Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House; Savoury Sandwiches

img_2129Dainty savoury sandwiches are an essential introduction to the ceremony of afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is a tradition that is as much about the conversation as it is about the treats. Savoury sandwiches should be no more than three bites and essential that you can hold it in one hand. When preparing afternoon tea you need to prepare savoury sandwiches that are not going to overpower the sweet treats to follow. Three varieties of savoury sandwiches is the perfect amount to serve. Our most popular savoury sandwiches here in Ariel House are smoked salmon on brown bread with real Irish butter, dainty cucumber slices on tomato and chilli bread and egg & cress served on sourdough.

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Our top five tips for the perfect savoury sandwich:

  • It is essential that you use the freshest bread you can find and the best quality ingredients that you can source. Always quality over quantity.
  • Allow 3-4 sandwiches per person.
  • Don’t prepare them too early as they will either go soggy or dry out.
  • Spread the butter or mayonnaise all the way to the edge of the bread to create a seal against wet sandwich fillings.
  • Use a good quality bread knife to ensure a good clean cut on the bread.

img_2124We make our own brown bread every day in the kitchen and guests often ask us for the recipe. It is so delicious and traditional that we never mind sharing it. What are your favourite savoury toppings? We would love to hear your suggestions!

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Ariel House Brown Bread

img_4691Ingredients:
• 185g self-raising white flour
• 85g wholemeal flour
• 30g porridge oats
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp bread soda
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 280ml milk
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly.
Add the lightly beaten egg.
Add the milk.
This makes quite a wet mixture, pour into a greased loaf tin.
Bake for 35-45 min until base sounds hollow when tapped.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Zesty Orange Cake.

“No matter what the question is, cake is the answer”

img_7366A moist cake that is easy to slice up is always a joy to serve to people. This orange cake is the very cake for you if you have people calling and you want to serve them up something delicious alongside a hot cup of tea. You can make it in a loaf tin but we like to bake it in a loose bottomed round tin as it looks so pretty on the cake stand.

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Ingredients

  • 225g of soft butter
  • 150g of golden caster sugar
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 130g of orange marmalade
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 160g of self raising flour
  • 75g of ground almonds

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Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  • Grease and line a springform tin.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until pale and light.
  • Gradually add the orange juice, zest and the marmalade, swirl through.
  • Add the eggs in gradually into the creamed butter mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  • Fold in the flour and ground almonds.
  • Place into the prepared tin and bake on a low shelf in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre is removed cleanly.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Serve with a blob of whipped cream and a little bit of candied orange zest, absolutely delicious. We are going to try a lime version soon with a little added coconut, this is a very versatile cake to have in your collection!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Best Irish Potato Cakes!

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A.A. Milne

img_7408Here at Ariel House we firmly believe that a good breakfast is essential to set you up for the day. One of the most popular breakfasts on our menu is the humble Irish potato cake. Potato cakes are absolutely delicious and a fantastic way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. We like to serve ours with salmon and creme fraiche or alongside a tasty full Irish.

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 900g of leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Butter and olive oil for frying

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Method

  • Heat a heavy based frying pan with a little butter and some olive oil.
  • Mix all the ingredients together until combined.
  • Shape into little cakes.
  • Cook the potato cakes on both sides until they are golden brown.
  • Transfer to a warm oven until all the potato cakes have been browned on the pan.
  • Serve immediately.

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This is definitely worth making extra mashed potato the evening before to ensure a hearty breakfast the next morning! Such a traditional recipe and a great one to have in your repertoire!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House Recipes; Lamingtons

img_7267We made lamingtons this week in our kitchen after one of our chefs came across them in a cookbook and thought they looked delicious. He definitely wasn’t wrong as they are to die for! Light coconut sponge, dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut, what’s not to like about a lamington!

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Ingredients;

  • 175g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 175g of unsalted butter
  • 175g of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut

Coating;

  • 500g of icing sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 85ml of boiling water
  • 70g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 250g of desiccated coconut

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Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 9 inch square cake tin.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the butter, caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth then stir in the milk and desiccated coconut.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until risen, firm and golden brown.
  • Leave to cool for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to fully cool.
  • When completely cold, cut into 16 squares using a sharp knife.

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For the coating;

  • Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl.
  • Add the boiling water and melted butter and stir until smooth.
  • Place the desiccated coconut on a large plate.
  • Dip each square of sponge into the icing before rolling in the coconut.
  • Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave the lamingtons to set.

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They are such a delicious treat and reminded me of  the Tunnock’s Snowballs of my youth! Delicious with a pot of tea and shared with friends!

 

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Ariel House; Crispy Bacon Soda Bread

img_7259 Soda bread is such a traditional Irish thing to make in your kitchen. It is such a quick bread 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, whilst still warm from the oven is immense! A traditional Irish tea table was never complete without a round or two of this bread in the centre.

img_7266Ingredients

  • 450g of plain white flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of bread soda
  • 110g cooked crispy bacon (we grilled ours for the crunch effect)
  • 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.
  • Put the cooked bacon into a measuring jug and top up with buttermilk to the 400ml mark.
  • Pour the milk 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.

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There are so many things you can add to this versatile bread. Sultanas, nuts, chocolate chips, wild garlic and grated cheese to name just a few. Soda bread is such a traditional bread to make and a very handy recipe to add to your repertoire!

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Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Sticky Buns!

img_6646These sticky buns made with an enriched bread dough are so deliciously moreish and impossible to resist. A layer of sticky maple butter and chopped walnuts will you have you licking your fingers and asking for more. There are quite a few steps in the recipe but the end result is worth it. We took the recipe from The Great British Bake OffHow to Bake” cookery book which we highly recommend. It is full of both sweet and savoury recipes and provides step by step instructions for the more difficult recipes.

img_6635Ingredients – makes 12 sticky buns

  • 200ml milk
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1 large free range egg, at room temperature
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast

img_6645For the filling

  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

img_6649For the topping

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 100g of walnut pieces

img_6659Method

  • Gently heat the milk and butter until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until lukewarm.
  • Mix the flour, salt and sugar, by hand, in the bowl of a free standing mixer.
  • Beat the egg into the lukewarm milk mixture.
  • Mix the yeast into the flour and make a well in the centre, pour the milk mixture into the well.
  • Using the dough hook of your mixer on a low speed, work the flour into the liquid to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Once the mixture comes together knead the dough with the hook for 4 minutes on a low speed until very smooth and elastic like.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and place somewhere warm to rise. This should take approximately an hour, the dough should double in size.
  • Punch down the dough, turn onto a lightly floured worktop. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 24 x 48cm.
  • Brush the melted butter over the dough. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.
  • Starting from one long edge, lightly roll up the dough like a swiss roll.
  • Use a sharp knife and cut the roll into twelve slices.
  • For the topping, beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup until well combined.
  • Spread the mixture over the bottom of a greased brownie tin (25 x 20cm).
  • Scatter over the chopped nuts and gently press in.
  • Arrange the buns cut side up in the tin.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise as before for 30-45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Uncover the tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the buns are a golden brown and the caramel is bubbling around the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the tin.
  • Leave for five minutes (any longer and they will have stuck to the base of the tin), then very carefully turn onto a baking sheet. Be very careful as the caramel topping will be extremely hot.
  • Leave until cool enough to pull apart!
  • Enjoy!

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Ariel House; Hello September!

Ariel House dublin guesthouse

I always feel that September brings with it an air of new beginnings and fresh starts. Our summer season is drawing to a close and school is back, which for me feels like the start of a new year. We will soon be walking along paths filled with crunchy orange leaves and complaining about dark mornings and evenings!

We have had a wonderful summer season here in Ariel House. So many visitors from all over the world coming to explore Dublin and further afield. Always gives us great pleasure to show off our city and share the wonderful produce from our local suppliers! We love hearing the feedback of how delicious are food is and in turn we love to share our recipes with you. Please do not underestimate the difference in using free range eggs, proper butter and a good quality flour in your baking. It is definitely worth the few extra cent that you will pay.

IMG_1663One of the favourite treats that people cannot get enough of is our sweet afternoon tea scone. Can you imagine an afternoon tea being served without the humble scone, you would ask for your money back! We have shared this recipe before but it is such a stalwart I am sure you will not mind us sharing it again.

A scone is a perfect addition to a lunchbox, I know lots of schools implement a healthy eating plan but usually home baking is permitted. The great thing about baking a recipe yourself is that you know exactly how much of everything is in it and you can make the judgement yourself as to how many you should have!

Ingredients (makes 18 scones)
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

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 round approximately 1 inch thick.
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 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack before topping with jam and lightly whipped cream.

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How delicious and incredibly easy to make. Get the children involved in the making of these, they especially love stamping out the scones!

Till the next time!

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Our Top Five Afternoon Tea Recipes from Ariel House!

We are so excited as tonight our favourite baking show The Great British Bake Off is back! We are looking forward to lots of new recipes, fancy fondants, rum babas, outrageous cakes and some traditional baking thrown in for good measure. It is such a wonderful show and the whole family can sit down and enjoy it whilst drooling over the delicious baking.

We thought it would be a nice idea to post our five favourite afternoon tea bakes and links to our recipes. We would love to hear from you if your favourite is not on the list and we will do our best to include it in the next round up!

Drum roll please!

  • Melting Moments – this simply had to be on the top of our list. We always include them as guests are so disappointed if they don’t appear on the cake stand! IMG_0923
  • Mini Chocolate Muffins – everyone loves a little bit of chocolate decadence every now and then! IMG_1731
  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – this is always a firm favourite and if we have any leftover we toast it for breakfast. Divine!IMG_1701
  • Sweet Scones – impossible to have an afternoon tea without a freshly baked scone, some lightly whipped cream and homemade strawberry jam. We think our chef makes the best in Dublin!

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  • Strawberry Shortbreads – using the sweetest Irish strawberries we can source gives these shortbreads a crowning glory! Incredibly moreish and a perfect buttery crumble to the shortbread. Top marks!

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So that is in our opinion our top five recipes for afternoon tea! Do you agree? Would love to hear from you!

We were delighted to feature in The Telegraph this week as one of the best value hotels in Dublin. We received a fantastic 9/10 in the Telegraph Expert Rating and there was a special mention of our thoughtful and attentive service. We have a great team here in Ariel House and every day strive to make our guests feel at home with us. If you are thinking of visiting Dublin we would be delighted to have you stay, get in touch!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House; Refreshing Lemonade.

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What an absolutely beautiful summers day we had today. After weeks of grey skies and muggy temperatures it was so wonderful to see wispy clouds and bright blue skies. I often think when I am strolling around Dublin that people seem so much happier when the weather is good. Plenty of smiling faces around the city centre today!

Our fuchsia bush is looking amazing these days and providing a gorgeous flash of colour to the front gardens. It is such an easy shrub to grow and seems to thrive in the Irish climate. Pull of the dead looking flowers to stimulate the growth of more and it will provide you with lovely blooms all over the summer. We feed ours every few weeks with a standard plant food and it seems to help thicken the bush out as well. Do you have fuchsias in your garden? Would love to see a picture and what variety you have growing.

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We had quite a few lemons in our fruit and vegetable delivery this week and what better way to use them up than make a homemade refreshing lemonade. On a warm day there is absolutely nothing as refreshing and thirst quenching, perfect for our guests who have been busy exploring our lovely city and come back tired, weary and in need of a pick up!

Ingredients for our refreshing lemonade;

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 5/6 lemons, juiced
  • 3/4 cups of cold water
  • Ice
  • Mint and or edible flowers

Method

  • Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water together to make a simple syrup. The syrup is ready when the sugar has become dissolved.
  • Add the lemon juice and the syrup together in a large jug and add the remaining cold water. Have a taste and if it is too strong add in another cup of water.
  • Refrigerate until completely chilled.
  • Top with ice, fresh mint or edible flowers and serve!

We have a Pinterest board featuring several variations of this delicious summer drink, take a peek for some inspiration!

Cheers to many more blue skies and sunny smiles!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House Favourites; Mini Chocolate Muffins

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Mini Chocolate Muffins

These mini chocolate muffins are always a hit with our guests and are almost always the first things to disappear from our cake stand. The combination of the light sponge mixture and the luscious topping is absolutely delicious and one of them is definitely never enough.

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 Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
60g butter, room temperature
60g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
60g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
1 tbsp of milk
For the ganache
100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
100ml of double cream
To decorate
12 fresh raspberries
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Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a mini muffin tin with cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into  the mixture and fold in, stir in the milk to loosen the mixture slightly.
Spoon into the mini muffin cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
Place on a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring just to the boil and just as it starts to boil pour it over the bowl of chopped chocolate, whisk until smooth.
Allow this mixture to cool until thick, place in a piping bag and swirl onto the mini muffin. Decorate with a raspberry on top.
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We love going to places that we haven’t discovered before and sharing with you our favourite ones that you can visit when you are in Dublin. We were recently in the Phoenix Park and stumbled across the Victorian Kitchen Garden.  It is a 2 1/2 acre site set in the grounds of the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre and it is being restored to its original mid Victorian layout. A really wonderful place to visit for a stroll!
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Till the next time!
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