Tag Archives: black pepper

Spotlight on Spice : Black Pepper

I use Black Pepper a lot in my cooking, it isn’t merely something that adds flavour but also has numerous health benefits.  Black Pepper is used for its aroma, nutritional and medicinal benefits making it surprisingly nutrient rich.

black peppercorns

Black Pepper – Piper nigrum – is from a perennial flowering vine from the Piperaceae family.  Black peppercorns are made by picking the pepper berries when they are half ripe and just about to turn red. They are left to dry which causes them to shrivel and become dark in colour (there are other peppercorn colours but these are from the same plant, either picked earlier or processed).

Health Benefits

Black Peppercorns are a good source of potassium, zinc, manganese, iron, calcium and magnesium.   They are also an excellent source of many of the B-complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B6.

Peppercorns are a good source of vitamin A, C, E and K and are also rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants which help the body to remove harmful free radicals.

Black Pepper is a great digestive, the piperine content stimulates the taste buds to signal the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid. This acid is essential to digest proteins and other foods in the stomach, 

black pepper1

Want to know more, see Natural News for a more detailed read.  Also do check out Peppermongers for more unusual peppers and some interesting recipes plus Mr ND’s fabulous Tuna Steak au Poivre.





Tuna Steak au Poivre

We don’t eat fresh tuna very often but sometimes I see some great looking tuna steaks and hand them over to Mr ND to make us Tuna Steak au Poivre.  These two were £3.75 and the whole meal probably amounted to less than £6.00 with vegetables for the two of us (and the dash of brandy!).  We do eat canned/tinned tuna more often but fresh is even more special and delicious.

Mr ND is the chef du jour and guest posting today.

Tuna Steak au Poivre is a successful variation on one of the tastiest and simplest dishes ever to come out of classical French cuisine.  You can follow any of the numerous recipes available, just replace the traditional beef steak with tuna.  

Tuna Steak au Poivre

tuna ingredients

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes (extra for accompaniments)
Serves 2

2 x tuna steaks
1-2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
30g unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
200 ml double cream
30-60ml brandy

Tuna  Collage


Coarsely crush the peppercorns preferably with a pestle and mortar.  Rinse the tuna steaks in cold water, remove any excess moisture with a piece of kitchen towel then coat both sides evenly with the crushed peppercorns.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy based frying pan over a fairly high heat.  Just as the butter is starting to turn a light brown colour reduce the heat and place the peppered steaks in the pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes each side.

Carefully pour in the brandy and flambé.  When the flames have subsided remove the tuna steaks carefully from the pan and place into a serving dish, keep warm.

Add the double cream to the pan and stir quickly until gently bubbling.  Pour the sauce over the tuna steaks and serve immediately.  Delicious!

tuna steak au poivre

Quick Nutritional Info:

Tuna –  Omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, anti-inflammatory, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium.  High in sodium.
Black Pepper – good source of Vitamin B6, C, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.  Very good source of Vitamin K, Iron, Copper and Manganese.


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