Tuna and Black Pepper Pâté, with capers, cream cheese and black olives

Tuna and Black Pepper Pâté, with capers, cream cheese and black olives

There was no chance of going with this as a post last night when I had half of this hot for sups. That’s one of the joys of living so close to the sea as there’s usually a breeze at night whilst I tuck into a large plateful of hot pasta, or some other dish. And this is one of those recipes I could easily do on auto. Anyway, earlier today I couldn’t resist having this with freshly cooked pasta served cold instead as it’s amazing weather right now. And a new ingredient was screaming out to be used in this – cream cheese with black pepper.

Tuna and Black Pepper Pâté

Seriously, who would’ve thought? I certainly wouldn’t have come up with the idea of plain cream cheese and lots of ground black pepper. Well, it’s delicious in this. And great with cold pasta. And this dip is equally as good on lightly toasted slices of my feta, dried figs and walnuts ‘quick bread’ (the photos now featured are more recent than before, and the bread used is my ‘quick’ brown bread instead). And why that bread is so good with thick slices of organic Cheddar is anyone’s guess. It just is.

Tuna and Black Pepper Pâté, with capers, cream cheese and black olives

  • Servings: 2 or 4 as canapé
  • Print


  • olive oil
  • 1 x onion, halved, peeled, trimmed and sliced crossways
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • 1 x small green finger chilli (Scoville heat rating: 50,000), washed and kept whole
  • 2 or 3 x organic garlic cloves, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1 x 185g (6.52 oz) or 130g (4.58 oz) drained weight can of tuna chunks in brine, drained
  • 1/2 x teaspoon dried oregano
  • 150ml (5.072 fl oz) x cold water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube (use less amount, allow to dissolve and taste for any needed extra)
  • 2 x small stems flat leaf parsley
  • large handful x capers, kept whole or chopped
  • around 10 x pitted black olives, quartered or sliced into circles
  • large handful x ripe green grapes, washed and cut in half
  • flat leaf parsley, rinsed and chopped, to serve
  • Greek style/Bush basil, rinsed and chopped, to serve
  • up to 4 x tablespoons cream cheese with black pepper (sub plain cream cheese with freshly ground black pepper to personal taste)
  • walnuts, to serve – optional

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Put a large heavy -based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6) and when hot add a good glug of olive oil. Add the onions, bay leaf and chilli, clamp on a lid and stir through occasionally. Give the onions about 15 minutes to let them start to turn a pale golden colour. Push them to the sides and add the tuna chunks. I prefer it if they get the chance of catching slightly on the base of pan. Making sure the onions don’t scorch. If there’s any sign of that happening then do remove them from the pan. When the tuna chunks start to change colour in places and smell fragrant push those to the sides and add a glug more oil. Add the garlic and take off heat. Sprinkle over the oregano as well.
  • When the garlic has cooked enough, and it should from the heat of the pan, add the water and the stock cube (or dissolve the stock cube in the water). Either way add the stock and the parsley stems and up the heat to No 4 to reach near boiling point, stirring often to prevent anything from sticking to the base of pan. The extra heat is needed to reduce the stock to a light wet mixture. Reduce heat to No 2, add the capers and stir through. Take off heat and allow to cool.
  • When tuna mixture is cold add some of the grapes, black olives, flat leaf parsley and Greek style basil. Start to add the black pepper cream cheese and mix through, adding as much or as little to personal taste. Keep some of the grapes, black olives and the herbs for adding to the top of the mixture if serving on lightly toasted bread as this type of dip always looks more appetising served that way.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. How lovely. I love tuna and prepared like this is seemingly flawless. So many flavors going on…grapes, capers, chillis, herbs and cream cheese. Sounds and looks so good Johnny. I like your tip about topping it with grapes, olives and herbs for aesthetics. So often this part of food presentation is left out and for me it is so important.


    • This turned out especially well. It’s funny how I throw the basic recipe of this together, and have done so so often I hardly even think about it. Yet, with the addition of one new ingredient (black pepper cream cheese) I just had to add a few more things. Well, not much in actual fact. Just the grapes and extra herbs. For some reason, I’m pleased to say, the Greek style basil is very delicious with the feta, fig and walnut bread. So glad I’ve loads of it left for the rest of summer.
      – Yes, I’m a bit slapdash with presentation. Excepting these dips where I love tucking in certain ingredients on top so they really stand out. Otherwise the dips themselves can look such a mess!


      • I am impressed with the grapes in the tuna pâté and black pepper cream cheese I have not heard of before. I am making your lentils this evening. I have everything spread out on the counter now. I’ll let you know how I did. 🙂


  2. I love this post. Simple but amazing, nourishing and delicious! The tuna pate sounds great. I can’t believe it tastes wonderful with your fruit and walnut bread! I’m trying to make sense of the flavours in my head… maybe I should accept that it ‘just is’!! By the way, in terms of Cheddar and fruit bread, I do believe that the Scots used to eat a hunk of Cheddar with a piece of fruit cake on a habitual basis. I read that somewhere, but can’t remember the origin. So maybe it’s understandable after all! 🙂 P.S great presentation. LOVE the lighting in these pics, glad that you’re getting some great weather finally!!


    • Well, the weather didn’t last. You know how it is here. Grey, overcast with a sharp breeze right now. It’ll be several layers again to go food shopping 🙂
      – Love cheese and fruit, and used to always serve different cheeses with ripe green grapes. The Spanish way of having them in cold water. For my lunch, yesterday, I ate the tuna mixture with a little bit of cold pasta and the bread with Cheddar, organic blocks that I bought for 25p each reduced price! What a cheapskate.


      • 25p!! That’s awesome for organic Cheddar. Over here we pay about $5 for 250g (not sure what the conversion rate is like at the moment, but perhaps 2 pounds? Darn it, there’s no ‘pound’ symbol on my keyboard). Nope, you’re definitely not a cheapskate, that’s being a ‘thrifty’ shopper! The breeze is icy here today too, but at least it’s consistent 🙂 Cheese with grapes is a winning combination. I’ve also got into the habit of eating muscatel raisins and figs with a good piece of Stilton or Gorgonzola. So, so delicious.


        • Forgot to say that they were reduced due to their sell-by date. Still, with cheese it’s perfectly okay to buy it. Hardly ever find anything else. And it’s only mild organic that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy. It’s very tasty. So I’m glad I bought the last two packs, piglet that I am 🙂
          – Wrap up warm with a good piece of Stilton and fight off the cold. Oh, have you ever tried the Stilton from Fortnum and Mason’s? The best I’ve ever had.
          – Pleased to say I’ve revamped my precious feta, figs and walnut bread post. Have gone back with a new shot of the entire bread, this time baked with the tinfoil on top for the last 10. What a difference 🙂


          • YES. I love Fortnum and Mason’s Stilton!!! So, so good. Hard to buy over here (some stores do import it but it’s darn expensive) but I do splash out every now and then. Haha… funny to be reading this right now. I’m on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea, a piece of Gorgonzola and some dried apricots! It’s like you read my mind!
            I’m off to check out your new photo now. Perfectionist extraordinaire 😉 I guess that’s why you’re so darn good at what you do! 🙂


  3. This really sounds fantastic, I love all the flavors you have layered into this pate and I agree presentation is so often overlooked and that little extra added before serving makes the dish beautiful! I do love tuna!


    • Unfortunately, my presentation lacks! I do try and pay attention, and wipe away stains that shouldn’t be there.
      – The dip or pâté is so typical of what I would cook, without the capers and olives perhaps, with pan-fried broccoli when I can’t really be bothered to cook. I’ve just adapted it to go with this new cream cheese with black pepper. It’s fab!


  4. Yep, who would have thought that? 🙂 I agree that living by the sea is fantastic. When I have a nice weekend with nice weather, I feel like I´m on holidays!


    • Even better in a city like Barcelona, where you have mountains nearby to escape the heat, kind of. Fabulous beaches! And so much to explore. Loved Barcelona every time I’ve been there, and I’ve been visiting since (should I admit to this) ’85! Yikes! Suddenly feel tragically old 🙂


  5. Ah! I always am on the lookout for ways of making that tan of cuna (ooops totally unintentional blopper but funny to me so keeping it) I mean can of tuna that I turn to in times of desperate starvation into something more intriguing and love all the flavors you used. The grape specially. What a delicious accent that must be with the bread and the tuna.


    • Blopper/blooper? Must Google to see what comes up. I don’t know of that word. Anyway, I love adding stuff to cans of tuna. Pretty much anything to hand. The grapes, as long as they’re nicely ripe, work really well in this. And the black pepper cream cheese is addictive.


Love your comments and feedback!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.