Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book - 20 Browet of Almayne

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book (Harley MS 1735)

This manuscript is dated before 1485.

The 68 recipes in John Crophill's Commonplace Book are on pages 16v through 28v.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the British Library website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, the letters thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2015 by Daniel Myers,


[20.] Browet of Almayne
Loke thu have good ale & cler & seson it with qwyth bred melk of almondys tak onyouns & mince hem and do al to the feyr & qwat fleysch do thu haft do ther to rau after that it wil sethen tak clowes & maces & qwybibes & do hem in hole & lat hem sethen & do to aperty ginger & oatmel & if the colour be noth good as fallet to the canel tak aperty saffron & mak the colour good & if it charge nowt wel tak flour of rys & do ther to.


There are versions of this recipe in both Liber and Noble, and again those recipes are closer to each other than to the Crophill version.
Breuet de almonde. Take gode almonde mylke anon, And loke þou lye hit with amydone, Or with flowre þat is bake. Coloure hit with safron, I undurtake. Fors hit with powder of þy male Of gyngere, canel, and galingale. Take pertrykes and chykyns and hom wele sethe. Hew hom in quarters fayre and smethe. Do þat mylke over þo fyre þat tyde, And boyle and sett hit doune besyde, And florysshe hit with powdur, as I þe kenne, Þou may have more menske emong alle menne.  [Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]
To mak Bruet de almondes tak almond mylk and alay it with amydon or with whet flour bulted coloure it with saffron and fors it with pouder of ginger canelle and galingale then tak pertuche or chekens and sethe them and hew them in quarto and set the mylk on the fyere to boylle and florish it with pouders and serue it  [A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)]

In this particular case, the differences may not be as strange as they first seem. The versions of the recipe from other sources show that there is a great amount of variation in both ingredients and instructions for making "Brewet of Almonds".
Bruet of Almayn. Take beef or porke chopyd in pecys cast hem yn a pott grynd almondys draw hem with swete brothe & put hit yn the flesch boyle hit & put ther to poudyr of pepyr & sygure when hit ys yboyled y nowghe sesyn hit up with poudyr of gynger & vergeys & coloure hit al rede as blode with.  [Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (England, 1460)]
Browet of almayne. Take conynges and parboyle hom, and choppe hom on gobettus, and rybbes of porke or of kydde, and do hit in a pot, and fethe hit; then take almondes and grynde hom, and tempur hit up wyth broth of beef, and do hit in a pot; and take clowes, maces, pynes, ginger mynced, and rayfynges of corance ; and take onyons and boyle hom, then cut hom and do hom in the pot; and colour hit with saffron, and let hit boyle; and take the flesh oute from the brothe and caste therto; and take alkenet and frye hit, and do hit in the pot thurgh a streynour; and in the fettynge doun put therto a lytel vynegar, and pouder of gynger medelet togedur, and serve hit forth.  [Ancient Cookery (England, 1425)]
Brewet Of Almony. XX.II. VII. Take Conynges or kiddes and hewe hem small on moscels oþer on pecys. parboile hem with the same broth, drawe an almaunde mylke and do the fleissh þerwith, cast þerto powdour galyngale & of gynger with flour of Rys. and colour it wiþ alkenet. boile it, salt it. & messe it forth with sugur and powdour douce. [Forme of Cury (England, 1390)]
Bruet of Almaynne. Take Almaundys, and draw a gode mylke ther-of with Water; take Capoun, Conyngys or Pertriches; smyte the Capoun, or kede, or Chykonys, Conyngys: the Pertriche shal ben hol: than blaunche the Fleyssh, an caste on the mylke; take larde and mynce it, and caste ther-to; take an mynce Oynonys and caste ther-to y-nowe, do Clowes and smal Roysonys ther-to; caste hol Safroun ther-to, than do it to the fyre, and stere it wyl; whan the fleysshe ys y-now, sette it on the fyre, an do ther-to Sugre y-now; take pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Canel, and temper the pouder wyth Vynegre, .& caste ther-to; sesyn it with salt, and serue forth.  [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)]
Browet d'Alemaigne. Take almond milk, sifted cloves of gillyflowers, cubebs, fried onions; and it must be hot with cloves and cubebs; color, yellow.  [MS Royal 12.C.xii (England/France, 1340)]


Anonymous said...

I believe we may have two different recipes here. One for Browet of Almonds and the other for Browet of Alemaigne. Alemaigne was the part of Europe equivalent to modern Germany. The recipe from MS Royal 12.C.xii uses Alemaigne in its title and is a broth with onions and heavily hotly spiced with cubebs and "cloves" of gillyflower. The Breuet de almonde from Liber cure cocorum uses different spices and lacks the onion.

I am not knowledgeable about foods in the medieval period. I just have an interest in them and spend a lot of time reading about them. I have been looking at the recipes in MS Royal 12.C.xii, which is what lead me to your post.

Doc said...

Given that most (all?) of the "Brewet of Almayne" recipes involve almonds strongly suggests that the English cooks frequently confused the words "almond" and "allemagne" (which is the modern French word for Germany) Middle English cookbooks often borrow and bastardize French words, especially for recipe titles.

If there were any consistency in the recipes that would allow them to be separated into two distinct types, I'd say you're right. However I haven't seen any clear pattern at all so it could be many more different recipes. It's certainly a subject that could benefit from further research.