Rose water: Food for sharing with friends

Words & Food Styling by Ajda MehmetProp Styling by Ciara O'HalloranPhotography by Miki Barlok

You will always find rose water in my pantry, and maybe in my bathroom too! I adore it. I use it in all different types of cooking and have even been known to use it as perfume. Not surprisingly, it smells of roses. The really fragrant and beautiful kind, only sweeter.

The sweet flavour and scent is wonderful, and brings back memories of devouring Turkish desserts as a child with rose water syrup running down my chin.

It’s as delicious as the flower is beautiful.

The thing I love most about food is being able to share it with others. Whether it’s the cooking or the act of sharing a meal around a table; the joy of eating together is one to be savoured daily. Recently, I put together a menu to share with friends. Using rose water throughout showed off the versatility of this wonderful ingredient. I hope you like it.





Chicken and Pink Grapefruit Salad with a Rose Water Yoghurt Dressing


Serves 4


For the salad:

2 large chicken breasts
200g puy lentils
200g mixed salad leaves
2 avocados, halved and sliced
2 pink grapefruits, segmented (reserving the juices)
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp sumac

For the dressing:

100g greek yoghurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
Juice of a lemon
Reserved pink grapefruit juice


Rinse the lentils in a fine sieve until the water runs clear. Pop them in a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Brush the chicken breasts with a little oil and grill them on both sides using a hot griddle pan. Once the breasts have been sealed, place them in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and finish cooking them in the oven at around 180C for 15 minutes.

To make the dressing simply mix all of the ingredients together, saving half of the lemon to dress the warm lentils when they are ready.

Once the lentils are cooked, drain them and toss in a little olive oil and the remaining lemon juice.

When the chicken breasts are ready, slice them into thin strips. Using your hands, toss all of the ingredients together. Add the sumac, season with sea salt and pepper and make sure it is thoroughly mixed through.

Serve the warm salad in a large bowl or on a platter and spoon the dressing over the top.

Mini Goats Cheese and Honey Toasts with Roasted Hazelnuts


Serves 4


1 baguette or ciabatta, cut into thin slices
100g goats cheese
100ml honey
2-3 drops of rose water
25g hazelnuts
Olive oil


Brush the slices of bread with olive oil on both sides and place them on a baking tray and into a hot oven at 180C for about 10 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Roast the hazelnuts at the same time, also for about 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. When the hazelnuts have cooled slightly, place them in a clean tea towel and rub the skins off. Roughly chop them and set aside.

Add a few drops of rose water to the honey and give it a good stir.

To serve, spread a thick layer of goats cheese onto each mini toast, drizzle generously with the rose flavoured honey and sprinkle on the hazelnuts.

Sütlü Börek or Turkish Milk Pie


Serves 8


For the custard:

500ml milk
100g semolina
75g sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the pastry:

4-6 sheets of filo pastry
100g unsalted butter, melted

For the syrup:

100g caster sugar
100ml water
1tbsp rose water



To make the custard, add all of the ingredients into a saucepan and place on a low heat, stirring continuously for 6-8 minutes. The custard will begin to thicken, be completely smooth and should coat the back of a spoon. Pour the hot custard into a wide, rectangular dish so that it cools quickly and begins to set. After 30-45 minutes the custard should be cool and firm to touch but not completely set.

Lay the first sheet of filo pastry out, (the longest edge horizontally), and brush the edges with some of the melted butter. Spoon 1/4 of the custard mixture, across the middle of the sheet of filo, about 2 inches in width, leaving a gap on either side. Fold the bottom of the pastry up over the custard to meet the top. Gently press the pastry down around the custard in the middle. Using a little melted butter to help it stick, fold in the sides and then gently roll the pastry over and up until the custard is completely encased in a sausage-shaped filo parcel. Repeat until all of the custard has been used up.

Starting in the centre of a round cake tin or baking dish, carefully pick up one of the filo parcels and begin to coil it around itself in a spiral, being very careful to avoid any tears so that the custard doesn’t leak out. Do the same with the next one starting where the first one left off and so on. You may have to tighten the swirl slightly as you go to fit it all in.

Brush all over with melted butter and place in a hot oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and crisp on top.

To make the syrup place the sugar and water in a saucepan, heat gently without stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, add the rose water and let it bubble away for a few minutes until it becomes syrupy. Spoon generously all over the Sütlü Börek when ready to serve.

Gin and Rose Water Cocktail



2 measures tonic
1 measure gin
1 measure pomegranate juice
1-2 tbsp syrup

For the syrup:

100g caster sugar
75ml water
1tbsp rose water
2-3 sprigs of thyme


Bring the sugar and water to the boil, without stirring if at all possible. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the rose water and sprigs of thyme and let it bubble away for a few minutes until syrupy. Remove the sprigs of thyme and set it aside to cool.

The rose water pairs sweetly with the gin, the thyme providing warmth and the pomegranate that bit of sour for a perfectly balanced and refreshing drink. Serve over ice garnished with a rose petal.

Rose water: Food for sharing with friends was created by Food&_ community members: