Enjoying Life's Little Pleasures

The Ariel House Blog

Ariel House; Tray Bake

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Tray Bake

We love a tray bake here in Ariel House. It is a lovely way of serving seasonal fruit and is always easy to slice up and serve to a crowd. We tend to use the same cake mixture and then change the flavours by adding fruit, chocolate, nuts and sometimes even dollops of cheesecake mixture. It is a rare afternoon when we haven’t got a traybake to share with our guests in the drawing room. A cup of tea and a square goes a long way to restore our visitor’s energy levels after a stroll around our wonderful city. A tray bake is a great recipe to have in your repertoire. They are simple to prepare and bake, are fantastic for feeding a crowd and always go down well at school bake sales. These are our two favourite recipes, hope you enjoy! 

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Berry Tray Bake

Ingredients

225g self raising flour

175g softened butter

175g light brown sugar

1 tsp of baking powder

3 large eggs

2 tbsp of water

100g of summer berries

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Grease a baking or a roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment.

Measure all the cake ingredients (except for the berries) into a large bowl and beat until well blended.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Press the berries into the top of the mixture and press down lightly.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before slicing into squares.

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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

Method

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

Grease a baking or a roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment.

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 margarine 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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Ariel House; Irish Soda Bread with a twist….

Irish soda bread with a twist….

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Welcome back to our blog after our annual festive break. Our kitchen has reopened and our ovens fired up for what is set to be another busy year here in Ariel House.

We make soda bread every day in our kitchen. It is such a traditional Irish bread to make and because baking soda is used as a leavening agent  you can make it and eat a round of soda bread within an hour! The joy of eating fresh soda bread, slathered in real Irish butter straight from the oven is immense. A traditional Irish tea table was never complete without a round or two of this bread in the centre. We previously shared a delicious recipe for soda bread with crispy bacon that was a massive hit with our guests. We have taken that recipe and added a selection of savoury toppings, all of which have been delicious. This is the basic recipe that we use and to that we add variety of toppings.

Ingredients

450g of plain white flour
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of bread soda
400ml of buttermilk
Method

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade.
Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large bowl, make a well in the centre.
Pour the buttermilk into the well and using one hand bring all the flour in from the sides to make a soft dough. If it is sticky add a little more flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands gently pat into a round shape approximately two inches high.
Place the dough onto a floured baking sheet and cut a deep cross in it.
Place in the preheated oven for ten minutes before lowering the temperature to 200 degrees and baking for another twenty minutes.
The bread is cooked fully when it sounds hollow when the base is tapped.

We added chopped ham, tomatoes and basil to this round of soda bread. It was absolutely delicious and smelled amazing.

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We divided our soda bread recipe into nine individual scones here and topped them with a variety of seeds, cranberries and grated cheese. They were divine and it was hard not eat more than one or two.

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There are so many things you can add to this versatile bread. Sultanas, nuts, chocolate chips and wild garlic to name just a few.

We are looking forward to sharing more recipes, things to do in Dublin, good news and events which we attend during 2017 with you here on the blog. Thanks, as always, for reading!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House; Tomorrow is December!

Tomorrow is December!

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It is hard to believe that in a couple of hours we will be into the final month of 2016 and the start of the festivities that December inevitably brings with it. 2016 seems to have been such a quick year, it seems no time since we were preparing for the 2015 festive season! We have had such an amazing year in Ariel House and we thought we would take this opportunity to look back on the highlights and share them with you!

Our Melting Moments – we shared the recipe for our most popular afternoon tea recipe and we had emails and messages from all over the world telling us that you had made them and devoured them! We love hearing from people that try our recipes and think it is fabulous that so many of you bake them at home!

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The McKennas’ Guides featured us in their 100 Top Places to Stay in Ireland 2016 and we are still beaming with the news. They also launched an app which is fantastic for people thinking of travelling to Ireland.

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We really enjoyed the 1916 Commemorations which took place all over Ireland. So important to mark these truly historical occasions with the respect they deserve.

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Ireland in the Euros 2016 – We certainly didn’t win the Euros but we won the hearts of all the nations across Europe with our singing and our celebrations! We were particularly proud to be Irish for the month of June!

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We launched our afternoon tea ebook with a collection of our most popular recipes including eclairs, summer lemonade amongst others. It is available to download here free of charge.

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We featured in The Telegraph UK article naming The Top Ten Best Budget Hotels! We were thrilled to get such amazing coverage and pride ourselves on offering good value for money.

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We baked and blogged the most delicious Crispy Bacon Sodabread and are still dreaming about how delicious it was! You really need to try it!

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We received a Best Customer Service Award at the National Hospitality Awards 2016. We were absolutely thrilled to be awarded this prestigious award from industry professionals!

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We were so happy to host a very special Cookies & Coffee Morning organised by Canopi Sleeves. All moneys raised was donated to Breast Cancer Research Ireland and we had a really successful fundraising day! Canopi Sleeves are also donating 10% of their sales for the month of December to this worthy cause, perfect gift idea for Christmas.

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Last but not least we were awarded Ireland’s Best Hotel Breakfast by Trivago! We pride ourselves on sourcing the best ingredients and tastiest produce that we can find and are thrilled that our lovely guests have taken the time to rate us on Trivago.

Ariel House Irish Breakfast

So much happened in 2016 here in Ariel House. We are looking forward to having a very busy festive season, plenty of mince pies and lots more exciting things to come in 2017!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Festive Afternoon Tea

Festive Afternoon Tea

The festive season is almost upon us and our chefs Rose, Ulisses and Manu have been busy preparing our festive afternoon tea menu. December is one of our favourite months here in Ariel House, our beautiful Christmas tree shines brightly in our drawing room, our mantles are adorned with festive swags and there are always mince pies available to have with a cup of tea. Soak up the tranquil atmosphere in our dining room and a welcome break from Christmas shopping by having a festive afternoon tea. See below for our sample festive menu.

Mince PiesAfternoon Tea Menu

Smoked salmon with lemon zest on homemade brown bread

Tomato and chilli sourdough topped with brie and cranberry sauce

Warm mini potato cakes with creme fraiche and chives

Honey baked ham on traditional sourdough

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Homemade mince pies with Baileys fresh cream

Chocolate dipped Christmas pudding bites

Vanilla melting moments

Mini sweet scones with raspberry jam and cream

Bite sized honey cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing

Handmade white chocolate truffles

Strawberry Santas with shortcake biscuit

Mince pie bake drizzled with royal icing

Coffee and walnut tray bake

Mini sherry trifles

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All of our afternoon tea bakes are homemade by our chefs. Our kitchen environment contains nuts, gluten, eggs and dairy produce; hence there may be traces of these allergens in our cakes and savouries.

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We will be sharing many of our festive afternoon tea recipes with you over the coming weeks, so if you can’t make it to one of our afternoon teas you will be able to try out the recipes in your own kitchen.

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Have you any traditional Christmas recipes that you make every year that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Trivago Award!

full Irish breakfastWe are absolutely thrilled to have won Best Hotel Breakfast in Ireland from Trivago in their 2017 awards. Our guesthouse owner Jennie McKeown completed the Ballymaloe Cookery Course in 2011 and from that an ethos of sourcing and serving the best quality produce we can find stemmed. Our kitchen and ovens are always serving up scrumptious homemade goodies for breakfast and our three chefs, Rose, Manu and Ulisses are all so passionate about good food and they are thrilled that we have been awarded such a prestigious title.

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The Trivago awards are highly esteemed by guests and hoteliers alike. Travellers recognise the quality of award winning hotels and search for them specifically on the Trivago website. We won the award from scores and reviews that our guests have left on the Trivago site and are delighted that you took the time to rate us.

b&b_in_dublin_breakfastsWe believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we like to ensure that our guests have a hearty meal to fuel their sightseeing. We have an extensive menu here at Ariel House, from creamy porridge to homemade potato cakes and from crunchy granola to softly poached eggs. If however there is something you would like that is not on the menu, just ask and we will do our upmost to accommodate you.

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Thank you so much from all the team here at Ariel House. We are always amazed at the outpouring of congratulations when we achieve something like this and always appreciate your good wishes.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Chocolate Mousse Pots

Chocolate Mousse

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The weather is slowly but surely getting colder day by day as we march into November. Our kitchen staff are already looking ahead and planning our Christmas menus. Our Christmas wreaths and garlands are on order and we are looking forward to spreading some Christmas cheer all around the house. But for now our menus are taking a slight turn away from the more summery desserts and lots of spiced apples and chocolate are being used in our recipes.

We have a recipe for a delicious chocolate mousse by Chef Kevin Dundon that everyone seems to love and it is super easy to prepare. Perfect to accompany an afternoon tea or served as a decadent dessert after dinner.

Ingredients ( serves 2)

  • 300g of best quality dark chocolate
  • 3 fresh eggs, separated
  • 250ml of fresh cream

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Method

  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • Lightly beat the egg yolks and whisk into the melted chocolate until well combined.
  • Whip the cream in a bowl until you have achieved soft peaks and then whisk into the chocolate mixture.
  • In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff and fold into the chocolate cream mixture.
  • Divide the mousse into individual glasses or pretty tea cups and allow to chill for at least one hour before serving.
  • Decorate with fresh fruit, smashed honeycomb, chocolate shards or a swirl of whipped cream. Divine!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Savoury Sandwiches

img_2129Dainty savoury sandwiches are an essential introduction to the ceremony of afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is a tradition that is as much about the conversation as it is about the treats. Savoury sandwiches should be no more than three bites and essential that you can hold it in one hand. When preparing afternoon tea you need to prepare savoury sandwiches that are not going to overpower the sweet treats to follow. Three varieties of savoury sandwiches is the perfect amount to serve. Our most popular savoury sandwiches here in Ariel House are smoked salmon on brown bread with real Irish butter, dainty cucumber slices on tomato and chilli bread and egg & cress served on sourdough.

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Our top five tips for the perfect savoury sandwich:

  • It is essential that you use the freshest bread you can find and the best quality ingredients that you can source. Always quality over quantity.
  • Allow 3-4 sandwiches per person.
  • Don’t prepare them too early as they will either go soggy or dry out.
  • Spread the butter or mayonnaise all the way to the edge of the bread to create a seal against wet sandwich fillings.
  • Use a good quality bread knife to ensure a good clean cut on the bread.

img_2124We make our own brown bread every day in the kitchen and guests often ask us for the recipe. It is so delicious and traditional that we never mind sharing it. What are your favourite savoury toppings? We would love to hear your suggestions!

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Ariel House Brown Bread

img_4691Ingredients:
• 185g self-raising white flour
• 85g wholemeal flour
• 30g porridge oats
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp bread soda
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 280ml milk
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly.
Add the lightly beaten egg.
Add the milk.
This makes quite a wet mixture, pour into a greased loaf tin.
Bake for 35-45 min until base sounds hollow when tapped.

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Zesty Orange Cake.

“No matter what the question is, cake is the answer”

img_7366A moist cake that is easy to slice up is always a joy to serve to people. This orange cake is the very cake for you if you have people calling and you want to serve them up something delicious alongside a hot cup of tea. You can make it in a loaf tin but we like to bake it in a loose bottomed round tin as it looks so pretty on the cake stand.

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Ingredients

  • 225g of soft butter
  • 150g of golden caster sugar
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 130g of orange marmalade
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 160g of self raising flour
  • 75g of ground almonds

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Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  • Grease and line a springform tin.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until pale and light.
  • Gradually add the orange juice, zest and the marmalade, swirl through.
  • Add the eggs in gradually into the creamed butter mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  • Fold in the flour and ground almonds.
  • Place into the prepared tin and bake on a low shelf in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre is removed cleanly.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Serve with a blob of whipped cream and a little bit of candied orange zest, absolutely delicious. We are going to try a lime version soon with a little added coconut, this is a very versatile cake to have in your collection!

Till the next time!

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Ariel House; Best Irish Potato Cakes!

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A.A. Milne

img_7408Here at Ariel House we firmly believe that a good breakfast is essential to set you up for the day. One of the most popular breakfasts on our menu is the humble Irish potato cake. Potato cakes are absolutely delicious and a fantastic way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. We like to serve ours with salmon and creme fraiche or alongside a tasty full Irish.

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 900g of leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Butter and olive oil for frying

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Method

  • Heat a heavy based frying pan with a little butter and some olive oil.
  • Mix all the ingredients together until combined.
  • Shape into little cakes.
  • Cook the potato cakes on both sides until they are golden brown.
  • Transfer to a warm oven until all the potato cakes have been browned on the pan.
  • Serve immediately.

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This is definitely worth making extra mashed potato the evening before to ensure a hearty breakfast the next morning! Such a traditional recipe and a great one to have in your repertoire!

Till the next time!

 

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Ariel House Recipes; Lamingtons

img_7267We made lamingtons this week in our kitchen after one of our chefs came across them in a cookbook and thought they looked delicious. He definitely wasn’t wrong as they are to die for! Light coconut sponge, dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut, what’s not to like about a lamington!

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Ingredients;

  • 175g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 175g of unsalted butter
  • 175g of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut

Coating;

  • 500g of icing sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 85ml of boiling water
  • 70g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 250g of desiccated coconut

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Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 9 inch square cake tin.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the butter, caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth then stir in the milk and desiccated coconut.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until risen, firm and golden brown.
  • Leave to cool for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to fully cool.
  • When completely cold, cut into 16 squares using a sharp knife.

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For the coating;

  • Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl.
  • Add the boiling water and melted butter and stir until smooth.
  • Place the desiccated coconut on a large plate.
  • Dip each square of sponge into the icing before rolling in the coconut.
  • Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave the lamingtons to set.

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They are such a delicious treat and reminded me of  the Tunnock’s Snowballs of my youth! Delicious with a pot of tea and shared with friends!

 

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