A strawberry and fresh herb compote recipe: in honour of Open Garden Squares Weekend 8-9 June

Did you know that Providence Row and Rise Bakery have their very own roof garden? Bursting to the seams with seasonal produce and flowers, our garden is also home to compost and recycling systems, solar panels, bee hives and a wormery.  

We are very proud of the fact that solar power provides 15% of the energy used by our Providence Row offices and hostel. Our roof garden also provides produce to our day centre kitchen to feed 30 people for lunch 5 days a week.

We are delighted that our multi-award winning garden has been invited to take part in the Open Garden Squares weekend (for a third year running) on Saturday 8th June.

Open Garden Squares is a fantastic opportunity to delve into London’s hidden gardens and learn about the great initiatives happening behind the trees and shrubs. Whilst we often associate produce grown in our gardens with cooking, it’s easy to forget that the same produce can also be used in baking. It’s all about elevating flavours and taking the bake to the next level.

With an abundance of seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables available on hand to pick, bake and eat, we’re very lucky at Rise Bakery to have access to our roof garden. It’s as fresh as it gets.

This week we’ve been eyeing up our crop of strawberries, which are all rosy and ripe and ready to be enjoyed with a cream tea. At our Rise Bakery, we’ve also been talking about making jams and compotes by marrying strawberries and tayberries with garden mint. We also like the idea of making Victoria sponge cakes.  Our Bakery Training Scheme commences in July…fingers crossed the jam will last till then!

If you would like to visit our urban jungle, tickets can be bought online at Open Garden Squares (see link below). Our Providence Row roof garden will be open on Saturday 8th June only, with garden tours led by our fantastic Garden Co-ordinator Julie. There will also be delicious Rise Bakery brownies on sale and music and art in the courtyard.


In the meantime, here is a simple garden forage recipe to whet your appetite. Hope to see you on Saturday 8th June!

Strawberry and fresh herb compote

Serves 4

  • 500g strawberries (350g diced, 150g sliced in half)

  • 0-2 tbsp unrefined sugar (or honey) amount depends on sweetness of the strawberries

  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt flakes and grind of black pepper (optional)

  • Small handful fresh basil or mint leaves

 Wash the strawberries. Remove stems and prepare: 350g in small chunks, 150g sliced in half or quarters along the length. Set the sliced strawberries aside, to add at the end.

Place the 350g diced strawberries in a pan with the sugar or honey and seasoning, and cook on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until softened and sauce like.

Remove from heat, add lemon juice, torn or sliced fresh herbs and the remaining 150g of halved strawberries.

Enjoy with yoghurt, buttered bread, sponge cake, scone, rice pudding, ice cream or simply on its own!


Providence Row’s top 3 tips for mindful baking

By Joey, Rise Bakery’s Coordinator

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) and 17th May was World Baking Day. The overlapping of these two events serves as a useful reminder of the therapeutic, meditative and mindful benefits of baking, particularly for relieving stress and anxiety.

The UK has witnessed a resurgence in baking over the last few years.  Many would argue that we have the likes of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and the team behind the hugely popular BAFTA award- winning show The Great British Bake Off (currently filming its 10th series!) to thank for this. 

In the UK, we are also seeing an increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health difficulties. Mental health can affect anyone and doesn’t discriminate. In fact, over 25% of us will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in our life.

A collection of recent reports suggests that anxiety and unhappiness among young people is growing. According to the British charity YouthNet, a third of young women and one in 10 young men suffer from panic attacks. Anxiety, depression and panic disorders are nothing new, but the increase in people suffering from them is a recent trend.

So, how can we connect the pursuit of baking to mental well-being and find ways to use baking as a force for good?  The answer is mindful baking. Simply put, mindful baking is about paying attention to oneself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there.

Baking is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness and ultimately improve one’s mood and reduce stress. From start to finish, the act of baking guides you to focus on the present, giving your mind some respite from those niggling thoughts and distractions. Selecting and weighing ingredients takes precision and focus, whilst the practical and tactile processes of getting your hands dirty mixing, kneading and feeling your ingredients requires you to tune into and trust your senses.

A peer mentor at our Rise Bakery recently asked, how we will know when the eggs and sugar are whisked enough? By really looking, feeling, smelling and even hearing the ingredients take shape over time, you start to feel confident in making the judgement calls on your own. Soon enough, you just know when the cake is cooked, or perhaps even more importantly, the steps you need to take to rectify a mistake and save your baked good. That belief in your own knowledge and sense of control can be incredibly grounding. 

Combining ingredients together in creative ways to produce dishes that are the sum of their parts can bring a momentary sense of calm and control. As John Whaite, Winner of Great British Bake Off 2012 (diagnosed with manic depression 10 years ago) stated: "When I'm in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs - I am in control. That's really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control." 

Whether you’re a keen baker, a complete beginner, an enthusiastic cake tester or simply looking for a new way to relax and unwind, here are Providence Row’s top 3 tips for mindful baking:  

1. Prepare yourself and the ingredients: Give yourself time and space to focus on the task. Carefully read the recipe, imagine how your baked good will turn out, and think about the occasion it will bring or who you may share it with; a birthday, pudding, to be enjoyed with a cup of tea and a good book etc.

2. Focus on your senses: Really pay attention to your ingredients as you weigh and measure them; where have they come from? How do they feel? Engage your senses during the mixing or kneading processes, focusing on touch, and allow your mind to take you down memory lane as the smells of warm bread, cookies or cakes waft from the oven.

3. Enjoy engaging in the whole process, not fixating on producing a ‘perfect’ result:  Take time to enjoy your baked good, share it and above all really taste it and appreciate the baking journey it took to get there. 

The principle of mindful practice can be transferred to any part of your routine: running, art, writing, walking. With time and practice mindfulness (and baking) will become a piece of cake.

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Rise Bakery named Social Enterprise of the Year by Homeless Link

Rise Bakery, part of London homelessness charity Providence Row, was named Social Enterprise of the Year at Homeless Link’s Excellence Awards on Tuesday 3 July 2018. 

The bakery, run from Providence Row’s day centre, combines a supported bakery trainee scheme for people affected by homelessness with an online brownie order business. With a strong online platform and an exciting contemporary brand Rise delivers post box friendly boxes all across the country to city corporates, retail customers, cafes and markets.

Providing quality training trainees is essential to Rise Bakery who work with some of the most difficult to reach people. Their trainees are often affected by multiple disadvantages, such as rough sleeping, mental health and drug and alcohol issues, which can prevent them from gaining training and employment opportunities. Rise gives them something to be part of, motivates them as they tackle the issues they’re facing, and gives them to confidence to move towards employment.

Providence Row’s Director of Services Dominic Gates said: “We are thrilled to have received this prestigious award. We are particularly proud as it recognises not just the quality of the products or the success of the business, but also the most important thing – the social impact for those taking part in the training.”
The Homeless Link Excellence Awards showcase the innovative, effective work that homelessness organisations are doing around the country to support those experiencing homelessness. The Social Enterprise of the year award recognises social enterprises that can demonstrate a clear vision, strategic direction and business excellence alongside a social impact that is creating better outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness.


Last orders for Christmas 2017!

Season’s greetings everyone!

We hope you’ve got a fun and festive time planned this year.

As we’re a small community bakery we will be closing over Christmas and New Year to give our bakers a well-deserved rest. We will be turning off the oven and hanging up our chef’s hats on Wednesday 20 December. Don’t worry though because we’ll be back baking our delicious brownies again on Tuesday 2 January.

Fancy celebrating the season with some Rise Brownies? If so, get your order in before 2pm on Wednesday 20 December to help make sure we can get them in the last Royal Mail Christmas post for you (please note we cannot guarantee delivery dates).

Best wishes,

From the Rise Bakery team x

Rise Bakery has been shortlisted for a Blue Patch Award

Hot on the heels of the Great Taste Award came news this week that Rise has been nominated for another award!

We’re honoured to announce that we’ve been shortlisted by Blue Patch in their Social Impact category alongside some remarkable British social enterprises. Blue Patch is an online catalogue of British-made products and services with a sustainability edge. Their business awards recognise the efforts of social enterprises, SMEs and artisans who are committed to creating a principled economy. 

The Social Impact Award is for socially minded businesses aiming to make a positive difference in their local communities, whether that’s with vulnerable people, education or the environment. Rise Bakery is showcased for its bakery training scheme for people affected by homelessness.   

Watch this space for the judges’ verdict on 1 Sept. And don’t forget to bookmark Blue Patch in your browser as a your go-to place for ethical shopping. We think it’s brilliant.

In the meantime though, we need your help! Blue Patch have invited the public to vote for their favourite nominee to win a People’s Award. Winning will give us the chance to tell more people about Rise brownies and mean we can help more people affected by homelessness.

Vote now if you believe in our mission! http://www.bluepatch.org/en/directory/product/p/the-peoples-prize-5

Meet our new bakery Peer Mentor

Meet Bobo, our new bakery peer mentor. He helps show new trainees the ropes.

He has come a long way in a short time. Six months ago, he was homeless. He has since thankfully found somewhere safe to stay, but that was just the start of his journey towards the life he wants.

Despite being off the streets, Bobo was still unhappy. Lonely and bored he spent most of his time in his room.

“I didn’t go out at all”. 

That was when he found out about Providence Row (and Rise Bakery) and met with Asia from the Enterprise & Training team to talk about how to get back on his feet. 



He registered for the charity’s Bakery Trainee Scheme. Despite having “never made cake before in life,” Bobo quickly picked up baking skills and with it, his well-being and happiness improved. 

“I was happy, I told my children, ‘I’m going to make cake’”.

He says that the scheme is “putting me back to normal, where I was supposed to be, because I was also drinking a lot before and now they say, two weeks, three weeks without drinking, and now I’m feeling better. Mentally, physically, I’m okay. I’ve got something every Wednesday, Friday, I have to go do something, something that I like.”

Bobo didn’t stop there! Not only has he completed his Level 2 Food Hygiene accreditation, he’s also taken part in IT classes, Job Club, and recently started the Gardening Trainee Scheme.  

With past experience in security, Bobo is eager to get his badge back and return to work. He is seeing Annette, our employability coordinator for one-to-one support to achieve this.

“That’s why I like this place, they get me a lot of help and I know I’ll get back to my work, my security work, or other jobs.” 

His love for the kitchen has led him to become a bakery peer mentor supporting and helping new trainees in the kitchen. 

Bobo has found that the activities at Providence Row have helped support his well-being as well as develop practical and transferable skills. He is happy and excited about the future.
When asked about Providence Row, Bobo said: 

“My advice would be to join this place. Because they really help you a lot.”