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There is alchemy in this recipe. Garlic, stale bread, olive oil, some light chicken stock, an egg and perhaps fifteen minutes. It defies reason, but with just this you achieve one of the great comfort foods. When you eat this, you feel, well, relaxed, your anxieties evaporate, the clouds lift, things move back into harmony. With a splash of fino you indulge yourself further, but this extravagance perhaps takes away from the purity of the dish.

Do not attempt this unless you have a beautiful, light and clear chicken stock, no stock cubes. Your roasted chicken carcass will be perfect for such a broth.

Slice ten cloves of garlic. Sounds a lot, but it is called garlic soup. This is for two portions. In a saucepan that will suffice for two portions add the garlic and enough olive oil to cover and slowly cook until garlic starts to brown. Garlic has a lovely nutty flavour when brown, but very quickly goes bitter when overdone and this is unacceptable. Remove the garlic when brown with a slotted spoon, but bearing in mind that it will carry on cooking for a little while, so when just turning brown. Then fry a couple of slices of good quality stale bread crusts removed in the remaining oil until golden and crispy on both sides. Add the stock and the garlic, season with salt and pepper and some pimenton, if you like. Break a couple of the finest eggs you can afford into the soup, the fresher and better quality egg keep a better shape. When cooked put in bowls and eat.

Paradise – this on its own can keep a desperate man from suicide.

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