Anyone living in Malta right now is very aware of the tension and turmoil that has torn through our once peaceful little island.

This is not a post about that. Because yesterday, for a little while I was able to forget about it all a bit.

I love Christmas and this is a special one because it’s the first with my daughter and I’m at home so I can really soak it in. Not that I am really feeling the Christmas spirit with the horrific news bulletins coming in daily and the nasty feeling I’m harboring in my heart.

But yesterday my mum came up with the idea of making Christmas logs at her house to get us into the Yuletide spirit.

My concept of a Christmas log was very different before I came to Malta. In Canada, a Christmas log is basically a large roly-poly covered in chocolate to resemble a large log that one puts in the fireplace. In Malta it’s a no-bake ensemble of morning coffee biscuits, nuts, cocoa, glacé cherries and candied peel and condensed milk to bind. Then you fashion it into a cylindrical shape and cover with chocolate.

So I trooped down to my parents’ house with my brother and sister in tow, baby in arms to make this concoction. When we walked into the kitchen, we found that my mum had bought three sets of ingredients, had three big bowls ready and was rearing to go. Mum announced ‘ok kids! I am the manager of this operation and you will do as I say!’

Fabby fun. I had a quick glance at the recipe, of which there was only one copy which was tightly gripped in my mother’s hand. 200g nuts…150g cocoa…

Me: shall I start weighing things out?

Mum: no! We shall use our eyes!

Me: erm, I’m not really good at that, it’s not usually how I prepare sweets…

Mum: No! EYES! No measuring! We use our eyes!

Oh dear. Well, here goes.

Now have you ever seen what log mix looks like in the beginning stages?

Terrible. It looks terrible. And condensed milk is disgusting. I had never seen condensed milk before…it’s like an extra gloopy custard. My brother drank some straight from the can. It smeared all over his beard. It was like a bird did it’s business on my brother’s face. My brother was completely unperturbed. He didn’t even bother to wipe it off. I’m sure some dripped into his mixture. Did I mention that this recipe is no bake? So all the bacteria does not get cooked away, it just sits there, festering.

Then we had to grab this mixture and form it into logs. That’s a lot of handling and none of us wore gloves. I have a huge aversion to such things. It is why I never eat coconut balls unless I make them myself. During this process my nurse imagination ran wild.

Because log mixture looks like poop. Chunky, brown, copious poop. Like what I find in an old lady’s nappy at work.

And of course I started to giggle because I’m very mature that way. Soon enough, the whole family was laughing because we made a right mess. Our hands were all brown, there were little bits of mixture all over the table and floor. Awful. And my logs looked like turds.

The thing is, since we all ‘eye-balled’ it, we ended up with very different mixtures. My brother decided to make one huge log. It was completely misshapen. My mum’s turned out perfect.

My dad poked his head around the door, got a look at the scenario and shouted out ‘OH GODDDDDDD!! I’M NOT CLEANING THAT! YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT! DON’T BLOCK THE SINK WITH THE NUTS! OH GODDDDDD!’

Yeah, he’s got a flair for the dramatic.

Well, here’s the finished product and I must say, the result isn’t half bad.

Kind of like a weird chocolate bar.

Best wishes for the Christmas season. And remember to get a laugh when the opportunity arises. It’s important.