Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

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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An Ariel House Christmas!

Mince Pies

Christmas in Ariel House is a very special time of year. We meet lots of families returning to spend time with their loved ones, we make dozens of delicious mince pies to share with our guests, we decorate our tree and remember what a wonderful year we have had, all washed down with a glass of mulled wine!

Mulled Wine Glass

We came across this delicious recipe for a Mince Pie Cake a couple of years ago and have found it to be very popular with our guests. It is an alternative use for any jars of mincemeat you may have in your kitchen and is delicious served with hot custard or some softly whipped cream.

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Makes one 20cm cake

Ingredients

175g butter

100g light muscovado sugar

3 eggs

225g self raising flour

300g homemade mincemeat

a pinch of ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

icing sugar to dust

Method

Line a 20cm cake tin and preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs gently, one by one.

Mix through the mincemeat.

Fold in the flour and spices.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake skewer is removed cleanly from the centre.

Turn out of the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving!

This is a new tradition for us to bake each year in Ariel House. What baking traditions do you have in your home during the festive season?

Till the next time!

 

 

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Ariel House – November Favourites

Ariel House – November Favourites

We are really beginning to feel festive here in Ariel House. The Christmas tree is up, the fireplaces are decorated, the mince pies are being baked in the kitchen and there is a lovely festive atmosphere as you walk through town!

I have compiled a few highlights of November in Ariel House, once again it has been a busy month! The round up includes local and Irish businesses that we support, we have not been asked to include them!

The Old Spot, Bath Avenue, Dublin 4.

Guests often ask us to recommend a local eatery where they can enjoy a nice atmosphere and delicious food. We thoroughly enjoyed a meal here recently so have no qualms whatsoever about recommending it to our guests. The Old Spot is a gastro pub with a fantastic and varied menu. Check out the specials board which changes daily and is sure to tickle anyone’s fancy. Be sure to try out the scallops which were cooked to perfection and served alongside perfectly crisp pork belly, the stuff dreams are made of!

10313467_813935201991848_5842140887895772974_nTrivago Top Hotel Awards 2015

We were thrilled to be named as one of the top hotels in Leinster by trivago.ie! Makes it all the sweeter that the award was review based and our lovely guests took the time to go online and write such lovely things about us. Thank you.

Top Hotel LEINSTER

Rose’s Mince Pies

Rose our lovely chef has been busy in the kitchen preparing all things festive. These mince pies are delectable and are going down a treat with our guests. We shared our recipe so that you can try them at home for yourself!

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Avokadoandco.com

We adore the Christmas range from this County Clare based company Avokado & Co. Beautiful and quirky Irish gifts, with something for everyone! Check out their website for some fun gift ideas. We love these gift tags…..

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Adonis Flowers

We absolutely adore Kat’s work in Adonis Flowers. We ordered two fireplace garlands and as always we are thrilled with them. Dried clementines, cinnamon sticks and shiny holly berries stand out amongst the beautiful greenery. So festive!

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McKennas’ Guides 2016

Delighted that once again we have received a McKennas’ Guides plaque for 2016. Always such a honour to receive such a well respected award. Thank you John & Sally for your continued support and to our team here at Ariel House for your continued hard work.

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As we head into December we are looking forward to sharing with you some delicious festive recipes and we also have a very special guest arriving to stay for the festive season! Stay tuned!

Till the next time!

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Trivago Top Hotel Awards 2015

Top Hotel LEINSTER

We were thrilled to recently hear that we had been named as one of the top hotels in Leinster by trivago.ie! This is a review based award so we would like to thank all of our lovely guests for taking the time to go online and tell everyone how much they have enjoyed their stay with us! We strive every day to make everyone feel welcome and do our upmost to ensure that all our guests are well looked after, have a comfortable stay and an enjoyable breakfast.

Ariel House dublin guesthouseTrivago is the world’s largest hotel search engine and more than 80 million customers use the site every month. That is a phenomenal figure and we are more than thrilled to be in the top 20 in Leinster amongst some amazing hotels. We have a fabulous team of people here in Ariel House and without them this would not be possible. They are extremely dedicated, loyal and strive for excellence in everything that they do and we believe this shows in some of the lovely reviews that you will find online.

http://www.trivago.ie/?iGeoDistanceItem=46115&sSlideOutType=rating

If you are looking for a comfortable place to stay, a warm welcome and delicious food look no further than Ariel House! Proud as punch to be regarded so highly by our loyal customers. No one is a stranger when they come through the front door in Ariel House!

Till the next time!

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