Celebrity cook Nigella Lawson came out fighting again by denying "Higella" claims about her drug use by ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

Lawson, 53, told Isleworth Crown Court that it was not true that Saatchi was checking her nose for traces of cocaine when he was pictured with his hands around her throat at Scott's restaurant in central London earlier this year.

Lawson also denied using her appearance at the fraud trial of two former members of staff, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds, as a "damage limitation" exercise.

The TV cook called Saatch's "searching for cocaine" claim made up. She told the jury: "I'm not proud of the fact I have taken drugs but that does not make me a drug addict or a habitual drug user.

"The fact is, I would rather be honest and ashamed. I wasn't going to be bullied with lies.

"Mr Saatchi was not examining me for cocaine. That's a story he made up afterwards to clear his name."

Saatchi and Lawson divorced after 10 years of marriage soon after the images from Scott's came to light.

The defence counsel put it to Lawson that she had been not frank with police officers at the time by omitting to mention that she had used cocaine and cannabis in the past.

Karin Arden said: "You were not frank with police officers. You told a lie because it's not correct to say stories about drugs were untrue."

Lawson responded: "It was true in that what my ex-husband had been saying was he was getting cocaine out of my nose at Scott's and I had been completely off my head for 10 years was a story that he made up afterwards because I would not go back and clear his name."

The accused in the fraud trial, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, claimed that Lawson sanctioned huge spending sprees on credit cards in return for keeping silent about her drug use.

The sisters deny fraud. The trial continues.