THIS time of the year, rhubarb is a boon bringing a fresh sourness to the kitchen and hit of vitamins…like the chicory – see below – it was developed in enforced darkness in sheds in an area of west Yorkshire around Wakefield known as the rhubarb triangle which now enjoys PDI status. After two years and a frost the plants are moved indoors where the warmth allows their bitter-sweetness to develop. Originally the plant is thought to come from Siberia. These days it is thought of as a vegetable in Europe but a fruit in the USA. I have seen it used as a sauce for salmon, but usually we keep it for breakfast, poached with rather too much water because it makes a fabulous drink cold out of the fridge, perhaps a touch of sugar although forced rhubarb is sweeter than summer crops, so not necessary. Just cook long enough until it blooms like this. You can use the strained base for a crumble. Or just custard by way of desserts. In Chinese medicine it is classified as a laxative. It has few calories and a notable array of B vitamins.