Culture Podcasts

    Table Talk with Greta Bellamacina, plus a lamb vindaloo recipe

    15 June 2020


    Greta Bellamacina is an actress and poet, who has published numerous collections and made her acting debut in Harry Potter. On the podcast, she talks to Lara and Olivia about what it was like to be on set for Harry Potter, growing up with four siblings, and why her favourite restaurant is an over-priced Chinese restaurant in Paris.

    Greta also mentions her favourite restaurant in London – the Indian restaurant Paradise in Hampstead. If you can’t get a takeaway from there, try this recipe for a lamb vindaloo from Olivia’s column The Vintage Chef.

    Lamb Vindaloo

    Lamb Vindaloo

    (Adapted from the Hairy Bikers’ vindaloo)

    Makes: 4 generous portions

    Takes: 4 hours 15 (including marinade; hands on time about fifteen minutes)

    Bakes: 1 hour 40


    400-500g boneless lamb shoulder or neck, cut into smallish chunks

    500g/1lb 2oz potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 2.5cm/1in pieces

    For the marinade:

    100ml red wine vinegar

    2 tbsp sunflower oil

    2 tsp salt

    For the sauce:

    125ml sunflower oil

    4 onions, 3 finely sliced and 1 chopped

    6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

    3 long red chillies (do not deseed), roughly chopped

    25g/1oz fresh root ginger peeled, roughly chopped

    1 tbsp English mustard powder

    1 tbsp ground cumin

    1 tbsp ground coriander

    1 tbsp ground paprika

    2 tsp ground tumeric

    2 tsp cayenne pepper

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    2 tsp salt

    2 bay leaves


    1. Remove any excess hard fat from the lamb. Make your marinade by mixing the vinegar, oil and salt in a bowl big enough to hold it and your lamb. Place the lamb in the marinade, swoosh it about a bit and refrigerate for 2 hours.
    2. Preheat the oven to 180° C.
    3. Slice your onions. Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onions over a low heat for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. While these are cooking, place the chopped onion, garlic, chillies, ginger, mustard powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon in a food processor and blend to a purée.
    5. Stir the purée into the fried onions. Add a further 2 tablespoons of oil and cook together until thickened and beginning to colour (about five minutes). Remove the mixture from the pan and place into a large casserole dish.
    6. Drain your lamb in a colander but don’t throw away the marinade! Brown the lamb in two tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Once browned, add the lamb to your onion curry mixture.
    7. Add the reserved marinade and an extra 500ml of water to the casserole dish, along with salt and bay leaves. Bring the whole pot to a gently simmer — this always takes longer than you think. Be patient.
    8. Make a cartouche by placing greaseproof paper over the surface of the curry; place the lid on the dish, and cook for 45 minutes.
    9. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the potato chunks. Replace the cartouche and lid and cook for another 30 minutes.
    10. Check your curry: is it ridiculously liquid? Remove the cartouche and lid and return to the oven uncovered for a final 30 minutes. If your curry is already looking pretty unctuous, replace the cartouche and lid before returning to the oven for the last 30 minutes.
    11. Ta dah!

    Icing on the Cake

    We eat this scattered with coriander, alongside piles of naan bread, (large) bowls of mint yoghurt, and bottles of very cold beer. Obviously.