Sunday 25 October 2009

Doodles on a Saturday Morning

Mark cuts the cake Mark cuts the cake, the regalia of office around his neck. Love him. If I didn’t have a dog, I might have to pay him to walk me.

I fell down a rabbit hole. A rabbit hole with desks and computers and phones which, for the past two weeks, held me captive from morning ‘til night (some of you may recognise this strange phenomenon as the thing they call ‘a job’). I came home, ate dinner - something on toast, something swirled into pasta - and began my second shift, tackling my usual workload late into the evening. So blogging came a poor second or third or fourth after, oh, sleep and stumbling, bleary eyed, into the shower. But now I’m back in the room, or at least the kitchen. Normal service will be resumed.

Yesterday morning, our presence was required at a most unusual wedding breakfast. Our dear friend and dog walker, Mark, was celebrating his civil partnership ceremony with his dapper darling, Ian, at lunchtime. But dogs still need to be exercised, even on special days, so Lindsay and Chris had the inspired idea of hijacking Gomez and Nico’s walk with a little party in the park.

At 8.30am on a damp and misty morning, smoked salmon bagels, cake, champagne and juice were laid out on Mark’s favourite bench. A happy crowd of people and dogs gathered beneath the dripping oaks and chestnuts to surprise the normally stoical, unflappable Mark. It was touching to note his usual bellow - a bellow that can halt a speeding hound hell bent on raiding a shopping trolley or stealing a sandwich at 300 metres - was temporarily silenced.

Doggie Group

Doggie Group 2

Dogs at play Dogs aren’t quite as good at standing still as their owners.

Mark’s Wedding Breakfast Chocodoodles

Beth and a doodle Beth tucks into a doodle.

Lee is our hand model

You don’t think such an auspicious morning could pass without a baked offering from me do you? Given the rabbit hole situation, it had to be something I could throw together quickly, so I went for Nigella’s Snickerdoodles from How to be a Domestic Goddess. Substituting some of the flour for cocoa turns them into Chocodoodles, which seemed appropriate. Not just because chocolate is always a good thing, but because the park is full of labradoodles, chocolate and otherwise – they’re the Staffordshire Bull Terriers of the middle classes. Yes, Polly, I’m talking to you.

225g plain flour
25g cocoa
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g, plus 2 tbsps caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 baking sheets, lined or greased

Makes about 30.

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

Sift the flour, cocoa, nutmeg, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 100g sugar together until light, pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Now stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth, coherent mixture. Spoon the remaining sugar and cinnamon onto a plate. Roll the dough into walnut sized pieces and then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on your baking sheets.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Leave to rest on the baking sheets for a minute and then transfer to a rack to cool.


  1. You always do the most fun things! What a fun day. :)

  2. Welcome back with your lesson on how to make a yet another kind of party...

  3. Glad to have you back. We missed you!

  4. Jessica - How nice to see you.
    TEM - It was fun. The park is beautiful at the moment, too, rain or not.
    Mum - Thank you, dear. You know how much I love a party...
    Darina - How very lovely to be missed. Thank you for your sweet message.


  5. oh lovey - i fell down the same rabbit hole as you!! oh how i loved receiving your special message the other day, and though i was naughty and didn't pop round right away, you were ever in my thoughts, and hoping that life was treating you well
    i love this posting - the wedding, the bellow and a new cookie recipe to try
    amazingly i have some family members who sniff at the tradtional snickerdoodle cookie
    this should get them set straight

  6. Hello Lady P - Yes, I do hope you can win them over to the doodle! So good and so easy - I love the combination of chocolate and cinnamon, so perfect for a damp autumn day. Big love, Dxx


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