In search of a quick post-work supper my natural instinct is to seek out the fast and the cheap. Unsurprisingly then I often find myself with a large bowl of dumplings at the Camy where the recent change in management has only brought good things. I then proceed to spend the money I have just saved at dinner on cocktails at that other Melbourne institution, Hairy Canary.
Pork dumplings in chilli oil
Good Evening Vietnam (passionfruit and vietnamese mint with vodka) and Lemon Cheesecake Martini
Although these are undeniably quintessential Melbourne dining experiences, some nights I find myself just wanting to be at home with the remote or a book in hand. My natural instinct on these evenings is to order takeaway but logic prevails. Even if you phone ahead it is still a good twenty minutes before the food is in your hands and longer still until it's on your table. If you can find somewhere that delivers more often than not you'll pay a ludicrous amount for an overly processed pizza and have the grease stained box to remind you in the morning. It just makes sense to make your own.
The Simplest Pizza
This will yield enough dough for two medium sized pizzas. I will leave it to you to determine how many servings that equates to in your household. The quantities can easily be doubled or halved. The only time consuming part is waiting for the dough to rise. Use it as an excuse for a long soak in the tub.
7g sachet dried yeast
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil plus extra
1 pinch caster sugar
1 pinch salt
Combine the sugar with 180ml lukewarm water. Add yeast and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes. If your yeast is working correctly it should be foamy.
While you wait, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and oil. Mix until a rough ball forms. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and lightly oil the surface. Place in a bowl covered with a damp tea towel for one hour or until doubled in size. The time varies with the weather.
Pre-heat your oven to 220C and place your pizza stone or tray in to pre-heat for 15 minutes to ensure a crispy finish.
When dough has risen divide in half and punch down the balls. Roll out as thinly as possible. It may be easier to do this between two sheets of baking paper. When the desired thickness is reached simply peel off the top sheet and transfer the bottom sheet onto the heated tray.
Brush base with olive oil and top as desired. Today I opted for a little tomato paste, olives and proscuitto topped with parmesan and mozzarella. A real fridge cleaning exercise in case you didn't guess. Any recipe that lets me do that is surely a keeper.