This warming recipe is perfect as the nights get cooler

This is such a great soup recipe, it is extra cosy on those colder nights with the addition of warming spicy flavours. It freezes really well too, so you can make a double batch and have some stored away for a convenient re-heat supper. I've paired this pumpkin soup with my easy focaccia bread below. No kneading is required, and the dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. The longer you leave it in the fridge to develop, the more aerated holes you get in the bread once baked and it has such a good flavour too with those extra big bubbles on top when you dimple it with your fingers. I baked mine the same day it was made, and it was so soft and full of beautiful flavours from the olive oil, rosemary and smoked sea salt I used. You can also top the bread with things like caramelised onions, fresh garlic, olives and sundried tomatoes too. I've paired the soup with Jules Taylor's Sauvignon Blanc which is a such a beautiful match with the spicy/coconut milk flavours in the pumpkin soup. To view the video I created for this recipe, click HERE. 

Serves 6-8
Time (bread)| 3 hours including proofing or up to 3 days of proofing in the fridge
Time (soup)| 20-30 mins

Foccacia bread
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups high-grade white flour (I like to use Champion brand)
2 teaspoons salt
An additional 1 + 3/4 cups of lukewarm water
Olive oil
Flakey sea salt (I used Maldon Smoked Salt)
Fresh rosemary

Spicy pumpkin soup
1 kg pumpkin (weight once deseeded and skinned). I used butternut.
2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 large onions, chopped
1 bay leaf 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
 1-litre stock or bone broth. I used chicken, but you can use vegetable
400ml can of coconut cream

 To serve
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
Fresh herbs, I used flat-leaf parsley
Foccacia bread
Jules Taylor's Sauvignon Blanc

For the focaccia bread, if you are wanting to do a longer proof time in the fridge, read the footnote at the end of this post on what to do before you begin. For the focaccia dough, start by activating the yeast. Combine, 1/4 cup lukewarm water, the yeast and sugar in a small bowl - stir to combine and set aside until frothy, about 15 minutes. In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt, then add the yeast mixture and the additional 1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water. With a rubber spatula, mix well to combine, so you have a sticky dough. Drizzle some olive oil over top, and cover with a clean damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

 Preheat the oven to 220C. Take a tin (mine was a 25cm square) and grease the base and sides with olive oil or butter and turn the dough out into the pan. Cover, and let it sit for the second proofing of 30 minutes. Next, rub your fingers with a little olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking, then press the top with your fingers to create deep dimples, drizzle with a little more olive, and top with fresh rosemary and flakey sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. You can brush the top of the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven for a shiner finish. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and slicing.

 For the soup, remove the skin from the pumpkin, then discard the seeds and stringy parts by scraping them out with a spoon. NOTE: You can soften the pumpkin by putting it in the microwave if the skin is too hard to get off. Next, dice the pumpkin into 1cm pieces and set them aside. In a large pot on medium/high heat, heat the olive oil and cook the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not brown. Add the bay leaf, garlic, curry powder and turmeric and cook for a further 1 minute. Add the pumpkin and the stock or bone broth, cover and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10-15 mins or until a knife can go through the flesh of the pumpkin with ease.

 While the soup is cooking, toast your pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan on medium/high heat. Tip out onto a chopping board and roughly chop, then set aside for now. When the pumpkin is cooked, remove it from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Blend the soup until smooth, either with a stick blender or by pouring the contents into a food processor to blend. Add 3/4 the coconut milk, reserving the remainder to spoon over top at the end. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. I seasoned quite generously with salt – it depends on how salty your stock is.

 To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle over some of the remaining coconut milk, top with the pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs. Serve with warm bread on the side, and a glass of Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc.

 BREAD FOOTNOTE: If you are wanting to do long proofing in the fridge for the dough, you do not need to add the sugar to the yeast activation. Simply activate the yeast in just the lukewarm water and then make the dough as per the instructions above. Once the dough is made, place the bowl in the fridge for up to 3 days. After fridge proofing, remove the dough and allow it to sit on the bench for 2-4 hours (depending on the room temperature) until it has puffed up, and then continue with the following steps above with the dimpling and bake time etc.