Like many other small businesses, cake maker Mariska Schoeman's online store, Sweet Talk, evolved due to necessity during the hardships of Covid-19. Creativity set in and she came up with her idea of cake jars, which can be shipped nationwide, and the concept proved to be a hit with customers around the country. Now, Mariska's expanded the business to include her very first physical store in Auckland's Grey Lynn. "It has been a huge yet exciting journey for me. Going from creating cakes for friends and family to now finally opening the Sweet Talk store, I couldn't be more proud of how far we've come," she says. The new Sweet Talk store will offer a variety of delicious baking including cupcakes and the popular cake jars, as well as beautiful flower gift bundles and more. There will be a barista on site for customers to order fresh coffee along with their baking. In between her sweet creations, her young sons and a puppy, Mariska shares some of her kitchen insights with Be Well from her home in Sandringham...
My kitchen at home is... we live in a character villa that was last renovated in 2005. The previous owners built an extension to expand on the kitchen, lounge and dining to create an open plan layout. With two little boys in tow, this makes for a very lively kitchen!
To turn it into a dream kitchen, I would... villas are notorious for falling short in storage space so, if anything, I would change that. But with young children and a pup, I won't change anything until the boys are a bit older/less destructive.
The essential items you'd find in my fridge if it was pretty depleted are... milk, bread and a half bottle of rosé.
The pantry staples in my home are... pasta, couscous and rice. Dinner with young children is witching hour! Anything I can add a protein and vege to, to make a quick meal, becomes a staple.
My favourite ingredient to cook with is... a good-quality olive oil.
My go-to meal made in a hurry is... pasta with leftover veg, shredded chicken and a cream sauce.
If friends or family stopped by unannounced for dinner... my go-to is a quick leafy salad (I love using rocket and pinenuts), a sundried tomato couscous salad, roasted garlic butter beets and whatever protein I can find. I love colour on a plate. These side dishes work in any season and I'll usually have all of these on hand.
I most love to make... summer dishes with fruity flavours, fresh salads and barbecued or cured meats.
My drink of choice is... gin with lime juice, soda and mint, or a rosé.
A great restaurant I recently visited was... Tantalus on Waiheke and it was divine.
My most-used appliance in the kitchen is... the oven. A hands-off approach to cooking with minimal mess.
The kitchen gadget everyone should own is... not so much a gadget but a magnetic strip to store your sharp knives on is key to stop your knives from getting blunt.
My mantra for living well is... keep it simple and bring it back to basics - especially in such a fast-paced world.
For Mariska's Sour cream lemon syrup cake, click here.
Sweet Talk Store: 24 Virginia Avenue East, Eden Terrace Grey Lynn Auckland. Find out more at sweettalk.nz