Ann Reardon

600 year old medieval recipes


The Forme de Cury is a medieval scroll containing 196 recipes from the chefs of King Richard II. These are believed to be the first recipes ever recorded in English. It is written in scripted calligraphy in olde English so can be quite hard to read. As well as that there are no quantities, so you will need to vary the ingredient amounts according to your taste.

Written out below are the three recipes from the scroll that I made in this episode.

A few hints to help you read them:
‘f’ is often ‘s’
‘hem’ is ‘them’
‘yt’ is ‘it’

Creme of Almond XX.IIII.V.

forme de curry old recipe how to cook that

“Take almond blanched, grynde hem and drawe hem up thykke, fet hem oue the fyre & boile hem. fet hem adou and fpryng hem with vyneg, caft hem abrode uppon a cloth and caft uppon hem fug. whan it is colde gadre it togydre and lefhe it in dyfsh.”

medieval cooking video

For to make Hony Doufe XXI.

“Tak god mylk of Almandys and rys and wafch hem wel in a feyr veffel and in fayr hoth water and after do hem in a feyr towayl for to drie and wan that they be drye bray hem wel in a morter al to flowr’ and afterward tak two partyis and do the half in a pot and the other half in another pot and colowr that on wyth the fafron and lat that other be wyt and lat yt boyle tyl it be thykke and do ther’to a god party of fugar and after dreffe yt in the difchis and loke that thou have almandys boilid in water and in fafron and in wyn and after frie hem and fet hem upon the fyre fethith mete and ftrew ther’on fugur that yt be wel ycolouryt and ferve yt forth.”

medieval cooking ann reardon howtookthat

For to make Tartys in Applis XXIII.

apple tart older days recipe

“Tak gode applys and gode spycis and figys and reyfons and perys and wan they are wel ybrayed coloure wyth safron wel and do yt in a Coffyn and do yt forth to bake wel.”

medieval cooking videos


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

27 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 4

    I think the honey douce is a sort of almond rice custard dressed with caramelised almonds.
    You clean and grind the rice into flower. combined it with the almond milk then colour half of it with saffron. Boil until thick enough.
    Then take almonds boil them in water, wine and saffron. then fry them with some sugar until the sugar has caramelised onto the almond. then dress the custard with these almonds and server.
    I’ve not made the recipe yet but this is what I speculate how you make Honey Douce

  2. Rating: 5

    Hai Ann
    “Take good milk of almonds and rice “
    I think they are asking us to remove the milk of almonds and rice together
    My grandma used to soak wheat(say 2 kg) and ragi (finger millet ) -3 kg separately in water(about 10 litres ) for 4-5 hrs . Afterwards would grind them in MIXER GRINDER ( indian type) to get a slurry … which used to be strained
    Afterwards the milk was allowed to sediment so that there was a beautiful layer formation of a ochre coloured starchy layer below and a brownish water above which is to be decant

    The ochre coloured starchy layer was laid upon towel as big coin shaped dollop and allowed to dry in sun ( apparently each would be of a diameter 7 cm &1 cm thick )

    Later the coins are stored , and is used to mix in water and boil to give as a very very healthy BABY FOOD but still it is even very tasty
    So i dont know how about almonds and rice because of their starch content … but i think they might want us to do like that
    Your video was great

  3. Rating: 5

    I will be back next week next year next week next year I will be back

    • Rating: 4

      I love theses recapieis

  4. Rating: 5

    Please make more freakshake recipes.

  5. Rating: 5

    OMG i finally got a computer to finally got on to your website, hey Ann Reardon!

    • to finally get on to your website, Hey Ann Reardon!
      My computer almost died on me so i was typing it fast.

  6. Rating: 5

    This was such a fun challenge! My husband went to translating the text and I deciphered the recipe! It turned out to taste very much like a wassail with vegetables in it. 5 star for the sheer enjoyment this has brought!

  7. Rating: 5

    can you please tell us the amount of almonds, vinegar and sugar you used on the Creme of Almond XX.IIII.V? .

  8. Because this is way more fun

  9. Rating: 4.5

    Hello Ann,
    I am struggling to find anywhere that stocks the freeze dried cocoa butter that you use – the one in the chocolate secrets video. Would you know of an alternative that would work?

    • There is lots on Amazon

    • Rating: 5


  10. Rating: 5

    For all who want to have a better look at the manuscript, you can check the Project Gutenberg website. They have a transcription of the manuscript
    Very often you cannot find expandable photos of old manuscripts due to copyright. As a Classical Philologist is can understand the struggle.

  11. Rating: 4

    I’ve managed to find someone who’s already done the work of typesetting this to make it easier:

    COMPOST. C. Take rote of parsel. pasternak of rasenns. scrape hem waisthe hem clene. take rapes & caboches ypared and icorne. take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire. cast all þise þerinne. whan þey buth boiled cast þerto peeres & parboile hem wel. take þise thynges up & lat it kele on a fair cloth, do þerto salt whan it is colde in a vessel take vineger & powdour & safroun & do þerto. & lat alle þise thinges lye þerin al nyzt oþer al day, take wyne greke and hony clarified togider lumbarde mustard & raisouns corance al hool. & grynde powdour of canel powdour douce. & aneys hole. & fenell seed. take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe. and take þerof whan þou wilt & serue forth.

    My best translation would suggest that this is something akin to picalilli and the modern instructions would look something like this:

    Peel, chop and wash parsnip and turnip, wash and trim some cabbage and boil them until tender. Peel and core pears and parboil them. Drain and allow to cool on a cloth and salt well. When it has cooled, put it into a container with vinegar and ground saffron and leave overnight. Take white wine, clear honey, mustard powder, currants, ground cinnamon, sugar, a star anise and fennel seeds and add them to the container. Leave to sit until you need them.

    • I think the first ingredient is parsel, which is the root of old fashioned parseley. Parsnips would not have at all the sharp taste of parcel. You could use a combination of parseley and celery to mimic the flavor along with celeriac, or celery root, to mimic the texture. Further, there is a reference to scraping raisins, I think, which is what they did in the old days to remove seeds from raisins because they all had seeds back then.

      • Melody, I believe you are correct, on all counts. The parsley root makes more sense on that than the parsnip would. And thanks for the suggestions to replace the parsley root with – sounds good!

  12. Rating: 4

    A larger image size would be nice.

  13. I think most of the fun is in figuring it out, and for us viewers, watching her figure it out.

  14. Rating: 5

    Funny, I’ve seen a few of these words (kinda) in an old cookbook passed down through my family. “Rys” isn’t, rice, it’s a type of grain… the “hony doufe” is actually a granola bar of sorts; and the reference to “mylk” is “white.” And a “coffyn” is a deep dish (like a deep pie dish or casserole dish)

    • Might the “rys” be rye? That is definitely a grain, and the “e” at the end could be in a fancy style of writing I’ve seen before (when transcribing for one of the ancestry sites online) which has an “e that looks an awful lot like an “s.”

      The “hony doufe” likely means “hon(e)y douse,” too. And the “coffyn” is almost certainly a cossyn, an alternative form of cusshon, modern cushion. The cusshon (plural cusshons) is from Middle English, with these meanings:
      •A soft stuffed bag; a cushion or pillow.
      •(rare) The hind portion of a cow as meat.
      •(rare) A bowl for drinking out of.
      The last meaning would certainly fit a deep dish of any kind. I’d wager that is precisely what your “coffyn” (cossyn) really means.

      In MANY of their writings, the letter that looks like an “f” is nearly always a “long s,” instead! By the late 18th century, it’s usually only used as one of a PAIR of esses, like in cossyn, but before that, all of the esses often are the long s.

      I leave this info not just for you, but for anyone else that may be struggling with deciphering any old writing they run across.

  15. Rating: 5

    Please post the challenge as a photo! I have young eyes, and I also was unable to read it on my screen. 🙂 Looking forward to trying to make it!

  16. Rating: 5

    Really fun.
    I bought almonds yesterday by coincidence so I will try the second recipe later. The first is just marzipan – cool to see but I did it often enough…
    I have to agree a picture of the recipe with wich you challenge us would be lovely, a screenshot out of a video is just not as good as a photo.

  17. Rating: 5

    Hi, thank you so much for listing this – complete with original text copy. Absolutely fascinating. A wonderful insight.

    I’ve not yet attempted the recipes, but rate the listing 5 star just on high interest value. ?

  18. Rating: 4

    I do not have old eyes and I also agree that an expandable photo would be helpful!

  19. Rating: 5

    I found that I could find out what things meant, but for the challenge on the end of the video, it’s too small to read for me. I didn’t make the recipe by the way.

    • I agree… an expandable photo here would be helpful… I have old eyes!

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