Nigella Lawsons cookbook, Nigellissima.

London - In years gone by, books with her name on sold like hot cakes. But it seems the public may be losing its taste for Nigella Lawson.

The television chef’s latest release is languishing outside the top 20 in the Christmas book charts.

Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration has shifted just 161,823 copies since it went on sale in September – down by more than a third on her previous title, Kitchen.

It has made it only to number 21 in the book trade’s chart, despite its release being accompanied by a BBC2 series and a seemingly relentless promotional tour.

In contrast, Jamie Oliver has scored his third consecutive Christmas number one with 15 Minute Meals – which was released at the same time as Nigellissima.

Oliver’s book sold 117,911 copies last week alone, while Nigellissima shifted only 17,757.

Cookbooks by the Hairy Bikers and Nigel Slater have also fared better than Lawson’s in the shops.

Philip Stone, charts editor at The Bookseller, said: “The public have generally preferred their quick-and-easy and baking cookbooks over the past couple of years.

“Miss Lawson’s new tome may have also suffered from the fact that Italian cookery isn’t as en vogue as other areas within the cookery sector.”

Lawson, 52, has been criticised over the unhealthy desserts featured in the Nigellissima television series, such as a chocolate hazelnut cheesecake containing 75 grams of butter, 500g of cream cheese and 400g of Nutella chocolate spread – adding up to a whopping 7,069 calories.

Italian connoisseurs have also argued that her recipes lacked authenticity, with high-profile chef Simona Fabrizio saying: “No one cooks like that here. It is an insult to Italy.”

Lawson published her first cookbook in 1998 and has earned more than £50-million from book sales around the world. - Daily Mail