Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House; Valentine’s Day Biscuits!

Valentine’s Day Cookies!

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“The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you”
Brendan Behan

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As a treat to our guests we are leaving these delicious amenities in all our guest bedrooms to help celebrate St Valentine’s Day. They are such a tasty treat and are made from only three ingredients, four if you dip them in chocolate. Perfect to share with the one that you love.

Ingredients
50g sugar
100g butter
150g plain flour

To decorate;

50g of dark chocolate

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Method
Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a baking sheet with butter.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and bring the mixture together to form a very stiff dough.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly dusted surface until the mixture is 1/4 inch thick.
Use a love heart shaped cutter or whatever cutter you have to hand to cut. Lift carefully onto the greased baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the cookies are golden.
Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before decorating or simply eat them!

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Melt the 50g of dark chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water and once melted dip in each cookie so that half of the heart is coated.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you all and thanks for reading!

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Ariel House; Orange Butter Scones

Orange Butter Scones

……..when someone says they don’t enjoy scones, it generally means they’ve never had a good one…..

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Orange Butter Scones

When Jennie returned from her Ballymaloe course she brought with her a number of delicious recipes that she had tried and tested. These orange butter scones were one of the recipes and we recently rediscovered their deliciousness.

You can make the butter in advance and it is worthwhile making a double batch as it is so delicious! It would make a delicious filling for a queen cake or to simply sandwich a sponge together.

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For the orange butter you will need..

2 oranges, finely grated zest

85g of butter

100g of icing sugar

Method

Cream the butter with the grated zest, add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

To make the scone dough you will need; (makes 18)

900g plain white flour

175g butter

3 free range eggs, whisked lightly

Pinch of salt

50g caster sugar

3 heaped teaspoons of baking powder

450ml of milk

Egg wash

Granulated sugar for sprinkling

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Method

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour mixture.

Make a well in the centre and add the whisked eggs and milk to form a dough.

Turn onto a floured board before shaping into a rectangle about 3/4 of an inch high and about 14 x 9 inches.

Spread the orange butter over the surface of the dough before rolling up as you would a swiss roll.

Stamp out into scones using a small glass or cutter.

Place on a baking sheet before brushing with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for approximately 5 minutes at 250 degrees then turn down the heat to 230 degrees and bake for a further ten minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack before enjoying!

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Upside Down Cheesecake

Upside Down Cheesecake

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”

Henry James

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Our first afternoon teas of the season started this weekend. We were delighted to have a full dining room and lots of delicious treats to serve to our happy guests. We love the hustle and bustle that our afternoon teas bring to Ariel House. Our ovens are busy for hours preparing lots of delicious baked goods and ensuring that we have lots of fresh bread for our dainty sandwiches. The dining room is full of the sounds of animated conversations,the pouring of tea and the clink of spoons against our fine bone china tea cups. It is a lovely way to while away an afternoon and it is so encouraging to see people returning to us again and again.

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This week we are sharing with you a recipe for upside down cheesecake, it always is received well and it is so simple to make! The recipe makes 12 servings so is a good recipe to have if you are feeding a crowd.

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Ingredients

400g of cream cheese

50g of icing sugar

2 lemons, juice and rind

Splash of double cream

12 shortbread biscuits

Selection of fresh mixed berries

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Method

Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon juice, rind and a splash of double cream together.

Make sure it is well mixed and you are getting lots of air into the mixture.

Use 12 small glasses and scatter the berries at the base of each of these.

Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly between the glasses.

Crush the shortbread biscuits and sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.

Chill for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

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Serve as part of a mini dessert selection or for afternoon tea.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; A history lesson and a recipe!

Ariel House dublin guesthouse Ariel House is your perfect base for all you need to do around the city of Dublin. We are housed in three Victorian townhouses that have been lovingly renovated and updated to provide a tranquil and yet central retreat. The history of the main house dates back to 1850 when it was build for a wealthy merchant shipper. In 2002 the McKeown family took over the property, which has been running as a small hotel since the early 60’s. They’ve invested both time and money into reviving it – sourcing antique furniture to compliment the period of the house and restoring the original features such as the cornices, fireplaces and windows. The careful selection of fabrics, wallpapers and furniture enhances the architecture.

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There are thirty seven bedrooms at Ariel House ranging from standard rooms in our new wing at the back of the property to superior rooms and junior suites housed in the original buildings.

Ariel House Breakfast

Along with our award winning breakfast we also offer afternoon tea. The owner, Jennie McKeown, was trained at Ballymaloe Cooking School where she took a 12 week Professional Cookery Course, so the ethos of the school greatly influences our own food philosophy.

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The city centre is a good 25 minute walk from our guesthouse, however, public transportation such as the DART and buses are nearby. The airport is only half an hour in a cab and attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse is 15 minutes in a cab. Both the Aviva Stadium and RDS Stadium are about a five minute walk away and host both sporting and music events.

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The efforts of the McKeown family and indeed the entire staff of Ariel House is paying off. We have received numerous awards for our delicious breakfasts and our hospitality.

More information about Ariel House is on our main website or don’t hesitate to contact us directly with any other queries you may have.

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Cakes fit for a Queen!

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Queen Cakes are some of the simplest buns that you can make, perfect for beginner bakers or little hands to help with. Even better, these delicious treats take just a half an hour to conjure from start to finish. Such a pretty addition to any afternoon tea table!

Ingredients for 12 buns:

175g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g softened butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons of milk

Suggested Topping Ingredients:

100ml of raspberry jam

100ml of soft whipped cream

Icing sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Line a 12 hole bun tray with bun cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, if mixture starts to curdle, drop in a tablespoon of flour.

Add in the remaining flour and the milk.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill the paper cases and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Cool on a wire tray.

Once cooled, carefully cut a small slice from the top of each bun, cut this slice in half to resemble butterfly wings.

Pipe some cream and some jam on top before replacing the wings on the bun at a slight angle. Dust with icing sugar and voila, a memory of childhood awaits you!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Tray Bake

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Tray Bake

We love a tray bake here in Ariel House. It is a lovely way of serving seasonal fruit and is always easy to slice up and serve to a crowd. We tend to use the same cake mixture and then change the flavours by adding fruit, chocolate, nuts and sometimes even dollops of cheesecake mixture. It is a rare afternoon when we haven’t got a traybake to share with our guests in the drawing room. A cup of tea and a square goes a long way to restore our visitor’s energy levels after a stroll around our wonderful city. A tray bake is a great recipe to have in your repertoire. They are simple to prepare and bake, are fantastic for feeding a crowd and always go down well at school bake sales. These are our two favourite recipes, hope you enjoy! 

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Berry Tray Bake

Ingredients

225g self raising flour

175g softened butter

175g light brown sugar

1 tsp of baking powder

3 large eggs

2 tbsp of water

100g of summer berries

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Grease a baking or a roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment.

Measure all the cake ingredients (except for the berries) into a large bowl and beat until well blended.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Press the berries into the top of the mixture and press down lightly.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before slicing into squares.

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Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake

Ingredients

225g Irish creamery butter

225g soft brown sugar

285g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

2 tbsp milk

For the icing

85g Irish creamery butter

225g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp milk

2 tsp coffee essence (or strong instant coffee)

Walnut halves to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Grease a baking or a roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment.

Place all the sponge ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well mixed.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the cake is firm to touch but springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips.

Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the coffee icing; cream together the margarine with the icing sugar, milk, coffee essence until nice and smooth. Spread evenly over the cake using a palette knife, then decorate with the walnut halves and dust with a little icing sugar.

The cake can be cut into small squares of equal size, with one walnut half decorating each square.

 

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Ariel House; Irish Soda Bread with a twist….

Irish soda bread with a twist….

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Welcome back to our blog after our annual festive break. Our kitchen has reopened and our ovens fired up for what is set to be another busy year here in Ariel House.

We make soda bread every day in our kitchen. It is such a traditional Irish bread to make and because baking soda is used as a leavening agent  you can make it and eat a round of soda bread within an hour! The joy of eating fresh soda bread, slathered in real Irish butter straight from the oven is immense. A traditional Irish tea table was never complete without a round or two of this bread in the centre. We previously shared a delicious recipe for soda bread with crispy bacon that was a massive hit with our guests. We have taken that recipe and added a selection of savoury toppings, all of which have been delicious. This is the basic recipe that we use and to that we add variety of toppings.

Ingredients

450g of plain white flour
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of bread soda
400ml of buttermilk
Method

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade.
Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large bowl, make a well in the centre.
Pour the buttermilk into the well and using one hand bring all the flour in from the sides to make a soft dough. If it is sticky add a little more flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands gently pat into a round shape approximately two inches high.
Place the dough onto a floured baking sheet and cut a deep cross in it.
Place in the preheated oven for ten minutes before lowering the temperature to 200 degrees and baking for another twenty minutes.
The bread is cooked fully when it sounds hollow when the base is tapped.

We added chopped ham, tomatoes and basil to this round of soda bread. It was absolutely delicious and smelled amazing.

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We divided our soda bread recipe into nine individual scones here and topped them with a variety of seeds, cranberries and grated cheese. They were divine and it was hard not eat more than one or two.

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There are so many things you can add to this versatile bread. Sultanas, nuts, chocolate chips and wild garlic to name just a few.

We are looking forward to sharing more recipes, things to do in Dublin, good news and events which we attend during 2017 with you here on the blog. Thanks, as always, for reading!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House; Tomorrow is December!

Tomorrow is December!

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It is hard to believe that in a couple of hours we will be into the final month of 2016 and the start of the festivities that December inevitably brings with it. 2016 seems to have been such a quick year, it seems no time since we were preparing for the 2015 festive season! We have had such an amazing year in Ariel House and we thought we would take this opportunity to look back on the highlights and share them with you!

Our Melting Moments – we shared the recipe for our most popular afternoon tea recipe and we had emails and messages from all over the world telling us that you had made them and devoured them! We love hearing from people that try our recipes and think it is fabulous that so many of you bake them at home!

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The McKennas’ Guides featured us in their 100 Top Places to Stay in Ireland 2016 and we are still beaming with the news. They also launched an app which is fantastic for people thinking of travelling to Ireland.

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We really enjoyed the 1916 Commemorations which took place all over Ireland. So important to mark these truly historical occasions with the respect they deserve.

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Ireland in the Euros 2016 – We certainly didn’t win the Euros but we won the hearts of all the nations across Europe with our singing and our celebrations! We were particularly proud to be Irish for the month of June!

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We launched our afternoon tea ebook with a collection of our most popular recipes including eclairs, summer lemonade amongst others. It is available to download here free of charge.

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We featured in The Telegraph UK article naming The Top Ten Best Budget Hotels! We were thrilled to get such amazing coverage and pride ourselves on offering good value for money.

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We baked and blogged the most delicious Crispy Bacon Sodabread and are still dreaming about how delicious it was! You really need to try it!

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We received a Best Customer Service Award at the National Hospitality Awards 2016. We were absolutely thrilled to be awarded this prestigious award from industry professionals!

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We were so happy to host a very special Cookies & Coffee Morning organised by Canopi Sleeves. All moneys raised was donated to Breast Cancer Research Ireland and we had a really successful fundraising day! Canopi Sleeves are also donating 10% of their sales for the month of December to this worthy cause, perfect gift idea for Christmas.

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Last but not least we were awarded Ireland’s Best Hotel Breakfast by Trivago! We pride ourselves on sourcing the best ingredients and tastiest produce that we can find and are thrilled that our lovely guests have taken the time to rate us on Trivago.

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So much happened in 2016 here in Ariel House. We are looking forward to having a very busy festive season, plenty of mince pies and lots more exciting things to come in 2017!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Festive Afternoon Tea

Festive Afternoon Tea

The festive season is almost upon us and our chefs Rose, Ulisses and Manu have been busy preparing our festive afternoon tea menu. December is one of our favourite months here in Ariel House, our beautiful Christmas tree shines brightly in our drawing room, our mantles are adorned with festive swags and there are always mince pies available to have with a cup of tea. Soak up the tranquil atmosphere in our dining room and a welcome break from Christmas shopping by having a festive afternoon tea. See below for our sample festive menu.

Mince PiesAfternoon Tea Menu

Smoked salmon with lemon zest on homemade brown bread

Tomato and chilli sourdough topped with brie and cranberry sauce

Warm mini potato cakes with creme fraiche and chives

Honey baked ham on traditional sourdough

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Homemade mince pies with Baileys fresh cream

Chocolate dipped Christmas pudding bites

Vanilla melting moments

Mini sweet scones with raspberry jam and cream

Bite sized honey cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing

Handmade white chocolate truffles

Strawberry Santas with shortcake biscuit

Mince pie bake drizzled with royal icing

Coffee and walnut tray bake

Mini sherry trifles

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All of our afternoon tea bakes are homemade by our chefs. Our kitchen environment contains nuts, gluten, eggs and dairy produce; hence there may be traces of these allergens in our cakes and savouries.

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We will be sharing many of our festive afternoon tea recipes with you over the coming weeks, so if you can’t make it to one of our afternoon teas you will be able to try out the recipes in your own kitchen.

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Have you any traditional Christmas recipes that you make every year that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Trivago Award!

full Irish breakfastWe are absolutely thrilled to have won Best Hotel Breakfast in Ireland from Trivago in their 2017 awards. Our guesthouse owner Jennie McKeown completed the Ballymaloe Cookery Course in 2011 and from that an ethos of sourcing and serving the best quality produce we can find stemmed. Our kitchen and ovens are always serving up scrumptious homemade goodies for breakfast and our three chefs, Rose, Manu and Ulisses are all so passionate about good food and they are thrilled that we have been awarded such a prestigious title.

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The Trivago awards are highly esteemed by guests and hoteliers alike. Travellers recognise the quality of award winning hotels and search for them specifically on the Trivago website. We won the award from scores and reviews that our guests have left on the Trivago site and are delighted that you took the time to rate us.

b&b_in_dublin_breakfastsWe believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we like to ensure that our guests have a hearty meal to fuel their sightseeing. We have an extensive menu here at Ariel House, from creamy porridge to homemade potato cakes and from crunchy granola to softly poached eggs. If however there is something you would like that is not on the menu, just ask and we will do our upmost to accommodate you.

Ariel House Breakfast

Thank you so much from all the team here at Ariel House. We are always amazed at the outpouring of congratulations when we achieve something like this and always appreciate your good wishes.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Chocolate Mousse Pots

Chocolate Mousse

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The weather is slowly but surely getting colder day by day as we march into November. Our kitchen staff are already looking ahead and planning our Christmas menus. Our Christmas wreaths and garlands are on order and we are looking forward to spreading some Christmas cheer all around the house. But for now our menus are taking a slight turn away from the more summery desserts and lots of spiced apples and chocolate are being used in our recipes.

We have a recipe for a delicious chocolate mousse by Chef Kevin Dundon that everyone seems to love and it is super easy to prepare. Perfect to accompany an afternoon tea or served as a decadent dessert after dinner.

Ingredients ( serves 2)

  • 300g of best quality dark chocolate
  • 3 fresh eggs, separated
  • 250ml of fresh cream

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Method

  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • Lightly beat the egg yolks and whisk into the melted chocolate until well combined.
  • Whip the cream in a bowl until you have achieved soft peaks and then whisk into the chocolate mixture.
  • In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff and fold into the chocolate cream mixture.
  • Divide the mousse into individual glasses or pretty tea cups and allow to chill for at least one hour before serving.
  • Decorate with fresh fruit, smashed honeycomb, chocolate shards or a swirl of whipped cream. Divine!

Till the next time!

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