Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

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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!

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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.

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Guest Book Quotes

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

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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.
http://www.cookbookfair.com/…/cookbooks-and-food-culture-sh…

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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Method

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;

https://www.facebook.com/CreativeIdeass/posts/877625902360063

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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St Patrick’s Festival 2016

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse

There is great excitement around Dublin city this week with a host of activities and events planned to help celebrate the St Patrick’s Festival 2016.  This years theme is “Imagine If” and marks the final instalment of an exciting trilogy; the past, the present and the future. The theme will bring Dublin streets to life on March 17th with fantastic pageantry and performance.

The youngest ever Grand Marshal, Joanne O’Riordan will lead out the parade. Recently Joanne appeared on RTÉ Television in an independent documentary titled No Limbs No Limits which was directed and produced by her brother Steven. The film explores Joanne’s personal relationships with her family and those she meets on a daily basis and is seen as an education on how the human spirit can triumph over adversity.

Joanne, a 2nd-year criminology student at UCC and from Millstreet Co. Cork is one of seven people in the world living with Total Amelia, a syndrome in which individuals are born without limbs. Both Joanne and her family have never allowed her condition to hold her back. Using technology to enhance her abilities in both her educational pursuits and the wider social environment has led to Joanne conquering major challenges at home, in school and around her local community. Joanne lives life with a no limits mentality and her outlook on life has served as an example both nationally and internationally to all able-bodied and disabled bodies to live very happy, independent and fulfilled lives. We are looking forward to cheering her on as she follows in the path of Nicky Byrne, Katie Taylor and most recently Brendan O’Carroll who have all led the Dublin parade in recent years.

One of our favourite parts of the St Patrick’s Festival is the Greening of the Buildings which will take place on Thursday evening at 6pm. All of the following buildings are taking part and will be lit up green!

Trinity College Dublin
Mansion House                                                                                                 GPO
The Convention Centre Dublin
National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Dublin 7
The Olympia
Heuston Station
Connolly Station
National Museum of Ireland–Archaeology, Kildare St, Dublin 2
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
City Hall
Civic Offices
IFSC House
CHQ Building
Christ Church Cathedral
National Museum of Ireland-Natural History, Merrion St, Dublin 2
Iveagh House 79/80 St Stephens Green
National Museum of Ireland-Country Life, Castlebar, Mayo
Iveagh House 79/80 St Stephens Green
Dublinia
The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street
St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre
St. Patricks Cathedral
The Dawson Hotel
Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square
Odeon Bar, Harcourt Street
Raddison Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport
The Church
The CCD
The Temple Bar Pub
Brown Thomas
The Twelve Hotel
Uppercross House Hotel, Mother Reilly’s Bar & Restaurant
Clyde Court Hotel
Diceys
Doorway Gallery
Double Tree/Hilton
Doyles Hotels – Croke Park Hotel
Dublin Bus Head Office
Generator Hostel
Cafe en Seine
Castleknock Hotel
Claredon Properties
Clontarf Castle Hotel
Grafton Lounge
Grand Canal Hotel
Gromley’s Fine Art
Hibernian Club
Hugh Lane Gallery
IFSC House
Kilkenny Shop
Shelbourne Hotel
J. W. Sweetmans
The Grand Canal House
Wynn’s Hotel

There is a fantastic website which you will find at http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie which lists all the events that are happening around the city. Lots to do between 17th and 20th of March for all the family!

Happy St Patrick’s Day from all the team in Ariel House!

 

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Ariel House – February Favourites

30 days has September,

April, June and November.

All the rest have 31, 

Except February, it’s the one,

Which only has 28 days clear,

And 29 in each Leap Year.

February Favourites

We had a busy February here in Ariel House. Lots of visitors coming to stay and visiting for afternoon tea.  Here are just some of the highlights of our month, all 29 days of it! 

Queen Cakes

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We shared a recipe for a good old fashioned queen cake which proved very popular on our social media accounts.

Back when we were younger, an Irish tea table was not considered complete without a plate of freshly made Queen Cakes upon it. In other houses, they were called fairy buns or butterfly buns, but in our house, they were always called Queen Cakes. The whole act of creaming the butter and sugar together, takes me back to my mother’s kitchen and I can almost hear the scrape of the wooden spoon working through the mixture. 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!

Pancake Tuesday

We celebrated Pancake Tuesday with a variety of different toppings. Lemon and sugar was the most popular followed by streaky bacon and maple syrup!

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Things to do in Dublin!

We shared this lovely article of ten amazing things to do in Dublin!

http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/cities/dublin-cool-things-to-do/

Welcome!

We welcomed Ted Rubin to Ariel House and he shared this wonderful collage from his stay. Ted was in town for the Social Media Summit which looked to have been a fantastic event!

 

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Farewell!

We bid farewell to one of our colleagues who has left to pursue her career in Art & History. We shared some delicious treats from the Camerino Bakery with her and enjoyed every single crumb.

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Love was in the air!

Love was in the air as we celebrated Valentine’s Day and treated our guests to some delicious Victoria sponges!

“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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That rounds up our highlights from February! We have a very busy March ahead, Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter are all coming up! Stay tuned for lots more recipes and things to do in Dublin over the St Patrick’s Festival!

Till the next time!

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Shortbread Cookies at Ariel House!

These shortbread cookies are a staple here in Ariel House. They are fantastic to sandwich strawberries and cream together, delicious dipped in melted chocolate or simply dunked into a cup of hot tea! With just three ingredients required, they could not be any simpler.

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Ingredients

50g sugar

100g butter

150g plain flour

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!

Thanks for all your lovely comments during February. We are looking forward to sharing our monthly highlights with you.

Till the next time!

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Afternoon Tea Pavlova at Ariel House.

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It’s a miserable and wet afternoon in Dublin but we are looking forward to a busy weekend here in Ariel House! We have guests staying from all over the world and have two busy days of afternoon teas ahead. This pavlova is always a hit with our guests and we are always guaranteed to have no leftovers. Crunchy meringue with a chewy interior, softly whipped cream, retro tinned pears and a chopped mars bar, what’s not to love!

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Ingredients:

4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
1tsp cornflour
1tsp white wine vinegar

Toppings:

Tin of pears (in juice, drained)
1 large mars bar, chopped
300ml of cream
1 vanilla pod

Instructions:
Heat the oven to 180°C. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until they can hold stiff peaks.
Gradually add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time and whisk really well between each addition. When all of the sugar is used up, continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until the meringue is glossy and stands up in peaks.
Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to make a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120 degrees and cook for for 1 ½ hours. allow to cool. Carefully peel off the baking parchment and put the pavlova on a serving dish.

Scrape the vanilla seeds into a mixing bowl, add the cream and softly whip, then spoon onto the pavlova. Arrange the halved pears on top and sprinkle over the chopped mars bar.

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Slice and devour!

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Shrove Tuesday at Ariel House!

Ariel House Dublin Guesthouse Breakfast

Shrove Tuesday: ‘Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Tuesday) is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those (including Louisiana) where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.’

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Today is Shrove Tuesday so we thought you might like the recipe for our very popular pancakes! No longer confined to just Pancake Tuesday, it is a dish that we cook up seven days a week and always goes down a treat!

Whether it be sweet or savoury toppings, the basic pancake recipe is always the same and makes for a delicious fluffy pancake. Perfect to serve to people over a long and lazy brunch.

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Ingredients (serves 4)
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
250ml of milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50g unsalted butter
Method
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl.
2. Mix the milk, eggs and the melted butter in a large jug, then add the flour mixture and mix quickly to make a batter.
3. Heat a cast iron frying pan or flat-surfaced griddle until medium-hot, grease lightly with some butter and pour in the batter in batches to make rounds 8-10cm/3-4in in diameter.
4. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the underside is golden, then flip each one over and cook for one minute.
We adore Highbank Orchard Syrup drizzled over a stack of these and topped with crispy bacon but the possibilities are endless. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, poached berries and rhubarb with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, mascarpone and grated lemon, Nutella and banana and of course the traditional lemon and sugar.
What are your favourite toppings for delicious fluffy pancakes?
Please share, we would love to hear from you!

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Ariel House – January Favourites

January has been a gusty month here in Dublin! We have had storms Gertrude, Henry and Imogen in quick succession all visiting and a few more due to visit in February. Spring seems very far away but I have spotted a few green shoots in our city garden and some daffodils already in bloom as I walked through Dublin which means that longer, brighter and sunnier days are en route.

The following are a couple of highlights that we shared with you during January!

Black Pudding is a Superfood! 

Black pudding is packed with protein, iron, calcium & zinc and has been named as a superfood of 2016! We always serve the finest Clonakilty black pudding with our Irish breakfast and we can now indulge guilt free!

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3384724/2016-s-new-superfood-Black-pudding-Breakfast-staple-loaded-protein-iron-potassium-set-fly-shelves.html

Feeling Spring like on Pinterest! 

We are helping ourselves through this cold snap by focusing on the next season! Lots of gorgeous Spring flowers and arrangements over on our Ariel House Pinterest page. Happy pinning!

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http://pin.it/BnfEOeL

Winter Sun!

We love the way the winter sun hits the piano in the late afternoon in our drawing room!

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Lovin Dublin!

Absolutely delighted to be included in Lovin Dublin’s Top Afternoon Tea spots…. We’re in really good company here! Thanks for the mention guys and another “Well Done” to our Afternoon Tea Team!

http://lovindublin.com/lifestyle/weddings/7-of-the-best-places-in-dublin-for-a-cracking-afternoon-tea-hen-party

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Irish Ancestry Search

This is really interesting. Type in your surname to see where your ancestors mainly lived in the late 1800’s!

http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/

We hope you have enjoyed our January round up. We are looking forward to February, Valentines’s Day and sharing some more recipes with you!

Till the next time!

 

 

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Ariel House: Good news and a healthy treat!

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A lot of our guests this week are trying to reduce their sugar intake and adapt a healthier way of living. We believe in “a little of what you fancy’ here in Ariel House and try to stick to the 80:20 rule. These tasty little mini muffins are perfect to have with a coffee or even to put in a lunchbox for school. With just four ingredients you can whip them up in minutes and have something sweet to enjoy.
To make 20 mini muffins you will need:
3 ripe bananas, mashed
200g of porridge oats
40g of flaked almonds
40g of dark chocolate, chopped

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Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Line a mini muffin tin with paper cases.
Mix the mashed bananas thoroughly with the porridge oats before adding the almonds and chopped chocolate. Mix again.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the paper cases.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool fully before eating.
Enjoy!

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We are absolutely delighted to have been placed in the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards; an award which we have received for the last four consecutive years. A sincere “Thank You” to our loyal guests for their continued support.

 
Ariel House is also included in the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland for Service; an accolade for which we thank our wonderful Team, for their hard work, professionalism and dedication.

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/TravelersChoice-Hotels

Till the next time!

 

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A New Year at Ariel House!

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Welcome back to the Ariel House blog! We reopened our doors on Saturday after carrying out some essential maintenance works over the festive period and we are delighted to be back meeting our guests and spoiling them with treats from our kitchen.

This tray bake is always so popular with our guests, delicious with a hot cup of coffee served with a splash of cream. It is a very simple recipe and one which you could easily make in your kitchen to share with friends or family. Enjoy!

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.

Instructions

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

Grease and base-line a 30x23cm roasting tin with greaseproof paper.

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 butter 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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We are looking forward to sharing more recipes, things to do in Dublin, good news and events which we attend during 2016 with you here on the blog. Thanks, as always, for reading!

Till the next time!

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