Soup Season // pumpkin and carrot soup

As soon as the cooler weather arrives with the colours of Autumn, it feels like Soup Season to me. I love eating a warm bowl of homemade soup with some fresh homemade bread for my lunch.
One of the many wonders of soup is that it is so versatile, you can throw most vegetables together,a long with some stock, and it will taste wonderful. For this reason, some of my quantities are a little vague in this recipe! You really can't go wrong with soup. I encourage you to throw a bunch of delicious vegetables together and see what flavours you get. I'd love to hear what your favourite flavours of soup are. This particular recipe made an enormous batch - I had two pumpkins that had been gifts, that needed using up, and a huge bag of carrots that I picked up for 19p. I decided to use all of the carrots so that none got wasted. In my opinion, the bigger the batch of soup, the better, as you can always freeze it, and I love having it on hand for a quick, warming lunch.

1.5 medium sized pumpkins, already roasted
14 carrots
10 apricots
1 onion
4 sticks of celery
1 potato
Inch of fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic
garam masala
cayenne pepper
2 stock cubes

1) Roast the pumpkin if you haven't already. (For a medium sized pumpkin, this takes about 40 mins at 200C/gas mark 5). (Here's a great recipe on how to roast the pumpkin seeds. I love these!)
In a large heavy based pan, heat a slosh of oil and a little bit of butter.
2) Add the chopped celery and onion, and saute until softened.
3) Chop the garlic and ginger and add to the onion and celery. Cook for a minute or until you can smell the lovely aromas of garlic and ginger,
4) Add the spices - I just did a generous shake of each - but if you're not keen on spices, go easy. You can always add more later. Cook for another minute.
5) Add the carrot and potato, along with the stock cube.
6) Add the stock cube (if using), and pour on boiling water - just enough to cover all of the vegetables.
7) Gently simmer until everything has cooked (about 20 minutes).
8) Meanwhile, soak the apricots in boiling water to soften them.
8) Stir in the roasted pumpkin & apricots, then blitz the soup to make it smooth. I used a stick blender, which are absolutely perfect for this kind of blending.
9) Taste the soup, and add any extra seasoning you think it needs - salt, pepper, garam masala, etc.
10) Serve with fresh bread. (This is my favourite simple bread recipe, although I now use 300g of wholemeal flour, and 100g white flour.)