22 JULY 1995, Page 42

Cold comforts

GREY SKIES overhead, such a relief from that heatwave — they always reduce me to a non-functioning robot. It rained at last a week ago this Saturday, on St Swithin's Day, so the gardeners can stop worrying and watering, and the hosepipe authorities an relax their idiotic vigilance. There should be 33 more days of rain; we shall see. My dear Polish dentist, Mr Ostrovsky, took time off in the middle of grinding my teeth to enquire if I had a receipt for the cold beetroot and sour cream soup from Poland. It has an unpronounceable name and if I remember rightly has cucumber and chopped eggs in it and is delicious, but I can't find the exact method and would be very grateful to know it. Meanwhile, I have found this version in Lindsey Bareham's great book of soups. Serves 4.

Jellied beetroot soup

11/2 lbs raw beetroot

2 pints jellied chicken stock juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon sugar

pinch cayenne, salt and pepper

1/2 oz powdered gelatine 5 fluid oz sour cream chives Set aside 2 smallish beetroots. Peel and dice the others. Reserve 4 oz of the diced beetroot and simmer the rest in the stock for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the reserved dice to improve the colour and flavour. Leave for 45 minutes, then strain. Cover the 2 whole beetroots in lightly salted water and boil until tender. Leave to cool. Season the beetroot broth with the lemon juice, sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Measure off 1/2 pint of stock and when cool add the gelatine. When dissolved, add the rest of the warm beetroot stock. Pour into four suitable moulds (teacups would do) and chill for at least four hours. Just before serv- ing, peel the 2 boiled beetroots and grate their flesh. To serve, dip the base of each mould in hot water and invert onto a plate. Garnish with the grated beetroot, a large dollop of sour cream and chopped chives.

To make chilled beetroot soup, omit the gelatine, retain the diced beetroot and stir it with shredded lettuce, sliced spring onions, diced cooked new potatoes, cucum- ber and hard-boiled egg whites into the chilled stock. Stir in the sour cream and garnish with plenty of parsley and dill. A beautiful sight to see.

Now for the nice Anne Woolfe (Letters, 29 April) who was craving for gin, behold:

Parsley and gin soup

8 fluid oz good tomato juice 2 oz celety, chopped 3 oz onion, chopped 2 oz sweet green pepper, deseeded and chopped 4 heaped tablespoons chopped parsley 2 fluid oz gin Liquidise, season with salt and fresh- ground pepper, chill. 'This greenish mush is both a cooler and inflamer, best eaten in very small portions on hot humid days by the pool', as instructed by dear, lamented Jeremy Round, who invented it.

As the Glorious 12th is approaching, here is a terrine to make one grouse go a long way.

Grouse and rosemary terrine

1 grouse bird 6 oz lentils

4 oz split peas 2 oz pearl barley

11/2 pints water, 1/4 beef stock cube 2 oz chopped onion

3 oz chopped fresh rosemary 4 oz blanched chopped chestnuts (tinned or vacuum-packed) 2 cloves garlic walnut oil port cabbage quail's eggs

Bring the pulses, stock and onion to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Strain and rinse well in cold water. When cold, add the chopped rosemary and chest- nuts. Line a llb loaf tin with clingfihn. Blanch the cabbage and line the tin with its leaves, saving some for the top. Insert a clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into the grouse and place it on a slice of onion in a baking tin, brush with walnut oil, sprinkle some port onto the tin and wrap the whole thing in foil. Cook in a preheated oven at Gas 4, 300F, 150C, for 20 minutes, then leave to rest for 15 minutes before removing the legs and breast. Boil together 1/2 pint of water, 1/2 pint of white wine, 1 measure of brandy. Soak 5 leaves of gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes, add to the wine mix- ture, bring to the boil to dissolve, then strain. Spread a layer of the pulses in the tin, then a line of cooked quail's eggs, a little wine mix- ture, more pulses. Stand the breasts on their sides down the centre of the terrine, fill the remainder with the pulse mixture and pour over the wine mixture until full. Cover with cabbage leaves and clingfilm. Chill for 6 hours. Turn out, slice and serve with a salad of the leg meat, mangetouts and new