THE appearance of root vegetables at the Cultivate stops signifies that those warmer months are fast becoming a distant memory.

The season of colder days and darker nights is upon us and we’re well and truly heading into hearty, comfort food season.

Rather than let the end of the summer season get us down we’re celebrating all our new produce with some seasonal recipes created for us by chef Jack of Smoke and Thyme.

This week we’ve featured a recipe on our website which makes use of our rooty friends in a deliciously indulgent gratin.

In culinary and agricultural usage the term root vegetable applies to most ‘under the soil’ veg, regardless of whether they are, botanically speaking, a root or not.

This can include true roots, like carrots (which are taproots), non-roots like potatoes (which are actually tubers) or bulb vegetables like kohlrabi or onions.

What I love is that these veggies come into season just at the time we need them the most.

As it turns colder our bodies metabolic rate can be increased by as much as 10 per cent because of all the energy we’re putting into keeping warm.

To keep us going on walks to work (or in the Cultivate team's case on long shifts outside on our market stall), we need starchy, complex carbohydrate foods to sustain us.

Starchy root vegetables are great fuel on cold days as they are effectively little bundles of complex carbs, fibre and nutrients and have very little sugar.

Although some roots like carrot or radish can be eaten raw, their earthy flavour and incredibly firm flesh usually requires them to be cooked and my preferred method is roasting.

Not only is it super simple – scrub, chop, toss in oil then bung in the oven – it releases the sweetness of the veg and gives them a gloriously soft texture.

That’s why I love our new gratin recipe: it utilises the scummy flavour and texture of the roasted roots then cranks it up a notch on the comfort scale by adding a sauce of cream, nutmeg, garlic and cloves, the perfect fuel for the cold months ahead.