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In praise of - being an urban crofter.

It's the jaggy nettle that has to be grasped.

From now on – and not just because Lent is on the horizon – we must face the prospect of learning how to eat cheaply as well as wisely and well if we're to keep the wolf from the door.

I'm not talking about embracing the 5:2 Fasting Diet (though it has its undoubted attractions). I'm talking about ditching dodgy ready-made burgers and truly going back to basics: lentils and pork belly, hummus made with butter beans rather than chickpeas, soup of leftover vegetables and proper stock made by boiling the bones of a chicken/lamb shanks stuffed kale leaves, that sort of thing. In other words, rediscovering our inner crofter.

All the top chefs are already onto it, so you don't have to worry about missing out on that fashionable new culinary buzzphrase, cucina povera (peasant food), when you do occasionally venture out of the kitchen.

But what's really great about this is it's encouraging us all to cook from scratch and learn – or relearn – how to actually do it, while saving money into the bargain. And it's brought about many an overdue culinary renaissance to the extent that pearl barley, porridge oats and fresh beetroot are now part of everyday food shopping.

The downside of lionising cheap food as uber-fashionable is the danger some of us will infer we can eat what we like, so long as we've made it/grown it ourselves and only paid tuppence for it. All I can say is blackened chargrilled beef skirt, toasted cheese with chorizo and homemade scones with cream should be consumed in moderation.

Talking of jaggy nettles, I've heard soup made from them is just the thing to stave off gnawing hunger. Just saying.

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