I opened my e-mail today to find not one, not two, but three Happy Cinco de Mayo e-cards sent by non-mexican friends! It really puzzled me. Why is this trend growing? I only got one last year! It left me thinking... What does Cinco de Mayo mean to me? I wracked my brains and heart to look for something there, but shamlessly I must admit that it does not mean anything! I even had trouble remembering what the actual Cinco de Mayo battle was all about! My primary school days sitting in "sociales" class (history) are long, long gone! As far as I can remember, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the battle of Puebla in 1862 where the Mexicans defeated the French Army. That's about it. Even the Mexican Embassy in Dublin has no mention of this in their facebook page! So not sure what all the fuzz is about in the States and here, maybe just a nice day to have a margarita and a couple of tacos apparently, but to this Mexican, Cinco de Mayo really doesn't mean anything. Am I alone out there? Are there any other Mexicans living abroad whose sentiments are stronger than mine about Cinco de Mayo? ..... nope? .... noone? Thought so.
Cinco de Mayo is just another day, unless you're still in primary or secondary school where it is celebrated like many other minor dates in our civic calendar, with a mentioned by the teacher, perhaps an assigment to research the battle details and its political consequences, but that's about it! It's not a Mexican national holiday. We don't even get the day off. We place a stronger meaning to Mothers Day, May 10th, than to May the 5th. So, I won't be throwing a Happy Cinco de Mayo party like the White House is this year, but what I will do, is to share a simple recipe for Arroz con Leche, a rice pudding recipe I promised to post for a friend a long time ago! Enjoy Cooking!
Heat the water and cinnamon sticks in a big size pot. Bring it to the boil before adding the rice. Make sure to stir really well with a spoon to prevent the rice from going lumpy. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes making sure to check the rice regularly to see if it needs more water. We want the rice at dente but with enough water not to go dry.
When the rice is nearly ready but with still a bit of bite, add the coconut and the full-fat milk and stir well. Bring the mixture to a simmer and lower the heat before adding the sultanas and the condensed milk. Mix well and cook for further 2 minutes. We want a runny consistency as it will tend to thicken when it cools down.
Remove from the heat and add the pineapple mixing well. Transfer to a serving dish and top it up with a dusting of ground cinnamon.
This dessert is both delicious and simple to make. You can serve it warm or cold. It is best serve on the day as rice tends to dry out in the fridge if left there too long. I normally do it a few hours before I want to serve it to give it a chance to cool down. Don't confuse it with rice pudding, this is so much more than that!