Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Christmas Pinning

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We thought we would make your Christmas a little easier by putting together a few simple ideas, to make the season of goodwill go even smoother than usual for you! We are really enjoying updating our Pinterest account and have brought together some of our favourite Christmas pins in one blogpost!


How cute are these little Strawberry Santas? Our afternoon tea guests adore them!


A simple pinecone makes for a gorgeous and unique place setting. We love this!


A sheet of music adds some timeless elegance to your Christmas table.


This beautiful cake will definitely be making an appearance in Dublin 4!


This is a great tutorial to help you make delicious iced cookies.


A hint of tartan and some red berries is always a winner and bang on trend.


You can never have enough cinnamon sticks in your house. Never.


Greenery and more greenery. Fabulous.

Hope you picked up a few festive ideas from that round up! Happy Pinning and Merry Christmas from all at Ariel House!

 

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Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

On a cold December day there is nothing more warming than the aroma and taste of a nip of mulled wine. The scent of cinnamon sticks reminds me of Christmas and brings back lovely memories of years gone by. It’s an ever popular addition to our Christmas afternoon tea menu and never fails to please. Here is a little taster of the recipe featured in our recipe book last year, to help our guests make the most of the festive season. Hope you enjoy!

 

You will need:

– 1 bottle of red wine

– 2 large oranges, juiced

– 1 lemon, juiced

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 1 tbsp of honey

– A splash of brandy

– 1 orange, sliced and studded with cloves

 

Method:

- Place all ingredients into a large pot and allow to heat thoroughly.

– Do not boil.

– Serve immediately.

Mulled Wine Glass

If you have any variations or tips to share, leave a comment below. After all, there are so many variations of mulled wine all over the world with each culture adding their own twist to it and we’d be delighted to hear yours! Slainte!

 

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Rose’s Mince Pies

Mince Pies

A Christmas spread is never complete without the humble mince pie making an appearance. Light, crumbly pastry, filled with a moist fruit mixture, is a hard combination to beat and we think the ones Rose makes in our kitchen are amongst the best that you will ever taste. As always, we love to share, here is the recipe that we use – the ground almonds make the pastry as light as a feather and one definitely tastes like more! You have been warned!

 

Ingredients (makes 24 mince pies):

• 225g plain flour

• 125g caster sugar

• 100g ground almonds

• 125g margarine (room temperature)

• 1 egg (beaten)

• A little water, if necessary

 

For Filling:

• 450g mincemeat

 

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Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F/Gas 6. Lightly grease patty/bun tins.
2. Put flour, sugar and ground almonds into a mixing bowl and mix well together.
3. Rub margarine through the dry ingredients. Add the egg and water, if required, and mix to a soft dough.
4. Turn onto a lightly floured board and gently knead.
5. Cover with cling film and keep in fridge until ready to use. The pastry will keep for about three days.
6. Roll pastry on a floured board and cut rounds with a cutter to fit greased bun/patty tins. Put a teaspoon of mincemeat in each and cut a star shaped lid from remaining pastry to put on top.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla icecream for a delicious festive treat! Let us know some of your holiday favourites in the comments below, or search for more Christmas recipe inspiration in our recipe collection.

 

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Christmas Truffles

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Well at last December is here and with it the anticipation of frosty days and twinkling fairy lights. Christmas is such a special time of year and brings with it a different atmosphere here in Ariel House. Homecomings, meetings of long lost friends and family gatherings all take place on our steps and in our foyer, bringing good cheer to us all. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

 

One of our resident cooks Manu has come up with the most delicious white Christmas truffle recipe that has our guests calling out for more and we have decided to share it with you. It would make a wonderful gift to bring to someone’s house over the festive period and nothing says ‘thank you’ more than something home made. I hope you enjoy these even half as much as we do.

 

Ingredients:

 

- 25g butter

 

– 5 tbsp double cream

 

– 325g white chocolate

 

Method:

 

1. Line a flat tin with baking paper.

 

2. Melt the butter and the cream together, slowly bring to the boil whilst stirring and allow to boil for one minute.

 

3. Remove from the heat.

 

4. Add 225g of the chocolate to the cream and stir until melted.

 

5. Pour into the tin and refrigerate for two hours.

 

6. Break off pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. Chill again for thirty minutes.

 

7. Melt the remaining white chocolate and dip the chilled truffles into the mixture, allow the excess to drip off before placing on baking paper to set.

 

White Chocolate Truffle

 

Share, keep, enjoy, eat! If you recreate this wonderful Christmas recipe, let us know how you found them in the comments below, or share on our Twitter & Facebook pages!

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Winter Warming Granola

Granola Cereal Bowl

Breakfast at Ariel House is one of my favourite times of the day. I love the hustle and bustle of the dining room as we prepare everything on the buffet, the beautiful wafts of fresh coffee as it is poured, the chink of forks on china and the chatter as the first guests arrive down the staircase to eat. It is a chance for our guests to mingle and exchange travel tips, recommend eateries and generally offer titbits of information about their lives. It’s amazing the stories that can be exchanged over a pot of hot tea and a shared love of both good food and travel. As we move into the winter season here at Lansdowne Road, we are seeing more poached fruits and nutty winter warming granola on the menu and are delighted to share our granola recipe with you today.

Ingredients:

– 350g honey

–  8 fl oz oil, e.g. sunflower

– 370g oat flakes

– 220g barley flakes

– 200g wheat flakes

– 100g rye flakes

– 150g seedless raisins or sultanas

– 150g peanuts/hazelnuts or cashew nuts, split and roasted

– 70g wheatgerm and/or millet flakes

– 50g chopped apricots

Method:

1. Mix the oil and honey together in a saucepan. Heat just enough to melt the honey.

2. Mix well into the mixed flakes. Spread thinly on two baking trays.

3. Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning frequently, making sure the edges don’t burn. It should be just golden and toasted, not roasted!

4. Allow to cool. Mix in the raisins or sultanas, roasted nuts, toasted seeds, chopped dates, apricots and wheatgerm.

5. Store in a screw top jar or plastic box, keep for 1-2 weeks.

A splash of ice cold milk is all that is required to satisfy the hungriest of our guests or the addition of layers of poached fruit and yoghurt make it the perfect breakfast to fuel a stroll around our beautiful city! For more ideas on breakfasting in style visit our breakfast page or browse through our recipe collection!

P.S. Our guests often ask where we get our beautiful mugs and bowls, they are the handiwork of Nicholas Mosse pottery, based in Bennetsbridge Kilkenny.”

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Halloween Tea Brack

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Although traditionally associated with Halloween, Tea Brack is a year round favourite here at Ariel House and is usually found on the breakfast buffet each morning.

Also known as Barmbrack or “The BarnyBrack” as we used to call it as children (I have no idea why, and would love to know if anyone else called it this too), this loaf is central to Irish Halloween tradition.

The base of the recipe consists of tea soaked dried fruit, such as raisins, sultanas and cherries. As a young child, I always knew when Halloween was drawing close, as my Mam would start collecting left over tea from the pot each evening and storing it in in one of the old glass milk bottles.

The real Halloween brack contained little surprise items, like a ring, a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth or a coin. Whatever you came across in your slice of brack would determine your fortune for the coming year! If you find the ring you’ll soon be married; the cloth shows you will have bad luck and the coin is a sign you’ll be blessed with good fortune. At home, the items were always wrapped in greaseproof paper before going into the mixture, so we spent our time trying to find the paper wrappings through buttered slices of brack to see what we would unearth!

At Ariel House, our Tea Brack recipe is the one my Mam used to make, it’s such a lovely, versatile bake. It can be a cake or bread, for breakfast or for afternoon tea,  it really suits any occasion or time of the day.

Our Halloween Tea Brack:

Ingredients:

– 300ml cold tea

– 4 tsp Jameson Irish Whiskey

– 110g sultanas

– 220g currants or raisins

– 55g chopped glacé cherries

– 55g chopped mixed peel

– 200g brown sugar

– 225g self-raising flour

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Method:

1. Place the cold tea and whiskey in a bowl. Add in the sultanas, currants, glacé cherries and mixed peel. Cover and set aside to soak overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, self-raising flour, beaten egg, nutmeg andsoaked fruit, with its soaking liquid, until well-mixed.

4. Transfer the mixture to a loaf tin, lined with baking paper.

5. Bake for 1½ hours, until risen and set.

6. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in its tin, then turn out and cool on a wire tray and serve in thick slices with lots of butter

Happy baking and most importantly, Happy Halloween!

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Breakfast Together Week: Delicious Pancake Recipe

Breakfast Pancake Recipe

 

Breakfast Together Week takes place this year from the 6th of October to 12th of October. Breakfasts are hosted across the country to help support the ISPCC Childline services which help children in need 24 hours a day. It is a great initiative to get people together and to raise awareness for this fantastic service for children who may not be as lucky as some.

Here at Ariel House, one of our most popular breakfast dishes is the delicious pancake. 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.

 

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.

 

 

Pancake Recipe

 

 

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 or this delicious seasonal damson syrup from Fiona Dillon looks amazing and is sure to be a hit with our guests when we make it this week!

So what are your favourite toppings for delicious fluffy pancakes? Please share, we would love to hear from you!

 

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Cakes Fit for a Queen

Afternoon Tea

 

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!

 

Queen Cakes

 

The beauty of these buns is that they are so easy to customise for any sweet cravings that you may have. Replace the jam with a creamy spoonful of nutella, smooth caramel or sweet lemon curd to indulge your taste buds. Fancy giving this recipe a try? Leave a comment below letting us know how you got on!


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Ariel House Mini Meringues!

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We recently had an email from an American guest who had enjoyed our afternoon tea so much that they were trying to recreate it for some friends back home in New York. She especially wanted to know how we made our mini meringues as she had been making them for years but could not get the texture that we had achieved in our kitchen. Meringues are such a simple little recipe to make and it always amazes me as to how well received they are by our guests. The addition of a layer of softly whipped cream and a smear of lemon curd is a combination that was surely made in heaven. The sweetness of the meringue counteracted by the tartness of the lemon is a winner every time. This recipe is from our kitchen to your kitchen, from Dublin to New York!

Ingredients for 12 mini meringues:

– 3 egg whites
– 175g of caster sugar
– 250ml of cream, softly whipped
– 12 tsps of lemon curd

ariel-blog-meringue-3 Instructions:

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
– Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
– Whisk egg whites until very stiff.
– Very gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each spoonful.
– Drop rounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
– Drop oven temperature to 110 degrees celcius for 45 mins to 1 hour.
– Allow to cool and decorate with softly whipped cream and lemon curd.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Such a lovely recipe to have in your repertoire and there are hundreds of fillings to choose from. Nutella and chopped hazelnuts, caramel and bananas, strawberries and cream, the combinations are endless. Let us know if you have any unusual combinations we could try out!

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Homemade Lemonade

ariel-blog-lemonade

We were so delighted to see The Great British Bake Off back on our screens last week! We are huge fans of home baking here in Ariel House as you all know and we are just loving the surge in interest in home baked treats that we see all around us! It is such a pleasure for us to share our own baked treats with guests at our ever-popular afternoon tea celebrations. We pride ourselves on treating our guests to tasty treats and are always on the lookout for inspiration. During the course of The Great British Bake Off, we are going to going to attempt to create a treat from the show each week so watch this space!

We have had a really busy Summer here at our guesthouse on Lansdowne Road with visitors from near and far being accommodated. We have been making a delicious, refreshing lemonade to quench our weary traveler’s thirst. Lemonade is such a simple thing to make, but it is amazing how well it can go down on a hot day. Here is hoping that we have many more weeks of sunshine before the Autumn weather truly kicks in!

To make this truly delicious lemonade, you will need:

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

4 or 6 lemons juiced

3 or 4 cups of cold water

How to Prepare:

- Heat the sugar and water together to make a simple syrup. The syrup is ready when the sugar has become completely dissolved.

- Add the lemon juice and syrup together in a suitable jug and add 3 cups of cold water before tasting. If you feel the taste is too strong, add a 4th cup of cold water and taste again.

You may also adjust the flavour by adding more sugar or lemon juice.

- Refrigerate until completely chilled.

- Top with ice and fresh mint.

- Serve!

Hope you enjoy this delicious homemade lemonade recipe as much as we do here in Ariel House!

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