Mark Hix recipes: Our chef transforms popcorn with the help of chilli, chicken and salmon

Never mind the cinema staple - Mark Hix transforms popcorn into a sophisticated snack

In all my many years of working in food, I've never actually made popcorn. It's not that I don't like it – it is simply that I never thought to. That all changed recently, when my friend, the chef Mitch Tonks, sent me a popcorn machine from thepopcornist.com. The site is run by Phil Edgerton, who is on a mission to convince us all that popcorn isn't just something to gorge on in a cinema. He's on to a good thing, and his recipes are both simple and sophisticated (a good combination, to my mind). Unlike others that try, he manages to put a new spin on popping corn.

Now I have my own machine, I've been having a little play around and have come up with some alternative concoctions, some of which use up leftovers. I'm certainly not going to be taking my own popcorn to the cinema, though, in case that's what you're thinking, or watching home movies with it and a pint of cola; oh no, this stuff is so good it's going straight on the menu as a bar snack. Just imagine, beef dripping and sea-salt popcorn served up with a Dirty Black Cow martini – absolutely lip-smackingly delicious.

Willie's chocolate popcorn

I've used Willie Harcourt-Cooze's 100% Venezuelan Black chocolate for this. It gives the popcorn a great intensity of flavour. If you can't get your hands on it, then use the highest percentage dark chocolate you can find.

20g popping corn kernels
2tsp icing sugar
2tsp good-quality cocoa powder
1tbsp grated 100% Venezuelan Black chocolate, or more if you wish

Put the popping corn, icing sugar and cocoa powder into the popcorn machine and wait for the kernels to pop. (Alternatively, put it all in a pan with a lid on, over a low heat.) Toss in the grated chocolate as soon as the popcorn comes out of the machine.

Chilli popcorn

Best to use dried chilli flakes for this. Use as much as you like – it all depends on how much of a chilli-fiend you are. I've added some sweet chilli sauce in here, too, which you can just spoon over at the end, once the popcorn is ready.

Hot stuff: Mark's chilli popcorn Hot stuff: Mark's chilli popcorn (Jason Lowe)
20g popping corn kernels
1tsp dried chilli flakes
A pinch of sweet paprika
1tsp Cornish chilli sea salt
2-3tsp chilli oil
Sweet chilli sauce to serve

Put the popcorn, chilli flakes, paprika, sea salt and chilli oil in the popcorn machine (or in a pan, as above), turn it on and wait. Serve drizzled with the chilli sauce.

Chicken and rosemary popcorn

This is a great way to use up the debris from a roast chicken. You use everything off the carcass, along with the cooking juices, fat and jelly. You can then use the bones for a stock, or soup, so nothing is wasted.

Mark's chicken and rosemary popcorn is a great way to use up the debris from a roast chicken Mark's chicken and rosemary popcorn is a great way to use up the debris from a roast chicken (Jason Lowe)
20g popping corn kernels
50-60g chicken skin
50-60ml chicken cooking juices from a recent roast
A couple of sprigs of rosemary
1-2tsp flaky sea salt
½tbsp rapeseed oil

Put the chicken skin and flesh on a baking tray, along with the rosemary.

Crisp them up under a medium-to-hot grill for 6-7 minutes, turning them all as they're cooking, until crisp.

Transfer to a chopping board, leave to cool a little, and then chop with a large chopping knife.

Put all of the ingredients into your popcorn machine (or in a pan; see first recipe), turn it on and wait till the kernels have popped. You can re-season if you wish.

Smoked salmon popcorn

If you are a smoked salmon lover and buy it whole and slice it yourself, you probably throw the skin away, or certainly your deli or fishmonger does. Well, in fact, the skin has a multitude of culinary uses: deep-fried salmon skin makes for a delicious snack, for a start. Crisp it up and add it to popcorn for a sophisticated home-movie treat.

I'm not one for smoked salt and all that palaver usually, but here it works wonderfully well.

Add smoked salmon skin to popcorn for a sophisticated home-movie treat Add smoked salmon skin to popcorn for a sophisticated home-movie treat (Jason Lowe)
20g popping corn kernels
100g or so of salmon skin
1tsp smoked Cornish sea salt
½tbsp rapeseed oil

Put the salmon skin on a tray and crisp it up under a medium-to-hot grill for 6-7 minutes, turning it as it's cooking. Transfer to a chopping board and leave to cool.

Chop the salmon up finely with a large chopping knife, then put all of the ingredients into the machine (or in a pan; see first recipe) and wait for it to do its work.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine