Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Girdharry

Welcome to my blog Ann Girdharry.

 

Ann Girdharry

 

Ann Girdharry was born and educated in the UK. A trained psychotherapist, she has worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today, she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

Good Girl Bad Girl

 

 

Let’s talk childhood. What aspirations did you have as a child?

When I was a child, my ambition was to be an astronaut. I loved science.

Well, I can tell you that would never have worked out, at least, not the astronaut part – sometimes I can get travel sick even in the back of a car!

I went on to study science, actually Biochemistry, but was turned off by all the animal experimentation and lack of ethics in the pharmaceutical industry. This was a problem for me because the pharmaceutical industry is the main source of funding for research in this field.

 

Let’s talk books and influences. Who is your favourite author? Do you have a favourite book?

I have read many good and enjoyable books over the years and I like to read widely.

In the mystery and suspense genre, my favourite book is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. This has been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time and I just finished it recently. It’s a wonderfully written book – full of tension and great story-telling. Towards the end, I actually slowed down reading it, because I didn’t like the idea of it coming to an end – and I think that shows you how good it was.

If, one day, my books sat alongside this one on a bookshelf, I’d be very happy!

 

How long has the road to becoming a successful writer been for you?

The road has been long and it’s been happy.

I’ve always been creative and imaginative. I won my first story writing competition at school at age fifteen and writing remained a side-line hobby for most of my life. For unknown reasons, after the birth of my second daughter (I have two daughters) I fell into a period of creative frenzy. Perhaps it was the effect of spending long periods of time in the house with two small children, perhaps it was the child birth, maybe it was simply emotion– I don’t know – but I wrote every day and I absolutely had to write. Everything spilled out – poetry, short stories, flash fiction – and it was that period that pushed me to refocus on my writing and which finally led to me creating this novel.

 

Let’s talk writing.  What do you love about writing?

If I didn’t write, I wonder if I might go a bit strange? That’s probably an exaggeration…

The truth is, I’ve always had an ‘over-active’ imagination, so writing is a great channel. Once you’ve learnt the art of writing, it becomes a passion.

 

I see you are well travelled. Tell us about that.

I know that I have a nomadic streak and I often feel restless. I think this has been passed down to me through the generations.

My ancestors were indentured labourers who moved from the poor suburbs of India to work the sugar plantations in what was then British Guyana. That was about five generations ago, and Guyana is long since independent. In return for their labour, my ancestors ‘earned’ their plot of land in Guyana and that’s where my parents were both born.

My mother came to England to work as a nurse, then as a midwife, and I was born in the UK. For my own part, as an adult I’ve lived in the USA, Norway, spent a few years back in the UK and now I live in France. In my life, trips to India and Guyana have been important to me and I have family and cousins all over the world (my father was one of ten, and my mother one of six).

My family history definitely influences my world view. It also influences my on-going support and interest in the issues of settlement and successful integration of immigrant communities and refugees.

 

How do you choose where to site your books?

I choose places that have had an impact on me (good or bad) and which I can describe in vivid or attractive detail. I remember reading at one time of a writer who was living in (I think) Bangkok, specifically to research his new book (I think this was Jo Nesbo) – I am not in that situation! So I draw on my own past experiences to choose settings.

 

Let’s talk early careersHow has your work with the vulnerable and disenfranchised influenced your writing? 

This is an integral part of my writing, although the influence often comes in as an undercurrent rather than as the main theme of my stories or characters.

Certainly, my understanding of psychology and my experience of working for and with people in various situations of crisis, brings a humanity to my writing and, I hope, an insight. My characters are perhaps not the usual ones you find within the pages of books, especially not the usual ones you find within a suspense thriller.

 

Let’s talk about the characters in your book?  Who influenced your portrayal of Kal?

 

Firstly, Kal is many young women I’ve known wrapped into one. She’s got guts – she’s determined – she’s going to fight against the odds and the odds are stacked against her – I’ve known several young women just like that.

She’s got a tiny part of me in her (from when I was younger, and I hope, the best parts though with time and how memories can fade, perhaps I’m deluding myself there!).

Part of her is made up of a person who can understand detail, who pays attention to detail, who has been taught to interpret and theorise based on detail and instinct. This is built from a certain temperament and a certain mind set, that again, I’ve seen and met close-up in people that I’ve worked with and for.

 

 

Let’s talk next book.

Good Girl Bad Girl is the first book in the Kal Medi series.

Kal has more adventures and difficulties to face and I’ve just started writing the second story. If you want to be in on it, you might want to join my Reader’s Group (you can find details on my website). From time to time, I keep in touch with my Reader’s Group, and they’ll be the first to know as the new book progresses.

 

If you want to know more about Ann check out her social media sites here:

Website http://www.girdharry.com

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/AnnGirdharry

 

 

Post Script: Good Girl Bad Girl – Ann Girdharry

Good Girl Bad Girl

Good Girl Bad Girl

Ann Girdharry

Create Space and Kindle Direct

ISBN: 978-0993560217

 

Description:

Mother missing, the discovery of a powerful and corrupt syndicate and dark secrets about her father revealed leaves 28-year old Kal determined to pursue her own investigations, no matter what sinister truths she uncovers, in this intense psychological thriller.

 

Kal is convinced her investigative journalist mother must have been working on a controversial, and top level, news story, it is the only explanation for her sudden and suspicious disappearance. Although mistrustful of the police, Kal allows Detective Inspector Spinks, the officer assigned to her mother’s case, to accompany her when she visits her grandmother to break the news. What they don’t expect is to uncover a file of shocking research cataloguing the deviant activities of seven members of London’s political and business elite. Back on the streets of London, the survival instincts and specialist expertise she learned from her late father, kick into overdrive, as Kal resolves to not only find her mother but continue her work and unveil the conspiracy hidden amongst those in power.

 

About the author: Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children. As well as her passion for writing, Ann enjoys gardening and is a member of her local roller blading club. Ann has previously published a series of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected (2015-2016). Her debut novel, and the first in the Kal Medi series, Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry (published by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing 23rd August 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.

 

My View:

Be prepared to suspend your disbelief and then take a seat on a roller coaster ride of mystery, self-discovery and action.

Ann Girdharry’s debut novel is complex; what begins as a narrative surrounding a missing person quickly embraces the issues of paedophilia, bio-technology and ethics, exploitation, racism, organised crime syndicates and poses questions regarding identity, nature v nurture.

Be warned the subject matter can at times be a little gruelling, actually more than a little gruelling… perhaps the author intended to shock us – to wake us from our contended slumber and question some of the bigger picture question regarding first world and third world relationships and responsibilities ?  There is a lot happening in this book and I think the author perhaps would have been better served limiting the number of issues and fleshing out some of the characters, making them more likable.

This is an action packed debut not for the sensitive.

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Tomato and Tuna Risotto: One Handed Cooks – Allie Gaunt, Jessica Beaton & Sarah Buckle

Cover One Handed Cooks

One Handed Cooks

Allie Grant, Jessica Beaton and Sarah Buckle

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780670079018

 

“Nothing beats a traditional risotto, but spending 20 minutes at the stovetop, stirring, just isn’t always possible. This baked version is still wonderfully creamy, but gives you time to relax and put your feet up, or more realistically help with homework or building that Lego masterpiece.” (p.230-231)

 

S e r v e s 2 a d u lt s , 2 to d d l e r s , 2 b a b i e s

P R E P T I M E 15 minutes

C O O K I N G T I M E 40 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

¼ leek, white part only, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1½ cups (300 g) Arborio rice, rinsed

1 tablespoon salt-reduced tomato paste (puree)

2 cups (500 ml) salt-reduced vegetable stock or homemade vegetable stock (see page 240)

400 g tin no-added-salt chopped tomatoes

1 carrot, coarsely grated

1 zucchini (courgette), coarsely grated

185 g tin tuna in spring water, drained

½ cup (40 g) finely grated parmesan (optional)

Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the rice.
  3. Add the stock, 2 cups (500 ml) water and the tomatoes to the pan and bring to the boil. Stir through the carrot, zucchini and tuna. Cover with the lid or two tight layers of foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

 

F U S S Y E AT I N G T I P If your baby is refusing to be spoon-fed, adapt the meal so you can offer it as finger food. This risotto, for instance, can be rolled into little balls that are easy to pick up and munch on.

S TO R A G E Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Alternatively, freeze individual portions in freezer bags or airtight containers for up to 2 months.

A L L E R G I E S / I N TO L E R A N C E S Gluten: use gluten-free stock. Dairy: omit the parmesan.

Tomato & Tuen Risotto

‘Extracted from One Handed Cooks by Allie Gaunt & Jessica Beaton with photography by Sarah Buckle, Viking, RRP$39.99

To All The One Handed Cooks

To all the One Handed Cooks  I am in awe of your patience, your commitment and the amount of love you have to give to your children.  It is a huge job caring for a little one – I admire and respect you all – you deserve big hugs, recognition and an occasional child free nights sleep🙂

 

Bodhi 27- 8 -016

 

Bodhi

Poppy and grandmamma loves you too little pumpkin face🙂 .

 

Spinach and Ricotta Nudies – One Handed Cooks – Allie Gaunt, Jessica Beaton & Sarah Buckle

Cover One Handed Cooks

One Handed Cooks

Allie Grant, Jessica Beaton and Sarah Buckle

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780670079018

Spinach and Ricotta Nudies

Makes 12

PREP TIME 15 minutes

COOKING TIME 10 minutes

 

250 g baby spinach leaves

1 cup (200 g) fresh ricotta

25 g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

⅓ cup (50 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

2 egg yolks, lightly whisked

½ cup (120 g) Tomato and basil pasta sauce (see page 237) or Hidden veggie sauce (see page 236)

Cooked pasta, fruit and vegetable sticks, to serve

 

 

Kids love the fillings in cannelloni and ravioli, so we like to serve them up as little ‘nudies’ (minus the pasta). These spinach and ricotta balls are a delicious vegetarian finger food that’s perfect for the tasting plate.

  1. Place the spinach and 1 tablespoon of water in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until wilted. Drain the spinach and squeeze out as much as liquid as possible, then finely chop and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the ricotta, parmesan, flour and egg yolk to the spinach and mix well to combine. Shape the mixture into dumplings the size of golf balls, or smaller if you prefer, flatten them slightly and dust lightly with flour.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to hold at a simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lower half the nudies into the pan and scoop them out when they rise to the surface. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining nudies. (The nudies can be served as finger food, without sauce, at this point.)
  4. Gently heat the tomato and basil pasta sauce or hidden veggie sauce in a saucepan or frying pan until warm. Add the nudies and very gently turn to coat in the sauce. Serve sprinkled with extra grated parmesan, if desired, and with pasta, fruit and vegetable sticks alongside.

 

 

NUTRITION NOTE If your baby or toddler tends to overstuff their mouth with food, make smaller balls to help them eat appropriately sized mouthfuls.

STORAGE These are best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

ALLERGIES/INTOLERANCES Gluten/wheat: use gluten- or wheat-free flour and pasta.

 

Spinach & Ricotta Nudies

‘Extracted from One Handed Cooks by Allie Gaunt & Jessica Beaton with photography by Sarah Buckle, Viking, RRP$39.99

Pumpkin-Spiced Quinoa Balls: One Handed Cooks – Allie Gaunt, Jessica Beaton & Sarah Buckle

Cover One Handed Cooks

One Handed Cooks

Allie Grant, Jessica Beaton and Sarah Buckle

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780670079018

 

 

Pumpkin-Spiced Quinoa Balls

Pumpkin Spiced Quinoa Balls

 

‘Extracted from One Handed Cooks by Allie Gaunt & Jessica Beaton with photography by Sarah Buckle, Viking, RRP$39.99

M a k e s a b o u t 4 0

P R E P T I M E 15 minutes

C O O K I N G T I M E 55 minutes

 

½ (about 550 g) butternut pumpkin (squash), seeded and cut into 8 wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup (95 g) quinoa

1 cup (80 g) finely chopped broccoli florets

1 small red onion, finely grated

Steamed vegetables, to serve

 

This simple finger food is all-natural, with a subtle hint of spice and little pops of texture to excite your baby.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the pumpkin into a bowl, add the olive oil and spices and toss to coat. Arrange the pumpkin in a single layer on a lined tray and bake, turning halfway through cooking, for 25 minutes or until soft and caramelised. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Transfer to a heavy-based saucepan, add 1 cup (250 ml) water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside, without lifting the lid, for 4 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and leave to cool.
  4. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
  5. Scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin and place in a bowl. Squeeze the liquid from the grated onion and use paper towel to pat the onion dry. Add the onion, broccoli and quinoa to the pumpkin and mash together until well combined. Dollop teaspoon-sized balls of mixture onto the remaining lined tray.
  6. Bake the balls, turning halfway through cooking, for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with steamed vegetables alongside.

 

N U T R I T I O N N OT E Spice doesn’t always mean ‘hot’, so don’t let the word scare you off when cooking family meals. Incorporating a range of spices into your child’s meals will help in the transition to family food and encourage positive eating behaviours.

S TO R A G E Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Alternatively, freeze the uncooked balls, on a lined tray covered with plastic film, until frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

Freeze, GF,WF,DF,EF,V

Post Script: One Handed Cooks – Allie Gaunt, Jessica Beaton & Sarah Buckle

Cover One Handed Cooks

One Handed Cooks

Allie Grant, Jessica Beaton and Sarah Buckle

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780670079018

 

Description:

Giving your child the best possible start in life includes offering nutritious, varied food every day. This comprehensive book provides a wide range of simple, enticing recipes that deliver the nutrients growing children need, as well as plenty of practical advice to help you successfully navigate their journey with solid foods. Setting your child up with appositive relationship with food and healthy eating habits is a gift that will last them a lifetime. This book will help you:

– avoid the trap of fussy eating

– overcome spoon refusal

– deal with common issues, from teething to throwing food

– prepare nutritionally balanced meals and snacks

– create positive associations with mealtimes and eating

– cater to food allergies and intolerances

 

My View:

This is an extremely well thought out and presented book – the book is colourful, informative and is divided into sections to reflect the various stages of introducing solid foods to children; starting with Mixed Purees, then Textured Meals, Early Finger Foods and then offers variety with Herb and Spice Based Meals, progressing to Family Meals. There is even a section on Baby Led Weaning (or Sensory Weaning) a term I have just recently discovered…and there is so much more.

 

A section I particularly like is “Spoon Fed Breakfasts”. There are some great recipes here that will please even the fussiest adults (and children)🙂   No Soak Quinoa Bircher, Creamy Chia Bircher Muesli and even a recipe for the very trendy Smoothie Bowl…

 

One of the best things about this book is that a lot of  the recipes may appeal to other members of the family – I mentioned some of the yummy breakfasts and then there are recipes for things like Kale and Mushroom Omelette, Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa, Cheesy Baked Beans on Toast, Savoury Veggie Slice…there is even a specific section to help you feed all the family from the same recipe, One Meal Three Ways – meals to cook that can be adapted to suit babies, toddlers and adults  – a great idea!

 

The author provides nutrition notes, some hints for ingredients substitutions (if trying to exclude certain ingredients) and each recipe identifies if Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free or Vegetarian and indicates if suitable to freeze.  What more could you want?

 

This is a great family centred cookbook.