I bought ‘Motherland’ by Melissa Thompson. She is a Jamaican-Maltese woman who is an award winning food writer. She has produced this cookbook inspired by the Jamaican heritage from her fathers side. My best friend who is Jamaican has cooked and shared with me many original recipes from her home country, so I thought it might be time to experiment and explore this cuisine in my own kitchen.

Motherland has a vegan (I’m not vegan though!) version of red pea soup that I thought would be interesting make and eat. I was quite simple in the end – water, vegetables and boil. No mess and no fuss. I attempted to make my own version of the spinners, using the only flour that I had in the house – spelt. Interesting…

Spelt spinners!
Kidney beans and thyme

The final result was nice. I guess I am not a fan of kidney beans – so that this influences me a little, well actually a lot. I do wonder it I would have liked this soup it better with meat in it! Also I think my spinners were too dense!!!! There was a lot of soup! It lasted days – work lunches and evening meals, so despite my reservations, I didn’t stop eating.

Perhaps this recipe one that I will not be exploring again, at least not without adaptation (i.e. with meat – there is more pork belly in my freezer).

However, however, the book is wonderful! I am learning so much about Jamaica’s past history it is eye-opening. Somethings I was vaguely aware of and other’s I was completely oblivious to. So this is more than just a culinary journey for me!


  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 300 g dried kidney bean, soaked overnight (I used canned kidney beans)
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 300 g yam, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 potoates, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • pinch of sea salt
  • spinners


  • 1. Bring the measured water to the boil in a large saucepan or stockpot, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Drain the soaked kidney beans, tip them into the pot with the thyme and cook until tender, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  • 2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, then add all the remaining ingredients apart from the coconut milk and salt, and cook until all the vegetables are tender but not too soft, 10 – 15 minutes. If you wany Spinners in the soup. add them to cook, 5 minutes after the yam and potatoes go in.
  • 3. Season with a pince of salt and pick out the the thyme sprigs, if you want. Stir in the coconut milk and serve.

Reference: ‘Motherland A Jamaican Cookbook’ by Melissa Thompson, page 116

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