Spaniel Names and Spectacular Soups

My mind is filled with thoughts of a small black spaniel.  It’s only three more sleeps until I head up to Tain, pop him in my car and take him home with me for ever and ever.  His bed is waiting, his toys are bought, he has his own towels and I’ve even cooked and frozen some small bags of mince to add to his dog food dinners.  All I have to do now is decide on a name.


Being a year old, he obviously already has a name but he doesn’t really respond to it.  My dog psychologist friend, Lina tells me changing his name will be absolutely fine and so I’ve been mulling over options.  D is not being helpful about this, continually suggesting names such as Biter and Humper, and so I’d like to know what you guys think of my short list.  Which name out of the following do you like best:



1.      Marco – This is his current name.  Could just keep it. It’s Italian and it’s fun.

2.      Hamish – Scottish.  Cheesy.  Cheery.

3.      Douglas – Scottish.  Also cheery but with an earnest edge, I think. 


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  🙂


Now, on to food.  Let me share with you a recipe for an absolutely spectacular soup.  Based heavily on a recipe from the amazing Leith’s Vegetarian Bible, this is a meal I am already looking forward to eating again and again and again.  I served the soup with home-made hummus and crispy baked pita breads.  Dinner this evening felt like a real event.


 Lemon Bulgar Soup

1 tblspn olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

0.5 tspn turmeric

1 tspn cumin

1 stalk of lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed then finely chopped

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

0.25 tspn dried chilli flakes

1 litre vegetable stock

75g bulgar wheat


Coriander leaves to serve

  • Gently fry the onion and fennel in the oil until softened. 
  • Add the spices, garlic and lemongrass and cook for another minute.
  • Add the lemon zest, juice, chilli and stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 10 mins.
  • Add the bulgar and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste and serve sprinkled with coriander leaves.

To make the pita bread chips, simply half a bread and cut into quarters so you have 8 thin pieces.  Brush lightly with oil and lightly dust with paprika.  Cook in a 180oC oven for 10 mins until crispy.

45 thoughts on “Spaniel Names and Spectacular Soups

  1. That soup sounds really good Wendy – a bit of an unusual one. I bet it would be good made with those preserved lemons I always buy and end up with loads leftover.

    Love your picture today with the overhead angle!

    I vote for keeping him as Marcus – fun but not too undignified for such a handsome chap. But it’s all down to what you’ll feel comfortable shouting in the middle of the park if/when he runs off!

  2. Alanna – Did think about that but have too many Finnish friends. It’d be really weird for them to call my dog “dog”!

    Peter – You are as bad as D. Almost, anyway.

    Sophie – Wonder how this would turn out with preserved lemons. If you try it, let me know. And each of my suggested names have already been called out in the park!!

  3. What does “Humper ” mean aunty Wendy?

    Anyway all my family think “Marco” is best.

    Apparantly if I had been a boy dog I was to be called Douglas.
    My Glaswegian master found the idea of “Doug the DUG” funny for some reason or other.


  4. Oh, I like Hamish best, although I seem to be in the minority…Douglas sounds too much like a human to me. 🙂 Beautiful looking soup! I wonder if that book will be available in the US.

  5. Beautiful soup Wendy. Intriguing recipe. Of the names, it’s got to be Douglas surely?

    Hamish is the name of a local beagle that regularly visits my local cafe. Although I agree with Sophie’s definition of what makes a good name!

  6. he is not a marcus and but I am not sure if he is more douglas or hamish – douglas is easier to shorten but when he gets into the garden he might become the diggingest doug! whatever you call him he looks gorgeous – my parents have a black springer spaniel labrador cross who has the most placid temperament and this reminds me a bit of when she was young and energetic

    Lovely photo of the food too

  7. I vote for Douglas because you can shorten it when he’s being cute and keep it long when he’s naughty. Either way, he’s gorgeous – you must be so excited! Oh, and nice soup, too (but we’re talking about your very own dog here…)

  8. Rosie – You’ll have to ask your Dad about that one… 🙂

    Mallika – He is a sweetie.

    Cookworm – Not sure. Just noticed that it’s out of stock on Amazon in the UK. It really is spectacularly good.

    Kathryn – Yes, there were several names that didn’t make the cut for that reason. And others. 🙂

    Lucy – I know you know how much this means to me. Thank you for being so excited. 🙂

    AOF – Macro is a bit cool, isn’t it?

    Johanna – Springer Lab cross? Bet he was a bundle of energy in his younger years!

    Lysy – Yup. Sod the soup. I’m getting a dog! 😀

  9. I vote for Marco and so does Rufus! We are so excited for you. He looks like such a cutie and we cant wait to meet him. Dont see how your gonna sleep over the next few nights! xx

  10. I don’t know about the name – it’s hard to say when you haven’t met the dog I think. I’m agonising here so I’m going to have to leave it to his new owner I’m afraid! I am also known for being infuriatingly indecisive so you’re better off without me – I’ll just keep changing my mind. That lemon-bulgur soup looks really interesting! I love the look of it. That book sounds fantastic if that soup is anything to go by.

  11. Oh how exciting.

    I’d go with Douglas. It is important to have an earnest edge (!) I think it suits him.

    The soup looks pretty good Wendy, but not a patch on that gorgeous dog of yours!

  12. Hamish. Absolutely Hamish. I love the name. It makes me thing big and strong — the protector.

    And the soup…YUMMY!

    That is one cute dog! Best of luck with the transition to his new home. He will be loved. That much I can tell.

  13. I like Hamish the best. I’m glad he is getting a good home like yours.

    My husband is in London on business, I’m going to ask him to get me this cookbook.

    Found you via Smitten Kitchen re: wedding cake. I’m going to enjoy reading your blog.

  14. Notquitejunecleaver – Oh yes. He surely will. 🙂

    Susan – Hello and welcome! Hope your husband gets the book for you. It really is fantastic. 🙂

  15. Regarding the name:
    2 things: How will it sound when you shout it in a crowd in an angry voice when he runs off? (not that he would).

    (Our neighbor had a dog named Honey… I still laugh when I remember him shouting “Damnit Honey…”

    We renamed one of our dogs and did it by calling her old name – new name for about a month, then just dropping old name completely. It worked a treat!

  16. He totally looks like a Douglas to me. I like Hamish too though. But for some reason, when I look at his picture, Douglas is what comes to me! But maybe you could ask him when he arrives. See which one he responds to.

    You must be so excited Wendy! I am thrilled for you. Roberto and I are waiting for our puppy too. We are getting an Italian Greyhound and we are just waiting for the right one to come into the rescue group we are working with. We have already named him and we just can’t wait for the right one to show up!

    I cannot wait to see what kind of great adventures you are going to have with your new baby! He is sooooo cute!

  17. Katie – See, I can’t really say Marco in an angry voice… Good tip. 🙂

    Jenn – Italian Greyhounds are beautiful. I met one last week and felt like I’d been in the company of a canine angel. Hope one comes along soon!

  18. What a cutie and such sad doggy eyes. Of the choices – I like Hamish the best. My son has picked “Charles” for every dog I’ve had and I’ve never used it so let me pass it over to you. If you don’t like it – pay it forward 🙂

  19. Hamish, definitely. Very distinctive for him to hear.

    Douglas is too ‘muddy’ to the ear, and Marco/Macro might remind him of ‘no’.

    Great-sounding recipe, BTW. I like lemony pasta dishes in the summer, so this appeals in a similar fashion.

  20. Definitely Hamish! Love that name! One of my once kittens (now sevenish years old) I named S*Luddkolt’s Hamish Holyrood, still one of my favourite kitten names ever:)

    And I do agree on #2’s “Angus”, cool name too, which I of course also named a kitten to once upon a time:)

  21. Sorry to weight in late about the name – pick Hamish!! He is ADORABLE. what a face! Great soup too. I have bookmarked it and will be trying it next week.,

  22. Giz – My Dad loves Charlie and has been campaigning for it for weeks!

    Sara – Exactly what we’ve done. 🙂

    Aforkfullofspaghetti – Wouldn’t normally associate summer with a soup but this is definitely summery.

    Christina – Douglas was my favourite too. In the end he let it be known that he didn’t want his name changed, thank you very much. 🙂

    Pia – Lots of Scottish cats in Sweden then? 😉

    Syrie – Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

  23. Hi Wendy! We’ve had this for dinner and I wanted to get back and tell you we really enjoyed it! Love the lemony broth and the fennel is just wonderful with it. And it is very fresh and cheerful! A perfect summer meal. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing the recipe with us!

  24. I have a black cocker spaniel!!! She is beautiful… her name is monkey 🙂 I rescued her from a kill shelter and she is so perfect except that I think she may be pregnant. They tried to tell me when I adopted her that she was a border collie but, I knew better. I originally thought she was a springer spaniel but, I guess I am still not really sure. Anyways… I hope you and your puppy are happy together!!! 🙂

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