RHUBARB is one of those plants that suffers from an identity crisis. Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Some experts are still out on that one. Today's Michelin-starred chefs solve the problem by using it to flavour savoury dishes as well as puddings.

Actually despite being considered a rather humble plant, rhubarb features frequently on gastro pub menus. It's certainly easy to grow providing you feed it well and don't expose it to too much sun.

At this time of the year gardeners are often giving it away to any takers because it's so abundant.

If a gardener friend does offer you a bundle of fresh rhubarb, take it and enjoy making rhubarb crumbles, pies, tarts or rhubarb fools which prove a light summery pudding that everyone can enjoy. What isn't used immediately can be frozen and used later, or turned into rhubarb and ginger wine.

To make enough rhubarb fool for four, you will need: One lb (450g) rhubarb 4 dspns honey 4oz (125g) mascarpone 200ml double cream Grenadine Method: Trim the rhubarb and cut into small chunks Cook the rhubarb with the honey over a moderate heat until really soft, then remove from the heat and allow to cool Remove four dessertspoons of the cooked pulp, pour a little grenadine over it and set aside.

Place the mascarpone into a large bowl, beat until soft and smooth, then add the main bulk of cooked rhubarb and beat in well Whip the cream until almost stiff and fold it into the mascarpone mix and taste. If the rhubarb was particularly sharp you may need to add more honey or a little caster sugar Divide mix into four glasses, place a spoonful of the reserved rhubarb in grenadine on the top and allow to chill for at least an hour Splash a little more grenadine on top just before serving to add extra colour.