Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House Blog – Competition Winner!


We were delighted to publish our second recipe ebook last week. To celebrate we ran a Facebook competition and we are delighted to announce that Susan Ryan is our winner! We look forward to welcoming you to Ariel House!

Our new recipe ebook is a collection of our most popular afternoon tea treats that we serve here in Ariel House. We pride ourselves on our delicious home baking and thought it would be nice for you all to have a little taste of Ariel House in your own kitchens.

One of our most popular recipes, featured in our ebook, is our delicious chocolate chip banana bread. It is wonderful with a blob of freshly whipped cream or lightly toasted with a smear of real Irish butter for breakfast.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


225g of plain flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
175g of light brown sugar
4 overripe bananas, mashed
85g of butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g of chopped dark chocolate


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In a second mixing bowl mix the sugar and the bananas until smooth.
Beat in the butter and eggs to the banana mixture.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.
Allow to cool before slicing and enjoying.


Once you have tried this recipe you won’t ever use another one for banana bread as it is absolutely delicious! Moist and full of flavour, we hope you enjoy!

Till the next time!

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Summer Berry Traybake!

We love a traybake 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.


Summer Berry Traybake


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


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.


We drizzled our tray bake with a little royal icing before slicing but if you are in a rush a shake of icing sugar is lovely as well!


Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Till the next time!

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Coffee & Walnut Bundt


In our kitchen we are always trying out new recipes and updating some of our tried and tested ones. A coffee & walnut cake is always received well by our guests and is lovely to have with a welcoming cup of tea. We serve a coffee & walnut tray bake on occasion as part of our afternoon tea but sometimes nothing can beat a wedge of homemade cake. We invested in a bundt tin recently and couldn’t wait to try it out and this seemed like the perfect recipe.


This recipe is from the Odlum’s website and it proved a hit with staff and guests alike. We used our new bundt tin for that fantastic shape which looks as if you had spent hours trying to perfect, but in reality the tin does all the work! This is a super easy cake to make and is ready to bake within minutes. Very little washing up as everything is mixed in the one bowl.


175g self raising flour
175g margarine, room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
4tbsp of cooled fresh coffee
50g chopped walnuts

To ice;
100g icing sugar sieved, mixed with1-2tbsp of cooled fresh coffee until required consistency is achieved.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Grease and flour a bundt tin, make sure to shake away excess flour.
Place all ingredients for the cake into the bowl and mix.
Pour into the tin and bang gently on counter top to even out.
Place in oven for 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.
Place on a serving dish before drizzling with the coffee icing.
Slice, serve and enjoy.

13177821_1084443398289574_8881874894261511701_nWe found the bundt tin helped the cake cook more evenly and rise higher than usual and it was also incredibly easy to slice. We came across this blogpost with several ideas of what else you can cook in a bundt tin besides cake, I love the frittata idea!

Thanks for reading, till the next time!


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Ariel House April Favourites

Welcome to our monthly round up of all that has caught our eye in the previous month, Ariel House April Favourites! We love to share places we have visited, food we have eaten and news stories that have brightened our days!



The Spire

There is nowhere quite like Dublin when the sun is shining! We had some bitterly cold days in April but when the sun shined it was glorious. The Spire was looking radiant as it towered above O’Connell Street reflecting the rays of sunshine. I love how the base of it has become a meeting point for people similar to the old days of meeting under Clery’s Clock. It has provided a focal point to the city and is certainly unique. We always tell our guests if they are in the city centre and unsure where they are going to look up to see the Spire. Once there you are never very far from anywhere!


Farmleigh House 

We spent a glorious sunny day exploring the grounds of Farmleigh House. Such a beautiful place to visit and only minutes from the city centre. There are guided tours of the house every day provided on a first come first served basis. They run hourly and are free of charge. There is also a wonderful farmers market which takes place on the first Sunday of every month. Beautiful produce and flowers to be admired and purchased!


Heritage Sites

There are a number of Heritage Sites in Ireland that are free to tour on the first Wednesday of every month. There is a full list provided on heritageireland.ie. Well worth seeing The Casino in Marino and The State Apartments in Dublin Castle.


Chocolate Brownies

We shared a delicious recipe for chocolate brownies and ran a vote to see which was more favourable, brownies with nuts or without! The ‘without nuts’ camp won!



Junior Breakfast Menu

We are delighted to introduce our new Junior Breakfast Menu. Brought to you in conjunction with our friend Freddy Buttons. Choose a delicious breakfast from our extensive menu, colour in the picture on the back, leave at reception and each month we will choose a winner to receive a free set of Freddy Buttons books! Happy colouring!

So that is our Ariel House April Favourites round up! We Look forward to sharing our busy May with you and have some exciting news to share in the next couple of days!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House – Junior Breakfast Menu!

Freddy with yogurtWe are fast approaching our busiest season of the year and are looking forward to welcoming lots of families in the coming months! Ariel House is a fantastic starting point for any holiday in the city and is the gateway to amazing day trips around Dublin and it’s surrounds. What better way to start of your day than to have a hearty breakfast and here at Ariel House that is our speciality! In conjunction with our friend Freddy Buttons we have designed a special junior breakfast menu for our younger guests. There is a picture on the back to colour in and each month we pick a winner who will receive a free set of Freddy Buttons books, what a lovely prize!


Our Junior Guests Breakfast Menu

From The Breakfast Buffet

Selection of Fruits & Cereals, Glenisk Natural Yoghurt, Homemade Granola

Today’s Home Baking

From the Kitchen (For Starters….)

Fresh Fruit Kebabs – Melon, Pineapple and Grape, Drizzled with Natural Yoghurt and Irish Honey

Porridge – Simple Creamy Porridge with Soft Brown Sugar or Sliced Banana

Very Berry Smoothie – Banana, Berries, Natural Yoghurt, Fresh Orange Juice & Honey

Freshly Cooked to Order……..

The “Half Irish” Breakfast – Grilled Bacon & Sausage with a Fried Egg

Veggie Breakfast – Fried Egg, Mushrooms, Potato Cake, Baked Beans & Vine Tomato

Poached Eggs and Crispy Bacon On Toasted Brown Bread with our Homemade Tomato Chutney

Beans on Toast – Baked Beans served on your choice of Homemade Brown or White Toast

Herby Scrambled Eggs with Crispy Bacon, Grilled Sausages or Baked Beans

Pancake Stack – Topped with Nutella and Banana Or Bacon and Maple Syrup

Eggy Bread – French Toast served with Mixed Berries and Crème Fraiche

Boiled Egg With Soldiers


Cadburys Hot Chocolate – Low Fat and Soya milk available

Your choice of Fruit Juices

Filtered Fruity Water

Cold Milk

(Our kitchen environment contains nuts, gluten, eggs& dairy produce; hence there may be traces of these allergens on our Breakfast Buffet and our cooked breakfast)

When you have coloured in the picture on the back of the menu and eaten your breakfast simply drop the sheet into the reception area and a winner will be picked each month! We are really looking forward to greeting you soon here at Ariel House!

Till the next time!

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An Ariel House Favourite, Decadent Chocolate Brownies!


We posted the above picture to our Facebook account this week and it received such a positive reaction that we decided it would only be fair to share the recipe with you all! This is one of those recipes that we adapt to suit the seasons, we sometimes add nuts, chopped pears, sour cherries, dulce de leche or peanut butter amongst other things! We top them with fresh cream, buttercream, a swirl of caramel with a teeny sprinkle of salt, ice cream and sometimes even custard. They are fabulous to round off a relaxed dinner party and delicious to serve as part of an afternoon tea.

Ariel House Decadent Chocolate Brownies
175g sugar
175g soft butter
150g self-raising flour
125g drinking chocolate
4 eggs
100g dark chocolate, in pieces

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line/grease a brownie tin with parchment paper.
Mix together the sugar, butter, flour, drinking chocolate and the eggs until you have a runny mixture.
Fold in the chocolate pieces.
Pour into the brownie tin and level the top with a palette knife.
Bake for 45 mins or until there is a slight wobble in the middle.
Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning upside down onto a wire rack and peeling off the parchment paper.
Turn onto a bread board once cooled and cut into 16/24 squares, depending on what size brownie you would like.


We hope you enjoy the recipe and would love to hear from you if you decide to make them. We have a Pinterest board dedicated to brownies for those of you who are pinners and you will find it here! Those blackberry cheesecake brownies look absolutely amazing!!

Till the next time!


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Ariel House Mixed Berry Traybake


A warm welcome, a cup of tea and some home baking such as this delicious traybake helps us to set the mood for our guests upon their arrival. We like to encourage our guests to take a seat in our drawing room, relax awhile and make themselves feel at home. Our home baking helps us to show our guests that we are delighted they are staying with us and we would like them to be as comfortable as possible whilst they are here.

A traybake is such a versatile treat and once you have mastered the basic recipe you can make variations according to the season. Cranberries and white chocolate, plums and almonds, cherries and dark chocolate are all popular choices but with summer berry season approaching we thought this would be a nice variation!


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 a selection of berries


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. 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 until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before slicing into squares.



Till the next time!

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Ariel House Strawberry Shortbreads


The very first Irish berries of 2016 appeared in our kitchen this week and we had no choice but to make our delicious strawberry shortbreads for our afternoon tea guests! The little shortbread biscuits are delicious served plain but with a dollop of cream and some fresh strawberries they are a knockout!


Strawberries are such a popular fruit and we find we use them a lot during breakfast and afternoon tea. We like to top our porridge with them, use as part of a fruit kebab, adorn the top of a pavlova and sandwich between shortbread for the ultimate sweet sandwich.


Shortbread Cookies


50g sugar
100g butter
150g plain flour


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 sandwiching together with whipped cream and strawberries or simply eat them as is!


We have been using our fresh raspberries to top layers of granola, chopped fruit, greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey this week as part of our breakfast menu. Always popular around this time of year.


We also have been using raspberries to top a delicious sponge tray bake. Always a popular afternoon tea treat!


We like to ensure that our guests are getting their full five portions of fruit a day!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House March Favourites

Spring in Dublin

What a busy March we have had in Ariel House! We are delighted to announce that Spring has arrived in Dublin city centre bringing with it lots of sunshine and long & bright evenings!


McKenna’s Guides

Absolutely delighted to be included in The McKenna’s Guides 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2016, which was launched this month. Their new App STAY 2016 is now available from the App Store. A big Well Done and Thank You to the Ariel House Team on this wonderful achievement.


Guest Book Quotes

We have a new recruit for Ariel House! Alfie, age 8 is looking for a job here!


Dublin Cookbook

We were thrilled to hear that The Dublin Cookbook has been nominated for a “Best in the World” Gourmand book award in the not for profit category. Only three European cookbooks are nominated so it is a huge achievement. We were delighted to have been part of this wonderful project and wish it every continued success.


St Patrick’s Day

We had a wonderful St Patrick’s Day here in Ariel House. Lots of guests were here to enjoy the festivities of the weekend and everyone was in great spirits with the good weather and the fantastic buzz around the city.


Centenary Commemorations

It has been a thought provoking couple of days in Dublin as we commemorate the 1916 Rising and the lives that were lost during it. It has been a wonderful opportunity to hear stories from the past and how events that passed during that time have helped shape our wonderful little country. RTE did a splendid job of honouring all of those involved and the highlight of the weekend for me was the Centenary concert. Amazing to watch and see Ireland celebrated through words, song and dance. It is available to watch for the next 28 days on the above link, highly recommend!


That rounds up March in Ariel House! We are looking forward to a busy April and sharing more of what is going on with you!

Till the next time!

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Easter Lemon Cupcakes


Another busy month is almost drawing to a close but we have one last occasion to celebrate. Easter Sunday is almost here and we have been busy practising our decorating skills on some delicious lemon cupcakes. We love Rachel Allen’s recipes and this simple recipe is always a winner for us. A delicious lemon flavour and a soft sponge is the perfect combination to accompany an afternoon cup of tea.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

125g of softened butter

125g of caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 eggs, lightly beaten

150g of plain flour

1/4 tsp of baking powder



Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with 12 cases.

Cream the butter in a bowl until soft.

Add the sugar and grated lemon zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden.

Place on a wire rack to cool before decorating.

IMG_4332We decorated our cupcakes with buttercream, two chocolate chips as eyes and some orange fondant icing shaped into a beak, feet and wings! There are so many fantastic ideas online for decorating for Easter, this is a wonderful link with lots of ideas;


or check out our delightful Easter board on Pinterest which you can find here!

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter from all the team at Ariel House, thank you so much for reading and your continued support.

Till the next time!

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