Panini All’Olio

Soft Rolls

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Uncle Derrick (middle)

“Youth’s the season made for joys, love is then our duty.” John Gay, 1685 – 1732

Aunty Gina came to England in the late 1950’s, married Uncle Derrick and had two children, Nina and Carlo. I frequently stayed with them when Mum worked at night. And it was an absolute delight. I was spoilt.

Uncle Derrick would ask Carlo to “nip down to George’s” shop to get some quarter bags of sweets each: he returned with liquorice sticks, pineapple cubes, wine gums and rhubarb & custards. Into the evening, Uncle Derrick would put down his pipe, rub his hands and go into the kitchen. He would come out with cheese baps, smothered in butter and accompanied with pickled onions. We would all tuck in whilst we watched Terry and June.

And these deliciously soft rolls remind me of those delectable evenings. Pickle onions are optional.

Nina, Carlo and me
Panini all’Olio

Serves 10
510g (1lb 2oz) strong white flour plus extra for dusting * 1 tsp sea salt * 7g (¼oz) fast action dried yeast packet * 185ml (6 floz) fresh milk * 60ml (2 floz) olive oil * 90ml (3 floz) lukewarm water

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the salt, yeast, fresh milk, oil and the water. (Keep the yeast and salt separate from each other.) Mix together until all the ingredients are combined. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until it is smooth and silky. The dough will be sticky.Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil. Place the dough inside and brush the top with a little more oil. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour until it doubles in size. Brush a baking tray with oil.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and work each one, on a floured work surface, into a round-shaped roll. Put the rolls onto two baking trays, making sure there is enough space. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Place the baking trays into the middle of the oven and bake for 10 minutes until golden in colour. Serve warm.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.