When life gives you lemons it is easy to make Mojito and get a high. But what if life gives you flour, eggs, sugar and a 9-yo with the cutest puppy face eager to turn it into edible calories that are going to be pretty unforgiving on your waistline?

Introducing our little chef Monu – always sniffing about in the kitchen, mixing masalas, making a mental note of the aroma of the spices, telling me from the smell of the food whether it is sodium-rich or sugar-filled and coaxing me into baking each time her tummy growls for something yum.

So, if you were wondering why all baking needs shelves were empty each time you ran to the nearest Fair Price during lockdown or why Redman was forced into starting a brand new outlet (okay #Redman ought to pay me for this publicity) in Downtown East recently, now you know. Not a baker by birth or interest, I gave in to all her whims last year, when the world was going bonkers over Dalgona coffee and vegan bakes and gardening. After plenty of mortified attempts, the mother-daughter duo can finally claim some signature dishes that just don’t fail even when you bake blindfolded.

Our little baker keeps a diary, with hand written recipes, both her and mine. Although, you may need to pardon spellings which by the way follow logic, not rules of the English language. She is always around, wrapped in an apron, making sure all ingredients are in place and she loves to whisk and mix. Her verdict on the taste of the food is final. Need I brag she could be a chocolate connoisseur based on her liking for the quality of chocolate?

So yesterday afternoon was different. She got back from school with cake on mind. She calmed all my anxieties the minute she noticed arched eyebrows. It was the first time ever that she drew a Laxman Rekha and the kitchen closed doors to everyone over 10 years of age for the next 50 minutes. There she was, cracking eggs, beating butter, mixing sugar, whisking flour and finally, baking her maiden chocolate cake all by herself! If that wasn’t all, the chef even whipped up some cream, added her favourite turquoise colour to it and even frosted the cake all by herself.

Well did anyone say you can bake your cake and your sister will have it too?

P.S. Who hates messy kitchens when the chef in question is a 9-yo, full of gusto. I think I may have found my budhape ki ladki, oops lakdi. At least, I will have delicious food on the table. Goodbye 2-minute noodles. I have an in-house chef!