<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Complementary Fruit - Hillside Speciality Foods

PUBLISHED: 11:03 24 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:32 20 February 2013

Complementary Fruit - Hillside Speciality Foods

Complementary Fruit - Hillside Speciality Foods

Jay and Will Allan, two brothers in Exeter, are creating recipes for Devon's own version of membrillo fruit pastes. Anna Turns finds out more

Jay and Will Allan, two brothers in Exeter, are creating recipes for Devon's own version of membrillo fruit pastes. Anna Turns finds out more

Exeter-based brothers Jay and Will Allan have both always had a real passion for food. In 2009, they set up Hillside Speciality Foods and have been producing some rather experimental and unique fruit pastes.
While working at a hotel on Dartmoor, Jay was approached by Country Cheeses and asked to create his equivalent of the Spanish dulce de membrillo (quince cheese) to accompany some of their cheeses. Traditional quince cheese is made by mixing fruit pulp and sugar and cooking this right down so it goes hard and sweet. But I made it differently so it is softer and more spreadable at room temperature.
Jay hasnt looked back since! Now the brothers have a kitchen unit at Marsh Barton in Exeter where they create new recipes and make their unique fruit pastes to order. Fruit pastes take about eight hours to make from start to finish. It doesnt always work, though, explains Jay, because you have to estimate the pectin levels in the fruit, so sometimes it might not set and we would have to start from scratch again.
I love experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with new flavours and combinations.
Jay explains that it is nice to try different flavour combinations and not stick to strict rules. But there are some fruit pastes that are very well suited to particular types of cheese. Apple and cider paste goes well with hard cheddar, plum and port goes well with any blue cheese, and cranberry paste goes well with brie.
All the natural ingredients are local and seasonal, so certain fruit pastes may be available only at certain times of the year. But because their product is completely new, people dont necessarily know what to expect in terms of flavour or texture. We have done lots of taste demos at farm shops and cheese festivals. Our challenge is to educate people about how fruit pastes can be eaten with cheeses, cold meats and terrines, and how different flavours can be combined. Jay explains that it is always best to try the paste with cheese, as the sweeter fruity flavours complement the saltiness of the cheese. It also goes very well with wine. Once people have tasted our fruit pastes, they usually love them and it is a taste adults and children alike can enjoy.
Jay and Will have been working closely with Sharpham Wines to develop a new mulled fruit paste to accompany their wines and cheeses, as well as developing recipes for three types of cheese biscuit. And this seems to be where the brothers are in their element at the cutting edge of creating new tastes in the kitchen.
Although the business produces high-end products for a specialist market, they are pretty much unique to the UK and demand is constantly growing as word spreads about Hillside. So the brothers can begin to enjoy the fruits of their labour, if youll excuse the pun


Fruit pastes are best served at room temperature. Slice and serve on the cheeseboard as a traditional cheese accompaniment, or use as a cooking ingredient.

Heat in a pan and brush over a joint of meat before roasting.
Add a spoonful to sauces or gravies for a depth of flavour.
Melt, mix with fresh herbs and spices and rub into a joint of meat as a marinade.
Use in pastries and puddings as you would jam.
Spread onto warm crumpets or scones and serve with Devon clotted cream.
Melt and pour over yogurt with toasted almonds as a dessert.

Duo of Devon Duckling with Plum and Port Sauce

(Serves 2)

Chef Jay Allan shares one of his favourite recipes.

1 medium whole duck remove breasts and legs and French trim or ask the butcher to do it for you (Keep the carcass to make your own stock or use 500ml chicken stock)
1 butternut squash
200g curly kale
2 victoria plums stoned and cut in half
500g duck/goose fat
120g Hillside Speciality Foods Plum and Port Fruit Paste
A few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
1 head of garlic
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick

1 Season the duck legs and breasts with salt and pepper. Heat frying pan and seal off the legs until golden brown. Place legs in a saucepan and cover with the duck fat, along with the garlic, thyme, rosemary, star anise and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle simmer and confit for about 90 minutes until tender or when the meat flakes away from the bone. Remove and drain on a wire rack. Strain the fat and store ready for use with your Sunday roasties!
2 Return the frying pan to the heat and add the breasts skin side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until crispy and coloured, then cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes, turning and basting the breast until cooked to your liking. Remove
and rest the breasts on a plate,
ensuring all of the rested juices are kept for your sauce.
3 Add a touch of butter and the plum halves and allow to colour. Deglaze the pan with a splash of port and reduce. Remove plums, add the stock and reduce by two-thirds. Add the Hillside Plum and Port Fruit Paste and melt into the sauce. Finish off with the rested duck juices, season accordingly and reduce until thick and glossy. Return the plum halves and it is ready to serve.
4 Peel, deseed and cut the butternut squash into cubes. Cook in salted water for 10 minutes, adding the curly kale for the last couple of minutes. Season with salt, pepper and butter.
5 Slice the duck breast and assemble the dish, finishing off with the plum halves and the fruit sauce. Best served with a glass of Sharpham red wine.


More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 10:24

Join Arlene Phillips and Strictly Come Dancing favourites Aljaz and Janette on this exclusive 8-day river cruise along the Danube

Read more
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Public Houses are a cornerstone of life here in Britain, dating back as far as the Roman invasion in 43 AD. Devon is no different and its humble establishments are steeped in history and nostalgia. We’ve taken a look at 11 of the county’s most historical pubs

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

With views of the coast, the countryside and our towns and cities, Devon’s eateries are home to some of the best views the county has to offer. Here are 23 places that are a treat for the tongue and the eyes

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The rise of the modern day cocktail bar has begun in earnest and here are just some of Devon’s finest to get your taste buds tingling.

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

If we eat with our eyes then why not make it a great view to go with the meal? Kate Haskell discovers a feast of restaurants and cafes in Devon that have views to dine for.

Read more
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bean freaks, brew geeks and the simply curious – take note. 17 of Devon’s top speciality coffee shops have been revealed in the new South West and South Wales Independent Coffee Guide.

Read more
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa has landed.

Covetous waterfront position, Harbour Spa and new Jetty restaurant.

Read more
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Whether your family are all foodies, keen cooks or simply enjoy the simple pleasures in life, Manna from Devon Cooking School offers the perfect serve for your Christmas turkey

Read more
Monday, November 20, 2017

Salcombe Distilling Co. is the venue for an exciting new competition where bartenders and drinks enthusiasts will be battling it out to create a cocktail for Devon. The event takes place from 3pm on Sunday, 26 November and is free to attend

Read more
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

‘Tis the season to be jolly and nothing makes us happier than a festive cream tea. We pick ten of the best places in Devon to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea with a Christmas twist.

Read more
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cornwall’s oldest bakery is embracing the countdown to Christmas this year with the launch of festive Cornish pasties

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

In order to select the winners we took the top three contenders with the most nominations and sent out a team of judges to sample both produce and services at every venue and to rate their experiences to give us the winner

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

We reveal the winner for Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Devon Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search