The Scamp Cooks

With the start of the new semester, and going back to work after a Christmas break of poor sleeping habits, I am finding it difficult to get back into the swing of being an adult. I’ve still yet to complete my list of 22 things I would like to do in 2022, and I have not really been committed to much of anything personal health or hobby related.

One thing that will be on my list, and has been on my list since 2019/2020 is to cook and prepare healthy meals that will help me not only have a more well-balanced diet, but will also give me something fun to do if I ever become social again (dinner party at the Davis Hovel anyone?). One of the things I like about being able to order my groceries online from Tesco is that they have suggested recipes. When you scroll through them, if you find one that you like, you can add all the ingredients to your cart automatically. I’ve found three recipes so far, and tried the first one out last week.

Prep work for homemade salsa

And what do you know? It was a success! Turns out I can follow a recipe and make a very simple meal of fish finger tacos.

Fish finger tacos

Now some of you who know me as more than words on the page know that I love making tacos, but rarely do more than cook the meat and make my own guac. Usually it is more about opening jars and grating cheese, heating things on the stove (and sometimes microwaving instant rice), rather than making things from scratch. I can actually cook and bake a lot of things, but lately have been living off meal deals and microwave meals.

Because of this, I was proper chuffed with myself for making these super delicious tacos, including my own tartare sauce to enjoy for a few days. If you want to recreate this meal, never fear, I have the recipe for your enjoyment.


  • 12 frozen fish fingers
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50g pickled sliced jalapeños, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g pack crunchy taco shells
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, shredded

For the tartare sauce

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped gherkins
  • 2 tsp capers, finely chopped
  • 15g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


  1. Cook the fish fingers to pack instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeños (if using), half the lemon juice and the oil in a bowl and season.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, gherkins, capers, parsley and remaining lemon juice.
  4. Fill each taco shell with some shredded lettuce and 1 tbsp of the tomato salsa. Top with a fish finger and a little tartare sauce to serve.

The only thing I skipped was the gherkins.

My next adventure will be a veggie soup, and if I make this again, I will probably skip the fish fingers and try breading and cooking my own fish….you know, just to be fancy.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 40 and 41

I’ve had a really bad cold for the last two weeks and it has made me extremely lazy (and the U.K.’s largest producer of snot). I have fallen behind with PhD work, with writing, and with anything remotely related to not being a zombie. One of the joys of working with little kids three days a week is that they are mini perti dishes of new and wonderful germs.

My body does not like germs.

So while I am playing catch-up this week, all the writing that I actually want to be doing has fallen by the wayside. The gratitude challenge for last week was focused on my greatest accomplishment. This one is really hard for me. I’m not sure I have a specific moment that would qualify as my greatest accomplishment. The one thing that I can think of is surviving my first encounter with a PhD program and not letting it completely destroy me. A mere two months after that all fell apart I had an interview for my current position. While there were a lot of tears, a lot of hiding in bed, and a lot of therapy, I did not completely sink into the dark and twisty, and was able to find a program that I am better suited to, and I got to return to Scotland. Now, I am two months into my new life here and I feel like I never left. Even though my days are not always sunshine and rainbows (Because really, the sun doesn’t shine here), I am happier than I have been in a really really long time. I’ve been reunited with some of my favorite people, made some pretty kick ass new friends, and am well on my way to settling into a great life here.

The gratitude challenge for this week is hobbies. I have a lot of hobbies that I enjoy, but there are a couple that I am extra grateful for. I often get mocked for my love of yoga pants and brightly colored yoga mats, but this is one hobby that I am seriously grateful for. I took up yoga about 15 years ago to help stay flexible for swimming, but it has become something that I really enjoy doing when I am stressed, having a bad day, or when I want to show off for cute boys. I have been lucky enough to meet some great people who do yoga, and even got to help one of my friends as she went through certification to become a yoga teacher. It is a hobby that has a lot of benefits for my health, and keeps me from punching stupid people on a regular basis. I’ve been majorly slacking on my practice lately, but I am going to make a conscious effort to do at least 20 minutes a day. Scorpion pose is in my future.

The other hobby that I am grateful for is my love of reading. That hobby has not only allowed me access to some wonderful books, but has kept me gainfully employed since I was 14 years old. I’ve worked in every type of library you can imagine, and have been a student of words since I was 18. Most recently my love of reading helped me get a job at a learning center. The extra cash is nice, and the kids are a fun break from higher education. I love it when they tease me about the way I say tomato, or when they get excited about being assigned to my zone. The kids have even started drawing me pictures to put on my desk at work. My favorite is the purple dinosaur with a blue tail and face.

2015-10-11 12.59.45

The best part of the job so far is a little man named Angus. I’m not 100% sure what Angus has, but I am guessing undiagnosed ADD, and some emotional issues. Angus and I met last week, and it was a struggle to get him to do anything. When he came into the center yesterday, he asked to be put in my section, gave me a big hug, and I got him to sit through one and a half of his tasks (no small feat, trust me). He even made me a picture before he left for the day. I know that it really isn’t a big deal, and I am not going to solve his attention issues, but it is nice to think that he is not hating the hour that he spends in the center. He hates reading, so I am going to try and find some really funny books that he can read so that maybe he will hate it a little less. If I can share that hobby with him, maybe, just maybe, I can get him to sit through a whole session.

Life goals.