Picnic Soup

(Today's post is being dispatched from The South of France by Lisa Fontaine. Enjoy!)

I'm excited to be back at Poppy Haus today as a guest contributor, thanks Heather for having me!  Fall is always one of my favorite times of the year.  The kids are back in school, the tourists have fled the Bay Area- reducing commute times (only slightly), and the weather is warm and glorious for our Indian summer.  This year, things are a bit different, although equally enjoyable.  My husband and I decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and are spending the year abroad in France with our three young children Bijou (8) and twins Eero & Wilder (3).  We are living in the countryside in southwest France in a 200-year-old farmhouse and our children attend public school in our nearby village of only 800 inhabitants.  Needless to say, things are quite different than our urban life back home.  

As tradition goes, the kids are back in school.  However, the traffic patterns have remained the same as the summer months.  We typically pass 3-4 cars in the morning on our 10 minute drive to school. The only traffic jam is when you get stuck behind a tractor and have an oncoming car or turn up ahead.  We are also experiencing a more typical fall season. The temperature has dipped to 13 degrees celsius, don't ask me what that converts to, I'm still having a hard time with this metric thing.  Let's just say, you need a coat outside.

Despite the cold air, the sun shines many days, making it perfect weather for a fall.  We don't have to go far to find a perfect picnicking spot.  Just across the gravel driveway to the patch of lawn perched above the bare wheat fields.  In the distance, we can see our neighbor's cows and sheep graze.

Dress warmly and pack an extra blanket.  Bring along a bottle of your favorite red wine and substitute those sandwiches for some warm pumpkin soup in a thermos. My kids have been collecting walnuts from our tree so I included a jar of fresh walnuts and a couple of apples.  So simple, but so tasty.  Just the way the French like their food.

If you'd like to follow along with our adventures in France including recipes, craft DIY projects, and tips for moving abroad, please check out my blog at


or @picnicblog on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

1 leek, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small pumpkin

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 dried red chile, finely chopped

1" piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1 tsp. ground coriander

4 cups chicken broth

1 can of coconut milk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.  Rub the two halves with olive oil and place face down on a foil-covered baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the flesh of the pumpkin is soft and easy to scoop out. Remove the pumpkin from the oven so it can cool while you prepare the next step.

Warm the chicken broth in a large pot.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan and add the onion and leek and sauté for 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.    Scoop the flesh from the pumpkin with a spoon (discarding the skin) and add to the sauté pan along with the carrot, chile and ginger.  Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the ground coriander.  Add your sauté mixture to your pot of warm broth and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the can of coconut milk.  Allow to cool slightly before transferring it to a food processor to puree.

Thanks Lisa!! For more about Lisa, and her beautiful blog


, visit the about page and see her full contributor profile...