Don’t be startled by the exotic sound of this recipe - lokum is just the Arabic word for that squidgy, scented cube of goodness we call Turkish Delight.

I remember watching the 1988 BBC adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on video, and finding the idea of Turkish Delight unbelievably tempting after Edmund Pevensie is seduced by the White Witch with an enchanted box of the stuff.

Dog rose flower. © Jacky Parker Photography/Getty
Dog rose flower. © Jacky Parker Photography/Getty

Try to pick the rose petals without damaging the rest of the flower, as they should hopefully still transform into hips later in the year. You will also need a sugar thermometer.

Turkish Delight makes a wonderful gift at Christmas or Easter, the perfect way to capture the blissful aroma of wild roses; just remember to lightly dust your lokum with icing sugar to stop it sticking together.


For the rosewater

  • 1 Wild rose petals
  • 2 Water

For the Lokum

  • 425ml Water
  • ½tbsp Lemon juice
  • 400g Granulated sugar
  • ½tbsp Cream of tartar
  • 65g Cornflower
  • Red food colouring, optional
  • Almond flour, for greasing
  • Icing sugar


  • STEP 1

    To make the rosewater, gently rinse your rose petals under soft running water, and pop them in a glass heat-resistant bowl. Boil the fresh water and then pour gently over the rose petals, leaving to steep in the bowl for 20-30 minutes.

    Then use a piece of muslin or cheesecloth to pour the water into a warm, sterilised bottle, leaving the rose petals aside for the compost heap. After the rosewater has been used for this recipe, the rest can be stored in the fridge.

  • STEP 2

    To make the lokum, start by placing 180ml of the water in a large stock pot over a medium heat with the lemon juice and sugar.

    Stir thoroughly until the sugar dissolves into the mixture, and then insert the sugar thermometer so that it’s hovering in the liquid rather than touching the bottom.

    Keep boiling the liquid until it reaches 115°C, and then remove the pan from the heat.

  • STEP 3

    Leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the rest of the water to another large pot, along with the cream of tartar and cornflour, and whisk well over a medium heat.

    Keep whisking until the mixture boils and it resembles a thick paste, then take it off the heat.

  • STEP 4

    Slowly pour in the sugary syrup a little at a time, and keep whisking to ensure it blends in well. Then scrape down the sides of the pan to ensure all the sugar crystals are mixed in, and stir for one or two minutes more.

  • STEP 5

    Pop it back over a medium heat and continue to stir until the mixture slowly comes to a boil.

    At this point, turn the heat down to its lowest setting and leave the mixture to simmer for an hour, stirring every few minutes to stop it sticking.

  • STEP 6

    After an hour, turn off the heat and add in 2 teaspoons of your homemade rosewater; you can also add in a few drops of red food colouring if you want your lokum to be more vibrant, but I prefer a natural colour.

  • STEP 7

    Next, take a baking tin at least 5cm deep and grease it with almond oil. Line the tin with baking parchment and then grease that, too, to ensure the lokum will definitely not stick.

    Pour your gooey mixture into the tin and jiggle it to make sure it fills the corners, then leave to set for 6-8 hours.

  • STEP 8

    When it’s ready, tip your lokum onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, and peel off the baking parchment to reveal all the surfaces.

    Cover every sticky surface with icing sugar, and then use a pizza slicer (icing sugared) to cut your block of lokum neatly into cubes.

    Place each cube into a bowl of icing sugar and toss around to cover all sides, before arranging in a pile to serve after dinner.

Tiffany Francis-Baker is a nature writer and illustrator from the South Downs in Hampshire. She is the author of several non-fiction books, including Dark Skies: A Journey into the Wild Night, a nature memoir about the landscape after dark. In 2019, she was chosen as a Writer-in-Residence for Forestry England to celebrate their centenary year. She has written, edited and illustrated for a number of national publications, including The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, BBC Countryfile, BBC Wildlife and Resurgence & Ecologist, as well as appearing on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4. She is a Custodian for the South Downs National Park and also runs a small business selling her own ethically designed gifts and stationery.

Tiffany Francis-Baker 2

This is a recipe from Food You Can Forage by Tiffany Francis, published Bloomsbury Wildlife.

Food You Can Forage


Tiffany Francis-BakerNature writer and illustrator