ATLAS F1   Volume 7, Issue 9 Email to Friend   Printable Version


The Bookworm Critique
By Sylvia Davis, Loti Irwin,
Jean Johnson, Anne Kimpton,
Cate Russell, and Georgie Shaw.

Published by Racey Recipe Group.
by Mark Glendenning,

Click here to buy this bookDuring the two years that I have been writing this column, I have reviewed something in the vicinity of fifty books. There has been historical material, team biographies, driver biographies, driving manuals, novels, anthologies, photo collections, behind-the-scenes exposes, technical short, every possible facet of Formula One has been covered. Or so I thought. For until now, I have never, ever been sent a cookbook.

Racey Recipes contains the favourite recipes nominated by an impressive assortment of motor racing identities. Formula One is well represented, and a number of other categories from Europe and the USA are also featured. The book was conceived as a fundraiser for UNICEF.

I don't know how you all feel about cooking, but it so happens that I'm quite partial to throwing on the apron and making a bit of a mess in the kitchen. It's fun. And, once you get a grip on a few basic fundamentals, it's generally pretty easy. So, when I first started thinking about how to go about reviewing 'Racey Recipes', I was struck by an intriguing idea. I could give it the same treatment that I give every book that comes my way - read it a couple of times, think about it, and try to think of something intelligent to say about it - or I could actually scrub up, put on a chef's hat, and actually put the book through its paces. A few minutes later, I started making a shopping list.

OK. I had the recipes. I had the food. Now I needed someone to eat it. Originally I had intended to cater for five or six people. In the end there were only two. No problem. The plan could go ahead, only now it meant that everybody would be taking home leftovers.

'Racey Recipes' contains a little over 100 recipes. From the outset I had decided to limit my menu to recipes offered by Formula One identities. After much indecision and chin-stroking, I finally settled upon a three-course meal starting with 'Soup a la Ginny Williams' (a winter favourite in Sir Frank's household). Ginny's offering was a super-heavy vegetable soup that spends a bit of time on the stove followed by a lot of time in the oven. By the time it comes out, it's almost like a stew. Not ideal in the Australian summer perhaps, but in the words of a friend who was present on the day, it is still "one helluva soup".

Main course. Unless you've been spending a lot of time hiding under a rock, you'll have heard that Murray Walker will hang up his headphones for the last time at the end of the 2001 season. I felt that Murray's contribution to motorsport over the past five decades deserved a special tribute, so in his honour I prepared The Voice of Formula One's favourite chicken vindaloo recipe. If you're the kind of person who thinks that black pepper equals a powder keg, then you might as well skip on to the next paragraph right now, because this recipe was very, very spicy. As far as I'm concerned, that is no bad thing. My friend, though, is made of less stern stuff and had to retire to the kitchen for some milk to help ease the potency of the chilli.

Dessert. I had original planned to try my hand at the Villeneuve family's sugar pie, but quite frankly I was too lazy. Instead I went for a traditional Brazilian dish called Miloca, which was contributed to the book by archetypal-pay driver-cum-Prost bigwig Pedro Diniz. It was an inspired choice, because with only two ingredients - fresh oranges and coconut flakes - it was just about the only recipe I've ever seen that is easier than toast. (Miloca wins by virtue of the fact that you can't burn it).

As someone whose cooking ability could be comfortably labeled 'enthusiastically amateur', there is still little amongst the many recipes that are contained in this book that I wouldn't be happy to try out. Anybody who is reasonably confident in the kitchen should have little trouble with anything that they encounter between the covers of 'Racey Recipes'. There are a few exceptions - John Thornburn's 'Warm Upside-Down Prune and Apple Cake with Armagnac Ice Cream' sounds good, but it will take someone with more time on their hands than I have to make the effort to prepare the syrup three months in advance, as instructed by the recipe. I also doubt that I'll ever be able to tell you about Don and Joanne Naman's recipe for 'Ice Box Coconut Cake and Red Velvet Cake', mainly because I'm a little leery of any recipes that call for two bottles of red food colouring. Others, like Loti Irwin's 'Lardy Cake' just sound scary, but that's purely a matter of taste.

So what do F1 drivers eat at home? I guess you won't be surprised to learn that there are a lot of pasta recipes here - so many, in fact, that the authors of the book mention that they were forced to turn several recipes down on the basis that the book was becoming too pasta-oriented. I personally have a problem with this - in my view, there's no such thing as too much pasta. But in light of the author's fears about pasta being over represented, it is difficult to figure out why they have decided to offer three versions of the one dish; particularly when we're dealing with something as run-of-the-mill as spaghetti carbonara.

There are some surprises - few probably would have guessed that Hakkinen's two championships were fueled by Mika-style sausages with onion gravy. Others, like the 'Banana Pud' offered by Lord and Lady Hesketh, somehow seem to make perfect sense.

Obviously, if you're not really the cooking type then the appeal of this book is rather limited except, perhaps, as a novelty. But if you're like me and don't mind a bit of kitchen action, then this book is probably worth picking up. Meeting points between Formula One and frying pans don't tend to come along all that often.

It wouldn't be fair to sign off without giving you one of the recipes, so in recognition of the current world champion I present you with Michael and Corrina Schumacher's Knuckle of Veal, Dumplings, and Red Cabbage. Get into the kitchen and get busy.


1 large knuckle of veal or 680g/ 1.5lbs lean stewing veal home made stock or a stock cube garlic (serves 6)


1.5 litre / 2 pints of stock
3 eggs
4 oz (120g) stale bread
1 oz (30g) breadcrumbs
2oz (60g) butter
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
a little chopped onion and parsley


1 large red cabbage
1 dessertspoon sugar
1 onion
1/4 pint stock or water
1 cooking apple
a few caraway seeds
30 oz (90g) butter
1 tblsp flour
salt and pepper
one eighth pint white wine or vinegar


Trim off the fat and make slits in the meat which you fill with the garlic
Season well with salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 280c
Place meat in heavy casserole dish and cook for 1/2 hour
Pour in 1 1/2 pints / 1 litre of stock
Return to the oven, reduce heat to 200c cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours
Remove meat, skim off fat and make a gravy from the juices


Put the stock on to boil
Put the bread in a bowl and moisten with a little stock
Melt the butter and fry the onion and parsley and reserve in another bowl. Fry the breadcrumbs and drain on kitchen paper.
Beat the eggs together and mix all the ingredients together except breadcrumbs
Form mixture into moderate sized balls, drop into boiling stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Before serving sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Note: Before forming all the mixture into balls it is advisable to test one in the boiling stock. If it crumbles, a little flour should be added to the mixture.


Wash and quarter the cabbage and shred it finely lengthwise.
Chop the onion finely. Chop the apple.
Melt the butter in a thick saucepan and fry onion lightly.
Add the cabbage, chopped apple, salt, pepper, sugar, stock, and caraway seeds.
Cover the pan tightly and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir. Add wine, stir and bring to the boil.

The review copy of 'Racey Recipes' was supplied by Think Fast Ink. For more details, see The book is also available from the Atlas F1 bookshop.

Mark Glendenning© 2007
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