Nasi Goreng and…the Police

Back in the boarding school days but in the happier days rather than the early days, Archie would be in the school’s musicals and have one of the lead roles.  On one of the opening nights, Carl and I wanted to be there.  So we organised with Arabella for her to babysit her little brother which was not a new experience, she had been babysitting him since he was born and he was now four and she was 15.

On the day of the opening night, Arabella came home from school and I’d already organised everything so the house was ship-shape and dinner was all prepared and Alfie had been bathed and was dressed in his pyjamas and I’d even fed the dogs.  All Arabella had to do was put Alfie in bed at 6pm and read him a story.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Before we left the house for the one-hour drive out to the school, I told Arabella if she had any issues at all she was most welcome to send us a text and I would excuse myself from the theatre and phone her straight away.

Well…I didn’t receive any texts or calls so assumed all was going swimmingly.

But back at the house, Arabella had put Alfie to bed and had read him some stories and he’d fallen asleep rather well and then Arabella thought she would go downstairs to the office and start working on the computer.  It was at the computer desk that she swears she felt an intruder tap her on her shoulder so she leaped up from where she was sitting and raced up the stairs to higher ground and to where my two dogs were sleeping peacefully in their baskets.

She phoned a friend and told her what had happened and that she could now hear noises coming from the downstairs so what should she do.  And she and her friend work-shopped the situation for over an hour.  Her friend had not come up with any sensible solution so Arabella said she was going to call the police.

We do not know why she didn’t phone us.  We do not know why she didn’t phone one of our friendly neighbours.  We do not know why she is prone to hysterics.

But Arabella phoned Triple 0, Australia’s emergency number and the woman said, ‘What is your emergency?’

‘I’m home alone babysitting my baby brother and someone’s broken in downstairs and I can hear him moving around’.  The woman kept Arabella on the phone asking her lots of questions but meanwhile had dispatched no less than three unmarked police cars to our address.  As the plain clothes detectives came up the drive, Arabella, while still on the phone to the police, saw four men coming towards her and believed them to be the intruders.  She started screaming uncontrollably and was telling the woman on the end of the phone that she could see the intruders and they were coming to get her and the woman was trying to tell her that it was the police arriving to rescue her from the intruder downstairs.

But with so much screaming it took a while for Arabella to hear this and meanwhile the plain clothes detectives, realising they had been mistaken for crooks, help their ID badges up to the window.  It finally dawned on out-of-control-Arabella that these were her rescuers, not her attackers and so she stopped her hysterics, long enough to allow them entry.

A vegetarian meal

A vegetarian meal

They did a recee of the house and said all the downstairs windows and doors were locked and that there was no sign of forced entry.  Arabella said, ‘What about the man that tapped me on the shoulder?’

‘Do you think you could have imagined it?’ they asked and they also asked, ‘Do your parents normally leave you home alone?’

Meanwhile Carl and I were driving home and celebrating Archie’s fantastic on-stage effort.  We still had the look of proud parents on our faces as we tried to pull into our driveway but couldn’t for all the parked unmarked police cars.  ‘What is going on?’ I asked.

Walking inside the house we saw Arabella sitting on the couch, full of smiles, entertaining four police officers.  We were given a re-cap of the story and did have to apologise to them for the incredible waste of time but they assured us, ‘It happens all the time’, and ‘We’re very happy to help’, and ‘We hope you had a good night out’.

When they left I asked Arabella, ‘How did we end up with three unmarked police cars and four policemen on the premises?’

‘Mum’, she said, ‘I swear someone tapped me on the shoulder.  I had to call the police.   Weren’t they nice to send so many of them around.  And they were really nice too.  They said they’d stay with me until you came home.  Have you ever called Triple 0?  They come really quickly.  I think I might join the police force.  Which one did you think was the best looking?  How was the play?  Did you get me a ticket?  When can I go and see it?’

I thought she might have had a few regrets.  Be feeling some embarrassment even.  But no, she’d had more entertainment than we had – and we’d had to pay for ours.

Here’s a meal Arabella loves.  It’s vegetarian, it has eggs, it’s low in fat, it’s within a uni student’s budget but it does have carbs.  Uni students cannot afford to be too choosy.

A quick, easy and affordable mid-week family meal

A quick, easy and affordable mid-week family meal

Nasi Goreng

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This is a very inexpensive, vegetarian family meal.

  • 3 tbspns peanut oil
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, washed
  • 1 tsp chilli sambal (sambal oelek), to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (for gluten free use GF soy sauce)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 3 cups cook jasmine rice, chilled
  • 2 tbsp deep-fried shallots (available in jars at the supermarket)
  • 8 sprigs coriander

Heat wok or frying pan until hot.  Add on tbspn of the oil, and swirl the pan around so that a thin flm of oil covers the sides.  Add beaten eggs and swirl again so that a thin film of egg covers most of the surface.  Cook quickly until egg sets, then loosen it with a knife and tip it out onto a large plate.  Roll omelette into a cylinder and cut into thin slices.

Heat remaining oil in wok or frying pan, and fry onion and carrot until soft, tossing well.  Add bean shoots, chilli sambal, tomato sauce, soy sauce and half the shredded lettuce and toss until well mixed, and the vegetables are tender.

Scatter rice on top of mixture with your hands, breaking up the clumps.  Toss well until rice is hot, and well coloured by the sauces.  Adjust flavour by adding more of the sauces if desired.  Add omelette strips, remaining lettuce and fried shallots, toss through and divide among serving bowls or plates.  Scatter coriander on top and serve.

This recipe is from Jill Dupleix, Old Food.



  1. I swear that nothing exciting or any drama happens when we are at home but as soon as we either think about going out or getting on the phone sure as anything the drama begins. So glad she did not call you as least you had a moment of peace before the chaos upon your return.
    This is a great little budget meal. I see you also fry iceberg lettuce it is quite nice when fried up don’t you think? Take Care, BAM

  2. Wow, you story got my eyes pinned to the screen since the beggining! What an adventure! Glad that everything turned out well.
    My house was broken into when I was 17, while I was at school, and it was no joke. Our housemaid arrived at the usual time and when she saw an open window on the groundfloor just though I had stayed home that day. She even called for me, as she believed that I had forgot the window open and were studying upstairs, thing that she should know I’ld never do, since my mother was always very prohibitive with opening windows on the groundfloor.
    She then went to the laundry and we believe the thieves had just the time to run out with everything they had already gathered, that was all the gold we had at home. I never got to see the final scenerio, but my mother told me that when they arrived home, just moments after that, everything had been thrown to the floor from inside cabinets, shelves and drawers. It was really scary because they broke some things on their way out and while rummaging everything.
    When I was on my freshman’s year, two years later, and while I was living alone because my housemate was spending some time at her parents’ house, I arrived home very tired at 3 am, after being on my faculty working, and after climbing the stairway up to the 3rd floor, I saw that my apartment’s door was open! There was almost no one living in that building and I didn’t know what to do, so I ran down the stairs to the building’s door, trying to calm myself down. I had to call my father, who was already asleep, and only with his help I could enter the apartment and see that there was nobody there and that nothing was stolen. I probably just had left the door open by accident! After that, I had lots of trouble staying home alone, and even imagined noise and things, it was quite scary.
    Sorry for the long post, but I felt like your story made me recall mine, and I couldn’t help but share it.
    I liked this recipe, very hearty and flavourful 🙂

  3. Beautiful photographs and recipes… Thank you dear Charlie, it is always so exciting to be here with you 🙂 Have a nice weekend, love, nia

  4. Wow. Another great story, Charlie!!!
    I’m nominating you for the Versatile Blogger award. You can do what you wish with it – I’m personally cutting back on the number of nominations, and only nominating one blog for each award. It’s just too much time for me.
    But I seriously love your blog, and I wish we could be friends in the same town!!!
    Here is the link:
    ps: your kiddos will be fine!

  5. Never a dull moment at your house. Reminds me of the time I heard someone jiggling the front doorknob. I called the police and they came quickly and looked around. Later, I realized that it was the new boy who had moved in next door and got confused in the dark about which house he lived in!

  6. What a story! Swept me right in but glad nothing serious was in question! And the dish looks delicious!

  7. I agree with Jennifer–never a dull moment in your house. Even though I’m sorry Arabella was truly frightened, I did laugh at the story. Haven’t had Nasi Goreng in so long…glad you reminded me of it with this lovely recipe.

  8. Charlie, you really should write a novel. Your post about your kids always brings a smile to my face. Fast, economical and delicious vegetarian meal.

  9. Oh, Charlie! I just love your children. Arabella is a walking drama, but she is so endearing you can’t help but be amused. I expect she utterly charmed the police who “came to her rescue.” Where was Alfie in all of this? LOL! Did she “protect” her brother from the intruder or just go around shrieking. I’m laughing just picturing this. I also find her long list of dietary restrictions quite humorous. This veggie dish is right up my alley, too. I love this kind of lunch! 🙂 thanks for my first real laugh of the day, my friend. I wish someone would tap you guys for a reality show. hahahaha!

  10. You certainly have needed lots of energy raising your kids Charlie. My mom always used to tell me that I would suffer ten fold one day when I have kids for what I put her through – poor thing never got any grandchildren from me though, although both my brothers are certainly making up for my portion with their kids.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  11. I’m thinking you’ve got the wrong one in drama class! And how nice indeed that those lovely officers stayed with her, I’m sure they enjoyed it equally! Your posts are so entertaining, thank you!
    I’m loving this dish (don’t tell Arabella that rice is a carb!), I’m on a low glycemic diet for two weeks to get my metabolism back in check and I’m on the prowl for tasty new dishes and this one fits perfectly (sans rice, of course!). I’m definitely going to make this next week. Thanks for the inspiration. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, it’s beautifully sunny but still chilly at our end. I’m telling you, spring can’t come soon enough.

  12. LOL! You need to write a book! You could probably fill 500 pages just on the “Life & Times of Arabella The Great”. 😉

  13. What a funny kid. But then again at 15 I would have probably imagined the same thing whilst baby sitting……..but usually my mum was next door so I think I would have called her first.

  14. Hahahah, obviously not to many crimes happen if those police men were content to all sit in your living room chatting it up! Arabella was a charmer even from a young age it seems 😉 This meal looks tasty!

  15. That was a pretty scary homecoming. Glad it seems to have been a case of an overactive imagination.
    Interesting vegetarian recipe, I’ve never fried/sauteed iceberg lettuce but everything else sounds tasty.

  16. It’s easy to imagine all sorts of things when you’re “home alone.” Glad all ended well and Arabella was able to charm those cops.

  17. Better safe than sorry Charlie! I think Arabella would have had those policemen wrapped around her little finger indeed 🙂 Thank goodness they were UNmarked police cars instead of setting your neighbors tongues wagging!
    Love the fried rice- especially with the lettuce, always a family favourite for sure 🙂 xox

  18. Great looking fried rice!

  19. Oh Arabella! I have to say that I was a little similar. My parents had a back to base alarm system and the security people would come whenever you called. Lets just say that often when I was home alone with a friend one of us would hear a noise then we’d convince ourselves that there was someone lurking. We had so much glass in our house it was a little scary. Let’s just say the security guys knew us well.
    Love the look of your Nasi Goreng!

  20. OMG…I love your stories!!! I am glad everything turned out okay 🙂 I have never heard of Nasi Goreng, but it looks amazing!

  21. jmgoyder says:

    What a fantastic story!

  22. I made this type of dish in college all of the time! Thanks for reminding me how much I love it 🙂 Looks delicious.

  23. Haha here I was, thinking the tap on the shoulder was Alfie!

    I’m a grown women (well, I’d like to think so anyway!) but I still get a bit scared when I’m home alone at night. Keeping my dog indoors for company does put me at ease though 🙂

  24. Great story in full Arabella style! Why is it that these things only happen when you decide to have a night out? Always happens to us too, but not to the point of calling emergency! They’ll text us first,thank goodness, but then I don’t get such entertaining stories like yours!

    My family would love this recipe! Sounds easy and fast.

  25. Nasi Goreng, my favourite

  26. What a cute story. I can see her entertaining the cops 🙂

    I love Nasi Goreng! that looks yum.

  27. I imagine there was some level of sinking feeling as you drove up to a house with police cars. What I can’t believe is she discussed things with a friend for an hour before calling them!! The police might have arrived quickly but the call took its time to be placed 😛

  28. So what I want to know is when did you let Arabella babysit again and did she have a friend over that time? It’s so easy to spook yourself, we have a garden office and whenever I’m walking back to the house after dark, I’m always convinced there’s someone there. GG

  29. Ooh perhaps it was a ghost! I totally believe in them! 😀

  30. Just another great story and the Nasi Goreng dish looks delicious, have a lovely weekend!

  31. She’s such a funny girl! I wonder why she didn’t call the neighbours?

  32. What a story!!! An adventure even – haha I know exactly how arabella feels, whenever I’m home alone I shut myself into my room and if I hear a creak, I lock the door and text my parents for reassurance 😛
    Delicious meal today, next year, I will be sure to look this up 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  33. Hello, a chuckle on a Sunday morning reading in bed. I hope Arabella is calmer now in her older age… got to be positive!

  34. Charlie, I’ve missed you. Somehow with google reader going away, my subscription to your blog fell off. Glad you’re here and well. What a story! I am also a bit of a chicken so totally understand Arabella’s antics. And I love nasi goreng – I just forget to make it.

  35. I loved the fact that she talked to her friend for an hour while the intruders were supposedly downstairs. The logic of a teenager.
    I must admit that I once woke from sleeping and will swear to this day that someone walked across the room towards me, but when I opened my eyes, there was no one there. The imagination is superb at playing tricks on us. I am sure she did feel that tap on her shoulder – very polite intruder though.

  36. Arabella seated and entertaining the police. What every parent wants to see upon returning home from a night out. Her dietary requirements remind me of a high school friend that decided to “go vegetarian” in our 3rd year. Countless lunches were ruined as he railed against us for eating meat. Then he went off to college. Suddenly, pepperoni on pizza was ok. An occasional burger wasn’t so bad. A piece of KFC was a great lunch on the go. By midway through his 2nd year, he was a carnivore like the rest of us. See, as long as Mom was there to prepare his meals, he was a vegetarian. Once he had to fend for himself, well, eating meat wasn’t so evil after all. 🙂

  37. Oh, my…what a story. LOL…you have so many to regale the future grandchildren with 🙂 And this budget meal would please me as well as Arabella…Bill is going out of town, and this is the sort of simple meal I enjoy most of all!

  38. Oh my God!!! This takes the cake, hahaha!! Poor Arabella though, I can imagine her being so jumpy and scared. But ever notice how so many people call friends instead of police or family when problem happens?

    The fried rice looks delightful!!

  39. Never a dull moment in your house lol… Love reading your blog, always full of surprise 🙂

  40. Gosh! Can’t believe Arabella called the police after she spent an hour speaking to her friend hahaha but having said that I do understand 🙁 because there when was once when I was home alone and I also thought someone was in the house even though it was completely fine and safe 😀

    But I can only imagine how you and Carl friend rocking up in to the house to find 3 police cars there! Just glad it’s all fine 🙂 xox

  41. Really funny story! Although I’m sure you didn’t find it all that amusing when it happened. And great recipe – tons of flavor. Excellent post – thanks.

  42. Great story (after it occured and having you re tell it), and a great budget recipe to add at the end! x

  43. Dear Charlie,

    Your nasi goreng looks delicious especially with some sambal on the side and I would always eat fried rice with a pair of chopsticks too no matter how difficult it may be.

  44. That’s a wonderful looking dish, whether or not you’re on a budget or a special diet! Gosh, you have the most entertaining family. Truly book-worthy tales and I still can’t imagine why any publisher would refuse you, but their loss is our gain! 🙂

  45. What a story!! You happen to have great stories to tell all the time! You do have an exciting life, don’t you. ^__^ Well, glad everything was okay at the end, but the way you write makes me nervous… such a great story teller. You really should write a book! Your Nasi Goreng looks delicious!

  46. I dont have to see this to imagine it nor do I have to see Arabella surrounded by police entertaining them to imagine that either. Funny Charlie, you will need a rest in a couple of years time

  47. Wow I haven’t stopped and said hi in awhile, I hope you are well! Seriously I would have been spooked for hours, poor Arabella:-( I love that the detectives stayed until you got home, that was so kind! Your recipe sounds delicious, Hugs, Terra

  48. Too funny! It is incredible how much the imagination can fool you though. I could have sworn once that someone had broken in to our house and was making popcorn. I was convinced this intruder was having a snack before he slayed us all. I had my dad go downstairs with a tennis racket in hand to find the dog asleep with her tail tapping in her dreams xx

  49. Oh goodness, your stories are exciting! Too exciting… It’s amazing what your imagination can do if you let it run wild…Your dish sounds delightful! This is basically fried rice, no?!? YUM!

  50. Oh dear, it can be really spooky at home alone sometimes. I used to be really scared when I was a kid… you “feel” things, swear that you saw something is there when it’s not. Usually I ran back to bed and hid under my bed-covers because, as everyone knows, you’re always safe in bed, right? RIGHT? 😀

    Love Nasi goreng Charlie – it’s one of my favourite dishes but it was sooo long since I had it. Yours looks fantastic – must give it a try sometime 🙂

  51. Hi Charlie, very interesting posting. Thanks for sharing your story, enjoyed reading it.

    Your nasi goreng sure look inviting and delicious. This nasi goreng is our Malaysian favorite one pot meal. Run out of idea what to cook, we just stir fry nasi goreng. LOL

    Have a nice week ahead.

  52. Apparently, there is still the mystery as to who the shoulder tapper was….duh duh duh duh (suspenseful music).
    This Nasi Goring looks delish. I love the veggies and the spice in this dish!

  53. This looks very tasty. The coriander would add a nice burst of freshness.

  54. It’s always fun to read your stories 🙂 And to look at those marvelous food photos 🙂

Speak Your Mind