Last week in Brunswick a friend and I were looking for a cheap place to eat. We didn’t have to go far to find the AI Bakery at 643 – 645 Sydney Road, Brunswick. This down to earth little place serves up Lebanese pizzas and other dishes, starting at $3.00 each. You can choose from the tangy meat pizza, the cheese pie (a bit like an Italian calzone) or the cheese and spinach pizza. Whatever you choose, two people can dine quite well for under $15.00.
For those who don’t live near such a wonderful place as AI, it is pretty easy to make something like them at home. My version are a bit of a cross between a Lebanese pizza and a Turkish pide.
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup semolina
1 sachet dried yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tbs oil
enough warm water to form a dough
For the cheese and spinach topping:
grated haloumi cheese (150-200g makes about 3 or 4)
3 cups washed spinach leaves (finely chopped)
2 tbs finely sliced spring onions
freshly ground black pepper
For the meat pizza:
500g lamb mince
1 large onion (roughly chopped)
1 tbs fresh mint (finely chopped)
1 tbs fresh coriander (finely chopped
2 tsp sumac
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
chilli flakes and lemon to serve
For the dough:
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add oil, then warm water in 1/2 cup amounts until it forms a firm dough. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes until smooth. Oil the bowl and place the dough, covered, in a warm place to rise for 1- 2 hours.
Place the meat, onion, herbs ans spices in a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste is formed.
Portion the dough into four pieces. Roll out on a floured board until quite thin (about 3 – 4 mm). Place on an oiled tray. Pre heat oven to 250c. For the meat pizza, press meat mixture in a thin layer onto the dough, sprinkle with chilli flakes. Fold over edges to form an open ‘pie’ (pictured). Bake in a hot oven for twenty mins. or until the dough is lightly browned. For the cheese pizza, cover the base with shredded spinach, spring onions and herbs. Sprinkle generously with haloumi cheese, sprinkle with sumac and chilli flakes. Bake in a hot oven for twenty mins. or until lightly browned. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and some yoghurt (if desired).