Rhubarb in rosewater and vanilla - for pancakes
Rhubarb grown in the open tends to be more fibrous and less sweet than rhubarb grown in hothouses. Look for bright red, crisp stalks that stand straight. If there are leaves attached, make sure they are completely removed because they are poisonous. Avoid rhubarb that is too large; it will probably be quite stringy.
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Wash 500g of rhubarb stalks and cut into 2cm pieces. In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb pieces with half a cup of sugar, 1 tbsp cornflour, 1 tsp rosewater and a 3cm piece of vanilla bean (split lengthways, seeds scraped out and included). Let it sit for about half an hour. This is a good time to make your pancake batter. Place the rhubarb in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer, uncovered, on a low to medium flame. Keep simmering until the rhubarb pieces have just softened. Allow to cool a little. Meanwhile, cook the pancakes and then serve with the rhubarb.
Makes enough rhubarb for at least 8.