We recently visited a small, rustic café. The walls were styled with exposed brick, corregated iron, timber and tiles. The seating area was a covered green house, surrounded by hanging ferns. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this hole in the wall café was located in somewhere like Balmain, but in fact it’s in western Sydney’s Liverpool.

It’s an exciting time in western Sydney with the October Good Food Month now full swing . From what I have experienced so far, western Sydney is definitely the place to celebrate Sydney’s big annual food event. Yesterday I ventured out to the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre with my nine year old son. We were there to tempt our sweet tooth at the Sweet As Festival 2014. As an added bonus we were treated to some art and culture with many colourful art exhibits on show around the desserts.

Despite feeling gloomy about turning another year older, last week I celebrated my birthday in style with two fantastic dinners arranged by my thoughtful family. First we enjoyed an Italian extravaganza made at home by my daughter Alice. Throughout the day my husband had managed to keep his birthday surprise under his hat, but before dessert the secret was out. The following night we were heading into town for a night at The Rocks and a fine dining experience at Sydney’s iconic Aria restaurant.

Lately there have been some new burger joints popping up across western Sydney. They are part of the ever expanding Dougie’s Grill franchise, but don’t think that this is your typical takeaway burger place. The burgers at Dougie’s Grill are all grilled to order, inspired by Middle Eastern flavours and all meat is hand slaughtered halal, filling several gaps in the burger market. Oh, and by the way, in 2012 they were put on the list of top 10 burgers in Sydney by the Daily Telepgraph!

When I took my dad out for lunch the other day, the brief was: a pub for a beer and a steak. Not hard to find really. However, I wanted to take him to a pub where the food had a little bit more pizazz and we didn’t get given a buzzer to know when our food is ready. After much research, I took him to nearby Richards on the Park in Canley Vale.

The sun seems to be rarely making appearances lately, so when it decided to poke its head out the other day, we drove to Picton to make the most of it. We went to the gorgeous Common Ground café and bakery at the Razorback Inn. This beautiful place that is run by an alternative religious group has been on our agenda for ages, so we were thrilled to finally visit.

The Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival was held this weekend at the beautiful Corbett Gardens in Bowral. The festival is held to celebrate and showcase the fine food and wine available in this culinary inspiring region of NSW . The easy drive to Bowral from our home in south west Sydney took just over an hour. We arrived in time to enjoy a coffee and have a look at the fashionable shops before progressing on to Corbett Gardens which were ablaze with colour from the many  blooming tulips on display.

This fantastic fruit and veg shop at the Marketfair shopping plaza in Campbelltown stocks a huge array of both fresh produce and specialty pantry items. After following these guys on instagram for a while, we finally got to check them out while in the area last weekend.

The sweet swap is a fundraising and networking activity for australian food or parenting bloggers across Australia. Each blogger pays a small registration fee to participate. This year this money was collected to support a clean water initiative for Vietnamese children by Child Fund Australia.  Each participating blogger is sent the name and mailing address of three other sweet swap participants. All participants prepare and mail portions of a sweet treat to their sweet swap recipients. In return you receive three sweet surprises back. It was wonderful have the postman deliver something other than bills during the last week of August.

Sydney freezer cooking enthusiast Susan Austin has just released her third inspiring cook book of make ahead recipes for the freezer. Her latest book, available as an ebook, is aptly named “Frostbite, Make-Ahead Recipes to Eliminate Mayhem at Mealtime.” With my busy adgenda I am always looking for ways to streamline lifes activities to get more relaxation time. For several years I have used Susan’s Frostbite cookbooks as my go to guide when filling my freezer with ready made meals. From the very moment I purchased the first cookbook in the Frostbite series, I’ve been hooked on freezing.