Rhubarb is at its best now, as it’s sweet, delicate and tender, with a gorgeous blush pink colour.

Beyond June it gets tougher and stringier, although it still works perfectly well in a pie, or made into pickle or a jam when it’s older.

Right now, I’d recommend poaching it lightly to just cook it through, so that you can enjoy its surprisingly subtle flavour.

A little rose water added once the rhubarb is cooked can also add an exotic touch.

This simple concoction is great for breakfast with yoghurt – providing a healthy start to the day, as rhubarb is rich in vitamin C.

Rhubarb is also the perfect partner for panna cotta – one of my favourite Italian classics.

Panna cotta – literally cooked cream – is a very simple pudding to make. Of course, our very own blancmange is made with milk, and set with gelatin too, bit it lacks the glamour of panna cotta.

Like blancmange, it should retain a slight wobble even when it has set, so don’t be tempted to overdo the gelatin.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for Panna Cotta

150ml milk

250ml double cream

20g sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

2tbs elderflower cordial

2½ leaves gelatine

Poached rhubarb

150g rhubarb (cut into 2cm lengths)

35g caster sugar

35ml water

Method for Panna Cotta

Mix together milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan, then add vanilla essence and cordial

Slowly bring to boil – then take off heat and set aside for 30 minutes

Soak gelatine in cold water for five minutes – then squeeze out

Put milk mixture back on heat – gently re-heat and add gelatine once simmering

Whisk until melted, then strain into large bowl

Leave to cool to room temperature – before pouring into moulds

For the poached rhubarb, put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook gently until tender. Put all ingredients into heavy pan and poach until tender

Take off heat and cool.

Turn out the panna cotta and top with your poached rhubarb.

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