Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Valentine’s Crafts

Ariel House Guesthouse Dublin

If you follow us on Pinterest you will know that we are partial to a bit of DIY! If you don’t already follow us, why not come over for a look, we keep our page constantly updated and share with you all of our favourite inspiration. It is a great source of ideas, recipes and crafts, all of which are photo based, and enables you to make virtual mood boards for all your favourite things. We are all about our Valentines board this week and it’s helping to brighten up even the darkest of winter days!

The team here at our Dublin guesthouse even had a go at making our own tea light holders inspired by Pinterest. So simple and you could let the children help you! We used some glass yoghurt pots, heart shaped stickers, blackboard paint and a little bit of bakers string. Simply peel off the heart stickers when the paint is dry and voila you have a piece of Pinterest to display!

Ariel House Dublin Guest House

These are among our favourite pins so far:

Door Wreath

We love to decorate outdoors and indoors at our Dublin guesthouse!

Chocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies 

These will be making an appearance at our afternoon teas!

Beautiful centrepieces!

Charming and easy to make.

Mason Jar Crafts

Perfect for getting the children involved in the Valentine’s Day spirit.

Detailed Picture Frame

This would make a great engagement present for someone!

Burlap Banner

We should have left the Christmas tree up!

What Valentine’s crafts do you like pinning? Let us know your account name and we will follow you! Happy pinning!

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Afternoon Tea Favourites

Afternoon Tea Meringue

Almost two years have passed since we first made our delectable treats and hot pots of tea for our Afternoon Tea guests at our guesthouse in Dublin. Lately, I have been looking back on two years’ worth of pictures and recalling wonderful times with people I have met since then.

Our Afternoon Tea service started as an opportunity to showcase some of our kitchen’s wonderful baking and has grown into something of an institution in Dublin 4. We regularly have a full house in our dining room and are completely thrilled with the success of it all. Our chefs have really come on-board and often test out new recipes to entice our visitors. Along with our knowledge growing, so have our waistbands, but it’s a small price to pay for the great reviews that we receive.

If you haven’t yet made it to us for Afternoon Tea at our Dublin guesthouse, we would love to see you and promise you’ll be spoilt! Here is a collage of our favourite pictures from the last two years.

afternoon tea collage

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New Year, New Steps!

Ariel House Guesthouse Steps

We have had a particularly quiet month here in Ariel House. There has been no chinking of china or hustle and bustle of everyday life. We closed our front door just before Christmas and are in the midst of a rejuvenation project at our guesthouse in Dublin.

Our charming granite steps leading up to our front door have been in situ since 1850 and have been requiring some tender loving care. This was a considerable undertaking and required the best of craftsmen to complete it. We are delighted to have been able to restore them to their former glory and can’t wait to share the fabulous job with you. The well known phrase ‘if walls could talk’ has been temporarily changed to “if stairs could talk” around these parts and if they could I am sure many fascinating tales would be heard! From the elegance of the Victorian age to the eclectic mix of visitors that have passed through our door, many stories could be told and we hope will continue to be told for many years to come.

We look forward to welcoming back all of our guests, both old and new, to our Dublin guesthouse in the coming weeks and to share with you our recent renovations. In the mean time, here’s a snap of the careful labour being undertaken!

Ariel House Guesthouse Dublin

The team at Ariel House are so looking forward to getting back to work and doing what we do best, looking after you. In fact, we were thrilled to recently win a Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award 2015, listed in the top 25 hotels in Ireland for best service. Thank you to everyone who took the time to review us – it’s much appreciated!

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Christmas Pinning

ariel-blog-pin
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!

Make Strawberry Santas as a Healthy Christmas Snack
How cute are these little Strawberry Santas? Our afternoon tea guests adore them!

Sweet Sienna: Rich, Elegant and Oh-So Dreamy
A simple pinecone makes for a gorgeous and unique place setting. We love this!

Music Sheet Place settings
A sheet of music adds some timeless elegance to your Christmas table.

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

Cookie-Decorating Tips
This is a great tutorial to help you make delicious iced cookies.

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

Candles and cinnamon sticks to make your house smell amazing
You can never have enough cinnamon sticks in your house. Never.

Christmas Wreaths
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

 

xmas-ariel-blog-mince-pie2

 

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

xmas-ariel-blog-choc2

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

ariel-barn-break

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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