Best ever recipe: rhubarb fool

I was cooking in a basic, self-catering cottage the other week, and stewed forced rhubarb with cream was the simplest seasonal pudding. It was delicious and a beautiful shocking pink in colour. A more sophisticated version is rhubarb fool.

For 1lb forced rhubarb, use two-thirds of an ounce of Demerara sugar. Cut the rhubarb into 2in pieces and boil with the sugar and a tablespoon or two of water until it’s soft. Drain and blend. When cold, add ¼ pint of the best cream you can find, and mix the whole well. I like to serve it with biscuits Artisan does a new one of mixed spelt and hazelnuts, which is just right.

In her Four Seasons Cookery Book, Margaret Costa suggests adding grated orange rind and, more surprisingly, two small teaspoons of Pernod. ‘The aniseed flavour is barely recognisable, but everybody notices the fool is curiously delicious.’ Thinking more about the sharp freshness of rhubarb, it seems to me that it could be used instead of apple or gooseberry sauce with roast pork, duck or mackerel. Not only would it cut the fattiness, it would look very pretty.