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Popcorn treats - Hannah Miles

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Author: Hannah Miles / Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd / Published: 8 Mar 2012

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      23.04.2013 23:20
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      A solid cookbook which makes popcorn more interesting than you

      Popcorn Treats is a book that I purchased on a whim from The Book People website as part of a larger order for £3.99. It has an RRP of £9.99 and is also available on Amazon for £6.98 at time of writing

      The book itself is not a conventional size, wider than it is tall with a loose leaf cover, which contains a blurb which overviews each section of the book.

      The pages themselves are good quality and glossy - meaning they are quite robust against any splishes and splashes from cooking.

      There is a brief introduction where Miles (a former Masterchef finalist) sets out her enthusiasm for popcorn and implores the reader to use the recipes within to experiment more with a cheap and , in most circles, overlooked foodstuff.

      To give you an impression of this book I will now give you some example recipes from each section of the book. Each recipe has a short introduction and a photograph of the finished article on the opposite page.

      Sweet: butter toffee popcorn, raspberry and white chocolate popcorn, vanilla popcorn (a favourite), honeycomb popcorn, coconut popcorn.

      Savoury: salt and pepper popcorn, paprika smoky bacon popcorn, chilli popcorn, Thai spiced popcorn (another favourite), popcorn nachos,

      Treats: popping popcorn crisp cakes, popcorn cookies, popcorn pie, popcorn cupcakes,

      Gourmet: cinnamon apple popcorn, salted caramel popcorn, black truffle popcorn, margarita popcorn;

      My verdict:

      I would of course be lying if I said that I thought that this was an 'essential' cookbook that every keen cook must have; and of course the key to its appeal does rely somewhat on how much you enjoy popcorn and want to experiment with it. However, to my mind it is well enough executed and has enough kitsch appeal to make it a successful cookbook.

      I have increasingly noticed when supermarket shopping that popcorn does seem to be becoming a bit of a new gourmet treat with lots of different flavours becoming available to buy rather than just the Butterkist style and microwave variety. I have had the 'skinny topcorn' range that is available in Waitrose recommended to me a couple of times, which maybe means that books of this type may increase in popularity - if so I really do not see that you can go far wrong with this one.

      The book itself is beautifully presented; the photography by Tara Fisher in particular is just gorgeous. It must have seemed like quite a feat to make a book of solely popcorn recipes not look incredibly dull (lets face it it's not the most visually appealing of foodstuffs) but somehow she manages it. In addition, obviously a lot of thought has gone into how the popcorn is presented - in jars, glasses, party bags etc, which gives the reader some ideas of how to present, particularly in a party setting. In particular, I think that if you were looking for different ideas for say a child's birthday party - this would certainly give you some.

      The recipe methods are well written, clear and most importantly do work but they do all refer to the pan-top method of preparing popcorn. I have an electric popcorn maker which pops the corn by air (a healthier option until you put the toppings on of course!) so I usually have to do a bit of amending to the recipe methods in order to make it work for me. As an extension of this, it is probably worth noting that, perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not a book chock-full of recipes for those people who are on a health kick - containing as it does copious amounts of sugar and butter!

      So, in conclusion, yes I recognise that this is a very niche book that is likely to have limited appeal. But I do have to say that I have used it a considerable amount, not just for movie nights in but as part of a light buffet when entertaining. I will be honest and say that I have had a number of people think it is a bit odd that I have put popcorn on the table alongside crisps and other more recognisable party foods, but I have to be honest, these people are normally won round and I don't tend to have any left at the end of the night. What's also great is that popping corn kernels are ridiculously cheap and quite accessible I have found, so to find a way to make these more versatile when on a budget has been a great find for me. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can get out of such a small amount of kernels. All in all, I really like this book and think it is well considered with some great ideas and would recommend it.

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