To me, this wonderfully moreish snack should not be limited to cinema excursions alone. My parents used to have an air popper machine which made perfect popcorn, but since I don't have one myself I thought I couldn't replicate this at home.
Of course I've bought the prepacked bags that you microwave for several minutes, but have always found them extremely stressful - memories of waiting by the microwave, listening for the slowing pops, trying to time the removal so you get the maximum amount of popped kernels whilst not letting the popped ones burn always put me off buying them. Also, these bags come pre-flavored, usually with loads of butter and salt which makes them incredibly unhealthy. So when I came across a bag of popping corn in the store a few weeks ago I thought I'd give it a go - and much to my delight it was so easy that I was disappointed I hadn't tried it before. It has never burned and I don't think I've seen one unpopped kernel in the bottom of the empty bowl! You'll need a largish sized pan that has a lid that fits tightly.
makes a very large bowl
100g popping corn
1 teaspoon oil (I use sunflower)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon spices* (I use cayenne pepper and cumin)
Put popping corn, oil and salt in a large saucepan. Put lid on pan and put over medium high heat (I consider this my largest gas ring, turned 3/4 of the way up). Shake the popcorn, oil and salt together over hob. Leave to heat up, shaking occasionally (every 30 seconds or so) to prevent burning. There will be a moment when you think it's not going to pop, but don't worry, it will, and it will be very exciting. Once it gets popping leave it til it slows down noticeably, then turn the heat off and let stand with the lid on for a minute or so to let any remaining kernels pop. Season with chosen spices.
*You can put pretty much whatever you like on the popcorn and there are numerous ideas on the web for some pretty crazy toppings. It will keep in an airtight container for a couple days before it starts to go stale, if it lasts that long!