Thursday, November 19, 2015

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book - 56 Ynde de Cypres

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

This manuscript is dated before 1485.

The 69 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,


[56.] Ynde de Cypres
It sal ben mad as blaunde sorre save the colour sal ben of ynde bandas or of the flour of the violet.


The name of this recipe is a little odd. "Ynde" usually means "of India" or possibly "indigo", and while "Indigo of Cypress" sort of makes sense I could not find any recipes with a similar name.

The instruction to make it the same way as "blaunde sorre" does provide an interesting clue. That recipe - number 54 - includes capon meat and almond milk, and has a close match in Liber.
Blonk desore. Take ryse and wasshe hom in a cup, Grynd hom smalle and temper up With almonde mylke, so have þou cele. Do hit over þo fyre and boyle hit wele. Take braune of capons or hennes alle, Hew hit þat hit be riȝt smalle. And grynd hit wele, as myud brede, And do þer to, as I þe rede. Seson hit with sugur grete plente, With fryid almondes florysshe so fre.  [Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]

Looking at other similar recipes from Liber, the following one jumps out. It suggests that the word "Ynde" in the title may be a copyist error for "Viande", which is sometimes spelled "vyande" in Middle English.
Viande de Cipur. Take braunne of capons or hennes þou shalle. Parboyle and drye hit with alle. Hew hom smalle, bray in mortere, As smalle as bred, þat myed were. Take good almonde mylke anone And lye hit up with amydone Or with floure of ryse, þou may. Coloure hit with safron, I þe say. Boyle hit after yche adele, Charge hit with flesshe brayed wele. Seson hit with sugur and þen þy dysshe With almondes set þou schalle florysshe.  [Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]

In further support for this interpretation, a version of that recipe from Ancient Cookery instructs the reader to color the dish with "ynde" (indigo).
Viaunde de Cypres. Take the braune of capons, and of hennes, and grynde hit smalle; and take almonde mylke made with gode brothe, and do hit in a pot, and do therto floure of ryfe, and let hit boyle; and do therto the grounden flesh, and sugur, and clowes, and maces, and colour hit wyth ynde, and let hit boyle togedur, and loke hit be stondynge, and dresse hit forthe, and almondes or paynes fryed, and styk hom right up therin.  [Ancient Cookery (England, 1425)]

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