Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

An Ariel House Favourite, Zesty Lemon Posset!

11265002_931145726952676_7649851300665031333_nWe served up these delicious little lemon possets yesterday as part of our afternoon tea. Such a lovely contrast to all the sweetness to serve something that has a bite to it. We always have lots of lemons in our kitchen so we can whip these up whenever required. It is such a simple recipe and always goes down so well with our guests.

We started making it last year when our lovely friend Fiona Dillon featured it in her gorgeous book, Food from an Irish Garden and it has remained on our menu ever since. Give it a shot and see how you get on, wonderful to serve to dinner guests as well!


Ingredients (for 10 shot glasses of lemon posset)

300mls double cream
70g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon


Put the double cream in a pot with the sugar.
Bring slowly to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest.
Pour into glasses and refrigerate until set.

So lovely served with some gorgeous Irish strawberries or raspberries and maybe even a shortbread biscuit!

We have an exciting August coming up on the blog. Join us as we visit the Dublin Horse Show, wander around the streets of Dublin and indulge in a few more tempting recipes!

Till the next time.


Thanks to Fiona Dillon for the use of her beautiful lemon posset picture and for her lovely recipe!


Labels Culinary Delights, Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gathering Lavender at Ariel House

Guesthouse in Dublin Lavender

We have an abundance of highly fragrant lavender in our garden at the moment. It is so lovely to brush against it and have the scent surround you. It is such a soothing and homely scent and I love to bring some of that aroma indoors as well.

It is so easy to dry lavender and it can then be used in a variety of ways. Line an old shoebox with newspaper and when the dew has dried on the lavender buds simply snip some of them off the stalk and place in the bottom of the shoebox. Place in a warm, dry place and every day give the box a little shake. I find the airing cupboard a great place to do this and you have the added bonus of gorgeous smelling sheets and towels. Once the buds are dry and brittle they are ready to use in a variety of different ways. The following are my favourite ways to have the scent of the garden in your home for longer.

Lavender Sachets:

Place the dried flowers into an organza bag and tie. These can then be used as drawer sachets or under your pillow. Add a spoon of epsom salts to make a bath sachet. Place under warm running water for a relaxing bath.

Lavender Oil:

Lightly crush a spoonful of dried lavender flowers. Gently warm 100ml of almond oil and add this to the crushed lavender before rebottling. Let sit for 7-10 days before straining and discarding the bits. Cap tightly. Makes a wonderful massage oil.

Lavender Sugar/Cookies:

Add the dried buds to any amount of plain, white sugar. Leave for two weeks, giving it an occasional shake. Great to add to tea or to your favourite shortcake recipe, simply by replacing instead of your usual sugar.

Lavender Water:

Add a handful of dried lavender buds to 200ml of water. Allow to infuse before spraying on sheets or curtains for a fresh, floral scent. This water can be kept in the fridge of up to a week.

What is your favourite scent from the garden and how do you prolong it? We would love to hear!

Till the next time.


Labels Life's Simple Pleasures | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Picnic Food

There is something special about eating outdoors especially when it’s picnic food. Sandwiches and cups of tea served in plastic mugs always taste better than when you are sitting at your kitchen table! However, if you are looking for something a little more exciting than a ham sandwich and milky tea, look no further.

We have compiled a selection of delicious food treats that are sure to be a hit at any picnic, all we need now is the sunshine to accompany it.

Our selection of picnic food

These smoked salmon palmiers are incredibly easy to make and taste absolutely delicious! 



Asparagus and salty prosciutto are such a fabulous combination! Sure to be a winner! 



Curried chicken and mango salad. A delicious low-calorie option that tastes decadent.



A muffuletta…..now that is what I call a sandwich! 



Our very own afternoon tea favourite! Queen cakes!



Lemon curd and meringue bites! 



What better to wash down all these treats with than homemade lemonade! 


Or if you are looking for something with a little more fizz……


We hope you enjoyed our roundup of delicious picnic food treats!

For your ease of use, we have pinned them all to our “Picnic” board on Pinterest which you can find here.


Till the next time!

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An American Intern Abroad in Ariel House, Dublin.

From time to time we are approached here in Ariel House to act as host for an international intern, pursuing a career in hospitality.


We were approached by the CEA Study Abroad programme who introduced us to Emilee Roberson. She arrived last May with 5 other interns, (new friends) from the USA. She is a 22 yr old student, majoring in Hospitality and Tourism in the Appalachian State University (ASU), of North Carolina. She eventually wants to open up her own small B&B back home in Asheville, in the same State.

Map of Asheville, Nth Carolina, USA

As Emilee is due to finish up her sojourn with us we thought it would be interesting to get her ‘take’ on her experience of life in Dublin.


Her first impression of Ireland was, of course, the weather. She had been warned about Irish summers so she had packed her rain jacket. Nobody, however, had prepared her for the inconsistency of the Irish climate. In her first week, she was caught in so many showers, “ with no umbrella”, that all she could think of was “where am I and what am I doing here?”

Emilee Roberson at Ariel House


However, she persevered in her downtown accommodation in Smithfield and contrary to her first thoughts, she now admits that she has “gotten used to the weird weather.” Which, she hastens to add, does not mean she likes it.


As we discussed the content of this post with Emilee, her joyful personality continued to shine through. For instance, she recounted her first ‘day at the office’, as follows.


“On my first day heading to work from the City centre, I asked for directions to Lansdowne Road, at the train station. A very kind lady (with an umbrella) pointed to a southbound track and suggested that I get the next train leaving for Bray.


Emilee at Ariel House

I did – but, unfortunately, it was a mainline train rather than the Dublin Area Rapid Transport (known locally as the DART). I ended up in Bray town, which is about 15 miles (24.5k) past my stop. What’s more – I had no phone connection and couldn’t ring Deirdre in Ariel House, to advise her of my predicament.


When I eventually turned up, they were more worried about me than annoyed. Eventually we all laughed and I did my tour of the guesthouse. What I learnt during my student placement here, is that everybody is treated as if they are part of the Ariel House family – guests included.”


Drawing room at Ariel House

“Oh yeah”, she continued, “Prior to my coming to Ireland, I’ve never actually tasted ‘real tea’ (breakfast tea) – I’ve always had herbal teas. So, you can imagine my embarrassment when serving during the renowned Ariel House Afternoon Tea one day, and was asked for some more tea.


I brought over the box of herbal teas to the table and received some very strange looks. The guest informed me that all I had to do was to pour a cup from the teapot on the sideboard. Just an American intern abroad”, I said red faced.


It hasn’t been all work for our American intern. Not only has Emilee explored Dublin, (her favourite place is Trinity College / Book of Kells) but she has also travelled around Ireland. She has visited the Giants Causeway in  Antrim N.I; Galway, the Cliffs of Moher and is actually planning to ‘pop’ over to London for a flying visit before she leaves Dublin at the end of this month.


Emilee finished our chat, as she had to get back to work, by outlining what she loved about her Ariel House experience. “I did not meet even one customer that had a complaint, which must be some sort of record. The staff are genuinely helpful, understanding and extremely friendly. When I think back about my time here it will always be with a smile on my face.”


Emilee's smile at Ariel House

“I’ve learnt loads from Deirdre and her team which will really stand to me when I return to ASU this fall. Will I come back to Ireland? You betcha, and when I do I will stay in Ariel House, and in Room 251 if it is available.”


Till the next time – the Ariel House 


Labels Ariel House News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sunshine and a Strawberry Pavlova.


We are waiting patiently here on Lansdowne Road for a bit of sunshine longevity and the temperatures to stay up. It was quite a wet and windy beginning to June in Dublin, but it picked up a little last week. Of course, the season is young yet so we are hopeful.

Summertime at Ariel House means making jugs of homemade lemonade and indulging in lots of Irish strawberry based recipes.

Strawberry Pavlova for afternoon tea in Ariel House

Our strawberry pavlova was very popular with our guests last summer and is always greeted with smiling faces.

We want to share our recipe with you.

Our strawberry pavlova recipe.


8 large egg whites
500g caster sugar
4 tsp corn flour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff.
Fold in with a metal spoon the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla gently until combined.
Draw a 20cm circle on parchment and use as a guideline to spoon the meringue onto.
Smooth top and sides with a palette knife.
Place in oven and immediately drop the temperature to 120 degrees.
Leave for 1 hour and allow to cool fully in the oven.

Decorating your strawberry pavlova.

300ml cream
Punnet of Irish strawberries
Few mint leaves

Softly whip the cream and spread over the cooled meringue base.
Decorate with strawberries.
Arrange the mint leaves for an extra dash of colour.
Slice, eat, and sigh, in that order – just heavenly!

Strawberry tartlets in Ariel House

Whilst we can guarantee you an excellent experience when you visit us here on Lansdowne Road, unfortunately, we can’t always guarantee you the sunshine. 

What we can promise, however, is that we will share more delicious recipes from our kitchen with you, on this blog, over the summer months.

Till the next time – the Ariel House  

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

When Life Gives You Lemons – Make A Lemon Curd For Afternoon Tea Nibbles

Here, at Ariel House we have a penchant for lemon curd. 

We can be found, dolloping it on scones, spreading it on toast, sandwiching it between meringues and sometimes even eating if from the spoon!

lemon curd spread 

Lemon curd is such a delicious preserve and, with a little bit of patience, it is so easy to make yourself at home. In fact, we believe that once you make your own, you will never buy a jar of it again.

We have been using the recipe below for the last number of years and it hasn’t let us down yet.

Our afternoon tea guests love it, so we want to share it with you. We hope that you enjoy it as much they (and we) do. 

Our recipe for lemon curd.

To make one large jar you will need;

  • 4 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 free range eggs plus 1 free range egg yolk

 ingredients for lemon curd

The method we use in our kitchen.

  • Put the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar into a heatproof bowl.
  • Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Stir the mixture until all the butter has melted.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs and the egg yolk and stir them into the lemon mixture.
  • Whisk until everything is combined, leave to cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every now and again.
  • The mixture is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. 
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. (Stir occasionally as it cools)
  • Pour into a sterilised jar (we use the top rack of our dishwasher and place the jars in a very hot wash) and seal.
  • Keep in the refrigerator. 

table of lemon curd ingredients 

Do you want more zesty recipes?

You will find some of our favourite lemony recipes on our Pinterest board “if life gives you lemons”. 

Click here:  https://www.pinterest.com/arielhouse/if-life-gives-you-lemons/

 If you are going to give our recipe above a ‘go’, good luck with your endeavours.

Why not book afternoon tea with us and let us know how you got on – we’d love to hear from you.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bloom 2015 – A Good Reason Why You Should Be Talking About Horticulture And Food

We had a wonderful day at Bloom yesterday. Despite the weather forecast reports, we headed over to the Phoenix Park with an optimistic attitude, our umbrella. our sunscreen and shades. We were not disappointed.

Bloom 2015 plant display 6916

Bloom is full of wonderful local Irish producers.

We met friends and suppliers, old and new and tasted lots of their amazing Irish produce.

Bloom 2015 - Local Producer O'Neills Bacon Bloom 2015 - Local Producer -Cooleeney Farm Cheese

Bloom 2015 - Local Producer Kilbeggan Oatmeal Cookies

We were totally wowed at the amazing variety of plants on show and for sale.

Bloom 2015 - Plant DisplayBloom 2015 - Plants for Sale

Enjoy the wide variety of family experiences on offer.

So we put our feet up, relaxed in the music tent and dreamt that the show gardens were just beyond our own kitchen window.

 Bloom 2015 - Show Garden 6986

Bloom is Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event and there really is something for all the family to see and do here. A floral & nursery pavilion, a fashion stage, live entertainment at the picnic area, a craft village, a children’s zone, a food pavilion and of course the amazing show gardens – a new experience around every turn.

Bloom 2015 -  Garden Display 6981

The show runs for the entire bank holiday weekend in May of each year, so if you are near Dublin be sure to make a visit. We think that it is a fantastic way to spend a day! 

 Bloom 2015 - Local Producer Johnny Cupcake

Blooming highlights.

One highlight of my visit, this weekend were the amazing lupin displays in the nursery pavilion. In fact, lupins seemed to feature in almost every show garden this year.

Bloom 2015 - Mixed LupinsBloom 2015 - Lupins

So wonderful to see all these old fashioned flowers coming back into our gardens again.

Another highlight was the thought provoking Pieta House garden. The darkness into light theme was a direct contrast the fun element in our friend, and frequent guest, Fiona Dillon’s garden – Freddy Buttons.

Freddy Buttons with yogurtBloom 2015 - Poppy the Goose

Be sure to pop by Fiona’s garden and say we sent you!

Bloom 2015 - Watering Can

All in all this show is a truly wonderful event and once again a big congratulations to Bord Bia. We are already looking forward to next year! 

Take a walk through Bloom with us over on our Facebook page today where you will find a full album of the highlights of the show.

We hope you have a wonderful bank holiday weekend.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

Labels Events, Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Try This Simple And Tasty Superfood Breakfast – Overnight Oats

Recently a guest asked us if it was possible to order overnight oats for their breakfast. I must admit to being puzzled and had to ask what exactly it was that she was looking for.

superfood breakfast oats

To my amazement when I looked online it seems that I had missed the boat on this new superfood breakfast!

Celebrities, food bloggers and raw food aficionados were all onboard and promoting this ‘make the night before’ breakfast. I had to try it and I wasn’t disappointed.

I used some traditional Flahavans porridge oats, some creamy whole milk and topped it with poached rhubarb and almonds, absolutely delicious! 

superfood breakfast overnight oats

How to make it?

To serve one you will need;

1 cup of porridge oats

2 cups of milk

2 tablespoons of poached rhubarb

A scant handful of flaked almonds

Place the porridge oats and the milk into a container with a lid and leave in the fridge overnight.

The following morning top with poached rhubarb and the almonds before devouring.

There are so many different options for the toppings and you can use any type of milk with the oats.

superfood breakfast toppings

Here are a few ideas that you might like to try;

Stewed apple and cinnamon

Fresh berries and chia seeds

Apples and almond butter

Banana and peanut butter

Grated dark chocolate and a drizzle of baileys

Orange marmalade and a drizzle of whiskey

Dulce du leche, banana and grated chocolate

The list is endless, how would you like to eat yours? 

We are thrilled that our guest brought this yummy kick-start to our mornings. As a result, we are happy to make up overnight oats for our guests, by special request!

If you have any novel ways that you prepare your overnight oats -please let us know.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Day Trips On The DART From Ariel House.

Ariel House is in the ideal location to explore Dublin by rail.

Make the most of your day trips by heading to the Lansdowne Road DART station, a mere two minute’s walk from our house.

Heading in a southbound direction will provide you with access to some of the prettiest places in Dublin!

In this post, I will be concentrating on the main south side stops, and in my next post – we’ll head off to the north side of the City. 

The First Stop Is Lansdowne Road.

map for day trips from Ariel House

The Next Stops are …..

Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire has one of the largest piers in the country and is almost always thronged with walkers embracing the invigorating sea breeze. The bandstand on the pier was restored in 2010 and is a perfect example of a bygone era.

There is a well-maintained park nearby with a quaint tea room which is well worth a visit. If you are interested in water sports this is definitely a must for you, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding are all available.


Dalkey is a pretty little seaside resort and is famous for its award winning pubs and restaurants. Bulloch harbour is classified as a seal sanctuary and there are also three bottlenose dolphins in residence close by. It is a busy little town that is renowned for two festivals which take place annually.

The Dalkey Book Festival and the Lobster, Crab and all that Jazz festival. Both are great weekends where you will be sure to meet lots of interesting people. 


Killiney has an absolutely beautiful park which has amazing views from the top. On a fine summers day, it is possible to see from the Sugarloaf mountain in the south to the Hill of Howth to the north. It is quite a climb to the top of the park but well worth if for the breathtaking view.

Killiney has a gorgeous beach, a golf club and lots of shady streets for you to explore.


Bray has a wonderful pebble beach which is overshadowed by the majestic Bray Head, perfect for climbing for the more energetic amongst you! There is a wonderful old fashioned promenade running along the sea front. 

During warm summer days, the entire population of Dublin seems to descend upon it. There is always an amazing atmosphere here and it has lots of lovely outdoor space to enjoy a picnic.

No trip to Bray is complete without a bag of vinegar drenched chips, whilst sitting on the beach together with a large 99 ice cream cone, from one of the sea front kiosks.

home from dat trips sign for ariel-house

We hope you get a chance to explore our lovely nearby towns and there are many more treasures to uncover just off the DART line, not mentioned above. Look out for my next post where we’ll explore some northside venues.

If you want any help with planning your day trips, or want to explore further afield, please don’t hesitate to enquire at our Ariel House reception.

We’re here to help you make stories – the Ariel House Team. 


Labels Things to Do In Dublin | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Victoria Sponge Cake, it must be the summer season.

ariel house summer victoria sponge cake

Our busy summer season is well underway here at Ariel House and with it comes a seasonal change to the treats we bake in our kitchen. A delicious Victoria sponge cake is always a winner here and when served in the drawing room scarcely a crumb will be left! We have tried many recipes over the years, but we always return to this one as it has never let us down. Delicious whipped cream and strawberry jam sandwiched between two sponges, nothing nicer.

 victoria sponge cake slice

Ingredients for Victoria Sponge Cake.

To make this cake, you need to weigh 3 free range eggs in their shells and weigh out that amount in equal quantities of unsalted butter, self-raising flour and caster sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Line two greased sandwich tins.

Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs in gradually and if the mixture starts to curdle add in a tablespoon of flour.

Add in remaining flour and vanilla extract and gently fold together until mixture is thoroughly combined.

Divide equally between the two tins and place in the preheated oven. 

They are ready when they are golden and spring back when touched, approximately 25 minutes.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool before filling.

A light dusting of icing sugar on top will finish it nicely.

 victoria sponge cake on stand

We have a board on Pinterest featuring some fabulous Victoria sponge cake creations if you fancy a challenge! We love the new trend in naked wedding cakes and none other than when the humble sponge is used for the recipe! 

Have a look at our Victoria sponge cake, Pinterest board here –  https://www.pinterest.com/arielhouse/victoria-sponge/

What is your favourite filling?

We would love to hear from you. 

Labels Culinary Delights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
Annual Hotel and Catering