Marc Hirschowitz, Karen Alsfine and Estelle Sacharowitz

Struik Lifestyle

The definition on the cover of this large hardback sets the scene. The title, Savour, is followed by the dictionary definition of the word, and this coupling is repeated with every heading from the Contents to the Thanks on the last page.

The rationale behind this unusual angle is that the South African authors want readers to embark on a culinary journey that engages more than our sense of taste. One word – with its definition – is employed to capture the essence of every chapter, while the recipes that follow demonstrate the meaning and evocation of the word.

Starting in the middle, the chapter called “Spice” is defined “Noun. Any of various pungent aromatic plant substances, such as paprika, cinnamon or nutmeg, used to flavour foods or beverages…” The recipes that follow start with warm camembert with a syrupy chilli glaze and mustard fruit, go on to marinated chilli salmon, peri-peri chicken, spicy beef bunny chow, brinjal curry and white chocolate pudding with a chilli chocolate centre. Each is beautifully styled and photographed.

The recipes are not complicated and sometimes use everyday ingredients. The focus is on presentation and styling, because “we eat with our eyes”, but the authors hope that their efforts will enable us to eat our words, literally.

Starting with “Wakey-wakey”, the breakfast recipes that follow could inspire many a sleepyhead – smoothies, kippers, French toast and pancakes.

“Store” is a chapter centred on pickles and preserves, while “Accessorise” offers fried capers, parmesan crisps, salsas and rubs.

“Spreads” alternates between recipes for loaves and ideas on what to spread on them (cashew nut butter, butternut hummus spread) with several innovative ideas.

The following section called “DIY” is similar, presenting dips and pasta sauces, while “Slurp” contains soups that range from classic onion to coconut and mushroom. This is followed by “Chill” with some cold soups, and sorbets and icecreams.

Salads fall under the heading of “Pure” and include several images of artfully arranged ingredients plus other more conventional assemblies like quinoa with vegetables and goat’s cheese. While it makes a stunning picture, I am not sure that I would savour a combination of baby spinach leaves, raw beet and shredded cabbage with figs and raspberries.

There are braai recipes (Sizzle) meat dishes (Cleave) and imported favourites grouped under Immigrant.

Other chapter titles include Brave, Vintage, Nurture, Mess, Bake, Treat and Sip. And there’s Love, but this is not a selection of romantic recipes, rather dishes to share. They encompass snacks as simple as toasted three-cheese and tomato to beer-battered fish and tartare sauce, fig tart and scones.

Just ahead of the index, which is an essential tool in this compilation, is a watermelon, raspberry and rosewater cocktail. Not only is it an enticing thought as I write this in high summer heat, but the accompanying photograph is simply brilliant. - Sunday Argus