Lachmajou

This is very versatile dish from Cyprus: like a small pizza, topped with a fairly dry lamb, onion and parsley mixture, baked and then splashed with lemon juice and chilli oil. This makes about 14, which would serve two as a light lunch with a salad, or alongside other Middle-Eastern meze.

Ingredients

Base

25 g (1 oz) fresh yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

500 g (4 cups) bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

20 g (3/4 oz) butter, melted

Topping

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 red onion, chopped

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lean minced (ground) lamb

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

15 g (1/2 cup) chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

120 g (4 oz) tinned tomatoes, chopped οr puréed

Juice of 1 lemon, to serve

Chopped chillies in oil (see below recipe), to serve

Method

Base

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together.

Add the butter and 310 ml (1 1/4 cups) of hand-hot water.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for ten minutes.

Put back in the bowl and cover with a tea-towel or clingfilm and leave in a warm place for half-hour to rise.

Topping

Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft.

In a separate pan, dry fry the lamb, breaking up any clusters with a wooden spoon.. When it is cooked through, drain and add to the onions

Add the cinnamon and most of the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the tomato and combine.

Ρreheat your oven to 220ºC (42ºF/Gas 7).

 Κnock down the dough by punching out all the air to bring it back to its original size.

Divide the dough into 14 balls, keeping them covered so they don't dry out.

Οn a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough balls to 1-2 mm thick and about 12-15 cm (5-6 inches) in diameter.

Arrange on lightly floured baking trays and scatter more than a heaped tablespoon of topping over each, leaving a thin border around the edge.

Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil over each one and bake for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with lemon juice, a little chopped chilli in oil and the rest of the chopped parsley.

Cover any that you don't eat with foil. They can be heated quickly in a hot oven or eaten at room temperature.

Chillies in Olive Oil

Makes 1 large jar

About 40 fresh red chillies

Salt

375 ml (1 ½ cup) olive oil

A teaspoonful of this oil (and a bit of the chilli itself) can be drizzled on to pasta or over grilled meats and salads. The oil will initially be very hot, but as it  is used you can top it up with more olive oil and it will eventually lose some of its potency.

Cut the chillies into thin rounds of about 2 mm (about 1/16 inch) put them in a colander in the sink and tap the colander sharply on the side of the sink to remove as many of the seeds as you can. Sprinkle with salt and put a plate that fits inside your colander onto of the chillies to squash them and extract some of the juice. Set aside for about 24 hours.

Squeeze the chillies with your hands to drain away the excess salt and moisture and pack them into to a clean, sterilized jar. Cover them completely with olive oil. The oil will be ready in a couple of days but will be better in a couple of weeks. Add more olive oil if the chilli oil is too strong. Store in a cool place. The chillies must remain covered by the oil at all times.

Of course, if you're in a hurry, a few finely minced chillies left in some olive oil for half an hour works as well.