Wrongly regarded as a fruit, there is a kind of magic about rhubarb. Those first few forced spears, some almost translucently pink, others unabashedly bright, signify a bounce into spring. Soon wild garlic will unleash its potent scent throughout our boggy forest floors. And then there will be the first buds of elderflower. I can’t wait. 

Rhubarb is something that often finds its way onto my kitchen counter. I am rather partial to a crumble, tarting up the topping with a few interesting seeds, and always including brown sugar in the mix. 

But there’s so much more you can do. The veg is almost endlessly versatile. It can be cooked down with a little honey and some Middle Eastern spices for a sauce that cuts beautifully through duck and pork.  

Rhubarb is a great bedfellow for a fatty cut of mackerel. 

Make rhubarb curd for a different take on lemon meringue pie. Swirl it through whipped cream and icing sugar for a simple fool. Make rhubarb jam to smear over your scones. 

Last weekend I had a tot of Disaronno left in the drinks cupboard. I’d been ruminating over a crumble, but remembered there were a few leaves of gelatine lurking in a drawer in the kitchen. I had the wherewithal for this delicious, and very easy dessert, which is, I think, a perfect way to showcase rhubarb.  

I poured a bit of custard over the top once set, and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. Delicious. 

Rhubarb & Disaronno Jelly  

(Serves 4) 


4 leaves gelatine 

450g forced rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces 

50ml water 

50ml Disaronno or other amaretto  

Caster sugar to taste 

Optional: Custard and flaked almonds to finish 


Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, simmer the rhubarb and water together in a pan until the rhubarb has broken down completely. 

Measure 430ml of the rhubarb liquid (including the rhubarb pieces) into a bowl. Add the Disaronno. Now add sugar to taste. This really is personal. Some people prefer their rhubarb super sour, others love a big lick of sweetness. Once you’re happy, squeeze out and add the gelatine to the mix, returning briefly to your pan, stirring for a minute or so on a low heat to combine. 

Pour into four little cups, glasses or dessert pots and set for at least two hours in the fridge. You could make these up to three days before serving.