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Tag Archives | rose water

Treats for Seker Bayrami, Eid Al-Fitr – Gullac, Baklava and more

Wonderful blue tiles at the Blue Mosque

There is a wonderful excitement in my parent’s home in Istanbul, as the holy month of Ramadan is now reaching to its end soon. My mother has been fasting, and we are all look forward to being together this year to celebrate the end of Ramadan in Istanbul. Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement, charity, as well as increased devotion and worship. I love seeing family and friends visiting each other, elderly eagerly waiting for the young ones to pay a visit; little ones eagerly waiting for their sweet treats. Ramadan is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community, share what you have and visit one another. A wonderful time when feelings of tolerance and charity are foremost in people’s minds.

Inside of the Blue Mosque; a special time to visit during Ramadan


My mother has so many treats in her mind for the family and friends to share. One of her favorite dessert for this time of the year is the traditional dessert, Gullac. This lovely, light dessert is prepared with Gullac wafers which is made with corn starch and wheat flour. You can find Gullac wafers at specialty or Middle Eastern stores, or at Turkish online shops like Tulumba or Marketurk in the UK.

Güllaç contains walnuts or almonds between the layers which are soaked in milk. It is light and wonderful dessert for warm summer days. You can decorate Gullac with pomegranate seeds in winter or dried fruits like apricots in summer; crushed pistachios are also wonderful over gullac.

Delicious and refreshing Gullac dessert, very light too

Delicious and refreshing Gullac dessert, very light too


1 pack gullac wafers

600gr sugar

3kg milk

6 tbsp rose water

400gr crushed almonds

Chopped dried apricots and crushed pistachios to decorate


Combine milk and sugar in a heavy pan and bring to a boil. Add the rose water to the boiling milk.

Moisten the gullac wafers with milk. Spread the half of the wafers on top of each other on a wide tray. Sprinkle crushed walnuts or almonds in the middle, and stack the rest of gullac layers, soaked in the milk mixture. Pour the rest of the milk mixture over the top wafer and let it cool.  Garnish with dried apricot and crushed pistachio and serve.

 Here are some more ideas for end of Ramadan treats; who can resist baklava? It is easy to make home made baklava using fillo sheets.

Scrumptious baklava with pistachios

Here is Ekmek Kadayifi – Turkish bread pudding dessert, served with kaymak, our thick clotted cream.

Ekmek Kadayifi; a traditional dessert especially at the southern Turkey

How about our dried fig dessert with stuffed with walnuts? Here, the dried fig is first poached in hot water for a few minutes to soften up then stuffed with nuts.

Poached dried figs stuffed with nuts, decorated with pistachio nuts

As you see, the sweets are the stars for the end of Ramadan festivities. If you rather prefer savory to sweet, then boreks are your best bet. Su borek made  with paper thin yufka sheets or with fillo pastry sheets, with cheese and parsley filling, may be just the thing.

Cheese and parsley filled borek; lovely treat


Whatever treat you may choose, I hope you enjoy them and have a chance to share with others.


Blue Mosque from the terrace of the Armada Hotel

Afiyet olsun!




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Home Made Turkish Delight – Lokum

Lokum ph2,Turkish Delight with OTT

Home made, fragrant Turkish Delights; easier than you think!

Have you ever tried Turkish Delight? These delicately flavored, scrumptious sweets are one ofTurkey’s hallmarks. They can be plain, sade, delicately flavored with fragrant rose water or dried fruits, nuts and desiccated coconut can be incorporated into the luscious mouthfuls of fragrant jelly.

Scrumptious Turkish Delights with nuts in Turkey; they are a real treat

My children love Turkish Delight, and living abroad, I can’t always get those wonderful delights from home. Making Turkish Delight, having them properly set can be a bit of a challenge, but this new recipe we tried at my Turkish cooking class last weekend came out so well, we were all so pleased! And yes, you can now make Turkish Delight in your home! I would allow for the fragrant jelly to set at least overnight (and more if you can). They also make wonderful gifts; to pack as presents, sprinkle a little corn flour mixture into a bag to stop sweets sticking.

Turkish Delight with rose water, and the back, with chocolate – you get all sorts of flavours these days!

Now, a bit of history on Turkish Delight. Prior to the arrival of refined sugar in the late 18th century, the Ottomans made a crude version of Turkish Delight using honey or pekmez, a concentrated grape syrup and wheat flour. Haci Bekir, a confectioner of the time, became famous due to his ingenious use of white sugar and corn starch and was summoned to Topkapi Palace to pioneer the development of what is today one of Turkey’s hallmarks. Special recipes for variations of Turkish Delight can be found in all regions ofTurkey. Sakiz (mastic gum) another ingredient revered by the Sultans, can be used to create a chewier version and is a must if you are preparing rolled up versions of lokum. This recipe is for plain (sade) lokum, however, you may wish to add shelled and chopped nuts of your choice – hazelnuts, pistachio nuts or walnuts work extremely well.

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus setting overnight) Cooking time: about 25 minutes

Makes about 64 small squares

25gr/1oz icing sugar

100gr/3 1/2 oz corn flour

700gr/1 1/2lb caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp powdered gelatine (* see for a vegetarian gel option)

Red or pink coloring – optional

2 tbsp rose water

Gold edible glitter – optional

* If you prefer to use vegetarian gelatine, Dr Oetker has a vegetarian gel too, here is the link;
Vege-Gel is a vegetarian alternative to gelatine and not a substitute. Therefore, it has to be used in a slightly different way to gelatine and it may be necessary to adapt your recipe.

Sprinkle a little cornflour and icing sugar mixture over the base and sides of the bowl

Line a 20.5 (8in) square baking tin with a cling film. Sift icing sugar and 25g (1oz) of the corn flour into a small bowl. Sprinkle a little over the base and sides of the tin. Set bowl aside.

Put caster sugar, lemon juice and water into large pan, heat gently until dissolved

Put caster sugar, lemon juice and 400ml (14fl oz) water into large pan. Heat gently until dissolved – do not boil. In a small bowl, mix the remaining corn flour with 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cold water, and then stir into sugar syrup. Sprinkle gelatine over liquid and stir with balloon whisk to break up lumps. Bring to boil, then simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, whisking often. The mixture should thicken and turn pale yellow.


Gelatine helps set the Turkish Delight and rose water adds a delicately perfumed flavor

Remove from heat and whisk in a little food coloring to turn mixture into light pink (optional). Set aside for 5 min. Stir in rose water and pour into tin. Leave to set in a cool place overnight.

Leave to set Turkish Delight in a cool place overnight

Dust a board with some reserved corn flour mixture, and then invert Turkish Delight on to it. Remove tin; peel off clingfilm. Cut into cubes, and then roll each gently in corn flour mixture to coat.

Dusting a board with the corn flour and icing sugar mixture really helps for the jelly not to stick

Sprinkle over a little glitter, if using. Place grease proof paper on a large metal tray. Then place the Turkish delight cubes on the tray side by side with a little space in between, in one layer. Let the Turkish delight air dry for 24 hours, for best results; this will prevent homemade Turkish delight from sweating.

Sprinkle the remaining corn flour mixture and gently coat each piece. Store in an airtight glass or metal container at a cool, room temperature (away from heat, sunlight, radiator etc.). If there is more than one layer in the container, place a sheet of grease proof paper between each layer and make sure there is a little space between each Turkish delight piece. Homemade Turkish delight is best enjoyed when fresh, though it keeps well stored in a dry place for up to 1 month.

To pack as gifts, sprinkle a little cornstarch mixture into a paper bag to stop the sweets sticking.

Afiyet Olsun, as we say in Turkish, which means “May you be happy and healthy with this food”. I hope you enjoy making Turkish delight, lokum, at home.


Home made Turkish Delights; you will be pleased with the outcome

Turkish Delight goes so well with Turkish Coffee, and here is the recipe, of you would like to try.

Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book

I love all these copper pots and saucers to make and serve sweets and Turkish Coffee; this stall has been at the Ortakoy Market in Istanbul

I am passionate about my homeland’s delicious, wholesome Turkish cuisine; over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my Gourmand World Cook Book award winning cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland – Signed hardback copies  can be purchased at this link, it is delivered worldwide.

If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, there is now lower shipping rates of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book at this link.

Afiyet Olsun,



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Asure – Noah’s Dessert

Asure; dessert of Noah's Ark; a festive treat

Asure; Noah’s Dessert; a festive treat

This delicious dessert of grains, pulses and dried fruit, referred as Asure or Ashura – Noah’s Dessert-, is most probably one of Turkey’s most famous dessert. According to the legend, Noah made it on the Ark by combining whatever ingredients were left on the ark. It is also the traditional dessert to serve on the 10th day of the Muslim month Muharrem, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Asure is always made in large quantities and shared with friends and neighbors.

Though the ingredients list is pretty rich, I believe whatever grains, pulses and dried fruit you have in your pantry will do. And if you are short of time, why not using good quality pre-cooked chickpeas and beans in cans; I am all up for it if it helps making this wonderful dessert. Adding the pomegranate seeds over the top give a festive touch and make the dessert refreshing too.

Desserts play an important role in Turkish culture and the centre piece at religious festivals, weddings and family celebrations. A wide variety of sweet treats from baklava to fruit based desserts are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can order a signed copy at this link, if you’d like.

This recipe is a slight adaptation from dear Ghillie Basan’s The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking; one of my favorite authors.

Serves 10 – 12

50gr/2oz haricot (navy) beans, soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
50gr/2oz skinned broad (fava) beans soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
50gr/2oz chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
115gr/4oz pot barley, with husks removed, and soaked overnight in plenty of water
50gr/2oz rice, washed and drained
115gr/4oz dried apricots
50gr/2oz raisins
50gr/2oz currants
225gr/8oz sugar
30ml/2 tablespoon corn flour (cornstarch) or rice flour
150ml /1/4 pint rose water

To garnish:
2 teaspoons/10 ml cinnamon
4-5 dried figs, sliced
4-5 dried apricots, sliced
15 ml/1 tablespoon sultanas
30 ml/2 tablespoon crushed walnuts
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate

Cook the beans in separate pans of fresh water until just tender. The haricot beans will require about 50 minutes; the broad beans and chickpeas about 1 hour.

Transfer the barley and its soaking water to a large, deep pan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender, topping up with the water during the cooking time if necessary.

Add the cooked beans, chickpeas and the rice, and bring the liquid to boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place all the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Add the fruit to the pan with the beans and stir in the sugar. Continue to simmer, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens.

Mix the corn flour or rice flour with a little water to form a creamy paste. Add 30ml/2tbsp of the hot liquid from the pan to the paste and add it to the pan, stirring constantly. Add the rose water and continue to simmer the mixture for another 15 minutes, stirring from to time, until the mixture is very thick.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Shake the bowl to make sure the surface is flat and leave the pudding to cool. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the pudding and arrange the sliced dried figs, apricots, sultanas and walnuts over the top. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over generously. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Afiyet Olsun,


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