My Birthday Glorified with “Saadeddin” Rocher Cake

I’m still enjoying the after-glory. ‘Of what’ you might ask. Well it was my birthday two days ago on 13th March. Birthdays are great reason to get pampered and to have guilt-free indulgence of everything rich and sweet. But I have been struggling to control my diet since a couple of weeks, told my folks that it’s okay I would gladly celebrate my birthday without a cake this year. And my brother, who is the most enthusiastic about anyone’s birthday, has even recently moved to another city so I was determined to go ‘cakeless’.

The very morning we received the delectable joy in a big green box sent for me. It was a surprise – Rocher Chocolate Cake by SAADEDDIN PASTRY – from my brother, Dany.
I wasn’t expecting it at all this time as my brother isn’t physically here, but the lad proved it otherwise. 😀

So the cake. It was heavenly (it has to be specially for all the chocolate-lovers) and although I’m not a big fan of anything too chocolaty, I loved it. The top layer was made of chocolate encrusted with Ferrero Rocher crunchy bits followed by second layer of airy mousse sitting on top of moist chocolate fudge. At the bottom, the cake was bordered with caramel frosting. Decorated on top with white chocolate triangle and straws, given a touch of royalty with few scattered tiny crunchy pearls made of chocolate as well!

The Irresistible Rocher Cake

The Irresistible Rocher Cake

To all those who are not aware; SAADEDDIN PASTRY is one of the finest high-end bakery in the Middle East, offering variety in everything you may want to satiate your ‘sweet tooth’ cravings with – from Arabic sweetmeat to Western delight. And not to forget: a wonderful collection of frozen treats! So if you happen to visit Saudi Arabia, it is worth the whim to try them out! And those like me who celebrate their birthdays with a SAADEDDIN cake, consider themselves lucky.. So huge thanks to my bro, which I have already given to him, but the whole world should see it too! =D

As for my diet-control, ahhh I’ll give it another shot. 😉

Flavorful Casserole Baked in a Toaster Oven

Hi ya all! It’s been a while I know.. my full-time work won’t let me be regular.. uhh..

Anyway, I want to share this awesome trick of using a toaster oven for baking. Yes, if you are like me – the idea of using gas oven intimidates you and you can’t accommodate another large appliance like electric oven at your home – then this one is for you!

It was one of those days when I was making red sauce pasta (my whole family LOVES that) when I got this sudden craving for having cheesy, crispy, slightly burnt Lasagna. Then I had this idea of trying out my toaster oven which I never tried for baking purpose before. I didn’t have the pasta sheets though that time but I knew I could make-do with things already available for pasta casserole and still have the wholesome-ness of Lasagna.

toaster casserole - groomandbloom.wordpress.com

So here are the following steps with which I made this toaster baked casserole:

I don’t usually go by the book, so I have no strict measurements. but I will still try my best to recall with proximity.

SAUCE

  • Fry until golden.. 5-6 garlic cloves (crushed) and the diced white part of green onion..  in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Add 3 tomatoes chopped, fry until they turn into a smooth puree
  • Add a little water according to the consistency requirement, just don’t make it too runny
  • Sprinkle in some dried oregano, basil and salt
  • I also finished it off with ready-made pasta sauce with artichokes
  • Top it with green onion  in the end

 

PASTA

  • Until the desired tenderness has been obtained, boil some pasta ( I prefer different shapes) along with few spaghetti strands (optional)
  • Add some salt and butter while it’s boiling
  • Strain

 

CASSEROLE

  • In a small casserole dish, make a layering with the following steps: sauce, pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and repeat
  • I like the last layering of cheese to be very dense
  • In a preheated toaster oven, let the casserole bake for 15 mins, you will see the topping has got the nice toasted look
  • Dash a little more mozzarella and bake for another 5 mins… this will melt the cheese but won’t completely toast it – gives a little “creamy color” which goes well in contrast with all the reds and golden
  • Before serving, garnish with some more dried oregano, a dash of paprika and some fresh thyme leaves

TIP

  • You can even include in bechamel sauce for a more creamy taste.. I didn’t have time to make that so I skipped it but would surely do it next time

 

It was really scrumptious with all the flavors of herbs blended in. I just wished it was a bigger dish so that my family could have it heartily.

Okay, one important thing I learned through my online research is that it is better you use ceramic or aluminium bakeware because I read some cases of glassware or Pyrex shattering in toaster oven!
Also, not all dishes can fit into the small capacity of toaster oven, so if you have this appliance then a bakeware dish that can fit into this oven is a MUST! There are so many easy dishes you can make with this little guy, I’m still exploring.

Have you tried using toaster oven for baking purpose?

Express Your Nails with Spring ’14 Fashion Colors!

nailcolors spring'14-groomandbloom.wordpress.com

I recently did a post on Fashion Colors for Fall/Winter ’13 in which I talked about how different fashion designers incorporated those lovely hues, but pages have been turned with the commencement of new year. So as the latest Pantone color report has been revealed, I thought of introducing the palette to you in a bit different way – by carefully selecting assorted brands of nail colors relative to Pantone Fashion Colors for Spring 2014.
Time to clear the decks and prepare your fingertips for taking a dip into the fun colors of springtide! Let’s have a look at the colors one by one:

  1. O2M Breathable Nail Enamel – 667 | INGLOT Cosmetics
    From the collection also known as “Halal” nail enamels which are permeable to water and oxygen, so can easily become favorites among the Muslim ladies. Close to Placid Blue, this calming blue echoes the solace of clear sky.
  2.  

  3. Agent Lavender | Chine Glaze
    Want to show your nails off in the romantic Violet Tulip? Then go for this soft bluish purple which reminds of freshly blossomed periwinkle flowers. Will look alluring on any complexion!
  4.  

  5. Mint Candy Apple | Essie
    Just like the nail polish label, Hemlock is the most yummy (and cutest) color of the bunch. This milky green looks like it is inspired from the visual blend of white and green seen in the ornamental flower clusters against their foliage during springtime.
  6.  

  7. DWS | Illamasqua
    This season there is a couple of neutral shades – one of them is Paloma which is similar to this cemented grey nail varnish. The power of this muted and modest shade is not to be underestimated! Because it can give your nails the elegance and sophistication they desire at times.
  8.  

  9. Sienna | Julep
    Another neutral shade of the season, Sand, is seen whispering through this dull and delicate gold nail varnish. Perfect if you want to go metallic in the spring!
  10.  

  11. Amchoor | NARS
    Freesia, the loudest of all, can be flaunted with this flashy vibrant yellow hue. If you are bold and enjoy the ‘limelight’ then go give your nails the splash of this yellow!
  12.  

  13. Are We There Yet? | OPI
    As friendly and easy-going as it looks, I had the most tough time looking for the nail color closest to Cayenne and this is what I found. This “perfect melon shade” is the RED of the season, which has coral tones spiced up.
  14.  

  15. Arizona | Zoya
    This one was the second hardest nail color to find! Cover your nails with some ‘juiciness’ of Celosia Orange with this fun tropical shade which is bright yet soft.
  16.  

  17. Molly Coddled | Butter LONDON
    And now, the ‘queen’ of 2014 color palette: Radiant Orchid! The most desirable of the purple – the sweetness of lilac combined with the magic of lavender – that “intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination”. You will fall in love with this.
  18.  

  19. Electric Blue | Dior
    Anyone can get bedazzled with this Dazzling Blue, specially if it’s adorned on your fingertips! For a nail color, this saturated strong blue is a must-have as it’s one-of-a-kind shade.

 

Hope you enjoyed this short kaleidoscopic roller-coaster =)
Pamper your nails and do get them to express most of these spring colors!

TRESemme 24 Hour Body Shampoo Review

I have been hearing a lot of nice things about TRESemme shampoo, so trusting the amazing reputation it has as a high-end salon brand, I got one for myself to try. The straightforward tagline under the brand name says it all: “USED BY PROFESSIONALS“. TRESemme 24 Hour Body Shampoo is what I picked since my hair these days look so fine and flat.

Tresemme 24 hr body shampoo

So these are the things boldly stated at the front of this impressive big fat sleek bottle that got me excited and had me anticipating my imminent acquisition of Amy Adams’s voluminous mane:

  • 24 Hour Body with Volume Control Complex

My expectation: Perfect! Now I won’t have to worry about my hair flattening out even by the next evening!

  • with Silk Protein 

My expectation:  Lovely! Silky bouncy lush hair! What more can one ask for from a hair product?!

  • for Fine Hair

My expectation: Yes, that’s me! Want my hair to get a lift. And so shall I!

  • Professional Quality

My expectation: Niiiice!! Envy-inducing hair, like i JUST stepped out of a hair salon… ALL THE TIME!!!! =)

At the back of the bottle, the details are as seen in the picture:

Tresemme details

My Experience:

Sadly (I know you were not hoping for this like me), the shampoo did anything BUT whatever it’s claimed above 😦
Even after drying them out completely after wash, my hair appeared so limp and kind of greasy near the scalp! It rather weighed down my hair EVEN more. Certainly did not look like I “just-left-the-salon” but it definitely seemed I did not step into the shower for days. That’s not it. From the midway till my tips there was little frizziness and found it hard detangling them with brush.

It’s not like it could be the weather as I tried using TRESemme 24 Hour Body Shampoo both during warm and cold climate. In fact, in between I even used other brands to see if something is wrong with my hair itself, but instead I got much better results with others. At least, with other brands my hair wouldn’t look so limp right after the wash.

The only plus I found was its scent which lasts even by the next day.

It’s such a shame that most of this big 900 ml bottle is going to go in waste.

My Verdict:

Big talk and no action. So much disappointment. So if you want a solution for your flat-thin hair then you would want to choose anything apart from TRESemme 24 Hour Body Shampoo.

Although, there are still many I have yet to try from TRESemme collection, maybe it is just this shampoo type that did not work for me.

Anyone with a similar experience? Or maybe a positive one? All of you are welcome to comment below 🙂