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Book Chat - Issue #16: Podcasts

Book Chat
Hello reading (and writing) friends
It’s been a funny old week. I’ve been feeling curiously unsettled and haven’t really been able to focus on any serious book reading, so I’ve been listening to podcasts instead.
People often ask me how on earth I get time to listen to all my podcasts, and I have to admit that I frequently listen in the middle of the night with one headphone stuck in my ear so I don’t disturb anyone. This is always a last resort after counting sheep and running over various to do lists. I also listen when I’m gardening or ironing, or travelling by plane, train or automobile.
If you’re curious about podcasts but overwhelmed by the vast array of options, here are a few I enjoy. You’ll notice that they are mainly British. There’s no real reason for this. I suspect I find the accents soothing late at night.

Podcasts for readers
Apart from What should I read next, I have a few other favourites that I go back to regularly.
The BBC has two book podcasts which are good value. One is Open Book which features author interviews and the other is A Good Read where Harriett Gilbert talks to two people about their favourite reads. This one is always fun because they all have to read the books before the session and they often have wildly different tastes.
Another recent discovery is Damian Barr’s Literary Salon, which is not as pompous as it sounds. It helps that the host is Scottish and I’m extremely fond of Scottish accents. I don’t know why, perhaps because my grandmother was Scottish?
Damian Barr's Literary Salon
Podcasts for writers
One of my favourite people is writer and podcaster Joanna Penn. She’s always at the forefront of recent developments in technology and seems to be a thoroughly nice person.
The Creative Penn Podcast: writing, publishing, book marketing
Three very cheerful chappies host the Failing Writer’s podcast - a podcast for anyone who ever dreamed of becoming a writer…then went and put the kettle on instead.
I recommend this episode with children’s author Adam Bushnell. It made me laugh.
Podcasts for foodies
Here’s another very cheery podcast. The premise is that Olly pairs a particular drink with each guest. I don’t think I could afford to drink his recommendations, but it’s fun listening.
The podcast that drinks with the stars!
Some cooking inspiration
Olly’s interview with cookbook writer Anna Jones prompted me to look at some of her recipes. I love recipes that feature grains, greens and seeds and this one is very simple.
Californian barley bowl
Californian barley bowl
Recipe (from A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones)
200g pearl barley
the zest and juice of 11⁄2 unwaxed lemons
50g almonds
50g sunflower or pumpkin seeds
2 ripe avocados
a large bunch of fresh basil
200ml plain yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
150g sprouted seeds or pulses (optional)
100g feta cheese
200g spinach or greens
Rinse barley well under cold water, then put it into a pan with twice the amount of water, a good pinch of salt, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, then put the squeezed lemon half into the pan. Cook for about 25 minutes.
Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Roughly chop the almonds and toast them in the pan with the seeds until just turning golden brown.
Cut the avocados in half, discard the stones, then put them cut-side down on a griddle pan and cook until they have nice griddle marks.
Make a quick yoghurt sauce: shred the basil leaves and mix with the yoghurt, zest and juice of the remaining lemon and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Once the barley is cooked, drain any remaining water, then tumble it into a large dish, crumble over the feta cheese and the toasted almonds and seeds. Shred the spinach or greens, add to the dish and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, remembering that the feta is quite salty.
Serve the barley topped with half a warm avocado ready to spoon out, big helpings of yoghurt sauce and more basil, if needed.
That's all for now
Do you have any favourite podcasts? Just hit reply if you have any recommendations or just want to say hello.
Warm wishes and happy listening!
Marg xxx
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Margaret Moon
Margaret Moon

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