We’ve had such a cold May, and the last couple of days have finally turned summery enough to get the roses blooming. As I was leaving for Fairway this morning, the sight of my husband's roses reminded me of Nigella Lawson’s idea of tossing watermelon with rosewater.
Recently, I had a wonderfully fragrant baklava-like dessert at a good Greek restaurant. I’m sure they mixed some rosewater with the honey, and I knew why Nigella was so taken with the flavor.
I have a feeling that the Nielsen-Massey rosewater I found is stronger than what Nigella uses, more like an extract. Cortas rosewater from Lebanon comes in a 10-oz. bottle and is priced from $3-5. The Nielsen-Massey I bought was $7.99 and smells pretty potent in the bottle.
My go-to fruit salad recipe adds Grand Marnier to a light simple syrup. That seemed right for rosewater too. I was looking for Victorian delicacy to offset the heaviness of the air. I don’t want to the flavor to knock me over. The syrup is just right, and want to add it to iced tea, lemonade, and sparkling water all summer long. Maybe I’ll add some of the straight rosewater to shortbread to serve with strawberries for dessert.
Of course, for times when delicacy is not what you’re after, you might try something else made with rosewater. How about Bon Apetit’s Persian Love Cake? Scheherazade would approve, I think.
Rosewater Simple Syrup for Fruit or Drinks
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. rose water (try 2 tsp. if you use a traditional rose water -- let your nose guide you)
Mix water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until all sugar dissolves. Let cool 5 minutes, then add rosewater. Cool completely before tossing with fruit. If using for drinks, store in refrigerator.