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Expert QA

How to: Get rid of coffee stains

Green Goddess Wendyl Nissen knows how to get rid of coffee stains. She also shares a delicious baked custard recipe.

By Wendyl Nissen
Reader letter of the week
Dear Wendyl,
I was out with the family the other weekend enjoying a lovely lunch when whoops! I spilled my coffee all down my front! Now my favourite cream blouse is stained and ruined. Can you help me?
Georgia
Hi Georgia,
Coffee stains can be a real pain, can’t they? There are a couple of tricks – try neat white vinegar. If the stain lifts, make sure you wash off the vinegar completely with water. Another idea is to use glycerine, which you can buy from your chemist or supermarket. Simply rub it on the stain, leave for at least 30 minutes, then rub off.
Baked Custard
There’s something immensely satisfying about a freshly made, creamy custard. This is an absolutely wonderful, rich version that’s close to foolproof and a wonderful warming dessert for cold nights.
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 vanilla beans
31/2 cups milk
1 Heat oven to 180°C.
2 Beat together the yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt until creamy.
3 Split the vanilla pods and scrape the centres into a saucepan.
4 Add the pods and milk to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
5 Whisk the milk into the egg mixture and strain into a jug.
6 Pour into 8 ramekins. Place them in a large roasting pan, with plenty of space between each.
7 Pour boiling water into the pan until it comes about halfway up the ramekins.
8 Bake for 45 minutes.
9 Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cooking time may vary so test at 45 minutes. If it hasn’t fully set, it’s still delicious in thick liquid form.
In the Garden
I just love growing berries. Blueberries, currants and cranberries can be planted any time of the year, but raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries and gooseberries are best planted in winter or spring – so now is a good time to get those in the ground if you want some good yields for the warmer season.
Choose a spot that gets full sun, so the berries will be full of flavour. Also make sure they’re sheltered from strong winds.
Kitchen tip
I just love wooden chopping boards – they look beautiful and, if well maintained, they last forever. But they need to be oiled. If not, you dramatically reduce their lifespan and run the risk of bacteria making a home in the porous surface of the wood.
Follow these steps to maintain your board:
1 Choose an oil: you can buy specific oils for this purpose, but I like to use raw linseed oil which you can get from hardware stores. Make sure you don’t use boiled linseed oil – it’s treated with chemicals that are toxic for humans!
2 Pour a generous amount of oil onto the board and rub it in with a clean cloth. The aim is to absolutely saturate it.
3 When it’s slick, let it rest for about five minutes. You can repeat this three or four times, especially if the board is new.
4 Let it rest upright. You can stand the board on its side so it’s leaning against a wall or you can stand it up in a dish rack. The aim is to let both sides air out and dry at the same time. Lay down an old towel first to catch any oil drippings.
5 When it feels dry to the touch, your board is ready! To keep it in good nick, just apply another layer of oil every six months or so when the finish has worn off.

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