Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

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!

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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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Ariel House Favourites; Apple & Cinnamon Cake

Ariel House Favourites; Apple & Cinnamon Cake!

IMG_5643We love looking through cookbooks and testing out various different cakes that we think our guests will like. Mary Berry is one of our favourite bakers and we love her baking cookbooks as her recipes always turn out well and are loved by our guests. We came across this delicious recipe for Apple & Cinnamon cake recently and immediately knew it was going to be a regular. So moist, delicious and has only a handful of ingredients. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Ingredients (makes two 450g loaves)

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 75g of softened butter
  • 100g of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 3 cooking apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 eggs, beaten

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Method

  • Grease two loaf tins and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Place the flour and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Dice 2 1/2 apples and add to the mixture along with the eggs. Beat until combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins.
  • Thinly slice the remaining apple half and place along the middle of each cake top.
  • Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is golden and a cake skewer is removed cleanly.
  • Allow to cool for ten minutes in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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This is absolutely delicious served with a drizzle of fresh custard or cream or toasted with a pat of Irish butter spread on top! This apple & cinnamon cake will keep in a cake tin for 3-4 days and will also freeze very well.

Let us know how you get on if you try it! If you have the ingredients to hand you could be eating this in an hour!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Garden Party Tips

Garden Party Tips!

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Summer has arrived and what better way to celebrate than to host a garden party. Bunting, scatter cushions, brightly coloured glassware and delicious nibbles will all combine to make an afternoon to remember. Such a lovely way to catch up with family & friends!

We adore these fabulous kilner drink dispensers and the matching handled jars, they would look so pretty sitting on top of a brightly coloured table runner and guests can easily serve themselves. Add some paper straws and cocktail umbrellas for a fun element!

Place scatter cushions and throws on grassy areas so guests can sit down and relax. Meadows and Byrne have beautiful homewares on sale at the moment and these cushions and throws would look equally as good on your sofa as on your lawn!

Bunting and fairy lights add a quirky look to your garden and as the evening draws in the fairy lights shed a lovely warm glow. Place a string of fairy lights inside a glass lantern as an alternative to a candle. Having no melted wax to clean up is an added bonus.

Have a really simple centrepiece such as a bowl of lemons with sprigs of rosemary to add a mediterranean feel to the event or sprigs of fresh herbs along a table runner. All low budget yet striking. Have a look at our ‘centrepieces’ board on Pinterest for some more ideas.

Keep the food really simple. Lots of mini canapés and dainty sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, meringues sandwiched together with lemon curd and cream, profiteroles drizzled in chocolate and delicious melting moments dusted with icing sugar. Display on cake stands for the wow factor.

The only thing left to worry about now is the weather! Although an indoor picnic could be just as fun!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate eclairs are such a timeless treat. I remember being brought into Bewleys on Grafton Street when I was a child for a treat of a chocolate eclair and a mug of hot chocolate. I can still see the eclairs piled high on a cake stand, oozing fresh cream and delicious looking chocolate and I couldn’t wait to sit down and devour my share. I have always loved them and when one of our lovely chefs made them for afternoon tea it brought back so many memories of times gone by, it always amazes me how food does that. Please don’t be put off by the method of making these as it really is quite simple. People are often daunted when they hear the words ‘choux pastry’ but when you break down the steps it is quite simple. Please give it a try, you won’t regret it!

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Ingredients

65g plain flour
150ml water
50g butter
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

To decorate
Whipped cream
Chocolate ganache

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Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and grease a flat baking tray.
Place water and butter into a saucepan over a low heat until butter melts.
Bring to a brisk boil.
Reduce heat and add sieved flour and salt.
Stir briskly until mixture forms a soft dough and leaves sides of saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add the eggs gradually and beat until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a 1/2” plain nozzle.
Pipe 4” lengths of mixture (well spaced) onto the prepared tray.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown in colour.
Remove from oven and slit along one side. Cool on wire tray.
When cold, fill with whipped cream and spread with chocolate ganache on top.

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The chocolate ganache that we make time and time again is from the BBC Good Food website and you will find the recipe here!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House; June Favourites

Ariel House; June Favourites

Irish Soccer Team

We had an exciting June in Ariel House and spent much of it cheering on our fantastic Irish soccer team and watching videos of their wonderful fans enjoying themselves in France! We are so proud of how far the team went and despite not making it through they are still winners to us all.

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Oaty Breakfast Biscuits

We shared a delicious recipe for oaty breakfast biscuits on our blog that we have been making recently for our guests. So delicious with a coffee in the morning or even served with cheese and grapes for a light snack. Easy to make at home and you will find the recipe here.

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Afternoon Tea at Ariel House

We had lots of guests for afternoon tea this month and served them delicious home baked treats from our kitchen. Always one of our favourite times of the week! Don’t forget you can download a copy of our FREE ebook full of our most popular afternoon tea recipes here.

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Eggs Menemen

We shared a lovely and healthy Turkish egg recipe that we have been enjoying! Full of flavour and perfect to serve to friends as part of a delicious brunch. Recipe here.

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Ballsbridge Life

The sky over Ballsbridge was amazing on the Summer Solstice! It was almost 11pm when this photo was taken!

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Our front garden is looking particularly well this year. Our fuchsia bush is absolutely thriving!

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That brings to a conclusion some of our favourite things that happened in June. July looks like an exciting month with one of the highlights being the Dublin Horse Show which takes place in the RDS in Ballsbridge from July 20th till the 24th. You will find more details here.

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Till the next time!

 

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