For those of you who have visited Londolozi, you will know that the soups we serve are some of the best in the Lowveld, South Africa, and as some guests have commented – the world!

There are many chefs on the kitchen staff, each of whom have their own unique talent and personality. When it comes to the Londolozi soups, however, one woman reigns supreme!

Virginia Mthabini, commonly known as VG or Madame, arrived at Londolozi 17 years ago as a scullery lady. VG moved into the kitchen a few months later to become the Salad Chef. When one of the chefs was on leave, VG had to make the soup; it was here she found her passion, and the rest is soup history!

Virginia grew up as one of three sisters, along with three brothers. Completing her schooling in Utah, a small community not far from the Sabi Sands Game Reserve a few hours away from Londolozi. She finished high school with great marks and came straight to Londolozi where a lot of the Mthabini family were already working.

Virginia has a daughter called Pearsley who she has encouraged to do well at school, and I’m sure in time will inherit her mothers passion for cooking and making soups!

Not only does VG make the incredible soups, she is also the Sous Chef of Pioneer Camp. She is an active member of the Londolozi Ladies Choir together with her sister Connie. Her Colgate smile is as bright as Sipho Ngomane’s and she is always wearing it.

Virginia (right) and her sister Connie.

Virginia only needs to see a recipe once, and then makes it even better as she goes along. She’s a great teacher to the other chefs, showing them how to put the magic into the soup.

Some of the Londolozi kitchen staff. Virginia is third from the left.

Although there are many signature soups, today we thought we’d share with you one of our most popular:

Londolozi’s Pea & Mint Soup

Broccoli and Blue Chees Soup

Ingredients

3 White                Onions
4 Cloves               Garlic
1 Bag                     Frozen Peas (or fresh if in season)
1 Litre                   Vegetable Stock
1 Litre                   Cream (optional)
1 Large                 Potato, peeled and chopped
½ Bunch               Fresh Mint, chopped
100g                       Goat’s Cheese
Salt & Pepper

 Method

  1. Fry onion & garlic until soft
  2. Add the potato and the stock – simmer until the potato is soft
  3. Add the Frozen Peas – do not add the peas first as the potato will make them go brown!
  4. Blend until smooth – add cream if you’d like
  5. Add chopped mint
  6. Served chilled or hot.
  7. Garnish with crumbled Goat’s Cheese

Virgina and Anna

Annas and Virginia’s tip – This soup is deliciously served in ice cold glasses with a sprig of mint. This soup also freezes very well.

As a bonus we thought we’d throw in the recipe for our signature soup, which over the years has proved by far our most popular, especially in the winter months; Londolozi’s Roast Tomato and Basil Soup:

INGREDIENTS

3kg                            Whole Red tomatoes
2 Large                    Onions, chopped
4 Cloves                  Garlic, grated
2 Tbsp                      Olive Oil
150g                         Tomato Paste
70g                            Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 Liter                      Vegetable stock
1 Liter                      Chicken or Vegetable Stock
500ml                     Fresh Cream
Salt and Pepper

METHOD

  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place on a roasting tray and roast until soft – about 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Sauté onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft
  3. Add tomato paste stirring continuously, then add the roasted tomatoes.
  4. Add the Stock and Water and simmer until all the ingredients have combined.
  5. Blend the soup until smooth.
  6. Strain through a sieve. Add the cream & basil.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of Basil Pesto

Keep an eye on this blog for more signature soup recipes from our Queen of Soups!

Happy Cooking!

Filed under Cuisine

About the Author

Anna Ridgewell

Executive Chef

A lodge like Londolozi, although famous for its wildlife, is about far more than just that. The superb culinary experience which awaits every guest at Londolozi is thanks to the continued efforts of Anna, who has been instrumental in the development of new ...

More stories by Anna

12 Comments

on Londolozi’s Queen of Soups
    Rita says:

    I love it when you post recipes! Brings back memories of all the great food we had while at Londolozi!

    Anna Ridgewell says:

    Thank you Rita – keep watching the blog for more recipes!

    Phoebe Harrell says:

    AHHHHHH!!! We love Virginia and we miss that million watt smile. Hope to see it again soon. xxxooo

    Alison Smith says:

    Thanks for recipes Gals!

    Anna Ridgewell says:

    Thank you Alison!

    Jenifer Westphal says:

    This blog makes me so happy! I LOVE your soups and now I have the recipes! Thank you!! Anna you and your team are culinary superstars!

    Anna Ridgewell says:

    Thank you Jenifer!
    We love hearing from you on our blog as well and look forward to your next visit!

    Christa Blessing says:

    Thanks so much for all the great Londolozi recipes!!
    I have already tried some and they are just sooo good.
    I am looking forward to visiting Londolozi again soon and enjoying the “real” stuff not just
    the copies that I prepare.

    Anna Ridgewell says:

    Thank you Christa!
    I am so happy you are using the recipes at home and next time you visit us, i look forward to hearing how they’re all going! Happy Souping!

    Anna Ridgewell says:

    Thanks Phoebe – Virginia sends love back and looks forward to seeing you again soon. x

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Thank you for these recipes, if the tomato soup is as good as the Lemon Yoghurt Cake, I am going to be making it soon! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Beauty says:

    Thank you for these recipes, I’m also the one who comes from VG hands, I was a trainer @Londolozi from 2002- 2004. I love cooking because of VG. Thank you for sharing Chef . I love Londolozi with all my heart.

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