Posts Tagged ‘rose water’

Chemical Analysis of Steenbergs Organic Rose Water

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

We are often asked quite detailed technical questions about Steenbergs’ organic rose water.  In particular:

  • What type of water is used? Tap water
  • Is the water distilled water? Yes
  • Does the water contain pesticides or heavy metals? No
Steenbergs Organic Rose Water

Steenbergs Organic Rose Water

Firstly, the rose water is organic and distilled from organic rose petals picked and processed in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria.  It is certified as organic by Ceres, a German certification agency.  So it is grown and processed in an organic way, however that (as many customers keep telling me) does not preclude contamination from other surrounding farmland, so see below.

Secondly, on the water itself, the water used is standard potable water, i.e. it’s not borehole water or the like, but a “tap water” and this meets EU government guidelines on drinking water.

However, in the process, the water is distilled through a double water-vapour distillation process – the first is a standard distillation through a still, and the second runs the distillate a second time but this time through a cohabation column.  So in answer to the question, the water in the rose water is distilled.

This second distillation concentrates the flavour by roughly ten times, and is called “cohabation” – the rose oil tends to float on the top of the distillate so this second distillation dissolves more of this floral flavour into Steenbergs rose water.  For reference: 1.4kg of fresh rose petals yields 1kg of rose water.

Thirdly, as for the possibility for contamination of the water, our most recent tests of the organic rose water are as below and they contain no pesticides, agrochemicals and the levels of heavy metals are well within guidelines:

  Steenbergs Organic Rose Water UK Drinking Water Standards What standard used?
Pesticides Not detected 0.5 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Nitrates 0.4 mg/l 50 mg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Nitrites <0.01 mg/l 0.50 mg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
Plant treatments:
  Chlorates <2 µg/l <10 µg/l EU Recommendation 2015/682
  Perchlorates <0.5 µg/l <10 µg/l EU Recommendation 2015/682
Metals/heavy metals:
  Aluminium <2 µg/l <200 µg/l UK National Requirements
  Arsenic 1.40 µg/l <10 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Cadmium 0.01 µg/l <5 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Copper 0.09 mg/l <2 mg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Iron 37.06 µg/l <200 µg/l UK National Requirements
  Lead 5.62 µg/l <10 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Manganese 4.46 µg/l <50 µg/l UK National Requirements
  Molybdenum <0.03 µg/l No standard
  Nickel 4.05 µg/l <20 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Selenium 0.48 µg/l <10 µg/l EU Directive 98/83/EC
  Zinc 191.14 µg/l No standard*

*there is a complex proposed standard that proposes 10.9 bioavailable plus Ambient Background Concentration (μg/l) dissolved that I really don’t understand, while Australia and Canada have limits of 3 – 5 mg/l (5000 µg/l).

Recipe For Fragrant Rose Rice Pudding or Rose Kheer

Friday, August 7th, 2015
Rose Rice Pudding With Raspberries

Rose Rice Pudding With Raspberries

I have recently finished reading “The Architect’s Apprentice” by Elif Shafak, starting while on our holidays in Portugal.  It is a lovely read about unrequited and so a forlorn love between a lowly architect’s apprentice and the Sultan’s daughter,  It’s slightly magical, but with a far fetched end that sees Jahan, the main character, living a very long life to stretch his influence across the centuries.  Based in Turkey, it is redolent with the smells of roses and rose water, e.g.

“Jahan tried to utter something to raise her spirits, but he could find no words that she would follow.  A while later a servant brought her a bowl of custard, flavoured with rosewater.  The sweet scent…”

It turned my thoughts to roses, so I made today a Rose Rice Pudding that we ate warm because outside it was raining again – summer where have you gone.  I then let it cool and made the leftovers into a Raspberry & Rose Kheer per the photo.

Rose Rice Pudding or Rose Kheer


1 litre / 1¾ pints / 4¼ cups full fat milk
100g / 3½oz / ½ cup pudding rice
50g / 1¾ oz / ¼ cup golden caster sugar
½tsp organic cinnamon powder
Pinch of sea salt
½ teaspoon of vanilla powder or a vanilla pod, slit lengthways
150ml / 5¼ fl oz / ½ cup double cream
½tsp organic rose blossom water
1tsp ground dried rose petals (optional)

How to make rose rice pudding

Put the pudding rice, caster sugar, organic cinnamon powder and salt into a heavy bottomed pan.  Give it a quick stir to mix it up a tad.

Add the milk and the vanilla pod, then bring to the boil.  When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Add the double cream, rose water and rose petals, then cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until nice and it has thickened.

If you want to eat it warm, sprinkle some caster sugar over the top and either caramelise it with a blowtorch or under the grill.

For rose kheer or a nice cold rice pudding, leave to cool for around 30 minutes, then place into the fridge for at least an hour.  To make it into a Raspberry & Rose Kheer, I put some raspberries in the base of the glass and three delicately on the top.

Rose Kheer With Raspberries

Rose Kheer With Raspberries

5 Ways with Rose Water

Monday, June 29th, 2015

For many years and in many countries, rose water has been used as a wonderful natural perfume, its gentle floral scent being used to refresh and revitalise.  Its benefits are also widely extolled as a health essential: in its diluted form as a skin toner and as a valued addition to moisturisers and body treatments.

Steenbergs organic rose water is however manufactured solely as a food product and is made from the simple water extraction of Persian Damask Rose blossom.  It reminds Axel of his favourite rose – Rose de Rescht – and its heavenly perfume.

Victoria, of Bois de Jasmin blog, in her post 10 ways to use rose water, suggests indulging in the ultimate of luxury with rose water scented bed sheets.  As much as we love that idea, here we’re going to stick to the foodie benefits of rose water.  We recommend trying it in all sorts of sweet dishes, from custards and creams to fruit salads.  Why not be adventurous too and try it splashed onto savoury salads or a dash in your drink?  Here are 5 recipes you might not have tried…


sparkler1 - self sufficient cafeEarlier this year we sent Jasmine some samples to try out, one of which was our fragrant rose water.  We love this Rose Water Sparkle recipe – lovely and refreshing for the summer.

Ingredients – Serves 1 to 2 people
1 Orange, freshly squeezed
1 Tsp Rose water
½ Tsp Agave nectar
200ml Sparkling water

Mix the first three ingredients together then slowly pour in the sparkling water. Give the sparkler a little stir before pouring into glasses. Enjoy!


A tasty tea-time treat, these crumbly shortbreads, use dried rose petals as well as rose water.  Ideal with a cup of Steenbergs Rose and Bergamot Tea for the full rose experience!

Rosewater Shortbread resized


250g butter

110g caster sugar

360g organic plain flour

1 tsp Steenbergs organic Rosewater

1-2 tsp Steenbergs Rose petals 

Steenbergs organic Fairtrade Rose Sugar for sprinkling


Heat the oven to 190oC/375F/Gas 5

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour

Turn out on to a work surface, and roll until 1.5 cm thick.

Cut into fingers or different shapes, chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer to wire cooling rack and sprinkle with rose sugar.


Steenbergs Sweet Potato & Spinach salad with Rose WaterCreated to go sit alongside a delicious Orange, carrot & pine nut salad with orange blossom and our tasty Dukkah-encrusted lamb cutlets for a Persian feast, this salad would make a moreish lunch on its own.


1 large sweet potato sliced into rings

2 tins of cannellini beans drained

1 red chilli, de seeded and chopped finely (or use crushed chilli – but sparingly)

1 red pepper finely sliced

1 red onion finely sliced

10/12 mixed cherry tomatoes

1 bag of washed baby spinach

100g baby rocket leaves

salad cress to garnish

200g feta cheese crumbed into small chunks

Steenbergs black pepper to taste

Dressing: 2- 3 tspn Steenbergs Organic Rose water

75 ml organic extra virgin olive oil

2 tspn organic runny honey

Pinch Steenbergs organic perfect salt 

Fry the sweet potato rings gently in a little oil and Steenbergs perfect salt until soft, set aside and keep warm.
Mix the Steenbergs Organic Rose water with the honey and perfect salt and whisk in the olive oil slowly.
Mix salad ingredients together and dress with the Rose water dressing
Serve immediately.


Double chocolate cake & vanilla rose creamA wonderful indulgent tea-time cake or dessert, filled with rose water laced cream and sprinkled with rose petals and chocolate shavings.  Definitely in the ‘naughty but very nice’ category!

 Cake Ingredients

225g plain flour
300g caster sugar
50g Steenbergs Fairtrade organic Rose sugar
85g Steenbergs Fairtrade organic Cocoa powder
1½ tsp Steenbergs baking powder
1½ tsp Steenbergs bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
250ml milk
125ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Steenbergs Fairtrade organic vanilla paste
250ml/9fl oz boiling water

Icing Ingredients
200g plain fair trade chocolate
400ml double cream
1/2 tsp Steenbergs organic vanilla paste
3 tsp icing sugar
½ cap of Steenbergs organic Rose water

To decorate
Steenbergs Rose petals
Steenbergs Fairtrade organic chocolate drops
Steenbergs Cocoa nibs
Fairtrade white chocolate


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.

For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth.

Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven and stand for 30 mins, before transferring to a wire rack for 10 mins before attempting to ice them.

For the chocolate icing, melt the chocolate and 200mls of cream together in a saucepan over a low heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir vigorously until smooth, allow to cool.  With the remaining 200ml of double cream, add another 1/2 tsp Steenbergs vanilla paste, a pinch of rose petals and a small dash of Steenbergs Rose water and whisk until soft peaks appear.


jpgBring a summer, garden flavour to your cup cakes and enjoy decorating with rose petals or indulge in the chocolate and rainbow strands cake toppings!


6 oz self-raising flour, sieved

6 oz fairtrade granulated sugar

6 oz soft marg

3 eggs

1 tspn Steenbergs baking powder

1 tspn Steenbergs vanilla extract (optional)

cake cases

For the icing

3 oz butter or marg, softened

6 oz icing sugar (sieved)

1 tbs milk

1 tbsn Steenbergs rose water


Preheat oven to 180oC. Line 12 muffin or Yorkshire Pudding tins with cake cases.

Mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a food processor for 2 -3 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and mix.

Divide the mixture between the cake cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until evely golden and springy to the touch of a finger.

Leave for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, mix the butter and icing sugar together with the rose water and milk. Add icing sugar to obtain the desired consistency – for spreading or piping.

When the cup cakes are cook, add the icing and then whatever decoration takes your fancy!

A Journey Through Back To True Korma Recipes (Part 1)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

When I made the Chicken Tikka the other day, I also made a Lamb Korma.  The end result was nothing like the British Kormas that I had been used to, so I decided to investigate the concept of the korma further.  The first thing to say is that I liked to alternative korma style that I had stumbled on, and secondly that the British korma has little linkage back to the true korma.

What seems to have happened is a story of early British curries.  When the curry house started appearing in a wave in the 1960s – 1970s, the style of cuisine was rural Bangladesh and these early “Indian chefs” realised soon that their new clientele wanted inter alia a range of curries that included a hot curry, a medium one and a mild one.  These morphed into the Anglo-Indian vindaloo, chicken tikka and korma classics of modern British-style Indian food.  For us Brits, korma now means a mild, creamy meat dish, whereas the true korma originated out of the Islamic courts of the Moghuls and other Muslim rulers of India over the 10th to 16th centuries.  This korma from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is a rich banquet dish that is showy and uses lots of yoghurt together with expensive flavourings like cardamom, nutmeg, rose water, saffron and nuts like almonds and dried fruits.

My first trial was a variation on a simple korma, called Korma Narendra Shahi, which is slightly sweet and mild, with a pretty rose water flavour which some might not like, but is something I enjoy and is a key flavour of Arabian and Indian banquet-style-food; if the rose flavour is an issue just reduce the levels of rose water you use.  It is based on a recipe from one of my favourite little gems of Indian cooking “Cooking Delights Of The Maharajas” by Digvijaya Singh; this is a collection of recipes collected from the Royal kitchens of India by Mr Singh who really would be the Maharaja of Sailana, hence he was able to collect these recipes and continue his father’s quest to find some of the best recipes from his contemporaries’ households. 

The next korma recipe will be a mash-up between two of the really fine recipes in the same book, mixing up the Persian style Korma Shiraz with a recipe for Korma Asafjahi from the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1905 and will follow in my next blog…

Recipe for Korma Narendra Shahi

500g / 1lb lamb chopped into 2cm / 1 inch sized peices
2tbsp + 2tbsp ghee, sunflower oil or vegetable oil
500g / 1lb onions, half chopped finely and the other half sliced thinly into rounds
115g / 4oz plain yoghurt
¼tsp – 1tsp chilli powder (vary this to taste, but it is meant to be mild)
1tsp cumin seeds (or powder)
3 green cardamom pods, broken open
Pinch of turmeric
1 pinch of salt
A pinch of saffron diluted in warm water
30ml / 2tbsp rose water
1tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1tsp garam masala

Start by dry frying the cumin seeds, if you are beginning with whole ones. When nicely toasted, crush them in a pestle and mortar.  Make the saffron infusion by placing the saffron filaments in a mug or glass and pour over newly drawn water that has just been boiled and leave to infuse for 30 minutes then strain out the saffron.

Heat the ghee in a frying pan and add the onions and fry gently until translucent.  Add the chilli powder, cumin powder and salt and fry together for 1 minute, then add the yoghurt, stir well and cook for about 10 minutes at a gentle simmer with the lid on.

Korma Sauce With Light Creamy Look

Korma Sauce With Light Creamy Look

While you are frying the onions, start frying the lamb pieces in ghee in a separate frying pan.  Cook these quickly to brown and seal the edges.  When ready, which should be as the korma sauce is finishing its 10 minutes’ initial cook, add the lamb to the sauce, cover and cook at a medium heat for 1½ hours.  Lift these pieces of lamb out of the ghee with a fork or slotted spoon, i.e. leave the fat behind.

When the meat is tender, which should be after about 1½ hours, simmer with the lid off to let the liquid dry up almost completely.  Now add the remaining ingredients (saffron, rose water, coriander leaves and garam masala) and stir until warmed through.

Homemade Korma Narendra Shahi

Homemade Korma Narendra Shahi

Serve straight away, or even better leave a day and eat the next day when the flavours are much more subtle and have infused completely through.

Recipe For Pink Rose Macarons

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Pink is one of those colours I have never really liked.  However, getting married and then having a daughter have made me accept pink as a colour and slowly but surely start to like pink as long as it is subtle rather than Barbie coloured.  Sophie has even managed to get me into a light rose pink shirt once in a blue moon.

Anyway, I have been wanting to try and make pink coloured macarons for a while, ever since seeing a rainbow coloured display at Betty’s Tearooms at Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate.  I also was keen to combine this with our rose water – Steenbergs organic rose blossom water – but I find macarons recipes really complex.  For example, I found several recipes by Pierre Hermé, but while he is the master, it felt way too finickity for a country boy like me.  So here’s how I made some pink rose macarons and by the end it had become almost as hard work as if I had followed those damn difficult recipes in the first place!

Pink Rose Macarons

Pink Rose Macarons


For the rose blossom filling:

62.5g/2.25oz good quality white chocolate, melted and left to cool a bit
62.5ml/2.25oz double cream
15g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
1.5tsp Steenbergs Rose Blossom Water

For the batter:

125g/4.5oz ground almonds
125g/4.5oz icing sugar
1tsp red food colouring (see how I made it at end of the recipe)
2tsp Steenbergs organic rose blossom water
90g/3oz egg whites (somewhere around 3 eggs are needed)
125g/4.5oz Fairtrade caster sugar

Pre-heat oven to 180oC /350oF.  Line two baking trays or sheets with baking parchment paper and get a pastry bag ready with a 2cm plain tip.

Mixing Cream Into Melted White Chocolate

Mixing Cream Into Melted White Chocolate

Start by making the rose flavoured filling.  Melt the white chocolate bits in a mixing bowl over boiling water.  Heat the double cream and when the cream is just about to boil, remove from the heat and add to the white chocolate, then stir until smooth.  Add the butter and mix these through until completely smooth.  Now add the Steenbergs organic rose blossom water and mix thoroughly.  Cover the filling with clingfilm touching its surface and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

In a food processor, grind together the icing sugar and ground almonds until really fine and then sieve.

Put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until they start to rise, then add the caster sugar in two parts, adding the Steenbergs rose blossom water and colouring with the second batch of caster sugar, and continue to whisk until the egg whites become stiff, firm and slightly glossy on the outside.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients in two parts into the beaten egg whites with a metal spoon or rubber spatula.  When the mixture is just smooth and the last streaks of egg mix disappear, stop mixing and scrape the batter into the pastry bag.

Carefully pipe out the batter into 3cm round evenly spaced every 3cm apart onto the parchment paper.  Rap the baking tray three times on the counter top to flatten the macarons.  Then bake for 15 – 18 minutes with the oven door kept slightly open held by wooden spoon.  Leave to cool for a few minutes and then carefully detach and leave to cool completely.

Putting The Pink Rose Macaron Together

Putting The Pink Rose Macaron Together

To put the pink rose macarons together, pipe some of the rose blossom filling onto a macarons and then sandwich another similar shaped macaron on top, twist it slightly until the filling spills our a bit.  Carry on until you have built all of the pink rose macarons.

Cover them and store in the fridge for about 24 hours before taking out of the fridge and serving at room temperature.

Note on colouring:

You could use carmine red food colouring or cochineal for the colouring if you wish.  These are not natural colours or are derived from animals, so may not meet with your ethical viewpoints, however these macarons are much better coloured pink as that is part of their appeal.  Here’s how I got around the issue, I made my own food colouring. 

I took 1 teaspoon of organic beetroot powder and added 2 tablespoons of mineral water and mixed together.  Leave for about 30 minutes, then filter through paper tea filter – I used one of our DIY tea bags or you could use a coffee filter.  Unfortunately, it smells a bit of beetroot so I added rose blossom into the batter which isn’t really necessary, and the colour is more of a berry, but it looked better than off white and gets into the spirit of it all.

Filtering Beetroot Juice

Filtering Beetroot Juice

As I wrote earlier, making macarons is a bit like a complex chemical experiment and really feels a bit fussy at times, but these did taste delicious and sweet.

Steenbergs As Recommended On Delia Online

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Steenbergs Home Bakery range has been recommended on Delia Online as a Good Buy today which is pretty nice really:

Steenbergs in the press

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Steenbergs Organic is in the press again with some nice articles. 

At the weekend, we were in a beautifully photogenic piece the The Mail on Sunday’s magazine for our organic rose water; amusingly we were also in the same article for Renaissance Stardust by Laura Santtini’s Easy Tasty magic range as this is something we have developed with her and will be packing up for sale shortly.

Today, we are in an article in The Ecologist which talks a bit about us and how we go about our business.  It’s really quite flattering to be written about in The Ecologist as (for me) they are the granddaddy of the green movement.

Here’s a link to the article: