IT'S been a rather tough and frustrating week on the good ship Meeja Wales, to be perfectly honest. It wasn't helped when we were relying on a page 3 story in the South Wales EggCup about UFOs being spotted over the fair city of Cardiff.
It wasn't until 8pm in the evening that we got to see the pictures, which amounted to small white pin pricks on an otherwise black background - hardly evidence that ET was about to land in Pontcanna Fields. There then involved a 45-minute flurry of activity to rescue the story and make the best use of the pictures on offer... not a great day.
Wednesday, too, ended up being a rather long one and I only got home in time to see the second half of Manchester United's failed attempt to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues. To be fair they were totally outplayed by Barcelona in a 2-0 defeat, despite the assurances of all the Brit-biased journalists in this fair land.
The final ignominy came on Thursday night. Having parked my car in the usual pay-and-display berth and walked in to work I returned in the early evening to find a small red packet taped to my windscreen. A parking ticket, informing me I had failed to display my payment stub properly. A 30p ticket was therefore likely to cost me £20.
What had happened, unfortunately, was that the wind whipped up when I slammed my door shut must have made the ticket twist over on the dash, and some observant traffic warden had seized on the opportunity like a dog spying a particularly juicy bone. I shall appeal, I assure you.
The thieves at Cardiff County Council already make a packet out of various traffic scams these days, what with charging over the odds for resident parking and with pay-and-display machines all over the city. Robbers.
Anyway, while watching United's European demise I rustled together a very tasty prawn casserole from - you've guessed it - the Observer Food Monthly.
A packet of raw prawns
120ml olive oil
One onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced.
1 large leek (I didn't have one, so ommitted this)
A can of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato paste
2 sliced celery stalks
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
(you can also add a yellow pepper if you fancy it)
salt and pepper
A small amount of hot water
A handful of parsley
Heat the oil. Add onions, garlic and leek and cook on a low heat for five minutes until softened.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, celery, peppers, salt and pepper and hot water.
Bring to boil and cook, covered, for 30 minutes until liquid cooks down.
Lay prawns on top, sprinkle with parsley, season again and cook for a further eight minutes.
I enjoyed this with some garlic bread and some brown rice.