Posted in baking, cakes, chicken soup, coconut milk, cooking, filling food, low calorie, oats, rice

Week 9 – Malaysian Chicken Broth and Apricot Oat Bars

So I’m writing week 9 as I’m about to enter the 10th week of my 2012 challenge and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I was wandering round Asda today doing the weekly shop thinking about what I’ll be cooking this week and to my surprise I came away from the shop with my usual trolley load plus an aubergine and some trout fillets. I don’t even like aubergine and I haven’t the first idea of what to do with trout – but I’m going have to find something to do with both of them – although potentially not in the same recipe! By the end of this year I’ll have tried so many new foods that I wouldn’t have tried before and I just find that so exciting! Anyway I’ve digressed, you’ll have to come back next week to find out what I do with this weeks shopping, but read on to see how I got on in week 9! 
Apricot Oat Bars 
Try as I might I can never find an oat bar or granola bar that is quite how I want it to be. I came pretty close to one that I had on Sunday in Costa Coffee but although it was delicious it was tiny, had over 300 calories in it and I felt guilty ALL day afterwards. 
After a hard days house hunting with Mr Gem I needed to clear my head so headed to the kitchen to do some baking and come up with a recipe for an Oat Bar that I will really enjoy eating and won’t cause my waistline to expand too rapidly! 

I couldn’t find a recipe online that a) I had all the ingredients for and b) I liked the look of so after a bit of reading around I decided that the best way to make the bars would be to make a cake mix as a base and then add in my own ingredients – so instead of providing a link to somebody else’s recipe, for the first time in Kitchen Gems (albeit short) history here is how I made them:
Basic Mixture 
150g Self Raising Flour 
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
75g Soft Brown Sugar 
150g Porridge Oats 
2 eggs whisked
2 Tbsp Clear Honey
1 Tbsp Butter
Any fruit and nuts you want to use – I used 25g Walnuts, 25g Mixed Raisins and Sultanas, 25g Dried Apricots chopped up and half a banana mashed up. 
Mix the dry ingredients (including the nuts and fruit) together whilst you melt the butter in the saucepan. When all the dry ingredients are well mixed add the melted butter, eggs and honey and mix until all combined. 
Pour into a lined square baking tin and cook on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Done! 
I got 12 bars out of this recipe and they work out at about 150 calories each so as well as being very tasty they are filling and won’t break your calorie limit, but the best thing about these is, you can use whatever fruit and nuts you have in the store cupboard, add chocolate, yoghurt etc – they’re a really versatile snack. 
Mr Gem was quite fond of these as a snack and all 12 were gone before the week was out. I’d give these a 7.5 out of 10 – give them a whirl, I’d love to hear of any variations on the recipe that work well.
Malaysian Chicken Soup
My second new recipe for this week was a real winner. I found the recipe in Sainsburys free magazine – but I can’t find a similar recipe anywhere online. 
For two good sized portions you’ll need olive oil for frying, an onion (really thinly sliced) diced red chilli, 2 tsps lemongrass paste, 75g easy cook brown rice, 1/2 tin of light coconut milk, 600ml chicken stock 1 tbsp fish sauce, cooked chicken breast, shredded, 5 spring onions, 75g sugar snap peas cut into thin strips and a lime.
Fry the onions and chilli until softened and then add the lemongrass paste and stir til the onion and chilli are coated in it. Add the rice, stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 20 – 25 mins. Add the chicken, spring onions and sugarsnaps and heat through for another 5 mins. Squeeze half a lime into the sauce and mix. Divide the soup between 2 bowls and serve imediately. 
It was a really fresh and flavoursome soup but with the rice and chicken it was so filling. 
This was a definite winner in the Kitchen Gems household, Mr Gem has already requested it again soon! Its also another meal that is so satisfying without being highly calorific – just 418 calories per serving. I’d give this meal 8.5 out of 10, simple but effective.



Mum, wife, marketing bod. Wine, fizz, gin, chocolate and book lover. Secret eater and snack hider. Home cook and amateur blogger. Embracing the new challenge of cooking new and tasty dishes whilst getting a boisterous baby boy bathed and bedded and keeping a hangry tired husband distracted til tea time!

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