Recipe: DCI Alexander’s mince and potatoes

In my novel, That Existential Leap: a crime story, the Glaswegian detective Alexander makes himself mince and potatoes, a dish I describe as ‘Scottish soul food’. Many, many readers have asked for more details, so here is a recipe. Generously serves two.


  • 500g minced beef (‘lean mince’ will lack flavour, so go for at least 20% fat)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • A good amount of salt and (if you’re feeling adventurous) pepper
  • 400g potatoes (Ideally Ayrshire new potatoes. And don’t fuck with them.)
  • Some peas (Alexander can take or leave the peas, but most middle class British people find it impossible to eat a meal without something green on the plate, and he is trying to instil this habit in his daughter.)


Brown the mince with some oil in a large frying pan. Add the stock cube with a little water, then mix in the chopped onion. Add salt (and pepper). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes, and the peas.

Alexander serves by piling the mince onto a slice of bread, which soaks up the delicious grease. Don’t be afraid to add more salt if desired.

Bon appetit!

Buy That Existential Leap: a crime story.