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September 8, 2019 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn 2019 issue

Planning a summer buffet


Words: Liz Said  

Photography: Nikki Arnett

(All ingredients in the recipes may be purchased from Scotts Supermarket)

Many are those who are heaving a sigh of relief that the hot summer days are over. I am not one of them, but autumn can be very nice and some days can be perfect for picnics in the countryside. With this in mind I have some recipes, like the Harissa, Mixed Seeds and Potato Muffins and the Plum Cake with Almond Crumble, which travel well so they can easily be taken on picnics.


What better than a hot, spicy soup to curl up with, with a good book when the days start getting shorter – the Spicy Lentil Soup is perfect for this. The Gnocchi Puttanesca and the Chicken and Butter Bean Casserole are two hearty dishes to help you make the change from summer to autumn, as is also the Pork Fillet on a Bed of Lentils.


I have tried to hang on to the bright summer days by making the Prawn and Caviar Sandwich Cakes. They are so colourful that they are bound to cheer up anyone who is still trying to accept the change of weather. Last but not least, the Gluten, Lactose and Nut Free Chocolate Cake is surprisingly very good. Do not be put off by the fact that it is free from everything. It really is a delicious, moist, dark, chocolate cake and not too sweet.

I hope you enjoy making and eating these recipes.




  • 1kg fresh gnocchi

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 8 anchovy fillets

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes

  • 1 tbsp capers

  • 150g mixed green and black, sliced pitted olives

  • 3 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

  • 6 tbsp green pesto


  1. Peel and finely chop the red onion and slice the anchovy fillets; heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes; add the garlic and anchovies and continue cooking for 1 minute; mash the anchovies to a paste with a wooden spoon.

  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring, until glossy; add the chilli flakes, capers, mixed olives and chopped parsley and cook for a few minutes more; season to taste.

  3. Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions; add to the tomato mixture and stir well but gently; transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an ovenproof dish and top with the pesto.

  4. Preheat the grill and place the dish under the hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling; serve with some basil leaves scattered over the top.

 See more recipes from Design & Decor Autumn 2019 issue 

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