This self-taught culinary expert delves into her recipe books to demonstrate her love of French cuisine.
Nimfa August is a passionate cook who has lived in Bahrain for many years, having first arrived on the island in the 1980s and coming back again to stay in 2016.
Inspired by her mother, from the age of just nine years she would stand on a chair to watch her cook. During her time in the Kingdom during the 1980s she broadened her culinary repertoire in response to the limited restaurant offering at the time. With a wide social circle, she often created dishes for coffee mornings and evening gatherings, then, one day, a friend asked if she was taking orders and a small business was born.
Having previously run one of her family’s own restaurants and later also a friend’s eatery, she was well able to offer a good variety of dishes.
She says: “Everything I know is self-taught. I have no professional qualifications. I have travelled and lived in several countries such as Hong Kong, Melbourne, Paris and London – this has played, and still plays, an important part in my cooking. When dining out, I always order food that I do not normally cook at home. Trend is a tenuous word. I call it a ‘twist’ to give food an appealing touch and a ‘kick’, for lack of a better word. Recipes are only a road map.”
Her favourite style of cooking is French and today she shares a recipe for Tomato Tarte Tatin saying: “I had a chance to sample this at a restaurant in Australia which, by the way, has some of the best food places I’ve been to. Though I have tried it in other restaurants from other countries, this particular one is, by far, the best.”
TOMATO TARTE TATIN
• 16-18 plum tomatoes (try to choose even-sized ones)
• 2 tsp rock salt
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp freshly milled black pepper
• 400g red onions
• 100ml olive oil
• 100g feta cheese, crumbed
• 150g ready-made short crust pastry
• Few leaves fresh basil, washed, wiped dry and roughly chopped
9-inch spring form pan
The day before:
• Preheat oven to 120°C.
• Mix together salt, sugar and black pepper.
• Cut tomatoes lengthways. Put on baking tray with skin side down and sprinkle with salt, sugar and black pepper mixture. Put on the lowest shelf of oven and bake for three to four hours depending on size of tomatoes. Set aside.
• Peel and slice onions (I use the food processor). Fry gently in olive oil until caramelised. Strain and cool.
• Line baking pan with double parchment paper.
• Arrange tomatoes in tight concentric circles cut side down. Spread onions. Scatter crumbed cheese on top of onions. Roll pastry, place on top and tuck in edges.
• Bake in preheated oven at 180°C until pastry is golden brown.
• Turn out onto serving plate.
• Sprinkle basil all over.
I normally serve this with a mixed green salad and a selection of bread.