, I think, is always a good thing. Un-popped popcorn, though looks dull and uninteresting, which is exactly why it’s like magic.
You need a large pan with a lid
Oil (high smoke point oil – Sunflower or vegetable but not olive oil )
For basic flavouring:
Salt or sugar
Or for grown up flavouring:
50gms of butter
Pinch of paprika
Sprig of rosemary
Scrunch of black pepper
Measure out enough popping corn to just cover the base of the pan (a couple of handfuls, no more!) then have it ready to add when the oil is hot.
Put enough oil in the pot to just cover the base of the pan. Heat on medium high until the oil starts to shimmer. Add the popping corn and immediately cover with the lid. When the explosions start (!) turn down the heat to medium and give the pan an occasional shake until they slow to around 1 per second. Remove from the heat (or the fire brigade may have to attend). Lift the lid. Voilà. Magic. Easy peasy.
Flavour with either salt or sugar, or…
Melt 50gms of butter. Bruise a large Sprig of rosemary by rubbing between your palms and add to the butter. Poach on low for a couple of minutes.
Salt your popcorn, give it a scrunch of black pepper and pour over the flavoured butter. Mix well. Sprinkle a good pinch of paprika (hot or sweet) from a height (or it might clump). Mix again. Dive in.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, the flavour options are myriad. Maple and bacon, salted caramel, sticky toffee…the sweeter ones though need to cool, spread out on parchment paper. Finely grated cheddar is nice.
Oh my goodness – so easy, so cheap, so delish and really great with a G’n’t after the bambinos have gone! You deserve it!