Let's face it, that's what it's become. I bet those two Grillo birds are thrilled the heat's been entirely taken off them.

The 53-year-old TV chef returned to Isleworth Crown Court in London today to continue giving evidence in the ongoing fraud case against her former assistants, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, and admitted she feels shameful about her use of cocaine and cannabis.

The remorse comes after the self-styled domestic goddess - who's still attempting to launch a squeaky clean career for herself stateside - told the court yesterday she had dabbled in cocaine a handful of times while married to first husband John Diamond - who died in 2001 - and smoked cannabis for much of the final year of her second marriage to art dealer/basket case Charles Saatchi, 70.

Nigella was accused of being dishonest about her drug use by defence barrister Karina Arden and responded: "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. No one really wants their errors having the spotlight put on them. When I needed to tell the truth, I told the truth."

The Grillos' defence representative also claimed Nigella - who divorced Charles earlier this year after pictures emerged of him with him all but throttling her outside London restaurant, Scott's, in June - was using her testimony as "damage limitation" to explain her recent controversies, including allegations of habitual drug use, to the world's media.

She said she was reluctant to give evidence for fear of being "menaced", adding: "I felt that I would be put on trial (and you were, for all intents and purposes). I felt it was my duty to come. I certainly felt it would be an unpleasant experience, but that's not a good enough reason not to do one's duty."

Nigella also vehemently denied her ex-husband's claims that he was searching her nose for cocaine in the now infamous pictures of their restaurant incident. Yep, you read that correnty/

She explained: "Mr. Saatchi (she's categorically refused to refer to him by any other name) was not examining me for cocaine. That's a story he made up afterwards to clear his name."

By way of a reminder, Nigella is only giving evidence as part of an ongoing trial against the Grillos, who are accused of spending around £685,000 on personal items with their company credit cards.

She is not on trial herself.