I am a ridiculously obsessed Monty Python fan, as are most of the lasses in my closest group of friends. In fact, we are so obsessed that for a few years there, we would have conversations which consisted of nothing but Monty Python quotes, such as
“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!”
– John Cleese, ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’
It got to the point where we would all get together for a sleepover, borrow half the Monty Python videos in stock at Blockbuster then spend the night laughing and speaking along with the dialogue on the tapes. Obsessed much? Possibly 😉 Even though the comedy was from our parents generation, we appreciated it a lot more than the garbage we got courtesy of Jim Carrey and Rob Schneider. I’m not going to say that comedy is dead – we have ‘The Office’, ‘Black Books’ and ‘Red Dwarf’ from the UK (and yes, English humour is definetely my preferred flavour), and here in Australia we have ‘Thank God You’re Here!‘ and ‘Kath and Kim‘. However, despite these amazing shows which quite often have me in stitches, there is nothing that has me clutching my stomach and gasping for air like the old Monty Python reels. Now, there is talent! I am yet to see any other series or comedy troupe write such fast paced funny banter, seemlessly going from one sketch to another and treating their audience as somewhat intelligent. I won’t deny that they indulged in toilet humour, but they did it with originality and flair.
Even though the days of obsessed Monty Python watching are behind us now, it is still one of our great loves and is one of the things that we have in common. In fact, whilst we were shopping to have our picnic, we had the chance to taste and buy some Jarlsberg cheese and we exploded with excitement as we recalled the famous ‘Cheese Shop‘ sketch.
Where is this going, you ask?
Patience, gentle reader, I’m not leading you down the garden path but rather, just taking the scenic route to my destination.
Before this afternoon’s strawberry tart fiasco, I had spent a few hours making something that I have admittedly neglected for a few years – almond wafers. I first came across these a few years ago whilst browsing the bakery corner of the Queen Vic Markets, pale thin biscuits studded with paper thin slivers of almonds. I couldn’t resist and bought a small bag, then proceeded to a cafe where I sat down, ordered a coffee and bit into the first of what was to become many almond wafers.
Sweet, crisp, crunchy, bliss.
Since they are so small and thin, it’s hard to stop at just one!
I believe that these are perhaps just another kind of cantuccini (Tuscan almond biscuits), but unlike those big hefty logs, these are much daintier and look darling sitting in a glass jar – which can be done, as they can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month!
How does this tie in with Monty Python?
Whilst I was slicing these wafers from the logs, I recalled the restaurant sketch (the first image in this post) from ‘The Meaning of Life’ and grinning to myself as I replayed the sketch in my head. My brother, whom I introduced to Monty Python a few years back, saw my grin and what I was doing, arched his eyebrow and said in a terrible faux French accent – ‘wafer thin!’, which made me collapse into a heap of giggles. It’s amazing how memories become intertwined in your head, and how new moments can become part of that complex network of rememberances that hold us together.
So go on, give these a try and share them with someone you care about. Hopefully they’ll help you create another happy memory as they did with me 🙂
Almond Wafer Biscuits
275g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
450g plain (all-purpose flour)
150g whole almonds (blanched or not, the choice is yours)
1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Beat together the sugar, eggs and lemon rind till thick, creamy and pale, then add the flour and almonds and mix till well combined.
3. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead till smooth. Divide the mixture into 3 portions and shape each into a log about 20cm long and 4.5cm wide.
4. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 mins or till lightly coloured, firm to the touch and cooked through. Remove from the oven and completely cool down. Reduce oven temperature to 140 degrees C.
5. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally into 3mm thick slices. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins, or till they are golden and crisp.
6. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
7. Enjoy with a warm beverage that you can dunk these into 😉
[tags]comedy, monty python, almond wafers, almonds, biscuits[/tags]