Lisa Faulkner’s brie and strawberry parcels

Strawberry and Brie Parcels
Pastries for parties

Now that the warm weather’s here, how about some luscious cheese and berry pastries to enjoy at a picnic or evening soiree?

These dainty little pastries are great to hand round while warm from the oven, just remember to offer tiny paper napkins for sticky fingers.

Raw filo pastry dries out very quickly so keep the pastry covered until the very last minute. Unfold the sheets, take the top one off to use each time then recover the stack again.

Makes 24
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

270 g (9 ½ oz) pack of 6 frozen filo pastry sheets, defrosted
225 g (8 oz) Brie, cut into 24 pieces
225 g (8 oz) strawberries, about 12, each thickly sliced into 3
24 mint leaves
75 g (3 oz) butter, melted
Few rocket leaves and extra sliced strawberries to garnish, optional

1) Put one of the filo sheets in front of you and cut into eight rectangles, brush lightly with the melted butter then separate the pieces slightly. Add a second piece to four of the rectangles so that the second layer of pastry is at an angle to the first to make a star shape.
2) Add a piece of brie, a mint leaf and slice of strawberry to the centre of each then fold the edges of the pastry up and over the cheese stack, pinching just above the strawberry to make a little purse shaped parcel. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3) Repeat with the remaining sheets of pastry and filling ingredients. When all the parcels have been shaped brush the outsides with the remaining butter.
4) Bake in a preheated oven 180°C /350°F /Gas Mark 4 for about 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a serving plate; garnish with rocket leaves and extra strawberry slices if liked.

Richly coloured fruits can reduce blood pressure

Who’d object to some more blueberries or strawberries? Now, you may have good reason to eat them.

Richly coloured fruits contain flavanoids which help to prevent high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, of course, is bad and can lead to heart attacks or strokes, and also kidney and eye problems. It tends to be more of a problem as we get older, but is best prevented when we are young.

Diet is the new wonder drug when it comes to high blood pressure. It is worth consulting your doctor about changing your diet if you want to reduce your blood pressure.

But studies which focussed on the eating of bright coloured fruit, particularly with a type of flavanoid called anthocyanins, showed that people under 60 could reduce their risk of high blood pressure by 12%. Other flavanoids: apigenin, catechin, and epicatechin (found in parsley and green tea) also reduced blood pressure for some people.

So, enjoy more blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries, by adding them to your cereal or dessert, and your body will thank you for it. And keep eating lots of colours throughout the day.