Spiced Soup: Jamaican Style

A bit of peppery heat goes a long way at this time of year…

My Twitter and Instagram buddies may be aware that I’ve recently taken up a new hobby on Saturday mornings. To my absolute bubbling-over joy, I’ve started taking horse-riding lessons at Ashtown Stables near the Phoenix Park.

Last Saturday, I thought I was going to pass out with happiness as I trotted with 15 or so other adults of varying horse-riding ability through the Phoenix Park. Among the deer and the squirrels (and possibly a badger or two), I breathed in the fresh air and thought how truly marvellous it is to be alive. It should be noted that when I’m horse-riding my inner voice is that of a posh 50 year old horse trainer lady called Henrietta Battington-Swanley. Naturally.

Horse-riding sure works up an appetite. When I arrived home, I set upon making a sweet-corn based soup as I had some corn in the cob that needed using. After a little look on the interwebs, I came across this Jamaican Spiced Corn Soup recipe from Delicious Magazine that looked right up my street.

This post is especially for Joelle and Matthew, who were part of my class last Saturday morning. Between trots, I found out they are Kitchen Aid-owning foodies who have met (my moral compass and style icon) Angela Lansbury in the flesh. I was suitably impressed and look forward to sharing more equestrian mornings with them in the near future.

I ended up making a different version of the original recipe for this soup, largely due to the fact that I didn’t have all the required ingredients and I certainly didn’t need to make enough of it for 8 people. So, I halved it and used green lentils instead of the required yellow lentils. I don’t think this tampered with the taste at all but it did affect the look of the soup.

It was not a pretty soup. But, you know, sometimes beauty is truly on the inside. And in this case, its beauty really shone once I had it in my belly.

What you need for my version of Delicious Mag’s Spiced Jamaican Soup for 2 to 4 people. Depending on how hungry you all are, like.

Olive Oil

1 medium onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

100g yellow split peas (I used green and the soup basically ended up looking like vom so I’d recommend using the yellow kind)

1/2 litre of vegetable stock

400ml can coconut milk 

1 Scotch Bonnet chilli 

2 fresh thyme sprigs

1 cob of fresh corn (If you can’t get fresh corn you can totally use the tinned or frozen variety. I’d say about 200g would be enough.)

100g waxy potatoes

1 red pepper

Start by heating a drizzle of oil in a large and deep pot over a medium heat. Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and garlic. Then fry the onion and garlic in the pot for 10 minutes, until softened, but not browned.

Now turn up the heat and add the cayenne pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the spice doesn’t burn and stick to the pot.

Give the split peas a good rinse and then add them to the pot, along with the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the stock has almost been totally absorbed.

Meanwhile, wash the corn on the cob, removing the outer jacket-like skin. Chop the corn in half. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from one half of the cob, so that you have little pieces of the sweetcorn that we all know and love. Slice the other half into 5 to 6 slices (like what you can see in the hideous, hideous photo below).

Now add the coconut milk, the Scotch Bonnet chilli (whole, not diced), thyme, the sweetcorn (slices and little bits) and the potato. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice your red pepper, discarding the seeds.

Now, using tongs, remove the sweetcorn slices and set aside. Also remove the thyme sprigs and the whole Scotch Bonnet chilli. You can throw the thyme and the chilli away.

Using a hand-held blender, whiz up the soup in the pot (off the heat) until relatively smooth. You might find that it’s quite thick. Add some hot water, bit by bit, until it has a texture closer to your liking. Don’t add too much water as you don’t want to dilute this soup’s amazing flavour.

Once whizzed, you can put the pot back on the heat and add back the sweetcorn slices, as well as the red pepper. Let it simmer for another 3 minutes, so that the red pepper warms up but still has a lovely crunch.

Serve it with a few  fresh thyme sprigs as a garnish and be prepared to warm up!

DISCLAIMER: I realise this soup is a blindingly unattractive beast but, trust me, it tasted brillomaze.


Although I have put on an alarming amount of weight since starting this food blog, I assure you there is no need to look too deeply into the name of today’s track. It’s simply a song that I love that is by a band with horses in their name. It’s Stockholm’s I Break Horses with their track Hearts.

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  1. Would you believe that my friend’s mother was once out walking somewhere in West Cork when she unexpectedly went into labour? The person that was walking with her hailed down the next passing car, which was being driven by none other than Angela Lansbury! She drove them to the hospital and all was well. So, it’s not just on TV that she saves the day.

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