Berry and chocolate mousse cheesecake

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Summer is made for cheesecakes, right? Those cool, creamy desserts are just the thing to wind down with on a balmy (or sticky!) summer’s evening. But let’s be honest, the last thing you want to do on a hot day is spend hours in the kitchen preparing dessert – and cheesecakes are time-consuming, right?

Well, not this one!

This delicious berry and chocolate mousse cheesecake is so easy you’ll be making it over and over again – regardless of the season. And while it’s packed with the beautiful flavour of summer berries, they don’t need to be in season (or even in the freezer) for you to make it.

Like all my favourite cheesecake recipe (head over to the recipe index to find more), this cheesecake is completely bakeless – that means no turning on the oven, no bake time and no concerns about your beautifully baked cheesecake cracking as it cools.

While the layered look of these cheesecake makes it look a little complicated, the chocolate mousse really is the easiest part – it’s all thanks to Chef de Can Chocolate Mousse! Seriously, why complicate things with homemade chocolate mousse when you have this light and creamy chocolate mousse made with fresh Waikato cream available at the push of a button?

The best part is, Chef de Can Chocolate Mousse tastes so good no one will ever know you didn’t make it yourself. Each 250g can makes a massive 1.3 litres of velvety chocolate mousse, so there’ll be plenty left to enjoy as a sneaky after dinner treat even once you’ve impressed your guests with this recipe. Perfect, huh?

So check out the recipe below and get baking – I’m sure you’ll love it!

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Berry and chocolate mousse cheesecake
Makes one 9 inch cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

  • 400g superwine biscuits (or similar)
  • 200g butter, melted

Filling

  • 300ml cream
  • 375g cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tsp gelatine
  • 3 Tbsp berry jam

Topping

Method

Base

  1. Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb. Add melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  2. Grease a 9 inch springform pan and cover base with approx. half of biscuit mixture. Press until firm.
  3. Scoop remaining biscuit mixture around the edges of the pan, pressing up the sides. Place in the fridge to set.

Filling

  1. Pour cream into a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, combine cream cheese and caster sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. In a glass, combine water and gelatine. Mix until gelatine has dissolved, then add to cream cheese mixture. Beat until well combined.
  4. Place jam in a small bowl and warm gently in microwave for 10 seconds until slightly runny. Add to cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined.
  5. Add cream and beat until well combined, being careful not to over mix it as you don’t want to push all the lightness from the cream out of the mixture.
  6. Pour cheesecake filling into prepared base and place in fridge to set for approx. 2 hours.

Topping

  1. When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from tin and place on cake stand or serving dish.
  2. Shake Chef de Can Chocolate Mousse well, then spray spirals of chocolate mousse onto cheesecake. Spirals should be high enough that they sit in line with the top of the base. Continue until entire cheesecake is covered.
  3. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to smooth the chocolate mousse over the top of the cheesecake until level. Add freeze-dried berries if desired. Serve immediately.

This post was made possible thanks to Tatua. All words, images and recipes are my own.

Ringing in 2017

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It may be a few weeks behind schedule, but High Tea with Dragons is officially back in action for the New Year – whoop!

As you may have seen over on my Facebook page, 2017 is a pretty big one for our little family – we’ll be welcoming a new (less furry) member of the family in June. We’re super excited, a little nervous and are trying to get the furbabies used to the idea of being a big brother and sister.

Hopefully that explains why things have been a little quieter around here over the past few months – it’s pretty hard motivating yourself to bake and blog when you can barely keep down a cracker! Thankfully, the rough first-trimester is well and truly behind us and we’re really enjoying the notoriously nice second-trimester.

After finally shaking the morning sickness in early January, we headed to Rarotonga on a babymoon to give ourselves a chance to really relax and enjoy some time together. We had such a beautiful week away and have arrived home rearing to go – albeit at a slightly slower pace then we’re used to (for me, at least).

Now that we’re back into the swing of normal life, I’ll be back on the blog sharing new recipes and ideas with you nice and often. In fact, keep an eye out later this week for a rather beautiful cheesecake recipe – I’m sure you’re going to want to try that one!

Lemon, Raspberry and elderberry layered jelly (+ WIN)

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When you think summer desserts, what comes to mind? If you’re anything like me you’re picturing something cool and refreshing that you don’t need to switch the oven on for!

That’s where these delicious layered jelly cups come in. Made using Hansells beautiful new Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry fruit syrup, these summery desserts are not only packed with a beautiful fruity, lightly tangy flavour, but they’re also an absolute breeze to make. All you need is four ingredients and a little time on your side.

If you’re not a big cordial drinker, then Hansells new range of All Natural Fruit Syrups are sure to change your mind – the flavours aren’t what you might expect! Think Mandarin, Lime and Bitters, Old Fashioned Lemonade with Key Lime Extract, Blackcurrant, Cranberry with a Hint of Basil, and (of course), Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry. Sounds delicious, right?

They’re so good that I just had to make the most of their beautiful flavours in a simple summer dessert – and because they’re concentrated, they’re perfect for giving the humble jelly an upmarket twist.

While I used Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry for my jelly cups, any of the new Hansells range would work beautifully – it all depends on what your favourite is. The fruit syrups are designed to be less sweet than other options and each bottle has a handy scale that shows you how sweet (or not!) each flavour is, making it easy for you to balance this dessert to suit your own tastes.

Grab the recipe for this simple dessert below – and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom on the post!

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Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry layered jelly
Serves four

Ingredients

Fruit syrup layers

  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatine
  • ¼ cup Hansells Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry All Natural Fruit Syrup

Creamy layers

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 5 tsp powdered gelatine

Method

  1. Combine boiling water and gelatine in a measuring cup and stir until gelatine has completely dissolved. Add Hansells Fruit Syrup and mix.
  2. Divide into small glasses, pouring around ¼ cup of liquid into each. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours or until set.
  3. Combine sweetened condensed milk and boiling water in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together cold water and gelatine. Stir until gelatine is dissolved. Add to condensed milk mixture and stir well.
  5. Pour 1 cup of condensed milk mixture into a measuring cup. Divide into prepared glasses, pouring approx. ¼ cup of liquid into each. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours or until set.
  6. Repeat steps above until you have the desired number of layers. Finish with fresh or freeze-dried berries to serve.

Recipe notes:

 

  • Leave remaining condensed milk mixture on the bench for additional layers. If mixture begins to set, simply warm over low heat until liquid again.
  • If using a glass that widens in the middle, you may need to double the recipe to ensure even layers.

giveaway_HTWD

Thanks to the team at Hansells I have a Hansells All Natural Fruit Syrups gift box to giveaway to two lucky readers! Each pack contains two of the gorgeous new flavours (Mandarin, Lime and Bitters and Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry ) and a fantastic mixer stick.

To enter, simply comment below and let me know which Hansells All Natural Fruit Syrup you’d most like to try this summer.

Entries close at 11.59pm Thursday 29 December and the winner will be drawn at random. Winner must make contact within 5 business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible thanks to Hansells. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

 

 

Easy cat cake

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Think cats couldn’t get any sweeter? Then think again. This super simple cat cake is an absolute breeze to make and is quite possibly one of the cutest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of baking. Seriously, just check out that cute little face!

Whether you have a cat-lovers birthday, fundraising morning tea or simply want to create a deliciously sweet ode to your favourite feline, you have to give this cake a try. The best part is the whole thing is entirely edible – and there’s not a piece of fondant in sight!

All you need to create a cat cake of your own is some buttercream icing, M&Ms, jellybeans and a little milk chocolate. Oh, and your favourite cake, of course! As a cat-mum to two gorgeous little ginger cats, I tinted my buttercream icing a pale orange colour – just colour it to suit the favourite feline in your life.

While some cakes can be a little cumbersome to decorate, this one really is a breeze – you’ll be done and dusted in less than 30 minutes! Want to know a trick to make it even faster? Bake your cakes ahead of time, wrap them tightly in cling-wrap and pop them in the freezer. Then simply unwrap and defrost on a wire rack when you’re ready to decorate. Simple, huh?

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While I sat down and enjoyed a slice (or two) of this pretty little creation I couldn’t leave Hunter and Sybil without – after all, slicing into a cake that looks surprisingly similar to them could look a little creepy in their eyes! So as I enjoyed some cat cake, the fur-babies were enjoying some decadence of their own – their favourite Fancy Feast varieties.

Fancy Feast’s handy single serve Inspirations range is a tried and true favourite – for both me and the cats! Not only is there no mess, but with flavours like sliced chicken in broth and tuna with courgette and wholegrain rice it’s easy to cater to both cats’ discerning tastebuds.

Find out how to create this cute little cake below and treat yourself (and your cat!) to a little indulgence.

 

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Easy cat cake

You will need

  • Your favourite cake recipe (this one’s my fav!)
  • One batch of buttercream icing, tinted your preferred colour
  • 1M ‘star’ decorating tip
  • 30g milk chocolate, melted
  • 2x M&Ms, for eyes
  • 1x pink jellybean, for nose

How to do it

  1. Level your cakes and sandwich together using your favourite filling, if required
  2. Scoop around ½ cup of buttercream icing onto your cake and spread until entire cake is coated in thin layer of icing (a crumb coat)
  3. Scoop remaining icing into a decorating bag fitted with a 1M tip. Starting at the top, pipe small star shapes in a circle around the edge of the cake. Work inwards until top of cake is fully iced.
  4. Continue piping stars around the sides of the cake, working in rings around the cake to keep the lines uniform. Continue until sides are fully iced.
  5. Lay baking paper on a tray or chopping board. Place melted chocolate into a small re-sealable bag and snip the corner. Pipe shapes for ears (x2), mouth (x1) and whiskers (x4) onto the baking paper. If you have chocolate remaining, pipe a few extra features just in case. Place in freezer for 5 minutes or until firm.
  6. Using a blunt knife, carefully lift chocolate features and place on top of iced cake, beginning with ears. Add M&Ms for eyes and jellybean nose before adding mouth and whiskers. Enjoy!

giveaway_HTWD

This giveaway has now closed. 

Thanks to the lovely team at Fancy Feast I have a $100 Animates voucher to give away to one lucky reader!

To be in to win, simply leave a comment below letting me know who you would make this simple cat cake for – and which cat you’d be using as inspiration. Bonus points if you upload a photo of your muse (or even your finished cat cake!)

Entries close at 11.59pm Thursday 15 December and the winner will be drawn at random on Friday 16 December. Winner must make contact within 3 business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible thanks to Fancy Feast. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.  

Berry shortbread ice cream sandwiches

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With less than a month to go before the summer holidays truly kick off, I have one thing on my mind – seriously delicious summery desserts. And what could be more summery than a cold and creamy ice cream sandwich?

These berry shortbread ice cream sandwiches are something a little bit special, right from the beautifully creamy ice cream centre through to the shortbread biscuits holding the whole thing together. There’s so much flavour in every single bite.

There’s a bit of a trick to making a truly dreamy ice cream sandwich, and it all comes down to one thing… you guessed it: the ice cream! Ice cream is (literally) at the heart of these delicious summer treats, so it’s important that you get it right. You want the best, after all!

That’s where Corner Dairy comes in. Corner Dairy is a range of delicious nostalgic ice cream flavours from the clever team at Kohu Road – and you know anything they create is going to be amazing! There are six delicious flavours in the range (think Malt Thickshake, Flat White, Chocolate Fudge, Hokey Pokey and Vanilla Bean), but these ice cream sandwiches are inspired by my favourite one – Berry Sundae.

 

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One taste of Corner Dairy’s Berry Sundae ice cream threw me right back to memories of enjoying a fresh berry ice cream at our local berry farm each summer – it’s beautifully creamy and packed with the amazing flavour of seasonal berries. So I decided to pay homage to that amazing berry flavour by sandwiching it between two ‘melt in your mouth’ berry shortbread biscuits.

While shortbread is a firm biscuit, that makes it ideal for ice cream sandwiches – not only does it make it easy to hold the ice cream sandwich together, but being a shortbread, each bite literally disappears in your mouth. Yip, both the biscuit and the ice cream just melt away in a burst of flavour. Amazing, right? Just remember: ice cream sandwiches are a notoriously messy treat, so they’re best enjoyed in the Kiwi sunshine.

So pick up a tub of your favourite Corner Dairy variety at selected New World, Fresh Choice and Pak N Save supermarkets (click here to find your nearest stockist) and get baking – I’m sure you’re going to love this recipe.

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Berry shortbread ice cream sandwiches

Shortbread recipe adapted from Chelsea Sugar

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup cornflour or arrowroot
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup freeze-dried raspberries
  • ¼ cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 30g white chocolate, melted (optional)
  • 1 tub Corner Dairy Berry Sundae ice cream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and icing sugar in a large bowl and beat until pale and creamy, scraping sides as required.
  3. Add cornflour (or arrowroot) and plain flour and mix until a dough forms. Add freeze-dried berries and mix until just combined.
  4. Scoop dough onto a lightly floured bench and roll into a log approx. 5cm in diameter. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into 1cm rounds and place on baking tray.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, drizzle with white chocolate if desired.
  6. When ready to serve, place one scoop of Corner Dairy Berry Sundae ice cream on a piece of shortbread. Place another on top and press firmly.

giveaway_HTWD

This giveaway has now closed. 

Want to win one of five Corner Dairy vouchers so you can try it for yourself?

Then simply leave a comment below letting me know which Corner Dairy flavour you would most like to try. It’s as easy as that!

Want a bonus entry? Then pop over to our Facebook page and let me know what dessert you would make with your favourite Corner Dairy flavour.

Entries close 11.59pm Friday 16 December. Winners will be drawn at random and must make contact within three business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be draw. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to NZ residents.

This post was made possible thanks to Corner Dairy. All words, images and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

Things you learn as a cat-mum

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There’s no denying that I am a self-confessed, over-the-top, doting cat-mum. Heading to the SPCA and welcoming not one, but two, fur babies into our family was without a doubt one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

As soon as you welcome a cat into your family, your world begins to change. Yip, there are the usual things you expect – the couch becomes slightly more crowded, any box left unsupervised will have a cat in it and they quickly become an important part of the family – but there are some other things that happen too.

The things you learn by being a cat-mum!

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Your cat has some weird quirks… which just help make it the cutest cat ever

Cats are big on personality! I know smoochy cats, chatty cats, aloof cats and cats like ours that think they’re people. But whatever type of cat you have, they’re bound to have a few unexpected quirks that just help make them even cuter. Take our cat, Hunter: he loves his cat cage! Any time we bring it out for a trip to the vets or the cattery, he springs right in and sits there ready to head off on the next adventure. If we leave it out, he’ll even curl up and go to sleep in it!

Forget selfies, your phone is full of one thing – cat pics!

90% of the photos on my phone are of our two cats, Hunter and Sybil. I’m sure it’s the same for any doting cat-mum – you just can’t help it, they’re just so darn cute! Whether they’re snoozing in a strange position, doing something a little bit cheeky or snuggly up on your knee, it’s always a good time to capture a cat-pic or two (hundred).

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You’ll buy them toys, but they’ll still choose a stick

When we first got cats, I always said they would have a few toys but nothing crazy – after all, who wants the house littered with cat toys? Two years later, dodging one of Hunter and Sybil’s two (yip, two!) cat tunnels and tidying away their many toys is just part of everyday life. And yet, even with so many toy options, we’ll still find them playing with sticks, boxes and paper bags… go figure!

Cats know the house rules – and love to break them

No cats on the bench. No cats on the table. Definitely no cats on the mantelpiece. Yeah, as you can see, these rules can be a little hard to enforce – especially when their cheekiness is actually really cute, so you have to get a photo first… you know, as evidence. Cats love to test the limits – and sprint off in a rush of adrenaline when you sharply tell them to get down!

 

Cats eat, sleep and play… so you have to get the food right!

Food is a big part of a cat’s life, so you’ve got to get it right – and cat-mums quickly learn that not all cat food is created equal. You want your cat to have the very best – the best nutrition and taste, right? That’s where Fancy Feast comes in.

Their single serve Inspirations range is a real winner in our house – for both me and the cats! Not only are they super easy to dish up (I hate getting cat meat on my hands or the bench!), but the cats absolutely devour it. Every. Single Night. Like all discerning cats, they each have their favourites – Sybil loves Fancy Feast’s sliced chicken in broth, while Hunter is all about the tuna with courgette and whole grain rice. So gourmet!

 

giveaway_HTWD

Thanks to the lovely team at Fancy Feast, I have a wonderful Fancy Feast Christmas Pack (worth $65) PLUS a $100 Animates voucher to giveaway to one lucky reader and their fur-baby!

To enter, simply comment below and let me know one thing you’ve learned since welcoming your feline friend into your family. Bonus points if you share a cat-pic too – let’s be honest, your phone is full of them!

Entries close at 11.59pm Sunday 11 December and the winner will be drawn at random on Monday 12 December. Winner must make contact within 3 business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Due to timings, Fancy Feast Christmas pack may be received after Christmas. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible thanks to Fancy Feast. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.  

White Christmas

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Christmas is just around the corner, which means now’s the time to start thinking about all the beautiful treats you’re going to bake this festive season. Seriously, it will be here before you know it!

One of my favourite things to whip up over the festive season is White Christmas. Not only is it one of the quickest things ever to make, but there are a hundred different twists you can take on it to tailor it to your own tastes – or those of the lucky people you gift it to!

But this particular White Christmas recipe is one of my absolute favourites – it’s just so festive! Think creamy white chocolate packed with chopped glacé cherries, blanched almonds, pistachios and a few rice bubbles for extra crunch. Good, right?

The trick when making something as simple as White Christmas is making sure that the ingredients you use are top quality – think about it, when there are only a few ingredients, you really need each one to pop! That’s where Tasti comes into the mix!

Tasti’s range of glacé cherries and nuts are my go-to each Christmas (and let’s be honest, anytime I bake with fruit and nuts throughout the year). You can always rely on their products to be top notch – plus they’re packaged in handy amounts to help make baking easy, with both grams and cup measures on every pack.

So grab the ingredients and get baking – I’m sure you’re going to love this recipe!

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White Christmas
Makes approx 28 pieces

Ingredients

  • 75g Tasti Red Glace Cherries, halved
  • 75g Tasti Green Glace Cherries, halved
  • 140g Tasti Blanched Almonds, broken
  • 140g Tasti Pistachios, broken
  • 2 cups rice bubbles
  • 500g white chocolate, broken
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20x30cm slice tin with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine glace cherries, nuts and rice bubbles. Stir gently until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Place chocolate in a large pot over very low heat. Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Add vanilla essence and stir until combined.
  4. Remove chocolate from heat and add dry ingredients (I left a handful in the bowl to scatter on top). Stir until well combined and scoop into prepared tin. Press evenly.
  5. Scatter with remaining dry ingredients (if desired). Place in fridge for 2 hours or until set. Slice using a warm knife.

giveaway_HTWD

Thanks to the lovely team at Tasti, I have a fab prize pack to give away to one lucky reader with a whole bunch of Tasti products!

To enter, simply comment below and let me know what your favourite thing to bake at Christmas is.

Entries close at 11.59pm Thursday 8 December and the winner will be drawn at random on Friday 9 December. Winner must make contact within 3 business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible with thanks to Tasti. All recipes, images and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

Simple spinach quiche

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The days are longer, brighter and warmer – which means summer is just around the corner! One of the best things about summer is having friends and family over for lazy get togethers to make the most of that beautiful summer weather.

But while the firing up the BBQ can get you through for a while, it’s always good to have a couple of quick, easy and delicious recipes on hand to help keep your menu looking fresh all summer long.

That’s where this delicious simple spinach quiche comes in. Made with plenty of (you guessed it) spinach, a handful of grated cheese and a creamy filling made with egg, milk and Best Foods Mayonnaise, this recipe is always on repeat at our place over summer.

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What I love about this recipe is that it’s packed with flavour without requiring lots of different ingredients – the spinach, onion, grated cheese and Best Foods Mayo with a Touch of Garlic really pack a punch. The beauty of using this mayo is that it serves two purposes – not only does it add a hint of garlic to the finished quiche, but because it’s made with real eggs, it also helps the finished quiche to stay beautifully creamy.

The best part is you can have all the key ingredients sitting in your freezer and pantry all summer long, ready to whip it together when you know guests are coming over. Like all good quiches, this recipe is great to make ahead – simply pop it in the fridge once baked and reheat or serve cold the next day. Easy!

So pop to your local supermarket and check out the new Best Foods Flavoured Mayonnaise range – there are four flavours (check them out below), so there are lots of ways for you to spice up your baking this summer!

  • A Touch of Garlic
  • A Spark of Chilli
  • A Pinch of Mustard
  • A Zing of Lemon

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Simple spinach quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ sheets pre-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 200g frozen spinach, thawed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Best Foods Mayonnaise with a Touch of Garlic
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated cheese, Edam or similar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease pie dish and lay pre-rolled pastry into dish, joining sheets as required. Trim excess. Place sheet of baking paper over pastry and fill with dry rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove rice and baking paper and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add thawed spinach and toss until well combined. Scoop into prepared base.
  3. In a small bowl, combine Best Foods Mayonnaise with a touch of Garlic and milk and whisk until combined. Add eggs and whisk until well combined. Pour over spinach mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Gently toss with a fork.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until set and lightly golden.

giveaway_HTWD

Thanks to the lovely team at Best Foods I have three delicious hampers to give away to three lucky readers!

Each hamper includes each of the four new mayo flavours, Best Foods Original and Lite Mayos and two Best Foods oven mitts. To be in to win, simply leave a comment below with which flavour you’d most like to try this summer.

Entries closed at 11.59pm Saturday 3 December and the winner will be drawn at random on Sunday 4 December. Winner must make contact within 3 business days or they will forfeit the prize a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible with thanks to Best Foods Mayonnaise. All recipes, images and opinions are my own.