As for the pickling spice, I haven't been able to find one so I ended up making a batch. Following the recipe from leitesculinaria.com, I was able to make a pickling spice for corned beef.
Now, I don't like the taste of any alcoholic beverage. Having said that, I am bound to burn off the alcohol from the beer in the cooking process. Unfortunately, I'd end up doing a number of taste tests until I couldn't taste the beer anymore (hic).
Of course, I ended up experimenting with my current experimental recipe by opting to go with herbed mashed potatoes as a side dish instead of potatoes and cabbage. The beer sauce reminds me of the one that we goes with Christmas ham.
Lunch for today looked something like this:
Sorry about the photo quality. My camera's having an executive check-up and won't be home until next week. Picture taking is not the same (sigh).
At least A liked the meal and it feels good to be back in the kitchen again.