Our raised beds and generous use of compost are paying dividends this Spring with a good early crop of rhubarb. That should please our executive chef Bruno Birbeck as it always reminds him of home cooking from his native Cumbria. It is the European capital of rhubarb and the forcing sheds will be in full swing now. With varieties such as Cawood Delight, Glaskins Perpetual, Timperley Early, Champange and Victoria, rhubarb can be turned into a gastronomic delight but it is also good added to a little gin or vodka to mature into a full liqueur. No wonder the blackbirds were singing so sweetly this morning.