In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot, soak rice with cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon zest in water for 1 hour. After an hour, stir, bring to the boil and carry on cooking until water is almost completely evaporated, continuing to stir periodically.
In a separate large bowl, beat the egg into the milk, following with three teaspoons (yes three!) of pure vanilla essence.
Pour the golden caster sugar into the cooked rice, stir to combine, then follow with the milk/egg/vanilla. Now is where the stirring really begins. Turn your heat down to a medium low, find some great music or a podcast to listen to, and slowly begin to stir away. Once the milk cooks down a bit add in your raisins and evaporated milk if using. Just. Keep. Stirring. Let your mind wander. This is part of the magic of this dish- the excuse to just be.
Once it’s reached your desired consistency remove the pot from the hob so as not to burn the bottom and serve in individual dishes. I topped with some additional lemon zest for a bit more sour/bitter contrast to the sweet and creamy dish. Cinnamon is always good too.